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We Got an iPod Touch and I Have Impressions

The Back of Our Engraved iPod TouchWe at Game Forward have (finally) gotten our hands on a brand-new iPod Touch. I’ve spent quite a bit of time with it over the past couple days, so I figured I’d type up some general impressions before diving into game reviews.

This is one slick little device. The OS runs incredibly well and smoothly and the size and weight of the iPod Touch feel just right to me. I was very pleased to learn that I did not have to pay to update the firmware to allow me to use the App Store. I had honestly forgotten that they put out a second generation iPod Touch with an integrated speaker and updated firmware.

Setting up the Wi-Fi connection was a breeze and required nothing more than inputting a password. I was able to browse the web with Safari, check my Gmail account and look at YouTube within minutes. Read More...

The touch screen sensitivity is just right for me for the most part, though it does feel a bit hyper-sensitive while inside some apps/games.  I also find the tilt sensitivity to feel quite good, though it took me a moment to realize I had to hold the iPod Touch flat in many games/apps.

I am absolutely in love with the double touch ability of the Touch and hope it becomes standard on future touch screen devices. The screen itself is gorgeous, easily my favourite too look at among current handheld systems. I was honestly surprised at how good some of the games look and the clarity while browsing the internet, even when zoomed in really impressed me.

I do take issue with the on-screen keyboard used for typing though. Maybe it’s because I’ve just started using it, but I find it pretty tough to type at a decent pace with it. It’s partly because of a lack of tactile feedback, but also for some reason the screen sometimes simply doesn’t register taps from my left thumb – the one with the mild palsy.

I don’t know if it’s because I can’t feel the thumb as well and I’m not putting enough pressure into my taps, but it happens with the on-screen keyboard quite a bit as well as in a few of the games I’ve played so far, both in horizontal and vertical orientations.

I never realized how much I’d use a portable device like this. The day planner is a welcome addition to my cluttered and often scatterbrained life and just this morning I made a grocery list on the notepad. Having a mobile internet device is great and will allow me to work on a mobile version of Game Forward.

As for the games, well I’ve bought a few. Alphabetic is my favourite so far; it’s a stylish and simple game that’s completely addictive. I’ve put a good 4 or 5 hours into it already. I also really enjoy Dr. Awesome, Microsurgeon M.D.. That’s a long title for such a small game. It’s a simple, yet also addictive tilt-controlled action-puzzle type game. I plan to start my “mini-review” section with these two titles.

I’ve also been playing Touch Physics, which is a physics-based drawing game. Dropship looks really cool and has some impressive graphics, but I can’t control it for the life of me. Hydro Tilt is a ball rolling puzzle game that reminds me a lot of Archer MacLean’s Mercury.

I purchased the Ouendan clone Saturday Night Fever: Dance. It has five licensed disco tracks, but sadly none of them are by the Bee Gees. Lastly I purchased Rolando which is an action-puzzle game that was influenced heavily by LocoRoco, but delivers a lot more actual game play than the PSP favourite.

That’s a lot of quality gaming for what amounted to less than $25. I’ve come across a couple of good free games too, namely MonsterTyper and a really cool side scroller meets Rez shoot-em-up called Space Deadbeef.

Despite my slight accessibility issue with the iPod Touch I’m really enjoying it so far. I’m looking forward to producing a lot of content about (and from) it in the coming months.