|Home > Infotech > Indian||
App Review: The Olympics In Your Hand
Thursday, June 21, 2012:
App Review: The Olympics In Your Hand
Games built around the Olympics have been notorious for their lack of quality. However, the official mobile game for the 2012 Olympic Games could change that.
Not too many might have realised it, but the forthcoming London Olympic Games will be the first to have been held after the "app revolution." Yes, previous editions of the Games have had "official apps and games" for various platforms, but they have been token attempts and have seldom come close to delivering the kind of excitement that one associates with the Games. Given the rapid progress that mobile app development and gaming have made over the past three years, you would not have blamed us for expecting something special from the official game for the 2012 Olympics.
And we are delighted to say that we have not been disappointed. Released a couple of days ago, the London 2012 - Official Game (that's what it is called) is easily one of the most entertaining sporting event games we have ever played. At the time of writing, the game is available for both Android and iOS devices and is available in free and paid versions. We opted for the free version on the new iPad and the Motorola Xoom - it is a 143 MB download on the iPad and a 72 MB one on the Xoom. The game installed smoothly and then the fun started.
The idea behind the game is to let you participate in nine Olympic events - 100 meters sprinting, 110 meters hurdles, 100 meters freestyle swimming, double trap shooting, triple jump, pole vault, 100 meters butterfly stroke swimming, kayaking and archery. Of course, you cannot just leap into the Olympic arena but have to make your way through training routines and challenges before staking your claim at the highest level. Helping you along the way are lots of items that will help you customise your athlete. Speaking of which, you have to start off the game by "building" your athlete in terms of ability and appearance. Depending on the kind of attribute you give to him and her, events will be allotted to them - so if you go for "strength", you will get the 100 meters swimming and sprint, and if you go for "agility" then you might end up with a shooting event. As your performances improve, you move up levels and unlock other events.
The real charm of the game, appropriately, is in the gameplay. The developers have leverage the touch interface of Android and iOS to the utmost - so sprinting involves tapping on the screen as quickly as possible without both fingers hitting the screen simultaneously (doing so will trip up the runner) and swimming means swiping your fingers up and down the screen, again doing so while ensuring that both fingers do not swipe in the same direction at the same time. Shooting involves using the device's accelerometer to aim and tapping the cross-hairs when you want to shoot. Almost all the games have been given a touchscreen makeover and the best part is that they are loads of fun. We are still trying to reach the qualification mark for the 100 meters sprint and have so far managed to do the distance in a blistering 10.6 seconds - our fingertips have blistered, that is.
How long you can compete in an event depends on your stamina points. You start off the game with ten and expend them by ones and twos whenever you participate in an event or a challenge (but not in training). Your stamina replenishes after about half an hour of gameplay but you can also purchase additional stamina points either with the points you have earned with your performances or with real money (yes, in-app purchases). Honestly, we had no problems playing the free version of the game, as we normally had run through half an hour of gameplay before our stamina ran out - but those with lower patience thresholds might prefer the paid version of the game, as it comes with extra stamina points.
The game looks good, with its cartoonish take on the Olympics a refreshing change from the wooden attempts to ape reality by other developers - we loved the depictions of both celebrations and moments of despair. Gameplay is simple and very addictive and we loved the sound of the crowd when we were participating in events. Worth playing? Absolutely. Even if you do not like the Olympics. The Olympics finally have an official game worth downloading.
Get it from: Google Play (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nwi.london2012&feature=search_result) iTunes App Store (http://itunes.apple.com/in/app/london-2012-official-mobile/id514520676?mt=8)