Dec 26 2012
The iPhone has had many third party peripherals released for it, some useful some not, but which category does the AppBlaster from Apptoyz fall into? Is it a waste of money of a fun tool for iPhone gamers?
The AppBlaster is a well designed and well built plastic double triggered gun with a cradle for your iPhone to sit in a landscape orientation on top of the device. Each trigger activates a separate switch in front of the iPhone which touches the screen with conductive connectors which the iPhone registers as an on screen touch.
This provides a mechanism to simulate a gun system for your iPhone with the handset detecting movement and providing a window on the action, whilst physically being able to hold a physical gun increases the level of interaction for the gamer. Does it work well in practice? While it obviously depends on the App the results can be engaging.
Several Apps are available in the App Store which are compatible with the AppBlaster varying in cost but in this article we are going to look at 3, Alien Attack, Duck Hunter & Marine Sharp Shooter.
Alien Attack is heavily publicised on the packaging and is an example of how the iPhone technology can be utilised with the AppBlaster to provide an engaging gaming experience. Alien Attack in an augmented reality game, projecting computer generated aliens over the real world environment captured with the iPhones camera. A radar on the bottom of the screen shows the distance and the direction of the alien targets and as you physically move around and change the direction and angle of the gun the on screen environment changes appropriately. Alien Attack may not be the most complex game in the App Store but its fun in short doses and shows the potential of the hardware.
Duck Hunter is a take on the classic Duck Hunt lightgun style game, the premise is simple, ducks fly from one side of the screen to the other and you shoot as many as you can as the game gets steadily more difficult. The cartoon style graphics add to the amusement and the occasional upgrade to a machine gun provides a brief alternative and change in pace. The game wouldn’t work very well with just a touch screen but with the addition of the AppBlaster the games rises to a new level and becomes a great deal of fun and a great party game.
Marine SharpShooter is a much more serious game and one that requires much more subtlety. Playing the part of a sniper you are set missions to take out enemies from a distance, each scene requires you to shoot several enemies through a telescopic sight, due to the magnification each movement is magnified several times but its impressive how the iPhone can detect very small movements allowing you to make small alterations to your aim. Its these small movements and enemies that shoot back after they become aware of you which makes the game very atmospheric, add in hostage rescue elements and the game play becomes very tense and exciting.
In conclusion many will mistakenly see the AppBlaster as a novelty or gimmick but with the right App it can become a genuinely engaging gaming peripheral.