Review of free Android games that uses your Droid tilt sensors
What is a tilt sensor?
The Droid, like most modern Smartphones, has tilt sensors inside that can actually sense how the phone is oriented in the 3D world. In a way, it is like a "bubble level", the stuff you use to "line up" paintings and such to make sure they are perfectly horizontal, except it works in 3 dimensions. It knows exactly how it is tilting this way and that. A game can use that, similar to the way a PS3 controller works, to add a new dimension of control. For example, instead of press right to steer right, you can simply turn the phone slightly right to to steer right. It is simply a more natural way to control things.
REVIEW PLATFORM: Motorola Droid running Android 2.1-update 1
Motorola Droid, and Android phone in general, is actually a pretty good platform to play games on. The screen is excellent, and the phone has full 3D tilt support, plus the hardware keys if you need them. Here are some of the games that use the tilt sensors.
As there are many games, the description will be a little short, but all major features will be covered.
Please note that screencaps of games are a bit hard to make on the Android platform, thus the screencaps shown are only for illustrative purposes, and may not actually came from the free version tested.
Abduction -- Abduction has a cute plot... You are a cow and your brethren had been cow-napped by UFOs! You just use your super-bouncing ability to bounce off bits of earth left by the UFOs' anti-gravity rays and reach the UFO, to defeat them and save your brethren from fate worse than death!
In reality, your control is rather limited... TIlt the phone one way to have the cow bounce that way. The idea is NOT to fall off (and die, as not even cows survive long falls), and keep bouncing higher. As you go on, you will find bonuses, traps, and so on. The lite version has plenty to keep you busy, and the full version can get downright diabolical.
The game is cute, but the use of tilt is rather minimal (just left/right), but it does have that "one more level feel".
Rating: 7 out of 10
Graviturn -- graviturn is a variation on the "ball in a maze" game where you try to get a ball from "start" to "finish" without dropping it into one of the traps, by simply carefully tilting the maze one way or the other (in fact, see Labyrinth Lite below for the Droid version). Graviturn want you to keep the blue ball(s), but drop the red balls off the screen, by tilting as well. And remember, you have to tilt in 2 dimension, and it can be difficult to "isolate" the walls you want while dumping those you do not. It is more complicated than it seems.
The graphics are bare minimal, but the tilt sensor utilization is a bit better, using two dimensions.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Labyrinth Lite -- the childhood game where you hold a small maze with a small ball inside, and try to move the ball from one end to the other without having it fall into one of the traps, and thus forcing you to start over. The Android version substitutes 3D graphics and some view tilting to simulate the experience, and you have to hold the machine level to the ground to play properly. As there are quite a few boards (and even MORE with the paid version), this can be interesting.
The main problem is who wants to use a $200+ smartphone to emulate a $0.99 toy? Still, it is amusing and nostalgic, if you dig that short of thing.
Rating: 6.5 out of 10
My paper airplane -- this fun little game have you controlling a paper airplane. You start at a certain altitude and you need to collect all the "stars" before you fall to earth. You have limited "reboost" that will give you a bit more altitude, but the rest of flying is up to you filting the phone this way and that like a control yoke in a plane. Push forward to dive, pull back to go up, turn left/right... It is very intuitive (except the "reboost" part.). Your viewpoint is just behind the airplane as you try to hit all the "stars" in the play field. If you turn too fast you lose too much speed. It is a lot of harmless fun.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Raging Thunder / Wave Blazer -- Raging Thunder and Wave Blazer are both from the same publisher, and behaves about the same: both are racers where you try to go around a "course" (Raging Thunder is a car, while Wave Blazer is a powerboat) as fast as possible. Graphics are very good, as good as any other mobile game. Sensitivity is a bit high though. It is not easy to tilt "just right" and takes a bit of practice. The full version comes with more game modes, more vehicles, and more courses, but the lite version, which are essentially demos, gives you a taste of ONE course and one car.
Both games support multiplayer, but was not tested. Main complaint about the controls is the tilt sensors are a bit sensitive, and no sensitivity slider is possible.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
For some simple time-waster, like in a subway where you just want to waste a few minutes, you should probably try Abduction.
If you have some room and don't mind looking a bit silly, try Graviturn or Labyrinth.
If you want to explore the full power of the tilt sensor, try My Paper Airplane.
If you just want to show off the graphics and game possible with your phone, get Raging Thunder or Wave Blazer, just keep in mind they are more like demos than full games.
All of these games have paid versions which includes even more capabilities or more levels. if you like the game, consider paying for the full version to support future developments.
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