Review of Darts for iPhone

Written iPhone Game App Review

Darts is a dart simulation game developed by Fictorial LLC. Darts is one of the most popular free-to-download games currently available on the Apple App Store.

Darts brings the ubiquitous pub classic to your pocket, and does the job fairly well. It’s a must for any fan of the real thing. The game features an intuitive touch based control system, whereby finger swipes are used to launch darts at a virtual dartboard.

Darts uses a targeting cross-hair to enable the player to select which score they’re shooting for. Doubles and triples are naturally harder to hit, and call for finer speed control. You are able to vary dart speed by simply changing the speed at which you swipe your finger.  Be careful though – if you don’t get the speed right, you may end up falling short or overshooting the board completely!

It does take some time to get used to the movement – don’t expect to be scoring triple 20’s on every throw in your first game.

Darts has two main game modes: practice & competition. Practice mode uses only basic scoring and is designed for sharpening your dart-throwing skills. Competition against computer A.I. has three difficulty settings and two main game types – X01 and Cricket. In X01 your aim is to reach a score of zero before your opponent, by subtracting the score of each throw from the initial total (available totals: 301, 501, 601, 701, 1001). The object of “American Cricket” is to hit the numbers 15 through 20 and the bulls-eye three times each. I found the A.I reasonably easy to beat on ‘easy’, but ‘master’ was near impossible (for me anyway).

Darts features excellent graphics for a free game and utilizes a nicely rendered physics-based 3D view of the dart’s flightpath for each throw. The dartboard is attractively modeled and the scoreboard (situated at the base of the playing screen) is simple and unobtrusive. Sound effects are also simple, but effective. There is a re-assuring thud as your darts hit the board, and the sound of your points accumulating the scoreboard after each throw. That’s all there is sound-wise, but really all that’s needed in a game like this.

There is enough complexity and game-options in this app to make it worthwhile, and enough simplicity to make it enjoyable. If you’ve never played darts, it’s definitely a good way to learn the rules of the game. Those people with a real interest in darts will find this well worth the download.

Darts requires iPhone software update v2.1 and is available now from the App Store.

[rating:3.5]

The best iPhone apps and the best iPad apps are reviewed by TheiPhoneAppReview.com

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TapDefense Review

Written iPhone Game App Review

TapDefense is a tower defense game developed by the LL Group. At the time of writing, TapDefense was number one on the most-downloaded list in the (free) Apple App store.

TapDefense is a strategy game. The concept behind TapDefense and most other tower defense games (like Fieldrunners) is to build towers and/or other obstacles to prevent the ‘enemy’ from traveling from point A to point B. If you fail to stop them from reaching point B – you lose.  In Tap Defense, your enemies are creatures from hell (although its hard to tell from the animations).

TapDefense screenshot

Point A in this case is the gates of hell and Point B, the gates of heaven. Your job is to protect the pearly gates from the approaching hordes using a variety of towers, each with specific abilities and strategic uses. The route that the enemy takes in TapDefense is fixed, and the game map is divided into the enemy path, and your building area (see image).

Towers cost gold in TapDefense – and gold is earned by slaying demons, succubi, locusts and other hellish creatures that pour out of the gates of hell in each level. In the beginning of the game you only have a limited selection of towers to choose from (three in total) – but by advancing through the levels and earning ‘halos’ you can unlock more advanced towers which give you more options when it comes to strategy. Gold accrued is cumulative throughout the game, and you earn interest on unspent gold at the end of each level.

Advancing through the levels increases the difficulty of the game, with each successive level adding something new or different. Fast moving monsters, or creatures with resistances and high hit-points challenge the player, in addition to increases in the actual number of enemies you have to confront. As you earn gold and halos, there are a number of improvements you can research to help shore up your defense. These improvements include tower upgrades (increased attack, range, fire rate) and gold interest rate upgrades, so you can earn money faster.

There are three levels of difficulty in TapDefense, but even ‘easy’ provides a challenge with 42 different levels. Increasing the difficulty decreases the length of the enemy path such that you have less time to bring down your opponents before they reach the end-zone. The GUI is quite intuitive and uses a simple 3 button system along the bottom of the screen by which you can construct towers, access your upgrades and also the main menu.

The graphics in TapDefense are basic and a lot less polished than those in say, Fieldrunners. There is also no sound. I don’t think that this detracts too much from the game play however, and you’ll find that TapDefense is actually quite addictive, despite its simplicity. Besides, TapDefense is a free application and Fieldrunners costs $4.99.

All-in-all, TapDefense is a solid app and well worth a look.

[rating:4]

*TapDefense has just been updated to v1.1, with several bug fixes. v2.0 is in the pipeline.

The best iPhone apps and the best iPad apps are reviewed by TheiPhoneAppReview.com

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DigiDrummer Lite – Drum Simulator App

Written iPhone Music App Review

DigiDrummer Lite is a free drum emulation app for the Apple iPhone. It’s basically a stripped down version of DigiDrummer, the full-featured older brother.

DigiDrummer Lite provides you with a basic virtual ‘kit’, on which you can fool around and create some simple beats. This “Lite” version comes with a kick (bass), snare, open/closed high-hat, tom 1, tom 2, crash cymbal and ride cymbal.

The pieces of kit are only visually identifiable in this app by their labels – the graphical interface represents each piece via a touch-sensitive circle (practice pads for those of you who know what they are).

As far as accuracy of sound goes, it really is quite reasonable for an iPhone application. My only complaint here is that the relative volume of the individual pieces is a little bit off. The bass kick is just not loud enough, and the high-hat is probably too loud (relatively).


DigiDrummer Lite in action:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IXkm-XGv7U

Unfortunately, due to DigiDrummer Lite’s “Lite” status as a free application, it really lacks any of the cool functionality of the paid-app version.

I’ve listed here the main features missing in DigiDrummer Lite but available with the full version:
– Choice of drum sets
– Recording and Playback
– Storage of beats in a “Beat Library”

So yes, those are some cool features…but its up to you to decide whether you think they’re worth paying for.

In the end, DigiDrummer Lite is a free app. And with that in mind, it does what it intends to do reasonably well. If you’re a drummer then you’ll probably find it more interesting (or frustrating). Otherwise, you’ll probably only get a few minutes of novelty out of it.

[rating:3.0]

The best iPhone apps and the best iPad apps are reviewed by TheiPhoneAppReview.com

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Lightsaber Unleashed App – Feel the force on your iPhone

Written iPhone Game App Review

Lightsaber Unleashed is a free Star Wars light saber emulator for the Apple iPhone. It is one of the most popular and downloaded apps in the App Store.

Nearly every kid growing up has played “light sabers” at some point in time. Now every big kid around has the chance to turn their iPhone into that iconic Jedi weapon (well, kind of).

Lightsaber was developed by Lucasfilm Ltd. and is actually a very savvy marketing ploy for the new Star Wars game The Force Unleashed, which just so happens to be available on iPhone, amongst other platforms. Upon opening the app, an advertisement for the game pops up and lasts for almost 10 seconds before you can use the light saber. It is a little frustrating.

The in-your-face advertising aspect aside, Lightsaber is still a really cool app. Ultimately, it serves no purpose beyond the simulation of a light saber, but that is function enough for my needs.

Once loaded, the main screen for this app presents you with a few options. You can deploy your light saber by tapping once on the screen – which initiates a graphic and the characteristic sound from the movies – a novelty unlikely to ever wear out. The screen takes on the appearance (color) of your chosen light saber and begins to hum gently.

The Lightsaber app uses the built-in accelerometer to sense your movements. Slowly move the iPhone, and it will sound as if a light saber were passing through the air in front of you. Swing quickly and it responds with the sound of two light-sabers clashing. Very cool. By holding and maneuvering the iPhone in much the same way you would were it a real sword, you can generate the sounds of your own little light saber battle.

The other features that come with the app don’t really add much more to the functionality. There is dramatic music that you can turn on and off (which I actually thought was kind of neat), and there is also a character selection screen. You can choose from some familiar names like Darth Vader and The Apprentice or some not-so-familiar ones like Rahm Kota and Maris Brood.  The only real outcome of character selection is a change in the color of the light saber – Darth Vader of course has red, but other characters you can choose from have green, turquoise or blue. You can also create your own custom character and light saber if you so desire – you can use RGB sliders to create a unique color and there are four different hilts to choose from.

In the end, the “features” are just padding – but Lightsaber Unleashed is still a great app for the iPhone and a must-have for any Star Wars fan. [rating:4]

The best iPhone apps and the best iPad apps are reviewed by TheiPhoneAppReview.com

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iPint – Virtual Beer App

Written iPhone Game App Review

iPint is a fun little “beer simulation” for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Developed for Coors Brewers Ltd, iPint is a heavily branded piece of marketing for the Carling brand of beer. iPint features a “barslide” game in addition to the Carling virtual beer.

The object of the game is to navigate a pint down the bar into the waiting hands of an eager punter, whilst dodging bowls of bar snacks, bottles and other pub paraphernalia. If you can make it to the end, you’re prize is a virtual beer!

Its a simple game, but will amuse for a few minutes, and is really just an adjunct to the main function of iPint – the transformation of your iPhone into a cool glass of beer. When you start the iPint application you have the option of playing the barslide game to “win” a pint or you can just get straight down to business. Clicking on iPint will turn your screen into a frosted glass, complete with condensation and a Carling logo (but of course). Tapping on the screen will initiate “pouring” and your glass will fill up with a bubbling amber fluid from the bottom up, complete with foamy head.

iPint uses the built-in accelerometer to sense your movements, enabling you to “drink the beer” by raising your glass and tilting your iPhone, just as you would a real beer. Of course it serves no real purpose, but show your buddies and they’ll probably think it’s the coolest thing ever.

But just when you thought iPint might be seen to be encouraging, or even glamorizing alcohol consumption – iPint features a rather amusing disclaimer “You must be over your country’s legal drinking age to use this application.” So make sure you’re of age folks, because we wouldn’t want any unlawful underage virtual beer drinking. It’s bad for your health.

iPint is free to download and is available from the App Store now.

[rating:4.5]

The best iPhone apps and the best iPad apps are reviewed by TheiPhoneAppReview.com

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MiniPiano App Review

Written iPhone Music App Review

MiniPiano is a free piano emulation application for the Apple iPhone. It is available for download from the App Store.

MiniPiano is a stripped down version of the FingerPiano application, by developer Junpei Wada. As you’d assume, this app operates like a ‘real’ piano – you press down the keys on the screen with your fingers to produce an audible sound. However, this is really the only similarity with a real piano. MiniPiano doesn’t have any more functionality or other features that you might expect from a virtual keyboard.

MiniPiano in Action:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHtOXB_3m4o


MiniPiano’s features:

Firstly, let me say that “features” are non-existent. You are limited in the number of notes to one octave – this gives you 14 playable notes in total. Unfortunately, there are no options for customization or configuration either – you can’t move the octave up or down, or increase the number of keys on screen. This really limits you in terms of what you can actually play. A lot of music obviously utilizes a larger range than that which is provided by MiniPiano, meaning that while Mary Had a Little Lamb might be possible, Fur Elise is definitely out of the question.

Other draw-backs include

  • No recording feature
  • Low volume
  • Hard to hit black keys

The low volume problem isn’t entirely MiniPiano’s fault though – the iPhone in general simply doesn’t have a loud enough speaker. You will find it next to impossible to hear the notes you are playing unless you are in a quiet space. I found that while demonstrating the app to a friend in a semi-crowded room I had to hold the speaker up to their ears to show that MiniPiano was actually producing any sound at all. They were still amused by the app, however.

Despite the aforementioned drawbacks, the reality is that MiniPiano is a free application. It is definitely basic, but it still allows for a little bit of creativity and fooling around on-the-go. If you are looking for more advanced options and more functionality, take a look at FingerPiano – its also available in the App Store for $2.99.

[rating:2.5]

The best iPhone apps and the best iPad apps are reviewed by TheiPhoneAppReview.com

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