Tag Archives: Illusion Labs

‘Touchgrind BMX’ Announced for Spring 2011

I’ve been wondering what those folks over at Illusion Labs have been up to, as ever since releasing Labyrinth 2, they’ve been more than quiet in recent memories.

But fear not: Illusion Labs is planning on releasing a BMX version to their classic Touchgrind, which used finger skateboards.  From the trailer, the game seems to be greatly improved with better graphics, more locations, and an entirely different control scheme (still multitouch, just different positioning).

We really don’t have anymore information other than the trailer, but hey, a video is worth a thousand pictures, right?

Foosball HD Review: It’s a Hit or a Miss

Soccer games seem to be flooding into the App Store with the launch of the 2010 South Africa World Cup, and while this one’s a bit of a stretch to be labeled as “soccer”, it can be labeled as one thing: foosball.  Foosball is a classic arcade/table game in which you control your men and try to shoot the ball into the other team’s goal.

You have around 4 different areas you have to control using the handlebars: goalie, defense, midfield, and offense.  Foosball tables usually go for around $100-$200, so $2.99 for having the more or less same experience on your iPad is marvelous.  Plus, you can carry it with you everywhere you go.

But sadly, this game is not for everyone.  It’s extremely simple and there’s not much to it, making for a quite lacking game in the eyes of a hardcore gamer.  It’s basically just a single player and two-player mode, and neither one produces any awards, level ups, or any beneficial things at all.

The two-player mode is marvelous though, and it’s a game that feels great on the iPad.  Just know what you’re getting into before purchasing it.

Likes

Graphics: As always, Illusion Labs does a phenomenal job with the graphics.  I’m quite taken aback that Illusion Labs is a four man team, since they produce games that rival those of Gameloft and EA.  Anywho, Foosball HD looks great.

It feels like the real thing: I haven’t played a real-life foosball game for around 2 or 3 years now, as they seem to be disappearing from places.  But Foosball HD feels like the real thing, except for the fact that the ball won’t bounce out of the table, and you can’t cheat by angling the ball to enter the court on your side.  Illusion Labs made this game feel so realistic that it’s unbelieveable.

Two-player: There’s really nothing to the two-player mode.  It’s basically the same thing without the AI moving the players.  But the thing about it is the fact that it’s ridiculously fun, and I had a blast playing it with my brother.

Dislikes

Very limited: This is one game that’s extremely limited in terms of who is going to play it and for how long.  In the two-player mode, you’re most likely only going to play one or two matches, and in the single-player, you’re bound to play maybe one or two matches before feeling lonely.

Not for the alone: If you’re living by yourself with little need for multiplayer games, then this is not a game for you.  The single player mode can only last for so long, and I believe the game is more centered around the two-player mode.  So if you’re living by yourself or don’t socialize with people that much (I’m talking about socializing face to face, not Facebook or Twitter), then this is definitely a no-go.

It’s too simple: This game is just way too simple.  There’s really nothing to it, and it would have been nice to add something… more.  Online multiplayer, bluetooth multiplayer, Wi-Fi multiplayer… the possibilities are endless.  Compared to many of the games on the App Store, Foosball HD won’t capture and immerse you like some do.

Foosball HD is a beautifully-crafted game on the iPad that just doesn’t have enough meat to back it up.  It does feel like the real thing, but you won’t get anything more.  It’s either an AI or no AI, with no progression in levels or awards of any sorts, and it’s strictly made for those looking for a good multiplayer experience.  Hardcore gamers are locked out of this game as well, as it will bore you after a few minutes.  So the audience for this game is quite limited, in my opinion, to people who will play multiplayer all the time and are large fans of foosball.  I’m neither, so this game didn’t quite appeal to me as much as it could have.

Foosball HD was developed by Illusion Labs, and I played through version 1.0 on my iPad.  The price is $2.99.


Labyrinth 2 HD Review: Illusion Labs does it again

Labyrinth 2 on the iPhone was a huge success, a game that re-invented marble rollers on the iPhone.  It was definitely one of my favorite games on the iPhone, and the potentially unlimited content kept me going and going and going… you get the point.  And with the arrival of Labyrinth 2 on the iPad, things just got 10 times bigger and better.

And again, people ask the same question: what’s different?  While Touchgrind HD was hard to distinguish with what was new, Labyrinth 2 is clear cut: new levels made specifically for the iPad, more obstacles on one screen, and HD graphics for even the iPhone levels.  Labyrinth 2 doesn’t exactly take advantage of every single aspect of the 9.7 inch screen though, but still, it’s a game worth buying.

Likes

Redone: I really like the fact that they redid all of the iPhone levels to be HD on the iPad.  That definitely took a lot of testing and such, along with all downloadable levels being resized to HD for the iPad.  This is a feature that definitely created the wow effect, and I was very impressed.

The iPad levels: The iPad levels are a lot more challenging than the ones on the iPhone, so for some seasoned veterans, the iPad version is yet another challenge.  The large screen means more obstacles, more are to cover, and more nooks and crannies to travel through to get to your goal.

Unlimited content: The content, like putting the population of China in a line, is never-ending.  Downloadable levels should more or less be always available, and there are always the iPhone levels to go through.  For $7.99, you receive unlimited hours of fun; and they say money can’t buy eternal happiness?  Well, it’s not that extreme, but still, there are a lot of levels to get through.

Dislikes

In-game level editor: This just seems like an oversight on Illusion Labs’s part.  An in-game level editor would have been much more convenient than the web-based one, and it would have totally worked.  Not enough space for a level editor is a viable excuse for the iPhone, but it’s not a viable excuse for the iPad.  This should be something that Illusion Labs addresses in an upcoming update.

Vertical tilting: When holding the iPad in a vertical position, tilting is extremely hard to execute.  The marble ball doesn’t seem to detect the tilting very well, so at times, you have to tilt the device all the way right or all the way left for you to move the marble even just a little.  This may be a problem with the device, but it may also be a problem with the game itself.  Please note that if you orient your device to the horizontal position, the tilting feels absolutely normal.

Laybrinth 2 HD is the same as it was on the iPhone: a wonder.  The iPad levels are extremely well made, the iPhone levels were all redone in HD, and I’m more than satisfied with what Illusion Labs brought to the App Store.  With Illusion Labs being one of the best developers on the App Store, Labyrinth 2 HD only helps their record as such.

Labyrinth 2 HD was developed by Illusion Labs, and I played through version 1.2.1 on my iPad.  The price is $7.99, and there is a lite version available.


Touchgrind HD Review: Bigger screen, bigger price?

This just happens to be the ongoing discussion in the iPhone gaming community: does the bigger screen warrant for my expensive prices?  Most iPad games don’t even do anything other than resizing the graphics and making them look all pretty on the iPad.  But like I said before, other than that, the iPad versions are the same thing as the iPhone version.

And that brings me to Touchgrind HD: what’s so different about it?  The iPad version has the same whatever and whatnot on there as the iPhone version for $7.99 versus the $4.99 price tag on the iPhone.

And while some may view it in that way, I view it in this way: bigger screen equals enhanced gameplay.  The bigger screen does wonders for Touchgrind, including the ability to see obstacles easier and pull off a skateboarding move with much more ease than the small iPhone screen.  There’s also the ability to do split screen multiplayer against your friends and family, bringing the multiplayer experience to the max.

If you think about it though, Illusion Labs didn’t add much to the gameplay other than the two-player, but what brings the game to the wonderous/amazing level is the iPad itself and nothing else.

Likes

Visuals: The standard for iPad visuals hasn’t exactly been set yet, so compared to the iPhone version, the iPad Touchgrind looks beautiful.  And when I mean beautiful, I mean luscious with a hint of a rough edge, grrr-ing skateboard-ness (if that makes any sense).  Illusion Labs claims that the visuals were all redone to fit the iPad, and it definitely looks that way when staring into the never-ending abyss of the iPad screen.

The bigger screen: This is why Touchgrind works on the iPad much better than the iPhone: it’s the bigger screen.  The iPhone version had some problems due to such small of a screen, and there were many times when I couldn’t see the obstacle in front of me.  My fingers also decided to be rebellious and block a lot of the screen, making for more of a “looking at your fingers move” type of game than actually taking in the beauty of Touchgrind.

The iPad takes this all away, and you can see your fingers along with the surroundings: the obstacles, the railings, you name it.  While they didn’t add much to the gameplay itself, the bigger screen makes Touchgrind feel like it was made for the iPad.

Two-player: The iPad was also made for this: split-screen multiplayer.  This is something that was impossible on the iPhone, and only a few checker games and such attempted at this.  But the iPad, again, brings a larger screen that has the ability to do these type of things.  I thought the two-player experience was fantastic, and heatedly competing against my brother was more than just a blast.

Dislikes

Touch detection: I had some troubles with the buttons not responding to my touch, and it even went to the lengths of my touch not registering on the board.  This only happened to me once, and as for the buttons, it’s only happened a couple of times.  It’s most likely a bug that’s more than fixable, but it’s a problem I faced at times.

Nothing new: It would have been nice to add some more boards, some more game modes, or even some achievements.  I don’t exactly understand how hard it is to port iPhone games onto the iPad, but still, it would have been nice.

Touchgrind HD was made for the iPad.  If you didn’t enjoy the iPhone version, I can’t think of a scenario in which you won’t enjoy it on the iPad.  While there weren’t many things added to the gameplay, I believe the $7.99 is justified.  It’s hard to explain just how much fun this game is on the iPad, but just take my word saying that $7.99 = good price.

Touchgrind HD was developed by Illusion Labs, and I played through version 1.0.1 on my iPad.  The price is $7.99.


iPad Games Hands-On: Flight Control, Touchgrind, and More

I visited the Apple Store today, not to get an iPad, but to test it out and see what it’s made of.  Once one of the demo models were available, I picked it right on up and launched Firemint’s Real Racing, a game that played phenomenally on the iPhone.  To me, racing didn’t seem like a type of game that would do well on the iPad, as the iPad looked a bit clumsy and large to tilt.  Boy, was I wrong.

Real Racing HD

Everyone has been saying this, and I’ll say it again, the resolution on the iPad screen is absolutely phenomenal.  When tilting away on the iPad, the experience was much more immersive than that of the iPhone.  The graphics were also quite amazing, and the cockpit view felt like I was actually driving.  Real Racing on the iPad works much better than on the iPhone, and I was completely blown away by one, the graphics and two, the resolution.

Flight Control HD

Yet another game that benefits from the iPad’s large screen.  The iPad version also adds another 4 iPad-specific maps along with a split-screen mode for multiplayer.  I tested out the split-screen mode and found it to be quite nice, although it seems that that mode can only be played on a flat surface.  As for the single player, new maps, the large screen brought out much of the color.  I wouldn’t say that the iPad version changed the gameplay experience to awesome sauce, but again, the resolution and aesthetics were what blew me away.

Touchgrind HD

This is one game that was screaming, convulsing, and pissing its pants to be on a larger screen.  The concept was absolutely wonderful, and it’s a game that can only be executed on a touchscreen.  So it only made sense for it to be brought to the iPad, and the larger screen made viewing the skate park much easier.  While I had some slight problems with the touch responsiveness, it was definitely a game that benefited from the larger screen.  And like all the games above, the resolution was absolutely amazing.

Madden NFL ’10 Zoomed In

The demo iPad was also loaded up with App Store games, including Madden NFL.  So what the heck, of course I would love to play some ground n’ pound football right on that big screen.  And from my impressions with it, it worked surprisingly well.  The graphics were slightly pixelated but not too bad, and the controls worked okay.  Madden neither benefited or declined on the iPad, and the experience felt the same as the iPhone.  The only thing different I have to point out is this: playing on the iPhone is like playing the PS3 on a 20-inch TV, while playing on the iPad is like playing on a 52-inch screen; whichever one you prefer to play your games on.

I didn’t get to try out anymore games on the iPad due to the large amount of people to lay waste to the device, but from my experience, gaming on the iPad and gaming on the iPhone is like comparing gaming on the PS2 to gaming on the PS3.  Sure, the iPad may be expensive and somewhat awkward to hold at times, but the larger screen and higher resolution fully immerses you in the game, something that the iPhone hasn’t quite been able to do.