iPhone Life magazine

What I played this week - Final Antivirus and Bathtime Boogie reviews!

I like goofy games (I guess because I'm pretty goofy), but games that are interesting, weird or eye-catching, without being overly fancy are often my favs. I know what a highly-skilled team of programmers can do, and am often blown away by the high-end games. I am more impressed when a single programmer or small team create a catchy game. I would say both Bathtime Boogie and Final Antivirus fall in this category. Off-beat games that do not excel in super-snazzy graphics or effects, but still retain that certain something that make them standouts.

 

Bathtime Boogie is a game that requires little user skill other than escape/evasion, and a sturdy resolve to continually shoot everything in sight. Enemies scroll down toward the defender from the top of the screen, and you must shoot them, and then collect points from the bubbles they release. The whole motif is a sort of Bathtub fantasy world, with a throbbing background track. The vibe is totally upbeat, and kid-friendly.
 
The controls are simple. You can touch anywhere on the screen to control the seaplane (just move your finger in the direction you need to dodge). Enemy projectiles (or the pre-bubble, frowny-faced versions of themselves) will destroy the seaplane if they come in contact with the heart symbol in the plane's center. The plane auto-fires by default when you move, but you can speed that up with extra taps. The bad guys (which become good guys when you bubble them) rotate through the display, and the action is somewhat reminiscent of Galaga.
 
Boss levels mark the boundary between advancement, and are pretty typical: You versus a super-sized baddie that shoots various stuff at you or just smashes into you, etc. The graphics are cartoonish, the sound track mainly looping but fitting cheerful tunes, and the game's overall campy nature can't do anything but lift your spirits (unless you are a baddie yourself)! Grab Bathtime Boogie here...
 
When I scanned the PR for Final Antivirus, I went to iTunes to grab it because I thought it was a real A-V program to stop malware on iOS. Well, it IS A GAME to stop malware game monsters, so I guess I kind of understand the name, but well... the truth is the game artwork is enigmatic enough to have held my attention when I got to the iTunes link, so figured what the heck, and grabbed it. The work-in-progress look somehow enhances the game instead of detracting from it. The whole experience is kind of like a lab experiment gone awry, which I like. The game set is a mess, the animations make the defender robot appear to be on crack, and the monsters are all blocky, squirming abominations, but it works, and is also fun. Even the menus are gritty and unfinished looking.
 
The artwork gallery included with the game has some disturbing, yet compelling graphics. Not that many games have a gallery section of artwork, and some of it in this case is noteworthy. The background story is set in an apocalyptic room (hopefully other rooms, though I didn't advance far enough to tell) complete with twitching pointed arms that strike at you like cobra snakes, a mottled streaked floor and walls, etc. The monsters come from both sides of the room, and your 3-D rendered robot dude shoots everything and runs to stay alive!
 
You control and fire from the robot guy from an elevated 3-D perspective using 2 joystick button controls: left to move, and right button to fire. The middle control allows you to set up traps, etc.. You can also add gunpod positions to establish a perimeter. As I only tested the Lite version, I could only play a few rounds. The sound effects (or effect I should say) seems to be a single looping roaring noise that starts to grate a bit over time. The move and rotate controls are exceptionally smooth, and monsters are varied and abundant, especially close to the pipes.
 
Final Antivirus is an indie hit, in my opinion. I like the raw and unfinished look and play of the game. I could suggest a few improvements, but don't want to taint the natural progression of the game development with my more commercial notions. I like it the way it is. You can get a taste for free using the same Lite version I downloaded. Or take the plunge and grab the 99 cent full version here.
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Nate Adcock's picture

Nate Adcock is a system and integration engineer with experience managing and administering a variety of computing environments. He has worked extensively with mobile gadgets of all shapes and sizes for many years. He is also a former military weather forecaster. Nate is a regular contributor for the iphonelife.com and smartphonemag.com blogs and helps manage both websites. Read more from Nate at natestera.drupalgardens.com or e-mail him at nate@iphonelife.com.