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To get back into the swing of things, this week’s App Attack is a special E3 Edition. You’ll notice a few things are different this week. First, we’re moving our App Attack release day to Thursday, and the second change is an expansion of each app’s review to two paragraphs. I felt like a single paragraph was too rushed and needed more meat. Since I got some hands-on time with some unreleased apps at E3, I’ve included them as previews. As always, these apps are only here because I’ve played them and would spend my hard earned cash on them. You should too!
I hadn’t played a hockey game since Blades of Steel on the NES, when I saw the press release for Icebreaker by Digital Legends. I was fairly sure it wouldn’t give me any reason to return to playing hockey video games, and its first hurdle would be providing worthwhile 3D graphics. The second hurdle would be the development of adequate controls that take advantage of my iPhone’s touch-screen. Well, I sat down with Heather Becker, PR for Digital Legends, at E3 and saw some game footage, heard some facts, and then got my chance to play the game.
This isn’t a team vs. team hockey game, instead your player is tasked with making a dash towards the opposing team’s goal and scoring. You can pull off actual hockey moves (like a deke), and it’s all done using a combination of tilt-movement and virtual-buttons for shooting and special maneuvers. The developers chose to model the players using motion capture of real hockey players, so the 3D animations came out awesome on the iPhone. The controls were also spot-on, perfectly pairing the device’s touch and motion sensors with Icebreaker‘s mechanics. I’m not a hockey fan and even I still enjoyed this game. It’s an excellent example of taking a sport that might not translate into satisfying gameplay on an iPhone and approaching it from a different angle with great success.
Bruce Lee Dragon Warrior
Bruce Lee Dragon Warrior by Digital Legends is enjoying success on iTunes’ Japanese marketplace. Here in the states it’s not doing as well, but after playing it’s obvious that any gamer that is a fan of fighting games (or Bruce Lee) will thoroughly enjoy this game. I was skeptical of how a 3D fighting game could be translated onto an iOS device with any amount of success, but once again, Digital Legends made the game for the platform, which results in good controls and entertaining gameplay. The first time I grabbed my opponent and punched him into the ground was immensely satisfying.
Dragon Warrior plays almost flawlessly. Using two buttons, one for punching and one for kicking, the game relies on a single virtual-thumbstick to direct movement, perform combos, and perform high/low/strong/regular attacks. There are several different modes, but I stuck with story mode where I can level my character, and learn new moves while smacking the fool out of opponents from different fighting disciplines. I’m still figuring out how to perform the more rewarding combos, but even with my limited repertoire of moves, I have a lot of fun kicking my opponent half-way across the screen with that iconic, muscles flexed, face grimaced Bruce Lee style.
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