Wednesday, December 12, 2012

HGG2012 - zAPPing Your Gifts with Hasbro

A trend I'm seeing in the stores a lot this year is a growth in the number of games and toys available that interact with our electronic devices in various ways. You buy a toy, download the related app, and suddenly the game play experience on your device becomes something entirely different, and more interactive.

Earlier this year I reviewed Hasbro's Game of Life zAPPed, which has players moving on a regular board, but enhancing the experience through an iPad app. The iPad sits on the board, and acts as the spinner and information centre. For  the holidays, I'm reviewing two zAPPed titles where the iPad is the game board, and you place game pieces on it. The iPad reads information coded into the bottoms of the pieces, so it knows which piece you are playing and how/where you are moving it. Sound cool?
Age: 8 years & up / Players: 1
BATTLESHIP zAPPed Edition Movie Edition is a whole new game experience from Hasbro! Now you can play your ships and iPad together! Download the free app from the App Store to your iPad, place one of three combat ships on the screen and prepare to battle aliens!

Age: 8 years & up / Players: 2
Battle wizards head-to-head on your iPad with Spellshot zAPPed, a magical game experience from Hasbro!  It features four awesome zAPP wizards to fight virtual battles on your iPad. Cast powerful spells and collect treasure to win. Play Spellshot zAPPed and enter an animated world of magic, treasure and fantastical lands! Contents: 4 Battle Wizards and 4 Spell Cards.

Both of these games come in under $20 each, and so are a very affordable gift for the electronic game lover in your family, if you already have an iPad at home. They are rated for 8 and up, but I have to say that Little Boo, at 6, had no problem figuring them out. He took the Battleship zAPPed game and played it himself without any assistance from me. We played SpellShot together, and he figured out the finer points of the game before I did. But then again, he has a lot more recent gaming experience too.

SpellShot was a lot of fun for us to play together. Each player chooses one of the four included wizards, each with different powers, and casts spells to move around the board and collect treasures. You can also cast spells on your opponent, either to take treasure from them, or to deplete their powers. Of course, there is also a shield spell for protection. Spells are cast by tracing patterns on the iPad surface, each one takes different amounts of energy and they all need to time to recharge after use, so you don't always have everything available to you. My only quibble with this game, which is quite robust, easy to learn, and entertaining, was that I wanted more. More levels that is, for continued game play. When we reached the last level and the game re-set, Little Boo was kind of disappointed it ended so soon. However, with four wizards and many different spells, we just started again at the beginning with new choices, and there was still plenty of "newness.". And, a benefit of the app model - if the game developers want to add levels or functionality, this is easily done by posting an update of the app for download.

Battleship is a one player game and has been monopolized by Little Boo. He loves it. The game is played with three ships - a destroyer, an aircraft carrier, and of course a battleship, each with its own special weapons and particular strengths.  For instance, the destroyer is the fastest of the lot and is to be used for re-con missions to quickly scour the seas looking for alien enemies. It is of course equipped with torpedos so you can fight them off once you find them too.  This one will appeal to a range of ages, through the teenaged years. A good friend of mine just bought it for her adult brother for Christmas. Big boys will enjoy the game missions model for tracking down and destroying the enemy.

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of these games to facilitate my review. No other compensation was received and all opinions on this blog remain my own.

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