The other day, I was watching a playoff baseball game, and in an attempt to keep my mind off the baseball game, I decided to fire up Civilization Revolution on my iPhone. While it’s a definitely cramped on the iPhone, it’s still a great game for the mobile setting – easy to pick up for just a couple of minutes (in theory anyway), and balances complex gameplay with simple enough controls to make it a fun and rewarding diversion.
While I spent most of the baseball game conquering the Russians (they were in my way, what could I do?), I didn’t get to see my civilization rise to its true glory. Not because the Americans were about to breach my defenses, but instead, the game silently refused to save my game. This is a UX disaster – read on to hear the whole story. Continue reading →
The first installment in Electronic Arts’ Burnout series was way back in 2001 for the PS2 and original XBox. While a lot has changed over the years, the takeaway of the franchise remains the same: drive fast and blow stuff up, a lot. In the latest iteration, Burnout CRASH! distills this formula to an incredibly simple form, and racing is nowhere to be found – just blowing stuff up. I was super excited to see the game released on iOS because it’s exactly the type of quick and simple game I want to play on my iPad.
Earning in-game achievements (represented here by stars) allows players to unlock more content. Each track in the game features five different stars, and when a player meets a specified number of stars, more content appears. So collecting stars is definitely the driving force for players to progress. Here’s the rub: considering how important they are, Burnout CRASH! doesn’t do enough to show players what stars they have left to achieve.
Note: since this article was originally published, Draw Something was updated to actually let you purchase colors from the shop. I’m sure it was a direct result of this article =)
Draw Something (iTunes link) is the new hotness for mobile phones. If you aren’t familiar, it’s basically turn-based Pictionary. Player 1 draws something, player 2 sees the drawing (it’s animated so you can watch the person draw the picture, which is pretty cool) and guesses the word. Pretty straightforward stuff.
As is the case so often for mobile apps these days, it’s a freemium app that tries to get you to purchase things with “coins”, the in-game currency. What can you purchase with coins? Two things. You can get bombs that help you either get a new set of words to draw, or more colors to add to your palette.
UX-wise, there’s not a whole lot going on in Draw Something, so it’s pretty solid. I do get a little frustrated when drawing, because it always seems to default to a bigger size of brush than I want, though that’s not a major issue.