Friday, March 27, 2009 at 10:00AM by Johnny5
Sometimes these reviews get tricky. Many times games and apps are easily worth the money. They are well designed, fun to play and use, and overall just great ways to show off the iPhone. Other times they are bad--terribly designed, boring or too difficult or hard to use. Or their function is just not that cool (I'm looking at you, Nunchaku). Other apps are great, but are missing a few features or have room for improvement.
Then there are apps like LD50 by Prehiti Labs. The game is very well crafted, the graphics are good, and the gameplay is as good as one could expect. For me, though, the game just isn't that fun, it's more complicated than I'd like, and it takes way to long to learn and get into.
If you are into these kinds of games, ignore me. This is one of those frustrating times where I run up against a brick wall when trying to be objective, finding the limits of my own taste. I KNOW people like this game. I've seen the reviews on the iTunes store. And, technically, I can't point to anything that is wrong with it. I just don't enjoy playing it.
The game has a simple starting point. It can be summed up in one sentence, straight from the game. "As punishment for blowing up the earth, you are now tasked with saving all of humanity." Heavy. You live in a "pod city" with a shielded shell, and you find yourself in battle with alien pod cities. Your job, then, is to protect yourself by boosting your shields or moving your city while simultaneously attempting to destroy the other pod city. You do this by launching missiles, creating earthquakes, shooting lasers, and utilizing a whole cadre of weapons.
So the game is half skill, half strategy. Like in battleship, you take turns with your opponent attempting to do damage to each other. If you don't die and manage to destroy your opponent city, you move on to the next level. Also, the game has two modes: campaign (for when you want an all-out marathon of a game), and quick match, giving you your quick LD50 fix for the day.
The directions are quite complicated and take some getting used to. You can conrol the pitch and yaw on all your weapons to aim them. Then control the power with which you launch in order to hit your opponent city. Remember, though, that a direct hit to a city might knock it into a valley and change its coordinates, forcing you to adjust your settings with each turn.
If you win, you progress to the next city in a different and somewhat more difficult terrain. After each level, you have an opportunity to restock weapons and ammunition using credits you have earned. Eventually, you find yourself shooting through and around mountains etc. It's quite a cool concept.
And if you are into this kind of strategy and skill-based shooting game, this one is absolutely 100% worth the $1.99 price tag. If you're like me, though, you prefer your games to be a little more fast-paced and adrenaline heavy. I just couldn't get into the mind space of this game.
The writing in the menus, however, is fun and tongue in cheek. Things like "how ironic" and "don't die" add a little infusion of self-awareness that this kind of complicated game needs to stay fun, and I give kudos to the game developers for keeping their sense of humor.
Don't let this review scare you away from the game. If you think I'm an MTV generation idiot for getting bored with this one (many have called me much worse, and for less of a reason), then give it a try. Or, if you're on the fence, try the Lite Version. See if it's your cup of tea.
Me, I'm going to stick to simple puzzle and shoot-em-up games. This just isn't for me.
You can buy LD50 HERE.