Slide to Unlock: Issue 4

Touch my Eggs.

Today’s return of Slide to Unlock is an Easter-y special, with quite a few discounts made to many apps just for this short Easter break. Let’s see how many bunnies we can cram into your touchy-feely iPhone screen of chocolate happiness. With Easter love from Robert W and Alec H.

DoodleJump: Easter Update

We’ve already reviewed DoodleJump twice, but not today’s small (free) update that brings in the Easter mood. Naming yourself “bunny” when you die in a normal game dresses the Doodler up as a cute bunny rabbit with ears that blow slightly in the wind. Rockets have been replaced with carrots, helicopter hats replaced with bunny-copters and monsters all dressed up in equally dashing rabbit costumes. The update is a lovely (and could possibly become hidden) way to liven up any small moment of Easter Day boredom, and shows that the team behind the game are passionate about keeping up the game’s popularity. This is what DLC should be. RW
6/10

Crystal Maze

‘Welcome to the Crystal Maze, my darlings!’ The opening to Richard O’Brien’s Crystal Maze has long been an embedded memory for me and having grown up with the show the Crystal Maze game seemed a good option on the App Store.

First things first, for those who don’t know of the TV show (which is set to make a return soon) a team of players has to complete tasks in order to collect crystals. The more crystals you have at the end of the show, the more time you have in the Crystal Ball at the centre of the maze.  This game takes the idea of the original TV show but breaks it down into much smaller sections. Where the TV show used to play host to three or four tasks in a section, this app only allows for two. The game is split up into four zones, like the show, the first one you enter is Futuristic, and then it’s onto Aztec, Industrial and Medieval.

In each section you have a choice of game types to play, skill or mystery, mental or physical; the game types are mixed around for each zone you enter. Each mini-game fits in with both the type and zone you are in, but once you have played through the whole show once or twice the mini games start to repeat themselves, which is a shame. Most, as long as you pay attention are easy to complete, with only two out of the eight giving me a problem. You have to compete in two mini-games to progress to the next area. You don’t need to complete them at all but doing so earns you a crystal.

Each area sounds and looks like the graphics from the show, which isn’t really saying much as they are 1990s computer graphics but at least it is authentic. You do have the image of Richard O’Brien at the start of each of the mini games but there are no voiceovers or even sound bites from the show used which is a massive missed opportunity. This app is really only for those who know and loved the old series as it offers nothing that hasn’t been done elsewhere and better. AH
6/10

Baby Scratch

What do you think of when someone says ‘Easter’? Chickens and cockerels rapping to epic beats? Yep, me too. Baby Scratch is a must if you’re to fulfil that dream.

There’s a huge number of DJ-scratching apps on the App Store, but only one free one has managed to stay on my iPod. Baby Scratch feels very simple, but works really well. Just take a spinning vinyl on a screen, a button that adds some funky beats, and a bunch of random sounds (including that cockerel) and rub your finger across the deck as though you were some awesome DJ. A selection of “Ooh Yeah”, singing, animal sounds and 8-bit samples are just some of the sounds that cycle through on the virtual vinyl and scratching them is a joy.

If there’s any downside to the app, it’s the number of samples included on the vinyl. You’d think this should be called ‘Baby Scratch Lite’, but it turns out the larger app is called ‘Flare’, in which you can record your own samples to scramble up. However, if like me you’re on an iPod Touch, the premise of recording your own sounds is a bit of a slap in the face. Maybe not, but it at least plays against the limitations of the iPod Touch in comparison to the iPhone.

Baby Scratch is a nice little app to play with when you’re on your own waiting for the baked beans on the hob in university accommodation. It’s quite embarrassing playing when others are around, or a tool to boast with if you’ve some skilled fingers. Nevertheless, the whole thing feels quite natural with a touchscreen, and simply wouldn’t work on the PSP. RW
7/10

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