Now on a par with CNBC, Bloomberg, and the Wall Street Journal, it’s STP’s App Store Medley! But seriously, folks… we’ve got another six mini-reviews inside, along with video in both YouTube and Podcast form. It’s party time!
Pinball Dreaming is the official port of a classic Amiga game from 1992. We haven’t played the original game, so we can’t speak to the accuracy of the port, but we can tell you that this is some of the best pinball you’re going to find on the App Store. The game comes with four tables, each with its own layout, scoring, and sound set, so if you tire of one, you can simply move onto the next.
More importantly, the gameplay feels great. The game’s touch controls are responsive, and you can play in either portrait or landscape view, using classic graphics from 1992 or the much smoother stuff from 2009. We are well aware that six bucks is a fair chuck of change on the App Store, but we think Pinball Dreaming’s worth it, so we’re giving it a 3.
Trivial History focuses purely on the stuff that real history nerds like: obscure foreign wars, errata from past U.S. Presidencies, and ancient African empires, to name just a few. There are thousands of questions from three difficulty levels included, as well as several different game types, both timed and untimed–complete with online leaderboards. You can even reskin the game’s user interface using the included themes. That makes Trivial History the most fully-featured iPhone trivia game we’ve seen yet. Unfortunately, we noticed a number of typos and grammar errors while playing, which is really inexcusable for a game at this price. Until these get fixed, we’re sticking with the 2.
SkyWorks Interactive is carving out a niche for itself by putting out high-quality iPhone replicas of classic games of skill. After the excellent Arcade Hoops Basketball comes Arcade Bowling, which should probably be called “Arcade Skeeball,” since that’s what you’re actually playing. You roll the ball up the ramp with an easy swipe motion, apply a little “english” by tilting the iPhone just so, and hope that it drops into a high-scoring hole. Sometimes a particular hole will start flashing, which means you’ll get a huge score multiplier if you manage to sink it.
Arcade Bowling features both a Classic Mode, where you’re done after nine balls, and a Progressive Mode where you can continue by hitting ever-higher score targets. This game is good fun, and it stays fresh for a surprisingly long time, when you consider how simple skeeball really is. We award it a 3.
KamiCrazy is an action puzzle game that plays a little like a sped-up Lemmings. A certain number of soldiers drop into a level filled with hazards, traps, and fatal drops. These guys don’t care, though–they run straight ahead to their doom, unless you instruct them to turn around or jump. Your job is to get the majority of them safely to the level exit. KamiCrazy is a great-looking game that seems like it has everything going for it, but sloppy, frustrating touch controls basically render it unplayable. It gets a big red 1.
Fish Tycoon introduces you to the exciting world of rare fish breeding, where raising a tankful of tropical fishies can equal a tidy payday. Fish Tycoon’s virtual tank continues to run in realtime even when the game’s turned off. This means that if you buy the right combination of chemicals and gear for your tank, and breed your fish properly, you can reap great rewards when you check back in. This is a very slow-paced game that you play over the course of weeks, not minutes or hours, and it takes lots of trial and error to get anywhere. Plus, the graphics are very middling. Nevertheless, it’s pretty likely that fans of virtual life and business management games will get addicted. Fish Tycoon gets a 3.
We love survival horror games, so we had very high hopes for Trapped: Undead Infection. All of the ingredients of a really solid survival horror game are present and accounted for. It takes place in a sprawling, zombie-infested government facility; the atmosphere is suitably dark and frightening; and the protagonist can’t remember who he is. Unfortunately, the controls are terrible, and combat often degenerates into a button-mashing contest… without the benefit of real buttons! Plus, the game’s not balanced well, so you’ll be forced to go for long periods without finding the ammo you need to keep yourself alive. Trapped is a dud, so we’re breaking out the 1.