Commuting Cognition: Dream Pinball

What is this?

I’ve never been a big mobile game player, but I ended up working in a mobile games company, so I’ve been trying to expose myself to more games in this market and attempt to gain an ever-better understanding of them. One of the ways I’ve been doing that is in trying out new games, seeing what they do wrong and right, and try to draw conclusions from them that I can use in the future to make our games better. One of the resources I’ve been using for this is TouchArcade (not sponsored), and their columns listing the new iOS games of the week.

This resulted in me playing a lot more new games during my daily bus rides, but I also feel the need to discuss them somewhere and keep a log of my thoughts instead of just internalizing them. So, Commuting Cognition. These will be brief, bus-ride-long thoughts on these games, and should be seen less as reviews and more as first impressions. They also may not be daily, depending on how full the bus is that day.

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Dream Pinball

It took me a few plays to realize what was going on with this game but, once it clicked, i got super excited. Dream Pinball is Breakout meets Puzzle Bobble! You launch balls at the blocks to break them, and once they hit the floor all the remaining blocks go down one row, and the game ends once the blocks hit the floor. Disclaimer: i’m automatically fond of anything that expands on the Breakout mechanic (as evidenced by my only commercial game shameless plug).

The controls are a little iffy. You aim by holding the screen and swiping toward the character like a slingshot, which takes some getting used to, and it’s very easy to mess up your aim because it moves a bit when you release the screen.

The overall presentation is pretty lackluster. The aesthetic does nothing for me, nor do the very bland lasers and particle effects. This would require a lot of polish and flashiness to stand out. It also does not help one bit that there’s a video ad after every single match. Sound effects are cute though.

This is such a great mechanic, though. From what i understand, it was ripped straight from One More Brick, which was itself ripped from BBTAN (or vice-versa), and doesn’t appear to evolve the concept any more than they did. I haven’t played and am not sure how popular either of those games are; what i do know is, if a company like King picked this up and surrounded the mechanic with production values, that version could easily become a big hit.

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