This week brought the announcement of the iPhone’s OS4 which will bring with it a handful of new abilities when it releases this Summer, and Winter for the iPad. So while we all remain as men, with multi-tasking just out of reach, we can do what we do best: game. Two large reviews this week from Robert W and Alec H.
Lemonade Tycoon / 59p
Retro games making their way onto the iTouch, iPhone and now iPad has been a constant flow. There seems to be just as much old classic titles on the platforms as there are new developments, but isn’t really a bad thing and to prove that we have Lemonade Tycoon.
Lemonade Tycoon places you in charge of a Lemonade stand in a selection of different areas of which you can switch between depending on how the day plays out. There are different variables for each day and each one will change how well you do on that given day. Of them is the weather; customers will be more thirsty on hotter days than that of colder ones, but also you have the ability to change the ingredients in your lemonade to fit to the heat or to save on ingredients, depending on whether you’re a scrooge or not! (More on that in a bit) Another factor in the game is your marketing and placement, if you spend some of your profits on marketing then more people will be aware of your stall and it will generate more interest in the business. The only problem is that Marketing costs a lot and is taken out of your balance each day so you need to balance it out. Where you place your stall is important too. You have ten locations to choose from and each as different statistics depending on how people will perceive your business. The thing is after the first neighbourhood you have each location costing you rent, ranging from $10 to $150, so it is once again a point of balance between the cost and what you have in your account.
As I mentioned earlier, ingredients are the key to the game. You have to buy ingredients to make up the lemonade each day in the beginning of the game, so you need to plan how many glasses you think you’re going to sell that day to make a profit and recover costs. As the game progresses and you have a larger budget to play with you can upgrade your stand with options like a fridge and a lemon squeezer to allow to you keep products for longer and speed up the making process.
Outside the daily starting menu, there is very little for you to do, once you set up your stall for the day then it is just a matter of sitting there watching or winding through the day’s events to see how you did. At the end of each day you have a little summary of how much you made or lost and how well the customers liked your drinks.
This game is extremely addictive to play and planning out each day to try and maximise it is great fun but your powerlessness over the operation of the stall over the course of the day is a little annoying as it would be great to use the functions on the platform to mix the lemonade or the like. Overall though, it is great fun to play and keeps that retro feel to it. AH
Broken Sword: Director’s Cut / £2.99
I first got into Broken Sword when ‘The Sleeping Dragon’ was released on the PS2. I absolutely loved ‘Escape from Monkey Island’ on the PS2, and while that’s a rather different story entirely, it was one of the reasons for me playing the third Broken Sword game first. The problem with the (3D) PS2 game was the whole idea of the point-and-click gameplay. You needed to walk to an item and push analogue sticks about until you were facing the right way to interact with the desired object, and loading times between action scenes dulled down the experience.
The iPhone remake of the original game seems to forget everything that was wrong with the 3D game. Going back to its 2D roots, Broken Sword: Director’s Cut suits the point-and-click (or point-and-tap) gameplay perfectly. Simply place your finger across the miniature screen and little lights appear on the items you can interact with as you rub your finger over them. One touch, and you’re doing something. No faffing about with moving the character into place. They can walk there themselves you know.
Most iPodTouch/iPhone games are small. Games that you just pick up and play. There’s never much story in them. That’s fine for portable gaming, and sometimes Tetris will sort me perfectly when I’m sitting on a train for a few minutes. However, there’s always that time when the train is at least a thirty minute trip, and a game that you can plug in your headphones and actually enjoy for an extended period of time is quite rare. Being a puzzle game, you’d think playing the game for a long time with no idea what to do next, you’d think it’d get boring very quickly. Not so. If you feel like giving up, just open the menu and ask for a hint and you’ll soon be on your way. The game really does have a way of keeping you interested with its story, and thankfully with the hint feature, you’ll never get frustrated at its puzzles. There’s also two protagonists, who you’ll switch to play out their own separate stories throughout the game, which creates a nice variation and keeps gameplay fresh. Every person featured in the game has also been given a voice actor, which really separates it from those games that don’t bother and just use text for speech.
Downsides? Not many to be honest. Of course, if you’ve got little time to hand this isn’t really for you. On some screens, you need to walk a tiny bit to the left or right to get to the bit you need to get to, and seems a bit weird that the background has been drawn to be a few pixels wider than the iPhone screen, which makes walking feel a little pointless. While the story may feel long enough, you will always feel as though it could be a tiny bit longer, and once you’ve played the story through once, there’s nothing new to explore the second time round unless you never spoke to everyone standing around a scene.
If you’ve never played the original Broken Sword, and want a portable game that’ll last you a week or so with an actual murder detective storyline, this is the one. There’s a bit of humour, intriguing storyline, amazing artwork and a great music score. It also kept my mind off my PS3’s YLOD. My only hope is that the second Broken Sword is brought onto the iPhone soon. RW
* Prices are correct as of 11th April 2010.