iPhone Life magazine

Games

The Traits of Successful Game Apps


Developers need to take a closer look at successful apps

As an iPhone developer, I am always checking out the competition to see what the more successful applications are all about. I especially pay attention to reviews submitted by the users. What do they like about the game? What don’t they like? What suggestions do they have to make the application better?

This has nothing to do with copying someone else’s idea. It is driven by a healthy admiration and respect for the teams that created the apps, and it’s about trying to find out what the apps have that make them a hit. The reviews give me a direct view into the mind of the user. Traditionally, a company could spend millions of dollars on marketing research to get this information, but it’s available for free on the App Store!



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For a good Fling call CandyCane

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What can I say, CandyCane Inc’s Fling (.99) is an awesome app! Though I have almost no time to myself, I often find when I’m stuck trying to solve a problem at work, or with my dissertation, I’ll sort of mindlessly open up Fling and start playing – after awhile I get my mind back into problem solving mode and put it away – so far I’ve made it to level 7. 



The 12 Reviews Of Christmas: Rescue Razzle by Sunstorm Interactive (Day 4)

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The genre of puzzle game that requires you to stack or unstack objects is becoming increasingly popular in the App Store, and like any such genre new entries really need something to set them apart from the rest of the pack. From a game play perspective I’m not really sure that Rescue Razzle has anything new to offer, but the theme is cute and for some reason I do find it to be one of the more interesting games of this type that I’ve played on my iPod Touch. That being said, I think it could use a little more pizzazz to break away from the rest of the gang.



How Sirius is Alien Strike?

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Alien Strike (.99) by Red Crystal Studio is an app I thought I’d give a try since it struck me as kind of retro looking, cheap and probably not too hard to master.  Well, two out of three ain’t bad.

The idea of the game is simple enough, pilot your flying saucer through the gauntlet of hills and overhangs, avoiding or shooting the other ships, and houses while gathering some bonus points by flying into them. 



The 12 Reviews Of Christmas: Grinchmas by Oceanhouse Media (Day 3)

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Dr. Seuss created a wide variety of bizarre and interesting creatures before he passed away.  Even if you’re not overly familiar with his works, however, chances are you’ve heard of these two: The Cat In The Hat and the Grinch.  Well, the name of the game is Grinchmas, so if you haven’t already you can probably rule out the star as being the Cat.  Grinchmas is one of three Grinch themed licensed products from Oceanhouse Media, and the only one that’s a game.  As such, I almost would have expected something a bit more than an object throwing game.  At least the voices are cool…



Oceanhouse Releases Grinch Kids App!

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 Gotta love Dr. Suess! Oceanhouse Media has released a snowball throwing app with a decidedly Grinchy theme. Apparently Grinchmas has jumped to the #1 spot in kids games this month, and #12 in the family game category. Looks pretty fun, so go check it out at their site (video available). I'm trying to fanagle a leetle giveaway for our readers of course, and will keep you posted. In the mean time, go grab it for a $1.99. Don't be a grinch now, it's the holiday season after all!



The 12 Reviews Of Christmas: Alien Strike by RedCrystal Studios (Day 2)

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I have nothing against simple games.  I don’t even necessarily care if the look or sound the best (as long as they look and sound better than something I could do).  However, when a game doesn’t play well all the rest sort of really doesn’t matter much.  Unfortunately, that seems to be the case with Alien Strike.  What could have been an all right Defender clone has such a wonky control scheme that it’s almost not playable unless you set it to indestructible mode, at which point it’s no longer any fun anyway.



Review: Secrets Of The Mysterious Island by Chillingo

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My first experience with Mina’s adventures, which are loosely based on the stories of Jules Verne, was with Return To Mysterious Island on a Windows Mobile device. It was one of my favorite portable adventure games, and the iPhone version proved to be an even slightly better experience. Imagine my delight, then, when I found out that there was going to be a sequel on the iPhone. I couldn’t wait for this game to come out, and now that I have it I’m not quite as excited. It’s nice to be back in Mina and Jep’s life again, but I’m not finding this adventure quite as engaging as the first time around. I also still don’t see some much needed tweaks to the game engine from the first time around. Still, Secrets Of Mysterious Island should provide some thoughtful game time for true adventure gamers. As a bit of advance warning, there might be a spoiler or two in this review, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.



Adventure Games

The past is now present—and the future looks even brighter!

For several years now, the PC gaming world has been lamenting the death of the adventure game. The funny thing is that the genre is alive and well; it just doesn’t thrive as much in the commercial world. However, it appears that developers are interested in reversing that trend and, in part, are using the iPhone platform to do it. Over the last several months, quite a few adventure games have been ported to the iPhone, ranging from the first adventure game ever made, to one of the most beloved. I’d like to share my thoughts on some of these translations, and where I hope this trend is heading. This is my look at the state of the adventure game on the iPhone.


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Gaming and major sale news (11/27/2009) - UPDATED!

1. I’ve added a video of Line Racer by inXile Entertainment, a line racer game, which received Wi-Fi / BT local multiplayer support some days ago. TouchArcade discussion HERE; I especially recommend THIS mini-review .

2. As far as multiplayer game sales are concerned, Warfare Incorporated (the excellent RTS) is at a $1 sale – go get it!



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