Arcade Essentials Review
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Arcade Essentials Review

Our Review by Carter Dotson on July 6th, 2011
Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar :: INESSENTIAL
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Arcade Essentials is a collection of five games inspired by classic arcade games.

Developer: Nordcurrent
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPod touch 4

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar
Game Controls Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarblankstarblankstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar

Arcade Essentials brings multiple facsimiles of classic arcade games to iOS, all in one app. This app consists of five different games, all resembling classic arcade games in some way:

  • Interceptor: Space Invaders/Galaga clone. Space aliens fly in at the top of the screen, and they must be destroyed.
  • Terra Conqueror: This game is similar to Qix or BurnBall, for those who remember the early days of iOS gaming; the object is to box in a certain percentage of the grid, without getting hit by enemies while doing so.

  • Color Cells: Match-3 title similar to Bust-a-Move/Puzzle Bobble where colored cells must be matched up by launching them from the bottom of the screen, while the stack descends.

  • Troops Attack: Similar in a sense to Missile Command, the goal is to aim a stationary turret from the bottom of the screen at enemies who fall from the top of screen.
  • Hegagonum: Similar to Q-Bert, this game involves lighting up all the hexagons on the board while avoiding enemies.
  • Terra Conqueror and Heagonum are the strongest parts of this package; the first game brings a sort of Tron aesthetic to the Qix gametype, and the basic controls work well enough for the game. Hexaonum features a rotating 3D game board, bringing a new twist to what inspired it. Plus, there are 5 games in one app for $2.99; that's hard to beat in terms of value.

    The problem is that this whole package is just so horribly generic. Few of the games actually do anything particularly interesting beyond imitating old games. That is their hook alone, there is nothing really special about a lot of the games. The visuals are very bland, and the controls are mediocre on-screen controls that are nothing special. This whole package just has no hook to it, nothing to define it as being unique, nothing to bring players back to it beyond being a series of clones of established games. It's an app that is not interesting on its own merits at all. Plus, there's no Game Center support for high scores! This is a game all about high scores!

    My recommendation? Play the originals instead of the versions of these games in Arcade Essentials. Many of them are available on iOS in either their original forms, or in superior independently-made facsimiles. This collection is a neat idea, but these games need to be more than just simple clones to be interesting.

    iPhone Screenshots

    (click to enlarge)

    Arcade Essentials screenshot 1 Arcade Essentials screenshot 2 Arcade Essentials screenshot 3 Arcade Essentials screenshot 4 Arcade Essentials screenshot 5
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