Version Reviewed: 1.2
Device Reviewed On: iPad Air
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Good arcade games got around their limited technology by being quick, tough, well-oiled machines. Scoop, which is very much in the style of old arcade games, gets those first two parts right. However, its simple design is marred by sloppy execution.
The classic game that Scoop takes most of its cues from is Asteroids. Both games have players navigating a ship on a single screen trying to avoid collisions with deadly meteors. However, instead of shooting space rocks to smithereens, players must scoop them up with a small device tethered to their ship. Therefore, the challenge comes from getting rocks to hit one thing the player controls and not the other.
Conceptually this is pretty interesting since it shifts the focus from straightforward combat to spatial positioning. However, the result is just clumsy and haphazard. Players swipe or tap on the screen to boost the ship around, but it moves in such a jerky, erratic way that where it ultimately ends up feels maddeningly up to chance. Meanwhile, the scooping device constantly swings around and most of the rocks it does collect are just through random coincidences. Luckily, although the ship can repair itself through rock collection, it’s still very fragile, so matches never too last long.
Unfortunately, Scoop's unspectacular presentation does little to alleviate its issues. There are a few different cosmic backgrounds the game swaps between, but they are all very generic. The designs for the ship and scooping device also fail to impress. The menus use kanji in a neat way that almost feels like something out of Dead Space, but that’s really the only noteworthy visual thing going on.
The golden age of arcades proved that simple tech worked just fine if the game was well-made. Simplicity could even be a virtue; a guiding principle in making something fun. Therefore, Scoop's problem isn’t that it’s very simple, it’s that it's just not very fun.