A large population of the available games for the iPhone at the iTunes' App Store centers around the update of old games for the new platform. This often shows up in the form of games that are not normally considered ready for videogame incarnations. The reason for this is that the concept of the touch screen seems to allow for more physical interaction than other mobile gaming consoles. This has not proven to be true in many cases, especially since the touch screen is barely large or versatile enough to allow for games that require a type of hand interaction. Among these iPhone games there is a varying amount of success depending on how much the developer actually sees the actual nature of the device. Glow Hockey, a popular new iPhone game at the iTunes' App Store, is one of the more engaging of these, even though it does not give us much new to look forward to.
Glow Hockey is really a form of air hockey that tries to give a visual consistency that is different than what we have come to expect. Just like you have come to remember from Arcade birthday parties of years past, each side is given a paddle to hit a puck back and forth. When you make the puck into the slot on your opponents side you are awarded a point.
Within this framework we have a series of glowing options with a colorful flare. The paddles, the puck and the bordering bumpers all glow with disco inspired radiance. When you hit the puck it sparks around and actually does add a little bit of visceral flare to the engagement, even though it is just a relatively cheap ploy. After a while you actually do get into gameplay and can have some nice, yet passing, moments with Glow Hockey. The controls can be an issue as it is not always responsive and can become somewhat sluggish.
The developers try to give Glow Hockey longevity with a number of gameplay options. This includes two player modes that can happen on a single iPhone. This sounds like more fun than it is as you have to lay the iPhone flat and toss the puck back and forth with a single finger. This is counterintuitive to all the normal ways that you control your iPhone and can become both difficult and tiring. There are also multiple levels of Artificial Intelligence, but none really bring anything more to the table other than another level of difficulty.
To get a full range of possible features you have to get the full version of Glow Hockey, which costs $0.99. Since Glow Hockey is really just a mild amusement it is not exactly worth pushing these cents at it, even if it is so few. Instead just stick with Glow Hockey Lite, and even then keep the game in context. You are not going to get hours of enjoyment out of Glow Hockey, but often what you can expect from free iPhone games is a few weeks of fun even if you are going to forget it afterwards. Glow Hockey may be the perfect argument for a process of play and drop, deleting games once they have outlasted their fun.
Three out of five stars. iTunes