App Reviewed on: iPhone 4
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Augmented reality is a cool concept, but sadly it isn't wildly popular. Using cameras and sometimes 3D effects to display virtual objects in the real world seems like the precursor to holograms to me, but almost every implementation thus far has been written off as a gimmick. Sony's Eye of Judgement (an augmented reality card game) managed to gain a sizable cult following and Nintendo has shown some promising tech demo's on their latest handheld, but the technology is still grossly under used. Luckily, Pop Culture Software has seen the merit of such technology and implemented it in their new iOS app.
RC vCar is labeled a game, but there are no objectives, goals, or scores. The opening screen offers a small selection of vehicles to choose from, and then provides the ability to control said cars on whatever background the iOS device's camera is focused on. It works best on a smooth flat surface because there's no collision detection, and seeing an RC car float through a bowl of fruit, or in mid air for that matter, really hurts the suspension of disbelief.
The controls are smooth and the ability to use the vehicle's horn and head lights are a nice touch, but the actual drivable area seems limited by the small screen size of the iPhone. Out of the handful of cars offered, the police car and the bus are the most enjoyable because of their unique appearance and features. Being able to activate the police lights/sirens was a nice touch, but I wish all the cars in RC vCar had more unique features.
RC vCar would be much more appealing if it had more interactive features. Perhaps virtual cones to drive around or a mileage counter would make it more game like, but as of now I consider it more of a conceptual experience than an actual game. I'm not sure if augmented reality allows for collision detection, but it would be especially cool to build ramps and drive over them. For the price, RC vCar is a fun distraction and it will probably impress peers at the office, but without any source of motivation it can grow tiresome.
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