reviews\ May 21, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Pocket God review


There’s a good reason why Apple sells video games in the “app” store, instead of a game-specific destination: it allows developers to create anything they want and apply a very, very broad definition.

On its surface, Pocket God looks like a full-fledged game. Using every ounce of the iPhone’s super-sensitive screen, players can step into the shoes of an all-powerful deity and help or harass the world as much as they want. But underneath the cool mechanics – which include a feature that lets you bring in a storm just by touching and dragging white clouds off the screen – is a 99-cent app that amounts to more of a novelty than anything else.

While ruling over the game’s watery landscapes, players may produce a tsunami by dragging the water toward the island. Similarly, they can turn night into day by dragging the moon to the bottom of the screen (drag the sun downward to return to night). Each of these elements are cool and creative, enough to inspire players to dig deeper, wondering what they’ll discover next.

Soon enough, you’ll figure out that it’s possible to strike birds with lighting bolts (which is done by drawing a line from gray clouds). You’ll start flicking pygmies at ice monsters (this mechanic isn’t as responsive as the rest), fire spears at pygmies (tap the designated icon while the world is under water), and participate in a mini-game that challenges you to twist your iPhone – or iPod Touch – in an effort to slide a pygmy across a series of rising platforms. You’ll laugh the first time you realize that, by twisting your iPhone left or right, gravity can become a problem for the pygmies; do so and it’ll appear as if the island has been physically tilted/moved. (Hmmm, an island that can be moved. Now where have I seen that before? And will I see it again on May 23, 2010 at 7pm, 6 Central?)

Pocket God has many different islands, one of which looks like it was born on Halloween. While visiting, bury some pygmies and they’ll crawl back out of the ground as newfangled zombies; kill them and they’ll become ghosts that float around the screen.

If you like your pygmies extra crispy, pinch the sun and pull your fingers apart to make it grow. When that gets boring, pinch it again and push your fingers close to each other to shrink the sun to a size much smaller than it originally was. Now the world will be a tad too cold for the pygmies to live comfortably.

This is the format of the entire game: touch and discover. Short-term, it’s awesome. Long-term, this won’t be a game that holds your interest. Although new features are added from time to time, Pocket God’s developers have yet to add what it needs most: an overall goal or objective. Thus, Pocket God is by no means a groundbreaking simulator, but it serves the novelty/time-killer market well – and it serves it for just 99 cents.

Above Average

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