Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Infinity blade

I bought yet another iPhone game, Infinity Blade. It's a 3rd person over-the-shoulder type game but it's not like the ones I usually buy where you have complete freedom of movement. Infinity blade is more like Doom Resurrection, you have limited control over where you want to move except at decision points where you can choose to take one of several routes. The plot is simple, you navigate your way through a castle, dueling a string of monsters on the way until, you reach the throne room of the immortal god-king. Once you get past his champion the dark knight, you get a single crack at killing the boss him self. If you fail you have to start over from the beginning. As you progress through the game you gather money, and experience. The money you can spend on better weapons and armor, the XP points you can spend on better defensive, offensive or magic skills. As you gather XP your skill level increases but since XP points are gathered by "mastering" weapons you are under constant pressure to upgrade your arsenal since your skill level will advance slowly or not at all if you are using a set of mastered armor, shield, sword etc. At certain points in the game, usually before or after duels you can pan to the sides to look around which is important to remember since bonus items are often placed out of sight.

The game it self has amazingly nice graphics for a mobile game, it should do since it uses the Unreal engine. The movements of the characters are also very well done and convincing. Like all of these 3D games it will burn through your iPhone's battery with blistering speed. All in all, IMHO, it's good value at € 4.99 since it's a game that's reasonably hard to master and in a sense goes on infinitely. So, thumbs up!

A fire paladin,  his frozen buddy,  an assassin...

they have feral trolls,  knights,  robots...

a big ugly baby,  the dark knight and once you get past him...

you finally get to duel with the boss, who kicks your ass many times forcing you to start over, until you finally manage to kill him.

You don't get to keep the infinity blade, then you press a button and a hologram appears but only after you watch the credits. After all this the game starts all over again. At least you get to keep your XP and your weapons.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Xcode 4 and App Store access (maybe)

I just downloaded Xcode 4. Apparently Xcode is now only available through the new "OS X App Store" and the price tag is $4.99. It's not that I mind paying a token $4.99 for downloading Xcode even if it seems a bit cheap of Apple to charge money for a dev suite that used to be freely available (Microsoft charges a much higher price for anything beyond the very basic free edition of Visual Studio). What really annoys me though, is that the App Store is only accessible to residents of a select set of countries. Since I happen to live in Iceland which has up until now not had App Store access I have to jump through hoops to purchase App-Store-only software. The local press reports that we are finally going to get App Store access even if it will only include free apps and no access to media. The same source also reports that delays in Iceland being getting App Store access is a combination of us being a microstate and the fact that our fearless leaders came within a whisker of flushing the national economy down the toilet, so it's not just Apple that's to blame. Having to deal with gift card scalpers in order to be able to purchase software after investing a significant amount of money in an Apple laptop is annoying to say the least. If Apple decides to lock down OS X completely I'll be migrating to another OS. I'll put up with this kind of hoop jumping for acquiring software for an iPhone/iPad or an Android gadget but not for my desktop OS.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bluetooth Headphones

The jacks on the corded headphones I use with my iPhone will usually wear out after 3-4 months so I bought a set of refurbished Sennheiser MM200 bluetooth headphones in the hope they will last longer. The sound quality is excellent and far better than what I expected from such small in-ear speakers. The MM200 doubles as a mobile headset (so far no complaints about people not hearing my voice) and as a remote for the iPhone. The skipping and volume control functions apparently did not work on earlier incarnations of iOS but they both work perfectly on my iPhone 3GS running iOS 4. Furthermore pressing the play button after powering up the MM200 connects it to the iPhone without also activating voice control on the phone unlike every other bluetooth headset I ever had. Reportedly the MM200 suffers from insufficient waterproofing that causes it to break if you wear it while exercising. I haven't experienced this in the month I have had the MM200 even though I cycle 15 km to school. The only downside is that the battery on the iPhone drains quite a bit faster thanks to bluetooth so you might want to switch off Location Services and Wifi or buy an external battery pack. The verdict so far is... thumbs up.