Darren Rolfe here again with another look at what’s been catching my eye in the iTunes App Store this week.
Don’t they say an Englishman’s home is his Castle? Well, unfortunately over here at Chez Rolfe the builders have been in. So we moved out for a few days – to another castle. Yes we headed under the channel and across France to the Dream Castle. Yes, le house of mouse, was our new home for the next few days.
So what better device to entertain us on our trip? Of course my iPod Touch. Loaded up with a couple of cracking new apps. If you search for “Blackjack” on the iTunes App Store you will get a list as long as your arm of titles. We all know the basic idea behind Blackjack. Try and get “21″ or as close as possible with your hand of cards.
I don’t know why I happened to pick this particular incarnation but I’m so, so glad that I did. This has got to be one of the best applications that I’ve played so far. What makes this stand out for me is that it has been put together so well. The graphics are gorgeous. From the moodily lit table top, the brightly coloured chips and even the minute detail on the back of the cards.
There are also some great sound effects. You can hear the slap as the cards are dealt, the clink as the chips stack up and even the hum as the cards are shuffled. I’m no “card shark” , so when I start hearing phrases like spliiting hands, double downs and hitting soft 17’s it’s falling on deaf ears. Luckily there is a huge amount of background information available within the game.
From the history of Blackjack, to tips and strategies – it’s all there. There is even a section on card counting, luckily you can’t get thrown out of this Casino. All go to make this a joy and very, very addictive game to play.
On reflection it might be a bit more interesting if more players were available to compete but unfortunately it is just one player, you versus the house. We all know the house always wins, but there is one small consolation 21 Pro: Blackjack – Sponsored is FREE!
Overall I really enjoyed this game and if you like card games I think you will find it very addictive.
We are all familiar with classic Tetris game. If you aren’t where have you been? Now I’m probably going to annoy those ever so friendly people at FREEVERSE by daring to mention ‘Tetris’ in the same breath as their latest release Burning Monkey Puzzle Lab. But there’s no denying that there is definitely an ever so a slight whiff of Tetris about it. In FREEVERSE’s defence they have taken the iconic title and re-imagineered it for the iPhone/iPod Touch.
And they’ve succesfully come up with something different and fresh, which is quite an achievement. Now I promise to stop mentioning Tetris.
But they haven’t created just the one varierty. Nope, they’ve only gone and created five new puzzle strains in the obscurely named Burning Monkey Puzzle Lab.
They are as follows:
I’ve played all five for ages. But I seem to keep getting drawn back to two in particular. First up is Color reaction. The action takes place inside a beaker full of an ominous bubbling blue liquid situated inside a futuristic laboratory. The aim of the game here is to match the strings of cells to try and make combinations of four or more.
I mentioned the gameplay is immersed in liquid. Well this is the clever bit. So unlike the rigid blocks of that “T” game, gravity effects the fall of the cells. Cells can split as they hit other cells. This for me is the fundamental game feature as it brings a whole new aspect to the strategy of the game. It also makes it a lot more difficult.
Bonus Balls! Every once in a while you will be thrown a rogue cell. Rogue cells, can be anything from super bombs, laser cells, chameleons or brainwashers to name but a few. Play in one player mode or versus Monty the monkey with a split screen.
The other game that I’ve enjoyed playing is Zen Mode.
This is an environment where you can play all off the other style games, but in a more sedate, relaxing setting with no maniacal monkeys or bubbling chemicals. Just sit back and watch the oriental spheres gently tumble down a waterfall. The graphics are great and I love the way the designers have managed to capture that Japanese brush style.
Burning Monkey Puzzle Lab is a work out for your mind as well as your finger and Freeverse have successfully re-imangineered the falling block game genre for the iPod Touch/iPhone with some clever twists.
Value for money here is an understatement and at only £2.99/$4.99 for all 5 games within the Lab I think you’ll agree.