Game Review: Arcade Reality

I had to do it, after playing around with the demo, I had to buy the full version of Arcade Reality. This game is amazing – it seems to me to be something truly different and that’s a pretty rare thing. The concept is simple, it pretends that aliens are literally all around you and your treo is the viewport to see them, so you simply wave your treo around in the air and shoot them bad guys wherever they are. Everyone I showed this to was blown away.

So my executive summary of this game is… if you’ve got a supported treo, go and install the demo now. Just do it, play around with the Arcade Reality mode – you only get one level but you’ll see what the hook is for this game. Try to be somewhere, you know, where people won’t stare at you as you twirl around waving your phone like a crazy person. I suspect once you play it you’ll want to play some more.

Getting on.. the game has 4 modes, Training, Arcade Reality, Infinite Shooter and Asteroids. Training gives you some basic tips on how to use some of the more advanced bits.The gaming happens in the next three modes. I really enjoyed Arcade Reality and Infinite Shooter. Both of them focus on bad guys showing up in your room and you killing them. Arcade Reality has levels and bonus rounds and things typical of a shoot-em-up game where Infinite Shooter just keeps a steady stream of bad guys swarming around you.

The bad guys shoot a variety of things at you from normal laser type weapons to these horrendous black blobs that cover parts of your screen so you can’t see past them (they go away after a little bit). Also sometimes when you get hit your screen fuzzes up (like the screens on your starship would be if you were getting hit in a sci-fi movie!) and it’s a little freaky, when it first started happening I thought for a second that game had screwed up my screen! It’s very addictive, I recommend you sit in a spinning chair because these guys really do get behind you. I was totally in Luke Skywalker mode blasting these things, spinning around and looking up and down on my chair. I killed a Tie-Fightery looking bad guy and after yelling “Got him! Got him!” I was vaguely disappointed when a “Don’t get cocky” was not immediately forthcoming from my cat.

The asteroids mode is actually a 3rd person view of a space ship you control in 3D space, using the directional pad to steer and the space bar as the thruster. I don’t know if it’s just me or what, but I really could not get the hang of this game at all, it was incredibly difficult to figure out how to steer the ship – I’m sure it takes practice but at times the ship was quite “far” from the screen and it was difficult to even determine the orientation of the ship so that even if I could control it, I wouldn’t know which way was the front and if the ship was up or down. I was very impressed with the potential of this game – but just couldn’t wrap my head around it.

Overall, this game is really great. If I had one thing I’d like to see improved it would be the crispness of the game. I mean this in two ways – first the look of the game is very hazy. The treo camera is pretty crappy, so the background of the game is pretty much out of focus, but then the bad guys are also not designed with nice crisp edges, it gives the game an out of focus kind of feel. The second is simply that the game play feels a little sluggish – shooting and moving could have been just a little bit tighter. Those would be my main complaints.

The trappings of the game, the intro screens, explanations, high scores, etc… are a little crazy as well. They could be toned down a bit and sometimes it was difficult to figure out how to navigate back to the main screen. But these are all just quibbles – the game itself is really fun to play and takes advantage of the what is unique to the smartphone in a really clever and new way. I really recommend pulling down this game and giving it a try – I don’t think you’ll regret it. The demo’s free and I suspect you might want to get the full version after a little time with it. I can’t wait to see what more comes out of toyspring!

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