Here are some very brief reviews of the iPhone 2.0 apps I’ve downloaded and used since getting the leaked firmware last night:
- Advent: As terrible as Adventure ever has been. Truly a monument to incompetent game design. Also one of the greatest pieces of evidence in human history that constraints on your possible choices at any given moment make life more interesting rather than less interesting. In fairness, though, everything wrong with this game was wrong with it for the last quarter of a century: there is no new awfulness that should be blamed on the porters.
- AIM: Very usable, but I have not yet had a chance to leave myself logged in while I walk away from the phone to see how (or even if) it handles incoming messages when running in the background.
- LifeGame: Every programmable system needs a version of Conway’s Game of Life. This implementation is quite good, but has one serious flaw: the dots are so small that you cannot systematically control their placement using the touchscreen. There should probably be an option to zoom in on the screen while adding dots so that you can get fine-grained placement. Otherwise, this app deserves a lot of praise.
- Phonesaber: Fun, but like everything using the accelerometer, it is difficult to control at first. I, for one, tend to be surprised when the placement of the phone doesn’t translate into meaningful acceleration and therefore produces no sound. It’s just a novelty item, though, so I can’t complain.
- Remote: Absolutely brilliant. A wonderful interface for controlling iTunes, which is particularly great if, like me, you’ve set up iTunes to use remote speakers through an Airport Express.
- SuperMonkeyBall: A great game, but very difficult to get used to because the controls are purely implemented using the accelerometer. There are very impressive graphics, and the game as a whole is a true testament to the sophistication of the iPhone 2.0 firmware as a platform for applications.
- TapTheBeat: Minimally functional, intolerably ugly graphics and accompanied by a naïvely audacious advert wondering if people would be willing to pay for an upgraded version. Unimpressive, though still somewhat useful. A real beat calculator program should include a metronome that clicks out the tempo you’ve just input and absolutely needs to be less brutal on the eyes.
- Trism: A game as brilliantly thought out as the original Tetris. It makes truly inventive and intelligent use of the accelerometer and is amazingly addictive. I can see this setting the standard for accelerometer use in games.
- Twitterific Incredibly useful and well-designed. Probably the best example I’ve used (relative to the Facebook and Myspace apps) of a web service turned into an application.