Ah, I remember the day when Lights Off was released, the first truly native game for (jailbroken) iPhones. With not even a rumor about Apple’s now legendary and infamous App Store, the game was available for free through the somewhat clandestine Installer app. Designed by Adam Betts and developed by the now Apple-employed Lucas Newman, Lights Off was not only a joy to play, but also beautifully designed.
It made me incredibly excited about the prospect of native games on the iPhone. Fantastic iPhone-worthy design coupled with addictive games was a reality I couldn’t imagine. That turned out to be a positive limitation on my brain, since the introduction of the App Store has brought about mostly horribly ugly (yet sometimes quite playable) games. It’s Ramp Champ that brought me back to those good thoughts, though.
Ramp Champ has been designed by the Iconfactory and developed by DS Media Labs. My friends at the Iconfactory are quite renowned for their amazing design skills, and Ramp Champ is, if anything, a great showcase of their talents. I was glad to see that the graphics aren’t the only strength of the game, though. Ramp Champ is a very addictive and fun game inspired by the typical game booths at carnivals that let you win tickets that you can redeem for prizes.
Fortunately, Ramp Champ doesn’t cost you your precious dollars to throw a few balls. You can explore the beautiful and adventure-packed (seriously!) ramps at your leisure, and save up your tickets to adorn your virtual shelf with prizes. You’ll have to do quite some power-throwing and tossing to make your way to the premium prizes, and that’s where Ramp Champ’s addictive nature sets in. I’ve played the game for days, in queues at shops and while waiting for important email to arrive, often finding myself entangled in the quest to win the mystical plushie.
It’s very nice to see four extra ramps were added as purchasable content last week. As expected, they feature gorgeous design and a solid extra number of hours of gameplay for the Ramp lover.
It’s a pity how Ramp Champ illustrates how horribly incompetent the App Store is at showcasing and featuring great design and attention to detail. Games designed with love, care, and attention like Ramp Champ wither when they drop out of the all-or-nothing iTunes charts, making way for mediocre titles that sell fast thanks to their 99 cent price tags and/or brand names. I hope to see its pretty face pop up in an iPhone commercial some day.
After the beta test of Ramp Champ, I bought the game without a moment’s thought to support such great design and in hopes of bringing them into the charts. I encourage you to also grab Ramp Champ off the App Store: at $1.99, it’s a bargain.