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Appletell reviews Black Shades for iPhone, iPod touch

Sections: iPhone, iPhone OS, SDK and hacks, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, iPod, iPod touch, Reviews

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Black Shade - App IconCategory: Games
Seller: David Rosen
Requirements: iPhone 2.2.1 software update
Compatibility: iPhone and iPod touch
File Size: 3.7 MB
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Age Rating: 9+
Price: $0.99

Black Shades is described as an “intense first-person-shooter game,” which, to some extent, it is. Although, for it to really be effective, there are a few updates and changes that will need to appear.

Other Black Shades reviews I’ve come across have all stated that the graphics are not quite brilliant, but that this isn’t a big deal. I have to disagree. The graphics don’t help this game in any way. They’re of a lower quality than some PlayStation 1 titles—no facial features or realistic movement. And while graphics aren’t everything in a game, they play a significant part.

The loading screen of Black Shades

The usability and controls of Black Shades also needs a little attention, I feel. While the use of the accelerometer is intuitive, constantly having large icons on the left-hand side of the screen takes valuable space, and you occasionally find yourself changing weapons rather than turning sharp left. What’s presented on the icons can also be confusing to understand. The controls are explained in the help menus, but when you’re half way through a level and have forgotten what each icon means, you’re left tapping away at them until something works for you.

Because of these issues, it’s hard to play this as a game in itself. Most games, you pick up and play, gain a few points, go up a few levels…you get the idea. But with Black Shades, so much time is used thinking what to do, and where the man is you’re looking for, you quickly become frustrated and move on. I mentioned looking for a man, there. That’s right, the aim of the game is to protect a man wearing white. An easy concept, but on the levels I’ve tried (and trust me, I’ve tried), finding the man to start with can be a challenge. Even on the first level you’re left wondering around, and with the added pressure of time limits, it’s not unusual to fail the first time around.

The main gameplay of Black Shades

Black Shades strikes me as an unfinished app. It’s a direct port of an open source game with the same name, which leaves the question of how much time was spent with the iPhone version? It’s not easy to navigate, and the icons aren’t well thought out. As with a lot of applications on the App Store, developers want to get them out as quickly as possible. The first version can be quite buggy, and lack features, but it gives developers a base on which to build. Black Shades is still on its first version (1.0) and so I’m sure many of the issues I’ve mentioned will be ironed out in future updates. Until then, however, it’s not a great game. It’s a good start, but there’s a lot of polish that need’s to appear to make Black Shades a worthy purchase.

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Black Shades Review

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