Antimatter – A Big Bang for the iPhone?
Pangea Software is certainly no stranger to the iPhone gaming scene, with 6 games already available at the App Store. With the successful release of Enigmo under their belt, Pangea has once again released another physics based game in Antimatter. Unlike Enigmo though, Antimatter is a unique arcade game that resembles part pinball and part Geometry Wars. Rather than shooting everything up in sight, you must guide a streak of bright orange antimatter particles with your finger. Floating all around are ‘Cosmic Strings’ that light up the screen like a constellation map. With this antimatter, your job is to change the cosmic strings from a state of blue to a neon like orange by colliding the two together. Doing so will also add time to the clock. All the strings must turn orange before the timer runs out or else its game over.
Sounds easy right? Adding to the challenge, these strings revert back to their original color if your antimatter accidentally bounces off them again. Power ups are found throughout the levels that range from adding more time to the clock, lengthening or shortening the cosmic strings and the ability to destroy them all together. There are also power ‘downs’ that have a negative effect on the game, such as decreasing the time on the clock and adding even more strings to the screen.
Controlling the antimatter may take a little getting used to, as it doesn’t quite move along the same speed as your finger. At first, I kept trying to trace the movement of the antimatter all over the screen. However, I found this counterproductive as my finger would block my view and thus had a hard time seeing the strings. I later realized the best way to control the antimatter was utilizing a small area near the bottom of screen, moving your finger in small increments. You can also adjust the sensitivity level of the antimatter if you don’t like the default response time of the antimatter. Personally, turning it up roughly 75% worked best for me.
The graphics and sound in Antimatter are very well done. Every time the antimatter smashes against a cosmic string, lightsaber like sounds are heard. At later levels when the screen is filled with cosmic strings and the antimatter is bouncing to-and-fro like a pinball, it sounds like an action packed clip from Star Wars.
While the graphics and sound are excellent, the lack of variety in gameplay ends up being Antimatter’s downfall. For the first thirty minutes, I enjoyed the challenges of maneuvering the antimatter around the screen and avoiding strings that have already turned orange. As the game progressed though, the action seemed to become repetitive. Nothing gets more frustrating than in later stages with cosmic strings filling the entire screen. When this happens, your antimatter will more often than not get trapped between a horde of strings. Kind of like a car getting stuck on a highway during rush hour and there isn’t much you can do. While there are power ups to help you smash through the strings, they didn’t come about often enough during these painstaking times. A lack of a global score system doesn’t help either. If one was in place, perhaps players would be more inclined to play the game even after the action gets a bit stale.
In the end though, Antimatter is a fairly decent game and can still be quite fun if played in short spurts. It does have good elements going for it, but I felt that the gameplay got too monotonous for its own good. I wouldn’t surprised if there are players out there who absolutely love this game. For only $0.99, fans of action titles may still want to give Antimatter a try.