CRank: 5Score: 0

The Untouchables – iPhone Games vs My Fingers

I have dozens upon dozens of iPhone games, and virtually none of them are what I could honestly call “playable.” That won’t stop me from buying and enjoying them, they can still be fun, imaginative and beautiful. They’re also generally in the cheap-to-free price range, which helps make up for the fact that only a tiny minority of them appear to be compatible with human fingers, such as the standard-issue models that came pre-installed on my hand.

Let’s take Infinity Blade, for example. It’s got outstanding production values, it’s made by a first-tier developer, and the controls are straightforward: Your options in a fight are swipe for a horizontal slash, swipe for a vertical slash, or tap to shield/dodge. Reviewers have heaped praise on Infinity Blade, but I just can’t understand why. In my experience, the game consistently ignores or misinterprets all of those simple actions, giving me a vertical when I swear I voted for horizontal or flatly refusing to dodge.

How about N.O.V.A.? This Halo-flavored shooter is rocking a 94 on Metacritic, with reviewers calling the controls “fantastic” and “superb,” whereas I would call them “like operating a forklift in reverse while sighting a 12-pounder cannon.” You must vigilantly keep one thumb on the simulated analog stick to clumsily plod about and use the other to alternately smear across the visible play screen or tap the fire button—choose carefully between looking and shooting, or sprain your fingers trying to do both!

Oh, Plants vs. Zombies. I love you so much. But you have the same flaw as most iPhone tower defense games: Using my finger to drag and drop plants means that I can’t actually SEE where I’m dropping them, and suddenly a crucial peashooter ends up in the wrong position, which never happens when I play the PC version of the game. Somehow that didn’t stop the game from getting reviews that applaud its “pitch perfect controls.”

Don’t get me wrong: I honestly like these games despite their flaws, but I’m at a loss to understand why they and so many other iPhone games are consistently praised for their muddy controls.

I do have a theory, though, thanks to my recent playthrough of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. DE:HR’s plot deals with a corporate conspiracy to control the public by promoting the advantages of cybernetic implants while downplaying the chemical dependencies and bio-DRM measures that come with them.

When iPhingers become widely available—AND THEY WILL!—beware: You will finally be able to enjoy these games the way so many reviewers claim to. But will it be worth the price?

-Ben Freund

Oculus Quest Giveaway! Click Here to Enter
The story is too old to be commented.
TheComedian2891d ago

It boggles the mind as to why would you put yourself through the trouble to play these games whilst we all know that they are not enjoyable (or barely playable) due to technical limitations.Do you hate yourself or something?Well don't hate him for your own sake. :(

caseh2891d ago (Edited 2891d ago )

'Don’t get me wrong: I honestly like these games despite their flaws, but I’m at a loss to understand why they and so many other iPhone games are consistently praised for their muddy controls.'

It's because those games are at least playable and to some degree, enjoyable. When you consider the sheer volume of crap apps/games the ones that somewhat live up to expectations will be praised.

bvfreund2891d ago

Praised, yes. But for their controls specifically? That seems odd.

mixelon2891d ago

Dragging and dropping in Plants Vs Zombies? Sounds like you're doing it wrong. You don't have to do that you can just select with one tap then paste with another. After completing PvZ on the iPhone (and PS3, and PC) I think the iOS implementation is perfect.

Nova probably has remappable controls? I don't know.. Dead Space was pretty flexible and easy to control too. I never noticed any input weirdness playing Infinity Blade either.. Oh well. I can see why no buttons is an annoyance though. I've not had a truly satisfying FPS experience on the iPhone yet.

bvfreund2891d ago

I'm afraid that tapping and pasting has the same problem: Your finger gets in the way of the position you are trying to paste to.

That's not really PvZ's fault, but it's a pretty big problem just the same.

mixelon2891d ago

Maybe I have unusually dainty fingers or something (hehe) but I've never considered it a problem at all. I don't think I've ever missed a target in pvz. Just a tiny spacial learning curve thing.

xX TriiCKy Xx2891d ago

Has it occurred to you (the author) that your hands may be unusually large?

bvfreund2891d ago

It has, although I'm fairly certain they aren't.

Even if they were, that would still present a legitimate control issue that I imagine would be shared by many other people.

I have heard some people claim that issues with blood circulation can affect the iPhone's ability to register your finger as a finger, but I don't know much about that.