At first glance, Hasbro’s my3D iPhone/iPod viewing attachment looks like an April Fool’s joke gone horribly wrong. Bearing a uncanny resemblance to the classic View-Master toy, the my3D might look like a piece of tech from last century, but surprisingly impresses with a robust starting lineup and completely reasonable asking price.
If Hasbro’s my3D had a catchphrase “Looks can be deceiving” would be the perfect fit. It really is the futuristic plastic cousin of the classic View-Master toy that first surfaced in the late 1930s. Not only does the my3D sport a similar look to the iconic View-Master, it capitalizes on the same stereoscopic eye trickery to bring still and moving images to life. By keeping your head and eyes attached to the black and blue googles the my3D doesn’t suffer from the “sweet spot” issues that early adopters of Nintendo’s 3DS have complained about.
This fixed view point makes the my3D’s visuals really pop, but creates it’s own issues due to the complete immersion the product provides. After 5 to 10 minutes I found myself needing to take a break because my eyes were working overdrive only fixating on the stereoscopic images flickering in front of my eyes. The my3D also uses the iPod/iPhone’s tilt sensor to create 360 degrees of movement, which sounds great in theory, but can be completely disorienting after you remove your focus from the head piece.
Plus, don’t expect to be picking up any strange sporting this tech gear at the local bar… retro sheik is so last year.
The hardware requires no batteries and is extremely simple to set up. The current version comes with 3 case trays supporting all current iPhone 3G and above handsets, and should be easily updated if Apple goes with a new hardware design in the future. Each unit also has it’s own serial number that consumer’s are instructed to enter once they download the main my3D app from the iTunes store.
It’s clunky and goofy looking, but the my3D delivers on it’s promise – a cost effective way to view 3D in the comfort of your own home. If you’re remotely interested in viewing media in a whole new dimension then run down to the local Target and pick one up.
DigitalNipples Hasbro’s my3D Score – 8 out of 10
La migra! Smuggle Truck is a physics-based driving game where gamers are challenged to smuggle their truckbed riding amigos across a “fictional” border that just happens to be a series of sand dunes with obstacles including cactus and armadillos.
Owlchemy Labs, Smuggle Truck’s developer, is quick to point out that the game is a satirical take on the problematic current US immigration system that has made the idea of smuggling a family across the border an almost acceptable solution versus a more straight forward quest to become a legal citizen… and I almost believed them until I saw the current trailer for the game on YouTube.
A truckbed filled with immigrants? Newborn babies falling from the sky? The concept behind Smuggle Truck needs it’s own Coyote to smuggle itself across the good taste border, which is a real shame, because the groundwork for Smuggle’s gameplay looks more addictive then Tiny Wings.
But Smuggle Truck won’t make headlines for it’s responsive controls or smart and balance level design, and I even wonder if I’d be writing about the game if it wasn’t for the questionable premise throttling Smuggle Truck”s engine. The real question for Smuggle Truck’s creators is why even flirt with the issue? They’re not fooling anyone with their “nameless” border shtick; so why not just slap on some sombreros, add a couple burrito power-ups, and maybe a taco stand or two?
Smuggle Truck is scheduled to launch in the app store sometime this month. Will mainstream media look at the product as yet another destructive and offensive video game controversy? Only time will tell, but until then I’ll leave you with a quote from Mexican comedian George Lopez that Owlchemy has plastered on Smuggle Truck’s home page “I wish I would have thought of that!”.
Me too, George, me too.
Younger readers may not remember, but there was a time where CGI graphics looked more like pastel cardboard box cut outs then lush pieces of moving art. GAMEVIL celebrates this old school visual style with it’s latest gesture based platformer, KAMI RETRO for the Apple iPhone.
KAMI RETRO’s main hero(s) and backdrops look like they were imported directly from the classic Dire Straits music video “Money for Nothing”.
Don’t let the game’s visuals fool you, this isn’t a simple 8-bit run and jump platformer. KAMI RETRO borrows heavily from the classic Lemmings formula, challenging players to figure out the best way to save their boxy protagonists from falling to their doom.
Each stage is created with a simple premise – get your mindless pixel heroes from the green to red portal. As the game progresses, the point-A-to-B design remains true, but KAMI RETRO also wisely throws in new mechanics and obstacles including springboards and air fans to keep things fresh.
Unlike most trail and error puzzlers, I never felt that a stage’s solution was purely left to luck. By making players repeat their chosen route four times in repetition, KAMI RETRO gives you a sense of accomplishment when you finish a level versus the typical “how the hell did I just do that?”
Another neat touch is that when you do decide to retry a stage, everything is left exactly as you last left it – a feature that should be a requirement in future platform puzzle games.
KAMI RETRO’s spot on gesture control system is amazingly tight. Much like the level design, I never felt my initial failures were due to the game’s response to my finger swipes. Players direct their onscreen followers with simple up and down or left and right screen strikes.
Using a familiar three star system, KAMI RETRO will have you coming back for more just so you can prove your dominance as a pixel pushing game master. KAMI’s scoring system is a mixture of weighing in how many stars you collected/heroes you saved/ and time it took you to complete each stage. And believe me, when the latter levels start picking your brain, each matrix will weigh heavy on each decision made.
KAMI RETRO doesn’t reinvent the wheel of gesture-based iPhone platformers, but KAMI’s slick 80s visuals and challenging gameplay earns the game every right to get it’s money for nothing and it’s chicks for free. GAMEVIL has a hit on their hands and I can’t wait for a sequel.
DigitalNipples KAMI RETRO Score – 9 out of 10
There are thousands of iDevice puzzle games in the App Store, but for every Peggle there are at least 20 Bejeweled clones. Finding a fresh game is a real challenge. Cash Cow Deluxe is not the most exciting game available for your new iPad, but it deserves a try just on originality alone.