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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    A data centre in Canberra.

    Default iPhone & iPad App Reviews - Spirit HD, The Incident

    <h3>This week we look at two new games for the iPhone &amp; iPad - Spirit HD and The Incident.</h3>
    <h4>Spirit HD</h4>
    <a href="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Spirit-1.png"><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-8939" title="Spirit 1" src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Spirit-1.png" alt="" width="460" height="371" /></a>

    Some games are easy to describe, and then there are games like <em>Spirit HD</em>. It's a game without any on-screen controls. There are no buttons, no switches, no pulleys, just your finger swiping around on screen. Just as the iPhone got rid of buttons on the phone, this app gets rid of controls in the game - with magnificent effect.

    There is only one character in the game, which is controlled by finger movements on the iPad's screen. Wherever a user's finger goes, Spirit will follow. The goal is to decimate enemies that occupy each "wave" (aka rounds or levels), sending them into black holes created by moving Spirit around into a circle formation that is built by repeated movements, like drawing a circle then tracing over it several times. Touching an object (or enemy) that isn't Spirit takes a life away, with three chances given before the game is over. That's all there is to it - it makes perfect sense from the start of play.


    <a href="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Spirit-2.png"><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-8940" title="Spirit 2" src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Spirit-2.png" alt="" width="460" height="371" /></a>

    There are a few bonuses that can be achieved by drawing multiple circles in quick succession (known as a "link" bonus inside the game) while taking in other targets in the same circle gains a "combo" bonus. Sometimes, other Spirits appear on screen linked to an enemy. Kill the enemy without killing the smaller Spirit, then bump in to the free Spirit and you'll get an extra life in that round.

    Menus and different gameplay options are limited. In fact, there are only two modes of play - "Normal", which is highly recommended for newer players, and "Extreme", which will become a preferred option with a bit of practice and experience. "Extreme" makes for a far more interesting game, but even then it would be nice to see another type of play, more game elements or perhaps even a multiplayer mode to give <em>Spirit HD</em> a bit more depth.

    <a href="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Spirit-3.png"><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-8941" title="Spirit 3" src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Spirit-3.png" alt="" width="460" height="371" /></a>

    Having said that, <em>Spirit HD</em> does offer an addictive and unique gameplay experience. The graphics are remarkably well designed and fun to interact with - and there are even a few nice animations, such as the explosion shown above when a life is lost, thrown in for good measure. While some additional modes of play would certainly keep players interested longer, <em>Spirit HD</em> is certainly worth the $4 for its use of innovative controls and wonderful graphics and gameplay.

    <strong>Version reviewed:</strong> 1.0.1
    <strong>Price:</strong> $3.99
    <strong>Developer:</strong> Marco Mazolli
    <strong>Designed for:</strong> iPad (iPhone &amp; iPod touch version available <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/spirit/id354998923?mt=8">separately</a>)
    <strong>Compatibility:</strong> iPad with iOS running 3.2 or later
    <strong>Size: </strong>11.9MB
    <strong>Category:</strong> Games
    <strong><a href="http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/spirit-hd/id376986534?mt=8">App Store</a></strong>
    <h4>The Incident</h4>
    <a href="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Incident-1.png"><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-8942" title="Incident 1" src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Incident-1.png" alt="" width="317" height="163" /></a>

    In contrast to the futuristic gameplay and sci-fi graphics of Spirit HD comes <em>The Incident</em>. In development since late last year and fresh on the App Store just this morning, it's the latest in a long line of retro games to hit iOS devices but unlike many others, it isn't directly based on a game of the past. Instead of story and characters, it takes the classic 8-bit graphics of some of our favourite older consoles combined with a few of the newer technologies of the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

    <em>The Incident</em> involves just three movements - left, right and up. Like the game reviewed above, it doesn't have any on screen controls, but it does require use of the accelerometer to move horizontally (which seems to be most games' answer to the joystick), and a simple tap to jump up. The person you can see in the screenshots to the left is a man (who, as this person <a href="http://twitter.com/dannyswrld/status/20845930378">points out</a>, looks rather similar to John Gruber of Daring Fireball fame) whose goal it is to avoid several incoming objects that drop onto the ground. These create a pile for him to jump on, and as he jumps up further and further he is rewarded with gems and coins and bonus lives.

    <a href="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Incident-2.png"><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-8943" title="Incident 2" src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Incident-2.png" alt="" width="317" height="163" /></a>

    Gems are the ticket to the next level - collect enough as indicated on the left of the gameplay screen and our noble character will progress to the next stage of <em>The Incident</em>. There are also coins to collect for rewards and bonuses, while the occasional balloon also pops up from beneath to deliver a bonus chance at reaching the top (cleverly represented by an emergency cross), or snatch one away (as indicated by a balloon with a skull and crossbones). Three lives are given within each round, while another type of life (the number given throughout the game increases based on coins and performance) determines how many chances are given before our hero dies (thankfully, I haven't seen this yet)!

    What makes <em>The Incident</em> so appealing are the beautiful graphics. Particularly on the iPhone 4 and iPad, you get to appreciate just how much work and detail has gone in to this game. There's a huge variety of different objects that crash down to the floor, from pianos to cactuses, and it makes for a particularly fun environment while playing.

    <a href="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Incident-3.png"><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-8944" title="Incident 3" src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Incident-3.png" alt="" width="317" height="163" /></a>

    In the past twenty hours or so, <em>The Incident</em> has already shot up to number fourteen in the top paid apps on the App Store, and with good reason - it's got just about everything on the casual gamer's checklist. A fittingly retro soundtrack accompanies the various stages and levels of the game, and it's little touches like that (the redesigned time and battery icons that appear in the pause menu are also worth mentioning here) that make it such a great buy and brilliant addition to any iOS device.

    <strong>Version reviewed:</strong> 1.0
    <strong>Price:</strong> $2.49
    <strong>Developer:</strong> Big Bucket Software
    <strong>Designed for:</strong> iPhone, iPod touch &amp; iPad
    <strong>Compatibility:</strong> iOS running 3.0 or later
    <strong>Size:</strong> 8.2MB
    <strong>Category:</strong> Games
    <strong><a href="http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/the-incident/id385533456?mt=8">App Store</a></strong>

  2. #2


    The Incident is GREAT. Love it.

    Spirit HD looks like my kind of thing, too. Reminds me of Gravity Wars and Osmos.

  3. #3


    The best thing about The Incident is that while it's something you can pick up and play for five minutes, you get to continue your game later. Each play session assuming you get somewhere contributes to your much longer total game. For that alone, it makes playing in short bursts not feel as much a "waste of time" as five minutes of, say, Flight Control.
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  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jul 2009


    Quote Originally Posted by marc View Post
    Reminds me of Gravity Wars and Osmos.
    I've heard from Osmos fans that the two games go together very well!

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