Review NailDodger

Discussion in 'iTunes App Store Reviews' started by spoonforknife, Nov 15, 2009.

  1. spoonforknife

    spoonforknife Retired Moderator

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    At the request of the developer, I have reviewed the application as NailDodger 1.1

    Dewan Payroda, better known to the internet world as AppStoreMod, describes himself as "EPIC!" and a provider of "professional tutorials." While this may or may not be the case, Payroda has managed 9,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel where he does application reviews. AppStoreMod pioneered the somewhat tiresome UITabBarController applications taking over Cydia. However, both are fairly great accomplishments and the AppStoreMod application is available in the App Store for Free.

    Payroda recently released a brand new game onto the savage world of the App Store: NailDodger, available in the App Store for a mere 99 cents. NailDodger reportedly took a whopping 2-4 months to develop despite the fact that it does not use any game engine. After receiving the lowest score iPod touch Fans has ever given, Payroda decided to completely revamp the application. AppStoreMod fired his existing graphic designer and found another one and improved gameplay mechanisms with his friend and partner Nick, better known as nworksdev.

    Despite these background issues, the premise of NailDodger is quite simple. You are a magical balloon that dodges nails. However, said balloon has 3 lives, so if the nail 'pops' the balloon twice... it doesn't. Doesn't make too much sense, but I suppose it works for the sake of gameplay.

    Upon opening the application, you are met with a spiffy new NailDodger logo, complete with falling nail on a nice white background. Graphics have dramatically improved this time around, but they could use some significant work. In addition, the user interface has some really awkward turns that we'll get to.

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    NailDodger's splash screen and menu system

    The menu screen features three buttons: Play, About, and Settings along with a friendly Navigation Bar message that welcomes you to NailDodger. In place of the toolbar that was at the bottom of the for no discernible reason, is a new button touting the OpenFeint integration. OpenFeint is a framework that allows for developers to easily implement high scores, profiles, and connections between games, a la Plus+. However, OpenFeint isn't nearly as attractive or polished as Plus+, but works for the purposes of NailDodger. More on that later. Back to the main menu. Gone are the aesthetic nightmare buttons of NailDodger 1.0. They have since been replaced with standard issue gradients.

    Let's start with Settings. Upon pushing settings, a small display pops up that asks you to pick music from your library. However, this display does not disable any of the elements behind it. Tapping on the button opens up a directory of all your songs. This has also been seen in PocketTouch. However, PocketTouch's implementation is much more elegant than the implementation in NailDodger. PocketTouch allows you to sort by Artist, Album, etc. NailDodger features a long list of your songs. I have 5.72 GB of music. I wanted to play 156 by Mew. There is also no way to quickly scroll to the bottom. On top of that, if you have multiple versions of one song, NailDodger does not tell you which album it is from. You can also oddly pause the song from this view. The pause button is always there though. So if a song is not playing, you can hit the pause button all you want. Nothing will happen. In any case, I selected 156 and went on my way. There is also an odd switch there that toggles 'Play/Pause iPod.' However, I cannot figure out what this switch reportedly does. For example, it doesn't save its position on relaunch and did not pause or play my jamming Vampire Weekend in the background.

    Back to the main menu, the popup was still there. Closing it with the 'X,' I opened up the About screen. It featured small blurbs with remarkably bad grammar about NailDodger, AppStoreMod, NWorksDev, Pear Apps, and a new unnamed graphic designer. There are a few misspelled words in this view and some mild grammar issues such as "reccomend." AppStoreMod thankfully removed the pseudo-advertisements, but this whole section is a large box of "tl;dr" text. This could easily be done as elegantly as Steven Troughton-Smith's applications do. They say Steven Troughton-Smith: Programmer and Tim Davies: Graphic Designer. When you tap on their names, it takes you to their websites. However, AppStoreMod did not think this through very well and it's a box of text that is partially covered up by a new closebox.

    You can also tap on Play. This opens up a menu where you can "Start!" or "Read Instructions". Upon tapping on "Read Instructions," the same ugly popup appeared with more misspellings and grammar errors. On top of that, this appears every time. There is no option to skip this tedious popup, or make it show only the first time. What should be a mere single tap turns into a multi-tap nightmare of opening popups, hunting for the close button, and discovering that the instructions don't just cut off mid-sentence, but that the whole thing scrolls down. You'd think that this information would be in the moderately useless about screen and not cluttering up the already cluttered main menu.

    On tapping start, the actual game begins. Using the accelerometer to steer my precious balloon away from the 3 falling nails. Every 5 seconds, the nails get faster and build to an impressive speed as your balloon deftly dodges them until it is hit thrice where you die. A new menu then appears asking you if you'd like to post your score to twitter, restart, or return to the main menu. This update has yielded a much smaller balloon and thinner nails, which make the game much easier.

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    Gameplay and Gameplay Choices

    NailDodger gives you three lives (or lifes as the game calls it), which you'll go through fairly quickly. This time, there are actually 3 lives, and not a way of cheating around those lives. The developer has removed a glitch that allowed the player to move their balloon around in the pause screen. The pause screen is now an elegant two button ordeal that sends you back to the main menu or back into the game. The accelerometer logic has also improved. The balloon now moves much quicker and smoother, which is a big impact.

    As I posted my score to Twitter, I only managed an embarrassing 19 seconds. However, NailDodger does not remember your twitter credentials. Thankfully, it does remember your username, but the password is not stored (presumably for security purposes.) On top of that, NailDodger clearly uses Brandon Treb's TwitUpdate twitter code sample. No credit is given for the use of this code sample except in the iTunes description, which is often not read. This may be something to add to the already cluttered about screen.

    In this edition, you can also post your scores to OpenFeint. OpenFeint provides a high scores list, among other things along with a useless profile system. The high score list is very, very, very good. I can browse through the opposing scores, and really adds to the replay value. This was a great decision by our friend Mr. Payroda.

    NailDodger's graphics are marginally improved. However, the graphic designer, Designed4Device, apparently did not know the size of the iPhone's screen, or for that matter, the icon size. The icon has an uneven white border, and every other graphic has an ugly white border that makes it look like the graphic does not properly fill the screen. I'm still not very pleased with the graphics although they are an improvement over the last rendition's disgusting purple mess. However, these graphics rely too much on standard gradients and inner shadows that are simply too strong.

    As for the user interface, there are some problems here and there with consistency. The application still doesn't feel very good. In the splash screen and main menu, the NailDodger logo is cut off by the status bar. First of all, why is there even a status bar in this application? It's a game. Secondly, why is the logo cut off? Was there no contact between the graphic designer and the programmer? Additionally, the NailDodger logo is in every view at the top of the screen. Yet it's also in a slightly different position at slightly different sizes in every view. Consistency.

    NailDodger is available for 99 cents on the App Store. It is compatible with both iPhone and iPod touch on firmware version 3.1.2 and above. This was a slight inconvenience for me, as I had to upgrade, but if you've been keeping up with the times, you should have no problem with NailDodger and compatibility.

    Presentation & Graphics: 1/5. Slightly better graphics are still not that great and polish is still at garage rock level.
    Audio: 2.75/5. No game audio, but iPod audio is managed poorly.
    Gameplay & Controls: 3.5/5. A much improved control scheme.
    Replay Value: 2.5/5. High scores and Twitter trend list add to the fun.
    Value for Money: 0.75/5. There are other things out there for $0.99 or even free that are much more polished. Like Eliminate, Cross Fingers, and Frenzic.

    Final Score: 11/25 = 2.2/5 = 44%.

    Attached Files:

  2. Steaps

    Steaps New Member

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    LOL so, so true.
    This application is pathetic, and it's one of those apps that Apple should reject for no reason what so ever.
  3. flubby33

    flubby33 Member

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    LOL
    I love this review.
    Have you seen all the reviews an YouTube are by little kids who all rate it 5 stars? How sad.

    @Steaps: True, Apple should have quality control.
  4. Andrew2

    Andrew2 New Member

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    I personally like the it hurts my eyes comment.
    ------------------double post merged------------------
    I wonder if he knows that of that screen shot shown above almost 20% of the words are the word you...
    This review just gets better and better every time I read it

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  5. Shawa

    Shawa Super Moderator

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    Cheap gradients, crappy cutouts, Coolvetica…

    Nobody could actually like this.
  6. MadMoney

    MadMoney New Member

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    holy crap how does this have a 4 1/2 star rating in the appstore
  7. Retro349

    Retro349 New Member

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    Maybe because all of the other kids were told to rate it high?
    Or maybe because the App Store is almost completely blind to quality.

    Either way, great post, Spoon. It's time to set these attention-deprived kids straight!
  8. Steaps

    Steaps New Member

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    He has over 9,000 subscribers on YouTube, that's how.
  9. Ruamrudee

    Ruamrudee Member

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    why is this front page if it's rated 1/5
  10. ipodtouch is dabest

    ipodtouch is dabest Member

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    looks like a crappy flash game. i will definitely not be buying this one. thanks for the review, i dont trust appstore ratings.

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