SpaceRide: a Rocketship Through Space

21 06 2011

Let’s take a rocket
A crazy kind of rocket
Let’s take a rocketship through space
It’s the final frontier, baby

[Montoya]Let me ‘splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.[/montoya]

I’ve often been amused by the app store. You see some pretty ridiculous things at times. But back on the 31st of May, shortly after proclaiming there ought to be a national holiday celebrating the arrival of Vidalia onions in the grocery store (and you know I’m right…Earth Day? Who would care if it didn’t give us tasty onions?), I saw an app store description so absolutely ridiculous that I felt compelled to tweet about it, which I’d never done before.

A few days later, another tweet followed with something equally absurd. Finally, after about a week, I stumbled upon an app that was so bizarre (be worried, it will show up here soon enough) that I decided I wanted to share the insanity in a broader format. The realization that I needed to not just talk about these apps, but to actually play and review them cemented the whole shebang.

So, without further ado, here’s the app store description that started all of this, presented to you in its entirety with limited commercial interruption:

SpaceRide is a ride through space, where you have to ride your spaceship through space and avoiding the space monsters. The more you get miss the more lives you get, collect the jewels falling to collect more points.

I think @pharaby said it best when she replied “….so, it’s all about…SPACE?! ”

Having purchased and played SpaceRide I can confirm that, yes, it is indeed about space. You need no longer suffer in anguish over that little mystery. Strangely, the in-game text is far more coherent.

SpaceRide

Developer: David Spalton
Purchase Price: $0.99

SpaceRide is a vertical-scrolling game where you tilt your iDevice to avoid “the evil Space Bubbles”. There’s no shooting here, just avoiding. Apparently, Space Bubbles are much more resilient than normal bubbles and don’t pop.

So you tilt your device (while holding it either horizontally or vertically) to dodge the bad guys falling from the top of the screen. You get points as time passes, and also for picking up space gems. There are no levels, no boss fights, no increase in speed or enemy frequency, nothing. Nada. Zilch. You’ll have seen everything the game has to offer within seconds. Furthermore, the game is ridiculously easy: you could keep a single game going indefinitely if you wanted. And hey, feel free to post that high score to Facebook!

Visually, I was surprised to see that the aforementioned ride actually has a really cool 80’s retro vibe going for it. This ship would look totally at home in a Galaga clone. The Space Bubbles are a bit of a different story. Actually, they’d be more convincing as Space Boogers.

One thing I just have to mention: if you’ve played iOS games with poor tilt controls, of which there are many, you can imagine my sense of dread when I realized SpaceRide was exclusively tilt-controlled. Shockingly, the controls are really good, among the best I’ve seen. Too bad there isn’t a more exciting game to go with them.

(Ironically, this video showing the opening minutes of MTV’s first broadcast appears to be flash-based and I can’t find a suitable replacement. Sorry!)

SpaceRide is certainly not the worst the app store has to offer (though I can safely say we’ll be visiting that territory soon enough). It’s also not something I’d suggest you go out and spend money on. Still, kind of like “Video Killed the Radio Star“, it will hold a place in my heart as the one that started it all.

Survey Says:

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I’ve Stepped in it Now

19 06 2011

Several days ago, I bought the first app I intend to review, but I’m saving its identity for the moment. Actually, I think I’m up to five purchased, already. I had to stop looking at what was coming out or risk finding more.

I think my one real concern (seeing as how finding crappy apps–should we just call these “crapps” from now on?–to review won’t be a problem) is making the write-ups funny. Nobody wants to read straight reviews of lousy games. The whole point of starting this was to shine a light on the less viewed corners of the app store and find humor in the process. I’ve already discovered that while there certainly are some laughably bad apps out there, some are just mediocre, or perhaps have an amateurish aspect to them. I don’t particularly want to savage people that are novice designers. Now, novices that think they are brilliant, that’s a different story.

Anyway, I’m working on some graphics for the site and hoping to try and get an interview with the creator of the first game I am reviewing. Now to figure out how to tell the guy why I want to interview him without him wanting to punch me in the face. Eh….on second thought, maybe we should forget that part for now.





Meet Scoop

19 06 2011

So, a site built around reviews of the tragically bad needs a different kind of review scale. Since the site is geared toward identifying the worst of the worst, the highest score should mean we’re found something epically bad. We need to convey that visually. That’s where the new ICFAS mascot comes in.

Meet Scoop: 

As far as a scale goes, there’s something that bothers me on many review sites: they don’t use the full range of scores. It is meaningless to have a scale from 1-10 if nothing ever scores lower than a 5 or 6. We’re going to go with a much smaller scale.

The idea is to separate games out into one of three categories. A game is either horrifically bad, not very good (which is pretty much what we expect), or better than expected, maybe even half-decent. So we are using a scale of one to three pile of our buddy scoop. where one would be for a game that actually isn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. A single scoop might actually be worth paying money for. A double scoop would indicate a game that isn’t very good, as expected, but isn’t atrocious. A triple scoop represents the very worst of the worst. If you see Scoop, but he’s not on fire, that’s considered a half-scoop.

My best friend proclaimed he would actually visit a website with reviews like that and my wife couldn’t decide if I were truly brilliant or insane. Thoughts? (there I go, talking to myself again…)





Exploring the seamy underbelly of the iOS

19 06 2011

I love Apple’s App Store. I have dozens of apps on both iPhone and iPad, not counting the piles of deleted apps that were once enjoyed but no longer desired or simply those I tried and wished I hadn’t. Most of those apps are games. You know some of them, like Angry Birds, Bejeweled, and Puzzle Quest. There are plenty of others you may not know, such as Day of the Oasis, Sword & Poker, and Pinball Tristan.

There are all sorts of places you can go to find out about great games for iOS, one of my favorites being Touch Arcade. But there are many games that show up on the app store that you’ll probably never hear about because they aren’t as professional-looking. This is a shame, because there’s some serious entertainment value among them.

So the original idea behind this blog was to scour the app store for the absolute worst it has to offer and serve it up on a silver platter so we could laugh at bad translations and marvel at the general weirdness. But then, I had a very dangerous idea. Why not actually BUY the most ridiculous apps I can find, play them, and write up reviews?

So, welcome to It Came From the App Store.