Sep 21, 2011

AR Invaders

One blessing from Sunday's demise of my phone is that I can finally review AR Invaders. Why couldn't I before? Because the game is huge... the Market claim is 35 meg, but my full device said over 40 meg and begged me to do an uninstall immediately after downloading it. Surprisingly, it doesn't support App2SD which would seem like a cardinal no-no with a game of this size. But I've got a fresh, new phone so let's give it a whirl.

The premise behind AR Invaders is that aliens are invading and you've got to stop them for as long as you can. The game uses a novel approach in that it uses your phone's camera to project the alien saucers on your surrounding environment. The ads show a guy in the middle of Times Square (ok, I don't know where he is) having entirely way to much fun as he spins around to zap another flying saucer. The game sports two basic modes of play: a 180 degree mode in which you can sit down and don't have to worry about spinning around and a full 360 degree mode that requires standing and spinning. My hope for the game is that it would be much like the BeachHead 2000 game at my local Chuck E Cheese's where goggles are used to display the 360 degree environment, but I am ultimately disappointed.

First things first. In the game's defense it can only be as good as your phone's hardware. I don't find that my Epic 4G has a great 'compass' in it. This game requires knowledge of your precise orientation to accurately and smoothly update the display. The bottom line for me was that the saucers just seem to zoom around way too fast for me to feel like I had any control whatsoever. Ultimately, I ended up just auto-firing and hoping I could occasionally trap one in my crosshairs.

However, I also see the projection of one's local backdrop on the screen as 110% novelty. Sure it might be neato to show your friends, but after a while (aka 30 seconds) shooting saucers in my kitchen loses its thrill. Never mind the fact that on a sunny day my screen is almost washed out making me wonder what kind of device the guy in the trailer (below) is using.

qrcodeThe graphics for the game... well, there aren't really any. It's a camera display with some animated objects superimposed on it. On the audio front the game plays a little music in the background as you play and blaster sounds are on cue. Controls rely on the aforementioned spinning and tilting your device to aim which worked poorly for me (but will ultimately depend on your hardware) and on screen buttons.

So, I'm trying to imagine that everything works great and I've got precision control over aiming just like at Chuck E Cheese's. Nope, I just don't see this as any sort of long term fun. It's an interesting idea and there's a lot of novelty here (and it is just a dollar), but as for serious gaming... I don't see it. And no App2SD... that's a killer flaw. This game just isn't worth the storage space it consumes. As for me, I'd rather play Space Invaders. 2.5/5 stars.


  1. The guy in the video is using iPhone...
    I downloaded it to my Samsung Galaxy S and it is super cool!!
    works great and have a amazing multi-player mode!

  2. The Epic 4G is a Samsung Galaxy S phone so we're playing it on the same device. I'm glad you're getting more mileage out of it than did I.