By Eric Pankoke on Tue, 07/07/2009
In my increasingly sickening quest to assimilate all games iPhone, I ran across an interesting web site: the App-A-Day Project. The original directive of this project was that the developer was literally going to release a project each day (by 11:59 pm) to the App Store for 30 days. As happens with most projects like this, the developer has simmered down a bit. The new goal is to take the equivalent of a day's worth of work (4-5 hours) to complete each project, though an individual project might not necessarily be coded all in one day. The concept intrigued me, and the developer offered promo codes to anyone wanting to cover the games, so I figured "why not?" I will do my best to cover the games in the proper order, but given his new philosophy of spanning certain games over more than one day, there may not be a proper order to everything. At any rate, the first game that I'm going to cover in this series is Tic-Tac-Bacon.
As one might expect, Tic-Tac-Bacon is a variant on the time tested game of tic-tac-toe. Basically, instead of Xs and Os the markers are pieces of bacon and fried eggs. Sound appetizing? Thankfully this won't take long to cover, because there's not a whole lot here. The first thing you'll notice is that the loading time, while not excruciating, seems awfully long for the lack of content this game contains. I'm not sure if it's because of first time programming or the use of iTorque Builder or both, but it's kind of annoying. Once you choose which marker type you want you go to a screen with what I presume is a pan that has a tic-tac-toe board drawn on it in butter. I hope I'm not over analyzing the screen, because if that's not what it's supposed to be, that's what it should be. The graphics are not terrible, but they are nothing to write home about either.
Regardless of which marker type you choose, you always go first. It really doesn't matter, though, because unless you flat out choose to leave a winning move open to the computer, I don't think it can ever win. In fact, even if you leave the right spot open the computer sometimes loses. I won't be kind here as I say that the AI is atrocious. It almost never blocks, and quite frequently seems to pick a random spot to place its next piece instead of placing it in a spot where the computer can win. There's no music or sound effects, which makes the few seconds it takes to win each game take a lot longer than they should.
Now it may seem like I'm being overly critical. After all, I knew going into this that all of this software was going to be written in a short time frame. I hear you, but the time frame was the developer's choice, not mine. I don't care if something was written in one day or one year, or whether it was worked on by one person or twenty. I try to look at every game like it was written to compete against any other game of its type in the App Store. As this is a bit of a unique series, I'm going to forgo my normal x/10 ratings and use a letter rating system instead. I can't give the game an F, because at least it ran and never seemed to crash. But, after one or two plays I had about all I could stand of mindlessly winning. So, I give it a D-.
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