Impressions / Review of Super Collider
Super Collider is a touch game that one can really only play on a device such as the iPhone, or iTouch. It is an avoidance type game. The player controls a "particle" of anti-matter, and one to needs to avoid charged particles. There are no weapons to speak of, this is survival. There are particle "quarks" to pick up to increase your score, and various power ups. The 2 I was able to see were a shield that renders you invisible for a time, and a power up that slows down time (and hence all the bad particles you are trying to avoid). There are also bonus multipliers that you can pick up to increase your score.
I have played for several hours, off and on with the game. Playing on the new 3 Gs.
The game boots to a menu system that is nicely portrayed. Options of Play Game, Options, and Rankings are the main buttons with options to look at other games that Pixel Mine has done, and a connection to FaceBook. I did not test that, as I don't use it. The center of the screen gives you some clues as to game play, although I think that having a dedicated "Help" button with information would be much more useful. One of my frustrations with the game was I did not know a lot about the mechanics for a while, until I really started analyzing it, and then some things became clear. However, having some simple instructions would have made the immersion much easier, and be able to jump right in, rather than wondering what I was doing wrong.
Game play - you are first treated to a very brief dive into a tunnel, although the effects are quite nice. You then start by taking control of your anit-matter particle. This essentially entails putting your finger on the correct spot and moving the particle around with your finger trying to avoid the charged matter. There are not very clear instructions on this, but there are 2 types - yellow and red. The yellow are neutral, and will not harm you, but the red are charged and will destroy you. One hit - your dead. The game is played on one screen, there is no scrolling, and no internal barriers that I came up against - my highest level that I acheived was level 12 of 18. The sides of the screen have 3 sides being red (charge the matter) and 1 side (bottom) being yellow - change the matter to neutral.
The game starts with just simple 2 matter avoidance, then goes to 3, and then 4 as you progress. If you get to the levels where a Black Hole appears (there can be a lot of matter on the screen, but it is all gradually sucked into the Black Hole) which you can avoid. I never tested putting the antimatter in the Black Hole - at that point I was just trying to stay alive and get as far as I can. I don't really know if the Black Hole does anything else except suck up matter. The powerups come up at reasonable time intervals, and I was only somewhat stressed by the time one would come up. I figured out that the shield makes you invincible for as long as it is active, which seems to be a fixed time period. If you don't get hit, the shield does not activate, but it does not carry over to another level, and you can't stack them, so there is really no point in saving it, unless you just want to have it in case you get hit. Hit detection seems to be spot on, but it is difficult to really tell with fingers on the screen, but there was no obvious hit errors.
There is also a power up which slows down matter, but you still move as you may, and the quarks that you need to gather still come up at the same speed, so it is a nice powerup as well. Score multipliers are the last collectible, although at first I thought they were just informational, and you did not need to actually collect them.
The biggest issue with these games, is also the reason that they are fun - you use your finger to guide the anti-matter particle. However, I can't see through my fingers, and generally I died because of charged matter that I lost through my finger. It is an art, trying to look around your finger with 3 or 4 balls racing around the screen.
There are informational icons relating to # of charged matter, quarks to collect, bonus multipliers, and number of lives left at the bottom of the screen. Collecting a power up gives you information in the middle of the screen, and also a symbol up top. Game is played in portrait mode, and I would be curious how it would play in landscape.
When you die, you enter scores in the high score screen. You then are returned to the Main Menu.
One of the things that is really nice is the pause. You lift your finger from the screen - action stops. You don't have to be precise putting your finger back on the screen, your anti-matter particle will find you immediately, and start from that point. It is great for taking a much needed break every now and again.
There is a several different music backrounds that are sort of electronic and add to immersiveness. Charging and uncharging matter is accompanied by appropriate electric sort of cackling. The matter bouncing off the sides sounds more like water drips though which actually still sounds fine with the game. Options are to turn on /off either sounds or music, and has seperate volume sliders for each.
I think that my biggest gripe with this game is the lack of instructions, and having to try things to figure out what happens. Anyone reading this review will now know, and should be able to jump in without the initial frustration factor, and immediately have fun.
A second thing I would like to see is some sort of continue option. It is hard to start all the way back at the beginning time after time. I know that the old schoolers want that - hell I am one of the original - but I have also always wanted to be able to finish games, and if you are just not good enough, you never finish, and put the game down. Being able to finish puts more pressure on the developers to have plenty of content, or perhaps different modes to add depth then. If not different modes, I think depth could be added to this game by having different maps, perhaps with different boundaries, or maybe wider than the screen of the ipod. Additional power-ups are always nice. You should be able to carry over a shield power up to the next level if you are skilled enough, then when you need it, it is there. Perhaps being able to stack a couple of shields would be good. That way you stack when the going is a bit easier, and when there are lots of matter, you at least have a chance, rather than dying...
Graphically for me the game is eye candy. Very pretty with nice effects. There are sometimes that matter gets confused with other things going on, but not so drastically that you can't tell if you are really concentrating.
Pros : - graphically great.
- the instant pause, resume when lifting your finger, putting it back down is great.
- hit detection is good.
Cons - Need an instruction screen(s). People aren't going to watch a main menu screen waiting for hints to appear. - Instructions need to be detailed enough that you understand what things do, and what effect they have (my opinion anyways).
- Finger touch type games are really hard to be super accurate due to visibility issues.
- Consider continue option for people to be able to play to higher levels.
- For more replayability - more levels, or different arenas (larger screens are always great for shooters, and avoidance games).
Overall I would rate this game a 3.5 - 4 stars based mostly on a good execution of a genre that is hard to execute well. I am looking forward to trying to beat this game. I think I may have found an exploit involving the pause function that will make it easier to beat! I want to see if there is a Boss at the end.