Fuse Powered Inc Apps Reviews
Just when you thought it was safe to switch on your phone... Jaws - the Game appears on the iPhone. The object of the game is straightforward. Levels mostly take place on a single screen and you having to keep swimmers and other people safe from the Great White Shark that is hunting the seas of Amity Island. On some levels, ... this involves getting them to the safety of the beach by flicking them; on others you need to control boats as they patrol the sea and pluck swimmers to safety before Jaws gets to them. To progress to the next level, you need to rescue a set number of swimmers. Complete all the levels and you will come face-to-tooth with the fearsome shark itself.
I have to confess I didn't expect much from Jaws, but ended up being pleasantly surprised. It does of adapting the iconic film into a game that is both recognisably a Jaws game but (more importantly) fun. It might not be the most complex game in the world, but it's perfect for casual gaming: easy to get to grips, simple to play, and diverting enough. It might not be particularly innovative or special, but neither does it try to be too clever. In short: what it does, it does well.
Presentation matches the game - nothing particularly flashy, but it does the job. The famous Jaws music plays over the main title screen and helps to establish an air of tension, whilst the graphics are simple, but perfectly suited to the game.
Obviously, most of the game takes place at sea, so the main bulk of the screen is blue. It's played from an overhead perspective which allows you to see the whole play area and spot which swimmers are most likely to be at risk and need your attention first. Boat and swimmers are quite cartoony, which should be at odds with the gritty nature of Jaws, but it works surprisingly well. The shark itself, for the most part, is simply a shadow under the water, but again, this echoes the original film where the shark only seen in glimpses until the final battle. There's even an element of strategy built in as you have to try and predict which swimmers are the most vulnerable and prioritise their rescue ahead of the others
Sound is similarly adequate. The original theme music is a nice touch, but it's a shame that that aural quality is not extended to the full game. In-game sound is mostly limited to bog-standard seaside-type noises and the screams as people are eaten and the noise of thrashing as they are dragged under the water by the hidden menace. Again, the slightly cartoony nature of the sound should work against the game, but somehow it works.
The best thing about the game is the controls. These have been kept brilliantly simple, so that for much of the game you only need to remember two basic commands. To get swimmers to head towards the beach (or a nearby boat), you flick them in the direction that you want them to go. To get a boat to change direction, you simply hold your finger and twist your finger round in the new direction of travel. It's unbelievably simple and effective. It means that you can get into the game quickly and easily without having to think about which button you need to press next or learn lots of different controls through a series of trainer levels. It's clear a lot of thought has gone into making the game suitable for the platform it's on - something some iPhone developers too often forget.
The main downside is that the game can quickly become repetitive. Levels all essentially boil down to the same thing: rescue a set number of swimmers before progressing to the next level to do it all again. It's fun for a while, but the lack of variety does start to get to you. It's certainly not a game that you will want to play in long bursts, although it is a title that you will return to from time to time for another game. It's telling that I have had this game on my phone since early 2011 and whilst I only play it occasionally, would never consider it to be a candidate for deletion.
The other essential downside is that as anyone knows, it's a lot more fun being bad than good. Although rescuing people from is mildly interesting, it's not as much fun as being the one doing the eating. There are times when you can't help thinking that it would be a lot more fun to be the shark chasing terrified swimmers around. This is actually something which the developers have recognised, releasing a sequel that casts you as the titular shark. If you're only going to download one Jaws title to your device, I would recommend the sequel over this game.
Whilst it's nothing particularly special or innovative, Jaws is a good example of how to take a film licence and create a game which is perfectly suited for the platform it is on. Release this on the PS3 or Xbox 360 and everyone would think you were insane. Stick it on the iPhone and charge 69p and it turns into solid, fun little game.
(c) Copyright SWSt 2013
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Jaws Revenge (iPhone)
This is Universal's second attempt at bringing its Jaws property to the iPhone and this time, they've got it more right than wrong. The original Jaws saw you taking the role of the Amity Coastguard tasked with saving swimmers from the killer shark. This was a curious decision because (as anyone knows) it's always more fun to be bad than ... good and most gamers wanted to be the shark. Jaws Revenge puts that right, giving you control of the fearsome monster as it munches its way through the hapless visitors to Amity.
My concern when I first loaded this game up was that it would be a little too similar to the already established Hungry Shark and, indeed, large elements of the gameplay do recall that earlier title. You control Jaws, swimming from left to right along the screen and must eat things to keep your strength up. Targets include swimmers, fish, birds and even planes and boats; the bigger the target, the more points you will get for destroying it. On the other hand, if your strength reaches zero, you will die.
So far, so Hungry Shark. Jaws Revenge, however, has an extra element up its sleeve. Whereas Hungry Shark was a free-roaming game, where you kept going until you died, this takes a more level-based approach. As well as eating to stay alive, you need to complete a set number of objectives on each level before you are allowed to progress to the next. Mission objectives range from simple things like accrue a certain number of points by a certain stage, to taking out a specific target or performing a specific number of actions (such as sliding on boats) before the level ends.
This approach has both strengths and weaknesses. On the one hand, the mission based approach feels slightly restrictive and linear. You can only move from left to right and have to complete the objectives or repeat the level until you do. As such, the on-rails gameplay can sometimes be a little frustrating (although, in fairness, a Free Roam option is also available). At the same time, though, it makes for a much more structured game that gives you a greater feeling of achievement when you complete a level and which is more suitable for shorter bursts of gaming.
Whilst the free-roaming aspect of Hungry Shark was a lot of fun, there were also times when the open-ended gameplay could become rather boring and repetitive. Despite one or two weaknesses, the mission-based gameplay of Jaws Revenge is probably the better option. It adds a greater sense of challenge and its short levels are more suited to gaming on the go - exactly the sort of title the iPhone is ideally suited to.
Having said that, whilst Jaws Revenge is fun in the short term, its long-term appeal is actually fairly limited. Not only does the gameplay become repetitive, but it's also rather short and not particularly challenging. Although it's reasonable fun whilst it lasts, most competent gamers are not going to take too long working their way through all the levels (I would estimate it took me less than 4-6 hours of total gaming time). Once you have completed all the levels, it's not the sort of game that you will ever return to.
In terms of the game, the graphics are nothing special but they do their job and establish a strong atmosphere. Jaws himself is nice and big and the various victims and vehicles are similarly well-rendered. They are perhaps sometimes a little on the small side but they have plenty of character and are easy to recognise quickly (essential on those levels where you have to destroy specific targets). Yet, whilst they work well within the context of the game, it's slightly disappointing that there is no real attempt to mimic the look and feel of the original film. At one point, for example, The Orca (Quint's boat in the film) puts in an appearance, but it looks nothing like its own-screen counterpart. if I hadn't been told, there's no way I would have realised it was The Orca, since it looks pretty much the same as every other boat that appears in the game. This is a bit of a waste of a licence and it's a real shame that a little more thought wasn't put into making the game look and feel like it belonged in the Jaws world.
Sound, on the other hand is fantastic. The main title screen is accompanied by John Williams' iconic score which immediately sets the atmosphere. Initially, I was disappointed that this theme didn't feature in-game, but the developers have come up with a different score which is fantastic. It's a lot noisier than the Williams theme (which suits the frantic, violent nature of the game) and in its own way, just as atmospheric
Sound effects are also brilliantly loud, making for a very noisy gaming experience! Swimmers and water skiers scream as you drag them to their deaths, vehicles explode violently after you have repeated pummelled them and, best of all Jaws growls ferociously every time he lunges after some prey. OK, so a growling shark is not exactly realistic, but in the context of this game it's a fun little addition.
Simple controls also help the game out. Holding your finger on the screen causes Jaws to dive and releasing it will make him jump towards the surface; the longer you hold your finger, the higher the jump. This is a brilliantly simple mechanism that (once you have got used to it) gives you a surprising degree of control. Essentially the only other control you need to remember is that a tap on the screen mid-jump will make Jaws lunge forward, allowing him to catch prey that is currently just out of reach. The controls are explained in the first couple of tutorial levels and essentially provide all you need to know about the game, ensuring that after that, you are free to get on with the mindless killing!
Jaws Revenge tends to fluctuate a little in price. At the moment, it's available for free and so is definitely worth downloading. The price has been as high as £1.99 and its standard price point is around £1.49. That's perhaps a little overpriced (99p would probably be a fairer price point) but there are certainly worse games out there. Of course, Jaws Revenge also offers the option to effectively cheat via in-app purchases (Grrr) so that you can power up more quickly, with these ranging from £1.49 to 13.99. However, this is not a game where you actually need to make in-app purchases in order to progress, so it's up to you whether or not you buy them. To be honest, I'd recommend you don't: the game is easy enough to complete without their use; powering up more quickly will only shorten the game's lifespan.
Jaws Revenge is a reasonable stab at implementing a famous film licence and is certainly a lot better than the first attempt. It captures the spirit (if not the look and feel) of its source material pretty well and whilst it's not an essential purchase, it will while away a few hours if you do decide to download it.
(c) Copyright SWSt 2012
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Judge Dredd vs Zombies (iPhone Game)
If ever there was a game that does what it says on the tin, then it's the iPhone game Judge Dredd vs. Zombies. It might sound like a slightly odd mash-up of two different genres (or an idea for a really rubbish film), but somehow it works. Sort of. The plot sees MegaCity One overtaken by hordes of zombies. Isolated and alone, ... Dredd must take back the city building by building, clearing them of the Undead.
At first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking that you've accidentally loaded up the old Team 17 Amiga Classic Alien Breed. The game is a top-down affair with the action viewed from an overhead perspective. Each level is effectively a maze that you must find your way around. Your goal in each level is to make your way to the exit, taking out the zombies you find along the way.
Of course, it's not as simple as that. Some areas are blocked by locked doors and in order to gain access, you must find switches or other mechanisms to open them. This adds a simple, but effective puzzle-solving element to the game. Some of the scenery can also be used to your advantage. Stacks of boxes, for example, can be moved to reveal more ammo (your initial supply is limited) or health packs, whilst handy fuel drums can be shot to produce an explosion which (if used properly) can take out multiple zombies at once.
At first, Judge Dredd vs. Zombies seems like it's going to be great. The graphics are good, with the top-down perspective providing a clear view of the playing area, whilst the cat-and-mouse tactics you have to play with the zombies adds a strategic element. The characters are well-designed and those from the comics are instantly recognisable. As you might expect from a game based on the Judge Dredd licence, it's quite violent, which for those of us with a slightly sick turn of mind is a Good Thing. Zombies explode in a pleasing pool of green blood when killed and, in a neat touch, you have to keep Dredd away from this shower of unclean blood or he will lose health. There's some nice variety amongst the undead graphics so that the zombies look different and have different abilities. All in all, this is a game which makes good use of its licence. The various levels are based around locations from the comics and several Dredd regulars appear throughout the game to keep 200AD fans happy.
Sound is also very good with a variety of tunes throughout, including a simple, but effective one that accompanies the levels and generates a surprising amount of atmosphere. Sound effects are suitably meaty with atmospheric gunfire effects and a lovely squelching noise when a zombie explodes or Dredd is attacked. There is also the odd bit of speech, although these are not quite so good. Dredd sounds disturbingly like someone doing a bad impression of Sly Stallone from the naff 1990s movie, whilst an annoying plummy English female voice (possibly Judge Anderson) occasionally pipes up to warn Dredd to be careful (like you need warning!)
Controls are kept simple and work well. Movement is operated via a virtual joystick in the bottom right hand corner which is highly responsive and gives you a strong degree of control over Dredd (essential, since you will often find yourself backed into tight corners and need to be highly manoeuvrable). A big, red fire button meanwhile, erm, you know, fires your weapon.
Early levels are pure fun. The simple puzzle solving gameplay mixed with the zombie shooting give the game instant accessibility. It's immediately obvious what you need to do and how to do it - always the hallmark of a promising game. Whilst there's not a lot of variety between levels (they all essentially boil down to shooting zombies and making your way to the exit), that's not really that much of an issue to start with. The game generates a surprising amount of tension (there are some points where you know you have to go through a door, but know that as soon as you do, the zombies you can see on the other side will pounce on you). OK, so the slightly repetitive gameplay means it's a title you'll probably play in 30 minute bursts, rather than longer gaming sessions, but that's the sort of game the iPhone is best suited to.
So, if it's that good, why does it only get three stars? Well, that's all down to one phrase that has been known to strike terror and dismay in the heart of every iPhone user: "in-app purchases". Yes, that bane of iPhone app raises its ugly head in possibly the most intrusive manner possible.
The actual game itself (including all available levels) is completely free to download. However, the developers have been sneaky. Dredd relies heavily on the use of power-ups to upgrade your weaponry and ensure you are equipped to cope with the increasing hordes of zombies you will encounter on later levels. Money for upgrades can be earned in one of two ways: by playing though the levels (completing each level gives you a cash reward) or by using real money to buy virtual "in game money".
Here's where we hit a snag with the difficulty level because the rate at which you earn money in-game does not come close to keeping pace with the incredibly expensive power-ups and you will soon find yourself getting frustrated as your woefully weak Judge is overpowered by insane numbers of enemies. Effectively, if you're not prepared to pay, you get to a point where further progress becomes all but impossible.
This might not be such a bad thing if upgrades were available at a reasonable price - say 99p. However, the upgrades in Dredd are ridiculously expensive, ranging from £2.99 to £20.99. Yes, you really did read that correctly - £21 to unlock the ultimate upgrade pack. The need to constantly shell out to buy more and more in-game upgrades makes this a title that could seriously damage your wallet.
The only way around this is to repeatedly go back and play earlier levels to earn extra cash. But to get anywhere near enough cash to make this viable, you need to play the same levels over and over again, which soon becomes very repetitive and boring. Sadly from a promising beginning, the later levels of Judge Dredd are nothing more than a cynical exercise in parting the gamer from their money. And that, in my book, is inexcusable.
Unless you're prepared to pay a premium price to buy essential upgrades or spend hours of your life replaying the same levels over and over again, Judge Dredd soon becomes an exercise in frustration. Judge Dredd vs. Zombies is a prime example of a genuinely promising game being ruined by the greed of the developers behind it.
(c) Copyright SWSt 2012
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Fuse Powered Inc Apps
Manufacturer: Fuse Powered Inc / Apps / Type: iPhone Game
Manufacturer: Fuse Powered Inc / Apps / Type: iPhone Game
Apps / Developer: Fuse Powered Inc
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