Tag Archives: NaturalMotion

Icebreaker Hockey Review: Different Sport, Same Gameplay, Same Fun

NaturalMotion.

A company that entered the App Store with so much fanfare with their highly-touted, new animation system that was supposed to be the best of the best.  And more than a year later, that animation system has proved to be the backbone for both their follow up Backbreaker Football 2 and Icebreaker Hockey.

The animations are still some of the best I’ve seen on the iPhone thus far, which does help its case, and entering hockey into the mix of its series really adds a whole new dimension.  For one, along with dodging all the defenders with spin, juke, and stop, you must get as close to the goal as possible without having the goalie take it away from you.

I do have to admit that the campaign mode is a little short—10 levels, 30 minutes—but it’s 30 minutes of thrill and just plain awesome.  You can also go back and try to earn all three stars on each level, plus there are over 40 achievements to unlock.  Not too much to complain about if you ask me.

Likes

Animations: It’s been over a year since Backbreaker Football was released, and still, the animations that are used are by far the best in the App Store.  Sure, it’s much harder to tell if the animations are the best or not, but NaturalMotion has done a great job with sticking to their roots and to the whole reason why they’re so successful in the App Store.

Replay value: Even though there are only 10 levels and two game modes, there is a lot of replay value enough to play over the game at least three times.  There are three difficulty levels for you to get through in each of the modes as well, so there’s actually much more than the 30 minutes of gameplay I mentioned above.  Casual games usually contain a lot of replay value, and Icebreaker Hockey is far from exempt from that.

GameCenter: The GameCenter implemented does contain some flaws that I’ll mention later in this review, but you really can’t complain about 42 or so achievements.

Dislikes

Graphics/UI: There’s no option to return back to the start menu; you have to go through that whole customizing player screen before getting to the start menu.  Along with that, it seems like a lot of the graphics aren’t Retina-friendly such as the opening logo for NaturalMotion and some of the UI elements.  I’m not going to say that it’s horrible, but it is unacceptable considering that Retina-friendly is pretty much given nowadays.

GameCenter achievements: Now I know I mentioned that there were a lot of achievements, but it would be nice if they actually synced with GameCenter.  For some reason, the achievements I’ve collected within the game don’t transfer over to GameCenter itself, meaning that the achievements in-game screen shows over 20 achievements achieved, but when going inside the GameCenter app, it shows that I have complete zero achievements.  It’s quite frustrating when you’re as competitive as I am, and a fix for this would be nice.

Icebreaker Hockey follows the footsteps of both Backbreaker Football and Backbreaker Football II with a fun and addictive gameplay, great animations, and great character models.  The UI and other graphical elements do need some work, and the GameCenter needs a bit of fixing up to do, but overall, Icebreaker Hockey is definitely worth the low asking price of $0.99.

Icebreaker Hockey was developed by NaturalMotion, and I played through version 1.0 on my iPhone 4.  The price is $0.99.


Backbreaker Football Review: And He Could Go All The Way!

Says ESPN’s Chris Berman when announcing a football game.  He’ll probably be doing that when playing Backbreaker Football or looking over your shoulder with an enchanted look in his face.  Backbreaker Football provides such an immersive experience through its fluid animations that you’ll be wincing after a crushing blow from the opposing team.  While it’s not a full football game, the mini-game aspect is more than I can ever ask for.

Likes

Graphics: The visuals are absolutely outstanding.  I actually had a friend look over my shoulder while playing I was playing the game, and he mentioned how good the graphics on iPhone were.  While most games don’t look quite like Backbreaker does, it’s still definitely one of those games that shows off what the iPhone can do.  Even the 1st generation iPhone that was released years ago (and the one I’m unfortunately still using).

Controls: The accelerometer controls and the spin/juke buttons worked extremely well when playing this game, and I had absolutely no problems.  While the screen did get a little shaky when playing in the car, controlling the character himself was very stable.  There’s really nothing more I can ask for in terms of controls and movement, and the tilt controls were near if not on par with perfect.

Animations: When they boast of having the best animations on the iPhone, they aren’t lying.  The tackling motions and the crushing sound effects add so much to the gaming atmosphere, and a crushing tackle will have you ooohh-ing and ahhh-ing.  You’ll wince when you get hit hard by an incoming tackler, and your spin moves and juke moves are very fluid.

Dislikes

A Little Easy: I found Backbreaker Football to be a tad bit easy, passing the entire endurance mode with little or no lives lost.  It’s basically spin right, spin left, then touchdown.  Of course, the game itself is very fun to play, but I did find it to be a little easy.  The challenges were also not very hard to pass, and it took me within one try to pass the challenges.

Backbreaker Football is a very immersive football experience that’s not a full game, but a very good mini-game.  The $0.99 price tag is absolutely perfect for a game of this type, and it seems to work quite nicely right alongside the other simple $0.99 games.  I really enjoyed Backbreaker Football, and while it was a little bit easy, it’s definitely a game that will keep you entertained for hours.

buy

Backbreaker Football was developed by NaturalMotion, and I played through version 1.0 on my 1st generation iPhone.  The price is $0.99 for a limited time only.

backbreaker_3

bckbreaker_2

Backbreaker Football Jukes To App Store

Backbreaker Football was reported to be coming to the iPhone during the month of August, and iPhone fans have been crying out for the game to be released.  While it isn’t a full football game, it’s more of a mini game that has you as the runner.  You must dodge the incoming tacklers using the onscreen buttons and the accelerometer.

The game is available for only $0.99 for a limited time only, and I really don’t see why you shouldn’t get it.  The game promises to feature one of the best animations on the iPhone along with the some of the best graphics due to a special engine that was built by NaturalMotion.  We should have a review of the game up soon, but in the meantime check out the game trailer.