Review: iYoko (iPhone App.)

Available: US iTunes Store

Price: US $4.99

When the iPhone first came out, the only way to get many of Japan’s crazy apps. was with an iTunes Japan card via JList. Now though companies have begun to import the apps. and translating them for American audiences. Two apps. that have recently been getting some attention is one for the Eva series and then one called iYoko for Gurren Lagann.  While I like both series I decided to try out the Gurren Lagann one first. 

Let me just start out by saying that if you’re buying an iPhone app. for 5$ you’d probably expect some level of quality gameplay. However, from the opening picture, this application really gives away the fact that this is merely a fan boy’s pocket sized toy, and not necessarily a fun one at that. The How to Play instructions are simply: “Try to touch or shake Yoko! If you become a good friend with her, something good may happen!” They aren’t lying about the touching and shaking because that’s about all you do, and after far too long playing this ‘game’ I still don’t think anything “good” has happened. However, perhaps my fan boy sensibilities make me unreasonably expect Yoko to do more and tease less? Instead of anything particularly interesting happening Yoko, upon being touched, will either a) giggle/blush, tell you the time, tell you the date, be unhappy/angry, or warn you about your iPhone’s battery life. Again, presumably if you figure out how to make her happy something good will happen, but I have seen nothing yet.

Now the only real ‘fun’ one perceivably could have with the game is with the Zoom feature and the costume changes. This is not a high brow game, so it should be no surprise that the few ‘achievements’ you can earn give you the ability to see Yoko in different scenery and choose between different outfits. Likewise, you can zoom in up to 3x picture, and move the frame around to see what you choose. What is not immediately clear though is that to earn those bonuses you must actually play 2nd game, or really the only ‘true game’ in this iPhone app. That game is “Seek Buta!”.

Seek Buta! at first sounds like it could be fun. You’re still looking at Yoko, and now you get Buta, who is really just comedy in a ball. However, much like with the touch Yoko component of the app., this game really isn’t about skill. That’s because while there are multiple points on/around Yoko where Buta can be, there is no hint at all which place he’s at. Instead, all you do is just keep trying the levels over, using the few turns you have to randomly point and just hope Buta is where you think he’s at. Usually he isn’t and that’s annoying, but again based on the promise of ‘something good happening’ I played on, and got some 2 more outfits and scenes for Yoko.

All in all, I know there’s more to the game; however, at this point I’m thinking what does it matter. There’s an option to connect contacts somehow, with no clear explanation as to the benefit (perhaps it really is just a link to the address book?). Also under settings you can reset the “love point”, which I assume translates to where at that moment Yoko likes to be touched, but again there’s no clear explanation except for that “it changes depending on the place and frequency that you touch”. If it changes why does there need to be a reset, and what benefit does the “love point” have?

While I will give this game a X out of 5 rating, if someone asked me “should I buy this game?” then I’d say no, unless you just want to say you have one, or you like staring and touching Yoko on your iPhone. If it’s the last reason, well for maybe 2$ I wouldn’t fault them, but for 5$?!? I could (and hope to in the future) show you plenty more apps. for under 5$ that would give you way more pleasure. So sorry Yoko, while your curves are something to behold, the iYoko app. is just lame.

Score: 1 out of 5

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