Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone
iPhone Integration Rating:
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Old-timer RPG players may remember a pen and ink RPG in the 80s called Champions. Players could create their own superheroes, then struggle through various scenarios crafted by the game's creators. The game never did much for me, but the concept of creating my own heroes certainly stuck. Heck, I bought the game just to see how character creation was handled. With the iPhone, what was once a mathematical and imaginary abstract can blossom into an electronic reality - at least, that's what the Superhero Creator app purports to do.
Let me back up. Superhero Creator for the iPhone DOES NOT generate RPG characters; it's more of an assistant for creating the look and powers of a customized comic book character. This basic idea is intriguing, but the app as a whole feels unfinished and incomplete.
Opening the app takes users directly to the first character creation screen, where you can choose facial expression, clothing (and clothing colors), skin color, hair, etc. There are a few problems here that need to be addressed. The first, and most prominent, is that currently you cannot create a female character. While I realize that many (perhaps most) comic book superhero fans are male, it still does not explain this strange lack in the app. The second is that there simply aren't enough options available here to make a character that is truly unique; all characters end up looking a little too similar, since there isn't any way to change the base physicality of the template character.
After the physical attributes and costuming issues are resolved, users are taken to a screen where they can chose abilities, traits and the character's headquarters. Points to the developer for including three ways to further enhance the character, but of the three only the headquarters changes anything visual about the character. It would be nice if the abilities and traits you chose for your character further mutated him or her visually.
After these tasks are complete, so is your hero. You can view him in his headquarters and standing with the other heroes you've created (only three can be saved at a time, however), and you can also email your creation to friends. Oddly, you can also go to a "danger room" styled environment where you can show off your powers in first person. There's a core idea here that is useful, but the implementation of this display of powers is pretty weak overall. And sharing via email is ok, but why not at least add Twitter and Facebook integration as well?
It's pretty clear that Superhero Creator is not yet ready for prime time. If the developer can address some of the issues mentioned in this review, it will go a long way towards making it an app that is more easily recommended to comic book fans.