Slide to Unlock: Issue 12

Distract yourself from the iPad hype.

All Issues

So the iPad was released in the UK just two days ago. Have you got one? With prices twice the amount of any PS3, it’s understandable if you haven’t. So we’re going this first week of iPad UK with more iPod and iPhone apps that’ll keep you through the hype. I also found my iPod this week!

Broken Bottle 2 / Free

Who said games don’t encourage violence? Broken Bottle 2 is all about waving a virtual bottle around, smashing it against surfaces and stabbing people with the remnants. If you’ve ever tried the lightsaber app, you’ll know this works. Pick your preferred bottle, and see it on the screen. “Swing to slash! Thrust to stab!” reads the instructions at the bottom. Swing the device once and the underside of the bottle smashes. From that point onwards, wave or thrust your iPod or iPhone into the air to murder your friends without actual death. Blood appears on the broken shards, and after four swings, the graphic remains the same. A simple idea, but you’re not likely to use it twice. RW.

2/10

Flight Control / 59p

Simple, but addictive. That’s one of the best quotes to hear about an app, and this game certainly deserves it. The concept is rather simple. As flight control, you’re responsible for the safe landing of all planes in your airport. In a top-down view, the game requires you draw a flight path with your finger from the plane on screen to its corresponding runway. Yellow planes need to land on the yellow runway, helicopters need to land on the helipads and red planes need to land on the red runways. Mix it up a bit when you have big fast red planes and small, slower red planes. Then you realise that none of the planes on screen can touch each other on their flight paths as that would create an in-air collision.

So after the first minute, the pace increases. More planes begin to fill the screen, and won’t leave until they’ve landed. You’ll start by easily giving each plane a path around the screen, but as soon as different coloured planes need to cross paths, you’ll be constantly changing their paths to avoid each other, and new planes about to come on screen. The last moments can get stressful, but you’ll hit the replay button pretty quickly, telling yourself you can do better.

If for some impossible reason that you get bored of this addictive gameplay, there’s another four airfields to play around with. One is Hawaii themed, another sea-based, another a hospital area, and the final a skiing resort – each accompanied by a 50s-inspired woman to pretty up the menu screen. Each airfield brings different challenges, be it the position of the runways, types of planes landing or that some runways will close down temporarily.

It can sound a little daring, but Flight Control is extremely addictive, and even if you do put it down, you’ll find yourself going back to it again later. This isn’t one you’ll be deleting from your iPod or iPhone any time soon. RW.

9/10

Lux DLX / £2.99

Lux is for all intents and purposes a Risk clone for the iTouch and iPad generation. I came across this game in my search for a decent Risk game to play on my iTouch on train journeys etc and while it isn’t the greatest in terms of gameplay it keeps the basics in there.

For those of you that haven’t played Risk in any of its forms (shame on you!), the idea of the game is to conquer the world via the taking of different countries, this is something that has been copied thousands of times with almost every RTS game there is. But still, in Risk you start off with a set amount of countries which gives you a certain amount of armies to place around the board to either defend from or attack other countries with. In Lux, the option of placing your armies is taken away from you – something that is actually to the detriment of the game as some of the strategy is removed along with it.

From there you take it in turns with the AI, at the beginning of each turn you are given a set amount of troops depending on how many countries you own and how many continents you control, the more countries and continents you control the more troops you have at your disposal. After that you have the choice either to move troops around the connected countries to defend, attack or straight off attack. This is how each player on the board proceeds until they are either destroyed (i.e. have no more countries left) or win the map.

The gameplay is simple and straight to the point, which is what you would expect from a classic board game turned game. The controls compliment the gameplay as its just a simple touch to move troops or to attack the enemy. But there are some problems in terms of how the game plays, so far in my 20 odd games I played there has always been a player who saves up all their armies and launches an attack that captures almost the entire map in one movement. This really spoils the game for the most part as while they are doing this the rest of the players will act normally and attack you and others, which makes the game incredible off balance.

In general, this is a great game to play for those who love a bit of Risk in the morning. But the balancing issue really does damage this game too much to make it anything but open to the more diehard strategists. AH.

4/10

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