Developer: The Iconfactory
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

RampChamp1Ramp Champ, a reimagined skee ball game from DS Media Labs and Iconfactory finally showed up in the App Store today. Rarely have we seen such anticipation for a game from indie developers. But then again, building anticipation for an app is something that DS Media Labs and Iconfactory have done so well in the past, why not do it again? Unfortunatly to me, the build up doesn’t match the pay-off.

The Iconfacotry have created such fantastic iPhone title as Twitterrific, and Frenzic. In addition they have designed some amazing iPhone apps for other companies. DS Media Labs have brought us such games as Light Riders and the uh, how to put it, not so well received Eminem’s Relapse. They are mainly a third party app development house producing iPhone apps for other companies. These two companies have teamed up and developed Ramp Champ.

Ramp Champ is a recreation of the boardwalk classic Skee Ball. The game where you roll balls up a long ramp onto a slanted board with holes in it, each with point values. In most skee ball games, and Ramp Champ included, you get tickets. The more points you score, the more tickets you get. This game re-creates the classic by giving some new and imaginative targets to the end of the ramp. These include clowns, a very nice re-creation of Space Invaders, sea creatures, and even icons. In addition, there are currently two add on packs that you can buy, each including 2 new games, for $0.99 each via in-app purchasing.

The game builds on the basic game play by having not only points and tickets, but also trophies and goals for each different game. The goals include targets for the number of points or knocking down a certain number of a kind of target on the game.

RampChamp3With this game you can also redeem the tickets you earn for in game trinkets, just like you can on the boardwalk. This is surely to be a hit with those gamers that like to gather prizes.

I do have some reservations though. For one, I’m not really convinced that a game like this translates well to the iPhone. The control area is so small that it takes quite a while to get used to rolling a ball accurately. Even after many plays it’s still a little iffy. That said, the controls, as implemented, are good, just a bit cramped for the screen size.

Second while there is no doubt that this game is beautifully created, once I fully explored the game and it’s design, I wasn’t too interested in continuing. While I don’t think it’s boring, there’s just not that much to explore or look forward to unless you are interested in gathering the virtual prizes or trophies.

Finally, I wonder if some sort of social aspect would have made the game more compelling to me. While trophies don’t interest me, competition might.

Overall the game is wonderfully imaginative, beautifully designed, plays well, but unless you are really into the collection aspect, the game will likely grow a little repetitive after a few plays.

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