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    cjvitek's Avatar
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    Default Review Blitz: How to Train Your Dragon, Zen Bound 2, Doodle God

    I have a number of apps that I have been waiting to review, but limited time has prevented me from writing up lengthy reviews. As such, over the next few days, I will be posting some "review" blitzes. Short, to the point reviews of some apps, so people can see if the apps are something they might want to try. I will be happy to answer any questions people may have about the apps, so if you have a comment or question, go ahead and respond in the thread! I will also be doing this on the iPad apps forum.

    Today's review blitz includes How to Train Your Dragon, Zen Bound 2, and Doodle God.

    How to Train Your Dragon Game, by Glu
    $0.99, ***1/2

    • Fun graphics based on the movie
    • Easy to pick up game play

    • Can only play as one dragon/rider
    • Game play can get tiresome after a while

    The “official” How to Train Your Dragon Game came out this past summer. My daughter loved the movie, so I thought I would see if she enjoyed the game as well. The game is a flying/challenge style game – you have to fly your dragon (Toothless, for those who have seen the movie) through the air, trying to meet various challenges and collect various artifact. There are multiple levels to play through, but I found the game play rather repetitive. It was fun, but got a little old after playing it for a few times. The graphics are nicely done, although nothing stellar. They appear to be based on a polygon layout pattern, so you don’t get anything too detailed (which is unfortunate when you are looking at the background). The game play itself is easy to pick up – tilt your iphone to fly the dragon. If you like flying games, like the movie, or just love contorting your body into pretzel shapes to get your dragon to fly in the manner which you like, you might end up enjoying the game – especially if you have a child who liked the movie! Three and a half out of five stars.

    Zen Bound 2, by Secret Exit LTD (universal binary)
    $2.99, ****1/2

    • Very relaxing
    • Stunning graphics
    • Intriguing game design

    • Some physics are “unrealistic”
    • Limited replay interest

    I never tried the original Zen Bound game, so when I saw Zen Bound 2 come out (and a universal binary!!) I decided to give it a try. Zen Bound 2 is a fun game, based on the concept of the original. You go through, trying to wrap an object in rope, by twisting and turning the object. You succeed by wrapping a certain percentage of the object with a limited amount of rope. As you progress you have less rope to work with and the objects become more complex. It is a fun, challenging game, although initially I found it to be a little simplistic. The graphics are stunning, and the enhanced mood music really adds to the atmosphere. The game play is great – you move the object with multitouch on the screen, but you can also tilt the iphone to move the rope. My only real complaint is that at times the rope is somewhat unrealistic – it may hang on a corner being pulled tight, when in reality it would slip right past the corner (as an example). This is a really fun game, which can be quite challenging, and is great for showing of the capabilities of the iPhone. Four and a half out of five stars, especially at the $2.99 price for a universal binary!

    Doodle God, by JoyBits Ltd
    $0.99, ****

    • Simple design and concept

    • Can be frustrating to play (but in some ways, that is good, right?)

    I think it says something about a game when there are almost a dozen “cheat” apps designed to help you progress in the game. Whether it says something good or not, I don’t know. Doodle God is a “concept” game – you are basically trying to create “elements” by combining existing elements that you have. For example combining stone and fire produces metal. You have various element groups (life, air, water, etc). The goal of the game is to create all the elements (I think there are almost 200 available) starting with the four basic (earth, air, fire, water). It sounds fun, and it is…except that that I repeatedly found myself combining the same elements over and over because I had forgotten I had tried that combination. It’s a challenging idea, and usually the elements sort of make sense (combining stone and air produces gravel, gravel and water produces mud) but in some cases that element combinations are a little confusing. The graphics are simple (basically little doodles) and it can be a good way to pass the time if you have a few minutes sitting around. The biggest problem is putting the game down and coming back to it, because you lose track of the combinations you have already tried. There are hints available, but they are limited. They do have some fun things – like when you invent “game” (which I haven’t done yet) you get access to some little mini games. However, I really like the concept (and it would be great if eventually you could work with someone on another iphone to create even more!) and this is a fun game to play and maybe actually get you thinking (just a little bit). Four out of five stars.

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