In case you haven’t noticed all the commercials, the magazine articles, and the non-stop product placements, the 2012 Summer Olympics are nearly upon us. How can any Olympic Games be complete without a mobile game for iOS? This year, you can compete in the games from the comfort of your couch, and you can pit the strength and endurance of your thumbs against players from all over the world.
The London 2012 Official Game is, as expected, a collection of mini-games, each one featuring a particular game in the Olympics. Of course, not all the games could be featured here, so the developers have chosen nine different sports for you to train and eventually compete in. Not all nine games are available at first, but your performance in the initial games earns you gold coins, which you can use to buy new games and more.
Sprint like Usain Bolt, you slowpokes!
Each game plays differently and features either touch-screen controls, the accelerometer, or a combination of both. For instance, in the 100m Freestyle, you swipe your thumbs down on both sides of your screen to simulate swimming, and a precise press of a button allows your swimmer to turn underwater and begin a new lap. Archery, on the other hand, forces you to carefully adjust your screen to aim your arrow, and a release of your finger sends the arrow towards your target.
Your success in the Games depends on two things. The first, and the most obvious, is your skill. Some games take careful practice, or trial-and-error, to earn you the gold. The second factor in your success is your Olympian, a character you create and develop during the course of the game.
Good form! Bravo!
When you begin the game, you can design the look of your athlete, as well as the nation he or she is competing for. Be careful which country you pick, because online leaderboards track each country’s success, so you are actually competing in a team with other online Olympians. You also choose your athlete’s skills, and certain skills fare better in different games. The more you play, the more your character levels up and develops his or her skills. It’s a unique RPG element to the game that doesn’t feel perfect, but it’s an interesting attempt.
For a game that’s supposed to depict the world’s strongest and finest athletes, the London 2012 Official Mobile Game doesn’t look as amazing or epic as it should. It fails where most licensed product games fail: it’s more advertisement than game, and it uses standard pay-to-win tactics to lure gamers in and spend more money. Each game you compete in costs you stamina points, which regenerate each day. Of course, you can simply buy stamina for a couple bucks.
London 2012 is sure to be the big draw this summer for almost everyone, and the Official Mobile Game isn’t a bad way to spend a few dollars. It’s a fun distraction, and will put you in the mood for the real games. It also allows you to compete in the iOS version of the Olympics for what is sure to be the first time in history, but the games aren’t amazing enough and the athlete-RPG system isn’t detailed enough to hook gamers for more than a few hours.