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MTBlogBot2000
17th February 2010, 07:15 PM
<h3>This week we look at Riddim Ribbon, a tilt-based game featuring music from The Black Eyed Peas and Tennis Stats, an incredibly detailed and functional Tennis match statistics manager.</h3>
<h4>Riddim Ribbon</h4>
<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-4994" title="riddim 1" src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/riddim-1.jpg" alt="riddim 1" width="346" height="230" />

<em>Tapulous</em> is no stranger to the iPhone app development scene. They are, after all, the people behind <em>Tap Tap Revenge</em>, which literally shot to the top of iTunes' App Store charts from day one of release. With two sequels under their belt and a collection of artist-themed editions of the ubiquitous music rhythm game, the <em>Tap Tap</em> franchise is a true iPhone phenomenon. <em>Riddim Ribbon</em> is the latest game to come out of their doors and it acts a perfect supplement to their other music titles, despite somewhat rudimentary gameplay at launch.

The game is almost entirely based on using your accelerometer to control the ball rolling along a musical race-course. Stay on track to gain points and bonuses, while tilting in the wrong direction puts the beat out of rhythm and tone. Just like <em>Tap Tap</em>, the goal is to rack up as many points as you can (score enough and the 'Medium' and 'Hard' modes of each track will be unlocked for more exciting gameplay). Each track includes several cleverly incorporated remixes that can be selected by choosing a path. Tilt to the left track for one remix, tilt to the right for the other. Meanwhile, keeping the progress bar in the bottom left corner full is vital to pass the checkpoints scattered throughout each song. On my older iPhone 3G, the game takes quite some time to load (and responds slowly to actions during the first few seconds of gameplay). Naturally, <em>Riddim Ribbon</em> puts a huge strain on battery life too.

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<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-4994" title="riddim 2" src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/riddim-2.jpg" alt="riddim 2" width="346" height="230" />

Three songs are included for free with <em>Riddim Ribbon</em>, all of which are popular songs from <em>The Black Eyed Peas</em>' latest album titled <em>The E.N.D.</em>. I'm not going to bother reviewing their music, but whether or not you like the electronic-pop stylings of the band shouldn't play a huge part in your decision to purchase the game. The opportunity to remix each song as you wish is fun in itself, and many players (unless they truly despise <em>The Black Eyed Peas</em>) will be happy with that for at least a few rounds. Just like we all saw with <em>Tap Tap</em>, I expect the music library to become larger with in-app purchases for additional tracks already present in the game, catering to a broad scope of music tastes.

At $3.99 (plus in-app purchases for extra songs), I hope more features and functionality are added with time - the idea of a Bluetooth multiplayer 'race' sounds fantastic as a concept, and hopefully we'll see this in the game soon. Whether this game is as addictive as their other titles is arguable, and really depends on what every individual player thinks of it. Personally, I doubt I'll be opening <em>Riddim Ribbon</em> every day, but I won't be taking it off my home screen either. <em>Riddim Ribbon</em> is not designed to be as obviously successful as the original release of <em>Tap Tap Revenge </em>(quite possibly an impossible feat). It will, however, establish a solid user base consisting of satisfied Tap Tap players, who will enjoy the game's detailed graphics and presumably ever-expanding music selection.

<strong>Version reviewed:<span style="font-weight: normal;"> 1.0.2</span>
Price:<span style="font-weight: normal;"> $3.99</span>
Developer:<span style="font-weight: normal;"> Tapulous</span>
Compatibility:<span style="font-weight: normal;"> iPhone &amp; iPod touch running 3.0 or later</span>
Size:<span style="font-weight: normal;"> 45.4MB</span>
Category:<span style="font-weight: normal;"> Games</span>
<a href="http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/riddim-ribbon-feat-the-black/id350897007?mt=8">App Store</a></strong>
<h4>Tennis Stats</h4>
<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-4997" title="tennis stats 1" src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/tennis-stats-1.jpg" alt="tennis stats 1" width="346" height="230" />

Before I start this review, I should mention that while I love to <span style="text-decoration: underline;">watch</span> tennis in action and dream of a trip to Wimbledon one day, I am not a particularly skilled tennis <span style="text-decoration: underline;">player</span> - so I apologise in advance if my knowledge is lacking in a few areas.

Developed by <a href="http://forums.mactalk.com.au/members/rustyshelf.html">one of our very own MacTalkers</a> here in Australia, <em>Tennis Stats</em> fills a gap in the App Store's virtual aisles - tennis statistics. Tennis (and iPhone) loving friends of mine have told me that the need for a decent management app for stats and scores is high amongst a small community, and they're glad to see one finally on the Store. From my experience however, <em>Tennis Stats</em> is more than just a manager - it's a <span style="text-decoration: underline;">long-term</span> skill tracker too.

<em>Tennis Stats</em> is bursting with functionality. Features such as match summary screens, detailed visual and text-based statistics for individual games and the ability to create notes and share results are executed almost perfectly in terms of providing as much information about the way you play tennis as possible. I imagine coaches will find this app a necessity, if they want to have a large database of matches on hand to see where their players' strengths are weaknesses are. <em>Tennis Stats</em> is the kind of app that doesn't appeal to everyone, but becomes an essential part of the lives of those who it does. <em>Tennis Stats</em> provide a few nice sample games to help you learn how to use the app, as shown below.

<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-4998" title="tennis stats 2" src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/tennis-stats-2.jpg" alt="tennis stats 2" width="230" height="346" />

<em>Tennis Stats</em> is such a text-heavy application (such as in the screenshot above) that judging the interface can be difficult. There are parts of the app that are quite intuitive (scoring a live game is a brilliant example of that), and others that are a little too busy. Users could benefit from a simplified view of some of the more detailed components of <em>Tennis Stats</em>, especially the summary screens. Sharing results and scores amongst students or friends is quite easy to set up. Sharing through a server efficiently is a feature many apps try to accomplish, but many fail to do properly. <em>Tennis Stats</em> strikes a perfect balance between ease of use and functionality, and the way that sharing is handled is one of the best examples of this.

I'm constantly finding new features in <em>Tennis Stats</em>, even as I write this review several weeks after first downloading it. I'm very impressed with the statistical power of the $9.99 app and while I may not be the most experienced player, I do see the helpfulness that <em>Tennis Stats</em> presents for tennis coaches, umpires and even players all around the world.

<strong>Version reviewed:</strong> 1.0.1
<strong>Price:</strong> $9.99
<strong>Developer:</strong> Groundhog Software
<strong>Compatibility:</strong> iPhone &amp; iPod touch running 3.0 or later
<strong>Size:</strong> 2.3MB
<strong>Category:</strong> Sports
<strong><a href="http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/tennis-stats/id348115333?mt=8">App Store</a></strong>

gmask1
17th February 2010, 11:56 PM
Re: Tennis Stats - really nifty app, though more for spectator! I don't think my opponents in Wednesday night district comp would appreciate the pauses while I note what happens after each point!

What I need is an app that records the members of the team who play on the night (teams of 2 or 4 on the night from a roster up to 6 or 7), and the scores that they get each set that they play. Then we can start charting who plays well with who, and which teams have stronger pairings that need to be countered. I'd be happy to spec it up :)

rustyshelf
18th February 2010, 08:57 PM
Nice write up!

Yeah Tennis Stats is primarily intended for parents of kids that get coaching. So on a Saturday they would stat the match, then share it with the coach who could know what to work on and how things are going. It's a long term improvement type thing.

2 interesting people currently using it:
An Australian coach to keep track of his overseas kids (it's quite common as you get better to play overseas for 6 months or more of the year)

An NCAA (American College League) uses it during a match, where they are allowed to coach during the game. So he stats some points, and during a change of ends rotates the phone to get some hard facts to back up his gut feelings.

That said there's no reason you can't use it if you're a bit more amateur, but you still need someone spectating the match to get proper stats :)

Will be interesting to see if we can slowly make an impact on tennis culture worldwide, which doesn't really have a history of statting anything but the most high profile of matches...time will tell :)