Review Blitz for the iPhone (5 reviews)
Every now and then, I find myself with a backlog of apps to review. I simply don’t have the time to write up a full review of each of them, so I will post a “review blitz”. In the review blitz, I will give some general information about the app, a rating, and a brief description/review of the app. It will not be as comprehensive as a full length review, but hopefully it will tell you a little more about the apps in question. This is the iPhone version.
Mobile Mouse Pro, by
• Fun way to control the mouse with your iPhone
• I don’t see myself using it too much
• Couldn’t get the air motion to work
Please note, to use Mobile Mouse Pro for the iPhone, you need to download and install server software on your computer first. Mobile Mouse Pro is a fun little program to turn your iPhone into a mouse for your computer. With the app, and the matching server software running on your computer, you can control the mouse cursor from your iPhone. And it doesn’t end there. For different programs (like Mozilla) you get various buttons (like a home button, refresh button, favorites button, etc). You can also open apps from a quick launch tool bar on the mouse. You can make these special buttons appear or vanish by shaking the iPhone. Unfortunately, despite repeated efforts, I couldn’t get the movements I was making to translate to the mouse cursor. I was able to use my iPhone as a perfectly good trackpad (and I could even use it to type when I needed to), and that in itself is a cool little “show off” kind of app. But I simply don’t see myself using this frequently, it seems to be more of a “look at what I can do”. There may be circumstances where I would use it, but I don’t know what they would be. Having said that, for $1.99, it is still an app I would consider buying just because it is so interesting.
Need for Speed: Shift, by EA
• Great campaign style racing game
• Easy controls
• Limited multiplayer included
Need for Speed (NFS) Shift is a racing simulator game that has been out for a couple of years, but it still have plenty of muscle on the iPhone 4. A visually stunning game, the game is loads of fun to play in a campaign mode, where you have to win races to unlock other events, earn money to upgrade your car (or buy a new car) and compete to become the best there is. The graphics are absolutely great on the retina display. The controls are simple - tilt to steer, tap the screen for a brake. One minor thing I like – when you crash into another car, you windshield cracks! Do it enough and you lose your windshield. The campaign gameplay is fun, but you can also race against people in a local wifi or Bluetooth race. Unfortunately there isn’t any other internet racing option yet, but the multiplayer is nice to see. As racing simulators go, this is one that even after two years still manages to hold it’s own. There is an iPad version that I haven’t tried, but with the quality found in the iPhone version, you don’t really need much more (although a big screen would be nice!)
Command and Conquer: Red Alert, by EA
• Fun “real time” action strategy game
• Well designed
• Games seemed a little “small”
Command and Conquer: Red Alert is a real time strategy army game by EA. Apparently it is a well known franchise, but I have never heard of it before. As a first attempt at a real-time strategy game, Command and Conquer does pretty well, although I found a few things distracting. The overall theme and controls were quite easy to use – tapping on a person to select, tapping somewhere else to have them move, it’s all pretty easy to do. The strategy aspect and real time aspect were fun – this is no turn based Risk game, you have to move and think while you are playing, and the game doesn’t remain static. The tutorial system at the beginning worked well, teaching you how to play, and overall the game just has a fun feel to it. My biggest issue is that game seemed “small”. In campaign mode, it seemed like the game was too narrow in it’s focus, it wasn’t expansive in terms of the game play or map. I would have liked to see a larger game board, as it were, in order to make the game last longer. But this is a good effort, and if you are a fan of real time strategy games, I strongly recommend that you give it a shot.
ArtStudio, by Lucky Clan
• Nice graphics editor
• Simple to use, easy controls
• Lots of features
ArtStudio is, without a doubt, one of the best graphics/image editing apps I have tried. It has an easy to use, intuitive interface, with loads and loads of options available to creating images. Many of these options are what you would expect to see in expensive PC software packages, and it is available for the iPhone! There is a lot of overlap in these kinds of apps, but some fall by the wayside because of a lack of features. Not so here – ArtStudio has most of the tools and filters that I have seen in other apps, including some of the more expensive ones. It even uses layers for better ability to manipulate images. For the money, ArtStudio is a solid bet to do what an amateur artist would look for. Now keep in mind, if you are a professional artist, you may be looking for more refined tools, but for someone who just wants to fool around or edit pictures, this is probably the only app they need. There is an iPad version as well, which would be a little easier to use due to the larger screen size.
Doctor Who: The Mazes of Time, by BBC Worldwide
• Doctor Who comes to the iPhone!
• Incorporates many elements from the TV show
• Graphics are limited
I admit, I am a big Doctor Who fan. I started watching when I was young, and have been watching the new episodes (from Eccleston) as well. So when I saw that there was a Doctor Who game for the iPhone, I have to try it! Now, first let me start with some of the bad news. The graphics on the game are, IMO, a little subpar. The game is approached from a third person viewpoint, so you control the Doctor with a joystick and see him moving around. Unfortunately, this method means that the graphics are a little..blocky and a little jerky in their motion. Not horribly so, but noticeably. There are also a few “continuity errors” in the game that will annoy Dr. Who fans – for example, if Amy dies, she regenerates just like the Doctor. Now on to the good. The game is a puzzle/strategy game, where you move through levels and have to solve puzzles by moving things around, sliding tiles into correct locations, and avoid enemies at the same time. You can play as Amy or the Doctor. The sounds effects are great, as they use the music themes from the show. The puzzles get more complex as you move through. Even though I haven’t finished it yet, I do wish the puzzles were a little harder. The best thing, of course, is seeing the Doctors universe. Avoiding Daleks, fighting the Weeping Angels, running from the Cybermen – it’s Doctor Who’s universe come to life. For fans of the show, you may want to give this a shot, but I would just caution not too expect too much. It’s not bad, but it didn’t blow me away. There is an iPad version which I may try in the future.