Category: developers journal

Edge – the best game for iPhone (and what can you learn from it)

Author: Daemon November 27, 2009

For the heretics that never saw this game, here is a nice demonstration:

During the past 2 months I have tried quite a lot of iPhone games claiming to be “the best” or “really must have” and whatnot. I can tell you one thing with confidence: 99% of them turn to rubbish after just 2 minutes of gameplay.

Of them all, EDGE, turned to be the one game that shines on all points. Hell, it invents new points and shines on them too. And laughs in the face in all other iPhone games. Let me elaborate:

1: The idea
Whereas most of iPhone games are just clones of normal PC/Console games shrunk down and made ugly due to lack of true processing power, Edge goes original. Developers, Mobigame, thought of the limitations of hardware and set that as their boundary: make something that is original AND can smoothly run on all iPhone platforms. So they made an isometric world that consists of low polygon objects – cubes, added some life to it and a twist (being able to “levitate” the main cube on it’s edge).

2: The feeling
What Mobigame really understands is psychology of games for iPhone. You see, the demographic of people that use iPhone the most today can be summarized into one sentence: the geeks that played games on Commodore 64 and Amiga. The people who were 15 years of age back then are now about 30ish, have cool jobs (see, all that geekines paid of – screw you captain of the football team) and run around sporting their iPhones. Edge is the perfect example of a game that was made for that demographic. It has a feeling like you are still playing Amiga game, only much smoother and fancier. It is a true future retro.

3: The graphics
There are no fancy 3D models, no shiny objects, no pixel pushed characters. Just smooth straight surfaces shaded in perfect gradients. Visually minimalistic, yet still this game provides orgasmic eye stimulation beyond measure.

4: Learning curve and skill factor
Where most iPhone games fail is learning curve. Take for example Aera, a 2.5D aeroplane game. I, a gamer, was able to complete level 2 only after about 15 minutes of play, and I decided to delete the game on level 3. It is just insane. Edge – smooth as a 20 year old whiskey. It drags you in. And then, once you comprehend how the game functions, it takes some time for you to really master it. The skill is a factor in this game, unlike most other games that once you “get” them – that’s it, you can finish them by just pressing the A button fast enough.

5: Time investment
There are some great games out there. Real Racing comes to mind. However, the developers sometime go too far and make you invest at least 45 minutes per session in order to achieve anything! People do not have that amount of time! I bought Real Racing, it is impressive, and I just do not play it. I do not have a chunk of 2 hours on my hands in order to learn a track and then race it a few times in order to finish first. I guess people forget that iPhone is a telephone as well, and if someone calls you while you are racing and about to finish FIRST THE GAME JUST SHUTS DOWN AND WWHAAAAAAGGRRRAAAAAA PAIN AND SUFFERING ……

Edge session can last 5 minutes, and can be fun even after an hour of playing.

6: Re-playability
This, perhaps, is the single point where almost all iPhone games fail. Once you complete them, there is just no reason to try again. Edge provides full set of things to do on each level in order to out-do yourself and the rest of people playing it – how fast can you finish the level, can you find all the hidden pixels to collect, and keeping the death count as low as possible. Finishing fast, while collecting all the pixels and not plummeting to death can be REALLY challenging.

7: Fine touches
On one level you become a head of a robot that walks. On some levels you control by moving left/right switches that operate legs of a quad-walker. Crazy themes that go through the levels are just insane. Level design is awesome. The music is custom made to fit the retro feeling of game, yet is modern enough to listen as a regular music. Actually, Mobigame gives soundtrack as a free download. It’s like … a cherry on top of a supreme ice-cream!

Go get it now, you can thank me later.