Now more than ever is the time to jump on the alternate reality bandwagon. With AR games aplenty invading the App Store (See what I did there?) AR Invaders, by developer Quill Pen, is a prime example of why the genre is finally ready for human consumption—and anti-alien defense.
Gameplay and Design:
If you haven’t heard of alternate reality games yet, here’s the tall and skinny: With so many mobile devices sporting cameras these days, more and more games are utilizing live video monitoring and 3D overlays to create a game world out of the gamer’s immediate surroundings. For example, in AR Invaders it is your job to protect your couch, airplane cabin, car interior, or other everyday place from invading aliens. The camera reads what’s in the area, and overlays both firing controls and enemy aliens directly onto what it sees. The end result is an iPhone user spinning madly in an armchair shooting at incoming aliens, her fingers pounding the fire button.
That’s the idea, and for the most part, AR Invaders pulls it off. The game accurately displays convincing aliens over the surroundings, and provides a fantastic shooting mechanism, as well as other goodies like more advanced weaponry and health packs to keep the player going. Also included are epic boss-fights and multiple levels. A quick side-note: The stock radar only detects basic enemies. To see the more advanced baddies, you’ll have to cough up another dollar for the in-app purchased radar. On the plus side, AR Invaders comes with excellent Bluetooth multiplayer, meaning you and a mate can strap-up together and get to blasting aliens as a unit, an experience I found wholly entertaining and immensely appreciated.
What makes AR Invaders such a success might also be a major problem for some, myself included. There’s a reason games have been stationary for so long: I can only take so much spinning before I’m spinning, too. The game provides an option to play in one-hundred and eighty degrees—or a full three-hundred and sixty, if you’d like—but occasionally I’d have enemies behind me as well as in front, even with half-circle gameplay selected.
Even in a general sense, I found I had to take a break after only ten minutes or so of play just to get my balance back. Certainly that’s a subjective complaint, but if I’m experiencing discomfort, others might as well. Just know that this style of thing isn’t for everyone, and that you’ve been warned.
AR Invaders is a dollar (minus the aforementioned radar), and for that dollar you’ll get excellent alternate reality gameplay mixed with great design and an entertaining multiplayer mode. AR Invaders may not be the best AR game in the App Store, but at that price, it sure is hard to beat.
AR Invaders iPhone app [ iTunes Link ] requires iOS 4.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.
The iPhone app reviews rating:
AR Invaders iPhone Video Demo