June 12th, 2009

Ion Charge: Somewhere between “ridiculously addictive” and “throw your iPhone across the room”


Ion Charge: Somewhere between “ridiculously addictive” and “throw your iPhone across the room”

Every successful game developer knows that they have to walk an extremely thin line. A psychological balance beam between aggravation and satisfaction. Make a game too easy and no one will play it. Make it too difficult and the same thing happens. The challenge is to build a game that frustrates the user enough that they find it challenging—while steering clear of so much hair tearing that they walk away, never to return. It’s a delicate balance.

And it takes skill to pull it off.

Well, based on how many times I just wanted to chuck my iPhone across the room in the last 30 minutes or so, I think Portland-based iPhone developer Calvin Rien may have nailed it—with Ion Charge.

Oh sure. It seems simple enough. Change the polarity on your little ion. And with those changes in polarity, it will be attracted or repulsed from surfaces within the game.

Easy right? So simple you can do it one-handed with the little slider thingamajig.

I mean, listen to Calvin. It must be easy. “My test for the interface of this game,” he taunts, “was seeing if I could play with one thumb while lying on the couch and watching ’30 Rock’ reruns.”

Sure, Calvin. Sure.

He even makes it look easy.

I mean, how hard could it be? It’s not electromagnetic theory or anything. Oh wait.

Besides, who can resist that startup screen? That’s right. Not me.

Made in Portland OregonSo, I plunked down my $0.99 and spent the next half-hour mucking around, trying to get my ion to obey my commands. And then I start muttering. But I kept playing. And I kept muttering. And so on.

Well, suffice it to say, I’m going to be requesting a “scream obscenities into your iPhone” feature that causes the ion to self-destruct. Or some kind of super electromagnetic get out of jail free robot. Or something.

But as frustrated as I got, I couldn’t put it down. And that’s why Ion Charge wins.

You can learn more about the game at the Ion Charge site. To add the game to your iPhone or iPod Touch, download Ion Charge for the app store.

Like this post? There are more. Every week.
Plus events, jobs, and community offers.

View previous campaigns.



Background that may help (or may not)

11 Responses to “Ion Charge: Somewhere between “ridiculously addictive” and “throw your iPhone across the room””

  1. Steve Lieber says:

    Hey, Cool! Matt Nolan, a 3-D artist closely affiliated with Periscope Studio (also here in Portland) worked on this. He’s been hugely excited about it coming out!

  2. Calvin says:

    Hee-hee! Thanks for being the first review of my app! I honestly didn’t realize how hard I’d made the game. When you work on something for months it tends to become an extension of your body.

    I thought I was going to have to add more hard levels at the end, sounds like I’ll have to add easier levels at the beginning.

    Maybe I should add a feature where if you shake your phone violently it makes calming noises to soothe jangled nerves.

  3. Rick Turoczy says:

    @Calvin That would be awesome, given that I’m already in the habit of shaking the game violently. ;)

  4. AdamD says:

    I love the Made in Oregon intro. I beat the first two levels. I was just barely over par on the first one. We shall not mention my time on the second.

    I could use some easier levels, but I’d hate to discover I’m just not good. Nevertheless, I echo that it’s fun and go Portland iPhone developers!

  5. Ion Charge: Somewhere between “ridiculously addictive” and “throw your iPhone across the room&.. http://tinyurl.com/ltpf62

  6. First review of the game: http://bit.ly/wUrDr “But as frustrated as I got, I couldn’t put it down. And that’s why Ion Charge wins.” Woot?

  7. Ion Charge: “ridiculously addictive” http://tinyurl.com/ltpf62 =DDD

  8. [...] may remember Calvin from Ion Charge, the iPhone game that—while strangely addictive—also drove me completely nuts. And while, I still enjoy tearing my hair out as I try to move that little ion around, Azplode is [...]

  9. [...] may remember Calvin from Ion Charge, the iPhone game that—while strangely addictive—also drove me completely nuts. And while, I still enjoy tearing my hair out as I try to move that little ion around, Azplode is [...]


About the Silicon Florist

Clicky