Game of Watchcraft: Spawn of Squishy ($0.99) by eSolution is a retro game that will turn your iPad’s display into an ’80s game console, featuring one of the most skeuomorphic interfaces I’ve ever seen or used. While the concept seems primitive, the novelty of this title may attract you.
The console represented in the game has two screens, resembling the form factor of a Nintendo DS. These are not the LCD screens of today that we’d expect to see in an iOS device. Rather, they are black-and-white LCDs, where a permanent image is used for the background, and all of the possible graphics on the screen have been preset into the display. When you fire up the game, you’ll even notice how the whole screen quickly fills with all of those preset graphics, just like the real thing.
In Game of Watchcraft, the two screens represent two worlds, called TopScreen and BottomScreen. Your character, Squishy, must travel throughout each world while collecting items and killing all who are evil. Each level begins in BottomScreen, where Squishy’s task will be to collect treasure chests while staying clear of goblins. Once the required amount of treasure chests has been collected, Squishy will be able to ride a Mount, which is a flying animal, over to TopScreen, where he will have to kill a certain number of Minions to complete the level. Every few levels, Squishy will also encounter a boss, whom he must conquer in order to move forward.
While the graphics in Game of Watchcraft are well done, considering they accurately portray what it is like to use one of those old handheld gaming devices, I’m feeling unsure about the concept itself. Although I was not around to experience the 1980s, I can tell you that these types of devices frequently came in McDonald’s Happy Meals during the early 2000s, so I’ve had my fair share of them over the years. Even the real versions of this type of game were difficult to control, and the fact that the buttons now sit behind a glass panel doesn’t help. I find it very difficult to operate the D-pad and Action button without feeling the physical feedback of plastic. Looking away from the virtual screens to see if my thumbs are actually hitting a button makes it all that much worse.
As a result of this strange concept, which, in my opinion, is a little over the top, I don’t think I’ll be reaching for this one again any time soon. The fact that I could have gotten a similar game in a Happy Meal less than 10 years ago takes away the retro appeal for me. Of course, if you are interested in a game like this, you can get it for your iPad in the App Store during the launch promotion for $0.99. After the promotion, the game will cost $2.99.