Unwanted Guest: iPhone Edition

Our Review by Phillip Levin on February 25th, 2011
Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: STORY TIME
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A new kind of storytelling brought to iPhone.

Developer: Moving Tales
Price: $4.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone

iPhone Integration Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Re-use Value Rating: starstarblankstarblankstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar

I'm one of those people who doesn't read directions. When I decided to review Unwanted Guest: iPhone Edition, it was mainly because the title caught my attention and the screenshots looked interesting. So, I downloaded it and started it up.

Turns out, Unwanted Guest is not really an app in the traditional sense. It's not a game, and it's not a utility. Rather, it's a story – a digital adaptation of a Jewish folktale. The app comes from Moving Tales, a studio who has released similar storybook apps for iOS, including a version of Twas the Night Before Christmas as well as The Pedlar Lady.

Altogether, Unwanted Guest is an experience that doesn't last longer than 10 minutes. This is the story is of an old man who one day awakes to find an unwanted guest in his home (poverty) and his journey to kick that guest out. The narration is set to animated scenes, which can be flipped through in a similar fashion to cover flow. The app features stylized visuals that bring the story to life, creating a storytelling experience that's somewhere in between a book and cartoon.What's more, no two viewings of Unwanted Guest are identical. The app uses randomly selected alternate views for each scene, so you'll get a slightly different experience each time.

The iPhone version of the app does have an annoying feature that I wish could be turned off. Whenever you move the phone too much, the narration will stop and the text will move off the screen, essentially pausing the story. It would be nice to be able to turn this feature off, as I found myself triggering it accidentally more than I did intentionally.

Unwanted Guest: iPhone Edition is an interesting concept. The tale here is not wildly exciting, but it is intriguing, and I was curious how it would unfold as I listened to the narration and watched the animated scenes. However, at $4.99, I'd have a difficult time recommending purchasing the app. It's not that it's not an interesting experience – it is. But for the price of admission, you're just not getting that much.


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