iPhone App Review: Playman Track & Field

iPhone App Review: Playman Track & Field

May 14th, 2010 by

Playman Track & Field, made by RealNetworks , is one of the best sports apps that I have played.  What makes T&F (Track&Field) an awesome app is the way you control your athlete.  One might expect another button mashing game where the faster you press the screen (and cause unnecessary stress to your device) the better you do.  In T&F you press green buttons in certain sequences to propel your athlete.  A green dot appears on the left and right side of the screen and your timing and accuracy dictate your performance.  Depending on the event, the dots appear red to indicate that at the right time when you push the buttons, your athlete will lean, jump, or throw.  I found this method of control responsive, motivating, and precise.  For example, when throwing the javelin, you must press the buttons accurately and at the right time as well as hold and release them when they are red to get a good result.  Some might say that timing sequences have nothing to do with the events but the experience makes for fun game play and keeps you wanting to better your scores.

T&F features five events: 100m, 110m hurdles, long jump, javelin, and pole vault.  These events all feature some sort of control involving the timing of pressing green dots to release them at the moment when they turn red.  I found 100m, 110 hurdles, and long jump to be very straightforward and I was quickly beating my computer opponent.  However, pole vault and javelin have proven to be much more tricky and have demanded a re-watching of the directions as well as many attempted failures before winning.  I particularly found the pole vault to be funny in that if you plant at the wrong time you will be driven headfirst into the front of the mat resulting in a painful ending.  These events are played in a variety of ways in that you can do an Amateur level where you try to beat a computer opponent in each event before leading up to a pentathlon against a group of CPU opponents.  Once you win that you do the same circuit at the Pro level.  I am still trying to win the pentathlon against the Pros before I can access the Survival mode.  You can also play Multiplayer, which is enticing, because although you take turns once you have finished your turn, your opponent will race your ghost.  You can also post your high scores online to crunning2ompete against the rest of the iphone/ipod touch community.  The menu is easy to navigate and features an attractive interface.

The graphics of T&F are quite enticing and interesting.  The game features a cartoonish feel with rich colors and fine detail.  The competitors are humorous characters that may be a little bit too stereotypical in their depictions of their country of origin.  For example, The Jamaican athlete features dreadlocks and a stoned-looking grin.  Overall, the game looks polished and unique. I found the sounds to be a bit less enjoyable and unnecessary.  The music during the menus is ok but during game play every time you touch the green dot there is an annoying bubble-popping sound that I find to be irritating. I enjoy playing much more with the sound turned off.

Overall. Playman T&F is a wonderful addition to the iphone/ipod touch.  It features unique timing-based controls that are addicting and make you feel like you can keep improving.  If you are a fan of Track and Field, you will love playing this game!  I have rated it 5 stars and it is available for download at the App Store for only 99 cents!

Pros:  Graphics, unique and fun controls, addicting and rewarding, only 99 cents!

Cons: Annoying sound, stereotyped characters, could be more depth to the game.

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