AMITIAE - Saturday 7 May 2016
Colourful Pinball-style Game for iOS Devices: INKS
By Graham K. Rogers
After an initial screen, the user is offered a list of 5 paint options but in its initial state only one (Dawn) was available. I was not able to access the other 5 which were greyed out (I had expected to access online purchasing). These did appear later and are not part of the extra purchases.
As the ball is in play, the usual flippers are used to guide the ball round the table. The purpose is to make the ball hit colour at the edge of the table. As each area is hit, a splash of colour spreads over the table, creating an artistic effect.
Once all the colors were activated by the ball, the game was over. Some tables had a sink-like hole in the playing area and if the ball went in here it was lost, adding to the score. If a ball was lost before the colors were complete, the number of balls used was higher: a less than perfect performance. Low scores were best. If I was less than happy with a particular result, I was able to replay the table and (hopefully) improve.
I also played INKS on the iPad Air 2 which suggests a sort of Goldilocks Effect: the iPad Pro was large, the iPhone may have been too small, but this one was just right. It of course depends on the user's own preferences, but this was a sort of Goldilocks Effect: the iPhone was too small, the iPad Pro was too bug, but the iPad Air 2 was just right. It of course depends on the user's own preferences.
Sometimes if I was really good and completed the colors quickly, there was a gold star. A couple of tables were so easily completed that they seemed pointless. Others were frustrating and needed several balls played before the colors were completed. Each time the ball tracked over the table, a line was drawn, changing color depending on the last color activated. I am not sure how these lines improved aesthetics, or maybe the point was not to have so many random lines.
When I had completed all 24 tables, the other color options were made available for me. These each had a different style of playing table, so the learning and frustrations would continue.
INKS was updated to version 1.0.1 overnight adding iCloud progress syncing and updating performance for older devices. I find this an interesting diversion with a unique display method - the color splashes - that may well suit some users. I will certainly be playing INKS again on and off.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.
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