Learn to roll like a snake in the grass, fight light a cartoon ninja, and even test out your finances.
Cell phone gaming is the house that Snake built. Anybody that had a cell phone around the turn of the millennium is familiar with Snake. Let me drop a premise on you. You are a small snake that moves ahead. There are small objects that you are intended to eat to get points. The more you eat, the more you grow. If you end up running into yourself then, well, its all over. Now this is a game that's just itchin' for an update. Snake in the Grass is, as you might imagine, that very update. What it does is bring the Open Feint network into gameplay, though they still have yet to prove their worth in the over all scheme of iPhone gaming. Snake in the Grass is pretty standard with its Snake set up. The colors and visuals are fairly limited, as is the over all frame rate. This is all reminiscent of the classic Snake scene on Nokia's around the world, but on the iPhone 3Gs we kind of expect a little more. You are told to force the snake to go left or right by hitting the respective sides of the unlabeled touch screen. This is a fine way to command this, but a little more clarity would be nice. The big debate in the world of Snake was always whether or not you should die on impact with the wall or simply go through and then show up on the opposite side. Snake puts steadfast walls in place, but you have to decide if dividing up the hyper grass on your touch screen like it's Berlin is sufficient. There are a few different gameplay models built in to Snake in the Grass, but it kind of goes without saying that they are all almost identical. Snake in the Grass is a decent "update" to Snake, though limited in almost every possible way. One of the real things that holds it back is that the exact position of the snake in respect to its food is often hard to judge. We'll see if you need glasses in the end.
Most of the advertisements for iPhone applications makes it look simply like a fun device that allows you to play Call of Duty and make elephant fart sounds. People often overlook the fact that it is a serious personal device with all of the features that people have ascribed to PDAs and Blackberrys. What makes the iPhone so useful for these kinds of things is that it is with you at all times, syncs with other devices, and stays online permanently. MoneyBook is a new iPhone application that focuses in on your home finances. This is all done in a way that keeps it simple and avoids creating a complicated financial report, as so many formulas do. You are asked to input information like your monthly base salary and enter in different transactions for expenses and bills. You can then set to have recurring transactions or simply list them. This way MoneyBook will actually keep track of what you are spending, how much you are making, and where the gap there really is. This is not too much in the way of features, but in this case that is actually the saving grace of MoneyBook. MoneyBook is the iPhone application that can work for everyone as it does not bog you down in useless features, does not require you to utilize any more information than you have immediate access to, and is useful right from the start. MoneyBook does cost $2.99, but since you can mark it down on your transactions it may be alright. Depending on your base income.
Chop Chop Ninja, which comes in on the Open Feint network like so many other free iPhone games, is a fun little cartoon inspired side scroller. Most of the visuals in Chop Chop Ninjas are inspired by the cell shading craze of a few years back that dominated the videogame world. Here you get a stereotype of Asian music while you run across the screen, jumping over obstacles and fighting cleverly dressed enemies. Most of this is very nicely realized as there is an entire mechanism for working with your ninja, ranging from special abilities to attack, run, and jump up mountain faces. Almost everything that you would expect from a complete side scrolling platformer is in play in Chop Chop Ninja, especially hidden coins and boss enemies. The only issue that really comes into Chop Chop Ninjas is the way that the controls are placed. You have a "red button" at the far right side of your touch screen. When you select it your character will run, but hitting it also makes him attack. To make him jump you tap above him, and the direct horizontally on the touch screen will also influence the movement. In the end you will be placing your finger all over the touch screen when you should be able to see. This is an issue, but not enough of one to take away from the breezy good time that is to be had on this free iPhone game.