Inspector Gadget

Review

posted 5/13/2009 by Dan Keener
other articles by Dan Keener
One Page Platforms: iPod
All iPhone/iPod Touch developers should take not, after reviewing multiple iPhone games a missing auto-save (or any save) to me will garner an immediate one letter grade deduction. This functionality should be mandatory from all developers for any game developed for the platform going forward. To not include it in Inspector Gadget was terrible judgment on Gamelion Studios/Cookie Jar’s part. I give Cookie Jar and Namco credit for getting the fix out, but it should have never made it past their quality control folks and onto iTunes like that.

Unfortunately, the fixes that were put in were not enough, as there are still a few issues with the game that really need to be addressed. The first quirk I took issue with was the at the beginning of every single new game (quick play or new game), you are forced to sit through a 16-second tutorial that runs through the layout of the controls and functions on the main screen. Can you say “Annoying”? After playing it once or twice, I know where the controls are and where everything is on screen. A simple bit of code in the options screen that would allow for the tutorial at the beginning to be turned off (or bypassed) would go a long way to help promote playability. Its bad enough waiting for the publisher and developer screens to flash by delaying my playtime, but continually being shown the controls and spending more time being told ad nausea about controls and the screen layout is just poor planning from a player’s perspective.

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The final problem I encountered was with control of Gadget, as he randomly takes off running/crawling/climbing in a specific direction because a button becomes “stuck”. It changes color like it is locked in position and you have to actually tap it several times to make it stop moving. I wasn’t sure if this was meant as a feature built into the game or some major design flaw, but I can say when it does happen it is quite annoying, especially if it costs you a life. If it was intended as a feature, it is not mentioned in any of the game information.

Despite my harsh words, I did enjoy the game (both before and after the fix), especially when I was able to sit down and play uninterrupted for periods of time. In fact, I really wanted to grade it higher due to the development team’s efforts with the addictive gameplay, true-to-form graphics and fun factor. Unfortunately, the remaining issues with the game (while not deal breakers for playing it) really needed to be addressed to assist the replay value if nothing more than to show Cookie Jar/Namco cares about their product. If more fixes go in, then Inspector Gadget will instantly improved from playable to enjoyable.

Originally released on 11/3/2008, the game is on version 1.0.1 (review spanned 1.0.0 and 1.0.1) and checks in at 13MB in size. Inspector Gadget can be found on iTunes AppStore at a current price of $4.99. I originally had the game rated at a D+ prior to the fixes, but by addressing the save issue and loading speeds the game was improved significantly. Unfortunately, it’s tough to forgive a developer for shipping a title with so many fundamental flaws and only addressing some of the obvious problems, so the final GamingNexus grade is C.


C
Inspector Gadget for the iPhone and iPod Touch is an average game that has the ability to be really good an enjoyed by the entire family. The efforts of Cookie Jar and Namco to step up and correct some of the fundamental flaws in the game are a good start and have brought the grade up. However, one more fix release addressing some of the obvious issues would turn it into one of the more fun games on the platform.


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