Slide to Unlock: Issue 8

All Issues

I’m still looking for my iPod, and I’m getting genuinely worried. I may finally have a new PS3 to play with, but the iPod is crying somewhere like a lost child, and I’m blatantly deaf. So a mini review from me, Robert W, and a nice chunky review from Alec H.

Depict / Free

If you’ve ever played online Pictionary, like DrawMyThing or iSketch, you’ll know how fun it is to play live against others. I stumbled across this app when looking for similar games for my iPod. I was sceptical before I even started looking. Online Pictionary is a race of typing the answer, (wiv corect spellin’) before anyone else, and you’ll be guessing throughout the whole round. How on Earth would that work on an iPod? Let alone being able to see the drawing at the same time.

Depict seems to have gotten everything right. Five people from around the world are shoved into one little game, customise their mini avatars, and draw using Paint-like tools on the screen the word you’ve got to guess. Instead of typing what you think the answer is, you’re given a selection of six possible answers. Touch one, and if you’re right, you’ll get points. If you’re wrong, that’s it. You’ll have to wait for everyone else to guess for the next person’s go. So the whole game becomes a race for who dares to make their guess, and who will get there first. OpenFeint included for leader-boards and to go against friends, it’s all very very simple. As long as you can get online with your device, you might just become addicted to this.  RW.


Marvel Comics / Free

After the launch of the comic store on PSP it seemed that this would be an eventual continuation of the same thought, but now that it’s happened, Marvel have given us a fully fledged comic store on the i brand systems but does it work as well as Sony’s counterpart and how does the touch screen change the usage?

First off, it has to be mentioned that the application on PSP is run by Sony and thus they have titles from other comic book publishers whereas this one is solely just a Marvel option. Not that this devalues the application at all, but any direct comparisons would be a little unfair.

This application is divided up into four sections; you have ‘My Comics’ which allows you to easily find the comics that you have bought or own. ‘My Comics’ is separated into ways to easily find your comics; you have a ‘Previously Viewed’ option for the last comic you read and a ‘Recently Downloaded’ which is again pretty self-explanatory. Next there are the browsing options. Here you can look though your collected comics via means of a series, its creator or the genre that the comic comes from, each of these are presented as you would see on your normal iPod music library with each one in an alphabetical order. Also within My Comics you have an option to sign in to to gain access to the other comics after the first buy (more on this later), but possibly the best part of this section is the application’s Extras. Here you can search for your nearest comic book store which uses your internet location to find one. You can send feedback about the application and read the instructions on how to use it.

The last three sections boil down to how to buy from the store. There are Featured and Free sections that show you the featured new comics from both the free and premium world. Each is broken down into subsections, Featured is divided into New, Popular and Rating which just sorts the comics in different ways and most of which are self-explanatory but at the moment there is no difference between the Popular and Rating settings. The big thing about this is, as I mentioned earlier, is that you need to sign in to after your first (trial) purchase to continue buying. This is due to the fact that there is currently no way to add funds to your Comic Store internally so you need to have a account to add funds to for purchasing.

Once you purchase a comic, the actual interface is pretty straight forward. You swipe right to move on a cell and likewise swipe left to move back a cell. The normal double tap zooms in and a second double tap zooms out. Once zoomed in you swipe left and right to move around the cell for reading, this is due to generally the text being too small to read in the zoomed out position. It all feels nice and fluid to use but swiping can be a pain as it doesn’t always work perfectly. Also the comics are for the most part in nice high resolution giving you crisp and clear images. But I would have liked animated page movement as you turn the page to give a little more authentic feel to the application.

Overall I believe that the ‘i’ series of systems have a great little application here, while it is let down slightly with certain elements it works perfectly for a Touch-based device. I feel that the PSP version works better in terms of function, with the controls being a little easier to use and the images always being in high resolution whereas Marvel’s aren’t always, which is a shame. But for those who want to have a digital comic reader without spring for another device in your pocket, you will notice nothing to complain about except the prices (which are the same on PSP) as they are pretty steep for something that should be cheaper in digital format. AH.