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Once in a while, I browse the App Store as I am downloading various updates for the applications on my iPod Touch. Over the past few months, I have become increasingly impressed with the quality of apps being released on the store. The first app I can really remember being surprised at was Call of Duty: Zombies. After a few weeks of speculation on the price ($9.99), I decided to buy it. The first time I loaded up the app, I was pretty surprised. The graphics on this app far surpassed the graphics on the entire DS version of World at War. This surprised me, and disappointed me with the Nintendo DS. How is it that an iPod, an MP3 player can produce higher quality visuals than a Nintendo DS, and handheld game console.
The next app that surprised me was Plants vs. Zombies. Being a hit on the PC, I heard nothing but great things about the game. It was the same thing for the iPhone App. It is one of the few games on the store that has a 5 star rating. Once again, the iPod Touch impressed me. This little device is producing top notch games at great prices. How is all of this possible?
When I saw Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 on the store, I responded with something like, “Wow, this is going to suck!” After playing the Application, I can easily tell you that this app does not suck. This is a great way to relive the past on the go, while having fun!

Gameplay

The App’s gameplay is essentially identical to the 2000 version of the game. The Career Mode still consists of using 2 minute runs to find the secret tape, accomplish various goals, and bring in high scores. The career is exactly the same as the THPS2 we all know and love. As for the Create a Skater/Skatepark modes, they are not present here. That is pretty unfortunate in my opinion, as those modes really enhanced the gameplay experience. However, the Career Mode still has a ton to offer, so I am not crying. Another low point here is that the game does not have the series classic multiplayer game modes. Considering the fact that the iPhone/iPod Touch is a device that connects to the internet, online multiplayer was a definite possibility for the developers here. That would have made this game incredible, and added hours of replay value to it. Here is a list of other features that have been included and left out.





Controls

Obviously, the iPod Touch has a touch screen, not a controller. This means that all of the game’s controls are present on the touch screen. A mock D-Pad is placed in the left side of the screen, that acts just as a controller would when touched. As for jumping, grinding, flipping, and grabbing, the four buttons are placed on the right side of the screen, in rhombus form. So basically, if you have played Tony Hawk games before, there is nothing new here. There is however, a learning curve. When first playing the game, adjusting yourself to the touch screen buttons can be a bit frustrating, especially so with the D-Pad. However, after a few hours of playing (1-2), you will steadily become more and more comfortable with the controls. However, they are not perfect, as the touch screen does cause complications, such as accidentally hitting the wrong buttons. It is surprising how much more difficult a game becomes when a controller is not available. In my opinion, 1-2 hours is not that much time to grasp a game’s control scheme, but some gamers need to be ready to go right off the gate. I am not one of those people. The controls are the weakest point of the game, and if there was one reason for you not to buy this, the controls are that reason.



Graphics

The most impressive part of the game is the graphics. They are completely on par with the console version of this game. Some may think, well the game was created in 2000, so that really isn’t that big of a deal, but it is. A remake of Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland was released for the DS in 2005, and the graphics were horribly worse than the console version of the game. It just blows my mind that a cell phone/MP3 player is able to pull this off. The graphics are incredible, and an assuring notice that gaming on the iPod Touch/iPhone is turning into a very quality ordeal.

Sound

The games sound is pretty much identical to the console companions of the game, except for one thing; The soundtrack is completely different, which bothers me immensely. The likes of Anthrax were replaced by relatively unknown bands, and for what reason? The original soundtrack for Pro Skater 2 was for me arguably the best in the entire series. It was raved about through the gaming community as well. Changing it just does not make sense to me. They always say, “Don’t fix what isn’t broken.” That term applies great here.

Conclusion

Over the years, handheld games have always been the knockoffs of console games. It still rings true today, but the iPhone is slowly changing that. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 is a true vision of the future of handheld gaming. It is slowly returning to be the high quality experience that it once was. Buying this game for $4.99 (current price) is a complete steal. The GameBoy versions of this game cost around $39.99, and they were nothing like the real thing. Here, this is the real thing, and it is a fraction of that price. I would recommend this App to any fans of the THPS series, or skateboarding games in general. This App blows the likes of Touchgrind out of the water.

mobile gaming iphone ipod touch thps thps2 tony hawk

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Before I got my iPod Touch, I was browsing the App Store on iTunes, when I saw that Ms. Pac-Man was an available App on the store. There is already a version of Ms. Pac-Man on the iTunes Store for the iPod Classic, and I wanted to see how this compared.

Controls:

For Ms. Pac-Man, there are three difference control schemes. They are Swipe, Accelerometer, and D-Pad.

Swipe: This control scheme is definitely my favorite. At the bottom of the screen, there is a small joystick that resembles what you would use to control an arcade machine. To control Ms. Pac-Man, you slide your finger anywhere on the screen in the direction that you want Ms. Pac-Man to go. What I don’t like about the control scheme is that if you move your finger a little bit, it could totally mess you up, and have Ms. Pac-Man change directions, which could lead to you being eaten by a ghost. While this is frustrating, it is still better than the other control schemes in my opinion.

D-Pad: This controls scheme is pretty self-explanatory. There is a small d-pad at the bottom of your screen. It has four arrows on it, each pointing in a different direction. If you want to go in that direction, you press on the key. The problem here is that the d-pad is extremely small, and I am finding myself to always press the wrong arrow.

Accelerometer: This control scheme is a joke. To have Ms. Pac-Man navigate, you have to lean your iPod in that direction. So, if you want Ms. Pac-Man to go to the right, you have to lean your iPod to the right. I tried it, and it was fun for about nine seconds. It’s lame.

In the end, Swipe is the only control scheme that isn’t giving me much of a problem. It was difficult at first, but as time went on, it got easier and easier.

Game Modes:

The game has three different modes included. They are, easy, normal, and original. Easy makes the ghosts and Ms. Pac-Man move relatively slow, giving gamers an easy approach to learning how to play the game. Normal speeds things up a little bit, making it a bit harder. Original is the hardest mode, as it closely resembles the original arcade version of the game.

Graphics:

The graphics for this game are very impressive, almost exactly resembling the arcade version of the game. They are very crisp and clear, unlike some of Namco Museum’s versions of the game. As far as graphics go, I am impressed.

Sound:

The sound sounds great as well. It is almost identical to the arcade sounds, just like with the graphics.

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What I like:

-The game saves at the last level that you were at, and allows you to start at that level the next time you play. This is probably my favorite part about the game, because the regular version of Ms. Pac-Man doesn’t allow that.
-The graphics and sound are top notch.

What I don’t like:

-The control schemes are all a tad sketchy in a way.
-The game is pricey, being on sale at $6.99.

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When it comes down to it, you are probably still pondering whether to buy the game or not. The game is pretty pricey, being on sale at $5.99. Luckily, iTunes released a demo for Pac-Man called Pac-Man Lite. It contains all of the control schemes and modes that Ms. Pac-Man does. The great thing is that it’s free, so you can experiment with the game and not spend a dime. The demo only contains the first maze of Pac-Man, so don’t mistake it with Ms. Pac-Man!
I like the game, and don’t find much to be desired other than more precise controls. The price is also a tad high, but if you are a huge fan of Pac-Man I advise you to try the demo first. If you like it, then give it a try. I can not warn you enough though, try the demo first. With this app, you are either going to love it, or hate it.

Ms. Pac-Man receives 7.5 out of 10.


other ipod touch ms pac-man pac-man pac-man lite

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