Developer: Arroyo
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: ★★½☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Air Hockey Arcade XL finds itself nestled between strong presentation and gameplay that barely misses a good time. It’s a top-notch effort on the graphical side of the spectrum, pulling off a vibrant cartoon blend with well done effects. It’s a well represented, almost comic-like scheme that features a robust set of visual touches for things like exploding objects and the damage they leave behind.

But, like I said, the fun portion of the application is a tough stretch. That doesn’t come at a lack of effort either. The package itself is large enough here to offer a ton of entertainment were it not for the botching of the core gameplay. There are several different modes of play with a bunch of power-ups and game-changers available to players. Folks can even settle in before matches and choose exactly how their character will look for the duration. Those that can ignore the faults in gameplay will be able to enjoy a well valued title with a lot of content.

Folks looking to get down to two-player action will likely get a lot more mileage out of this one. While the gameplay is flawed (more on that in a second), the presentation and power-ups are enough to provide a foundation for fun with a friend. Solo play, however, is tough.

The game is just frustrating. In principle and initial execution, Air Hockey Arcade XL works just fine. Place your finger on the skater and treat it like an air hockey paddle. Slide to hit the puck and knock it into your opponents net. It’s too bad the size of the rink works so hard to ruin the core mechanic of play.

The rink is too small, and the skaters are too large. The result is a squished playing surface that becomes difficult to work in. Most goals are scored or blocked by sheer chance or error because of the constrained playing surface and the blinding speed it brings about.

While that may seem like a small complaint to work a review around, it really isn’t. A game based, essentially, on the mechanics of Pong has to be simple. Air Hockey Arcade XL accomplishes the simplicity just fine. But it also has to have 100% tight and fluid controls with barely any problems. And, unfortunately, that’s where Air Hockey Arcade XL slips up. The graphics are great, the modes and depth are great, but the control scheme brought on by the design choices absolutely limits this game from the realm of “must-have.”

Posted in: iPad Apps and Games, iPad Games, Reviews

Tagged with: , , , ,