December 24, 2009

Apps Weekly: Labyrinth 2 + Unreal Engine 3

A lot of the App Store's more prolific developers find their roots in the time before the App Store. So yes, one was forced to actually jailbreak an iPhone to get some games or apps. Tap Tap Revenge saw its roots there, and so does Labyrinth.
When the App Store rolled out, Codify AB's Labyrinth was one of the first apps that appeared and it just instantly became popular. Two years later, Illusion Labs, with Codify's blessing, creates a damn good sequel.
It has loads of new features like a level creator, bluetooth multiplayer, and some creative obstacles.
The game comes pre-loaded with quite a number of level packs. I haven't played through all of them yet (although I can safely say that some of the Hard packages are pretty damn hard), but the replay value is pretty much infinite since there are also some user-created levels available for download.
Also, the game features more obstacles like a merry-go-round, cannons, ball replicators (which can really make the game a bit complex), floor switches, electric fans, lasers, security lasers, pinball bumpers and tons more.
So yes, you roll around through tilt, like usual, and in the menu you can choose to calibrate it if you wish. If you finish a level, you get a congratulations, and you also get a look at how long you took to finish a level, and sometimes even the achievement you unlocked.
Because, yes, as if the replay value wasn't high enough, the game features tons of achievements and unlockable types of balls you can choose to play "as".
I've also tried the Multiplayer: it connects to another iPhone/iPod touch very fast, and it's much more user-friendly than the usual employment of this feature.
Still, much frustration can be had when, for example, a level is just cheap rather than genuinely hard at times. Other than that, Labyrinth 2 is a well-designed game that has tons of replay value which makes it automatically worth the 5 dollars.
And in a surprise news item, the near ubiquitous Unreal Engine 3 used in games like Bioshock, Batman: Arkham Asylum, and of course, Unreal Tournament 3, has taken form in the iPhone, and it seems to be running pretty well.
This exciting development may pave the way for more major developers to make games, however, the catch to the Unreal Engine is that it requires a device that supports OpenGL ES 2.0, that simply means that you must have either an iPhone 3GS or an iPod touch in either 32 or 64GB models.
And I'm pretty much ready to take that on.

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