USM makes their iPhone debut with Ben Hur Live for iPhone, a game based on the movie “Ben Hur”. In this game, you control a chariot by tapping on the horses, and moving by sliding the horse. Of course, the screenshots look decent and all, but the uninteresting gameplay will leave you $3 poorer and more bored than ever before.
Design: The overall design for this game was decent, and I really can’t complain about the epic opening movie and the well laid out menu design. The horse icons were also well designed along with the overall gameplay area. While the horse and people graphics could use some work, the overall design was well done. It looks professional, and it actually looks like a movie game.
Original: I haven’t come across anything like this in the App Store, and it’s a nice experience to have. While I’m not a huge fan of horse racing, Ben Hur Live was a good introduction to the genre. The design was well laid out, and the horse racing did get pretty intense at times. The fact that this company didn’t make another match-3 or puzzle game is a good sign to future innovations.
Tutorial: Tutorial pretty much leaves the user in the dark, and it took me forever to finally understand the control scheme. I actually learned the control scheme by myself after going through many frustrating rounds of losing to the AI. I thought the tutorial was a little bit inadequate when it came to explaining the gameplay mechanics, and there are still some times when I don’t understand what’s going on.
Balancing: Balancing is not horrendous, but it’s still pretty bad. I breezed through the first two levels quite easily only to be confronted by a level that took me forever to beat. The AI suddenly increased to around 6 chariots with obstacles zooming by my poor wooden chariots, and there would be times when my chariot suddenly lost health for absolutely no reason at all.
Uninteresting: The game itself is quite boring, and it would have been better to implement an Asphalt 4 type of gameplay, but instead of cars, there are horses. The control scheme works well once you learn how to control it, but the game itself is just plain boring. Tapping the horses and turning left and right whenever a turn is coming up is not exactly interesting to me, and while it did get intense at times, the gameplay is sorely lacking.
Ben Hur Live is a typical movie game that lives up to the movie game reputation. It’s definitely nothing like the epic Ben Hur movie I watched a long time ago, and it’s definitely not a game that I enjoyed. Sure it does have the name “Ben Hur” on there along with the word “Live”, but it really doesn’t have anything to do with Ben Hur. It’s poorly designed gameplay wise, and the gameplay mechanics are just poor. The unhelpful tutorial is also a factor that keeps the player uninterested and wanting to delete the game forever.