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I entertain no illusions when it comes to my reaction time. I won’t be catching any katana blades between my hands, that’s for sure. It’s my secret shame, since it means I’m not terribly good at video games, despite my professed love of them. There may be hope for me yet, thanks to DoApp’s new “skills-sharpening” game for the iPhone and iPod touch, appropriately titled React ($0.99).
React is a reflex and coordination game, using the unique multi-touch abilities of the iPhone and iPod touch to test your ability to complete a series of actions on your device. It’s actually kind of similar to Nintendo’s Wario Ware series, minus the crass, slightly vulgar main character. React has no characters, unless you count colorful shapes and contemporary, monochromatic design palettes as characters. In fact, it probably has more in common with Simon, although there is no pattern to memorize in this case.
The game is not for those looking for an immersive experience, but it might provide a good distraction for fans of pick-up-and-play casual games. Basically, you’re presented with a sequence of interactive screens, each of which commands you to either pinch, poke, slide, or shake. Each action is performed exactly as you’d expect it to be, using either a touch gesture, or by shaking the device. If you take too long to perform the action, you receive a strike. Five strikes results in a game over. The time available to perform the action displayed onscreen decreases with each round, making the game more frenzied as you progress. An upbeat, techno-style soundtrack also adds to the sense of urgency the game tries to achieve.
React is a mildly entertaining game, although I found myself wanting more from it. A greater variety of gestures, for instance, or at least a variety of backgrounds for the existing gestures, would’ve gone a long way towards maintaining my interest. Also, the voiceover that says each gesture as it appears is aggravating, again due to repetition and lack of variety. On the plus side, there is an offline multiplayer mode (you email your results to a friend and they take up the challenge) that adds some much-needed energy. It also has an appealing, pleasant design, with well-executed animations, menus, and game screens. In fact, I’d almost rather look at React than play it.
It’s a concept with a lot of potential, but as of yet, React feels underdeveloped. The game is available now in the App Store for $0.99.