March ended up being a big month for iPhone gaming. Just when we thought the pace at which good iPhone games appeared was starting to slow down, we got hit by a huge influx of top-notch new titles. While choosing our favorite title for the month of March was not easy, in the end, the choice was clear. Sketch Nation Shooter takes full advantage of the iPhone’s features, providing an experience that would be nearly impossible on any other mobile gaming platform on the market. Engineous Games Inc. has developed a game bursting at the seams with creativity.

Sketch Nation Shooter

Don’t buy Sketch Nation Shooter expecting an epic shooter right out of the box. Engineous Games had a better idea: You are going to make your own.

Sketch Nation Shooter is truly unique, but not because you create your own levels. By this point, there are plenty of games with level creation and level sharing tools. What separates this creation tool from the rest is the organic method in which you create. Grab a sketchbook, a pen, and a pencil and draw your ship, the enemies, the obstacles, and even the bosses. Take a snapshot of each creation with the iPhones camera, tweak a few settings and suddenly your hand-drawn art takes on a life of its own.

For those who are particularly picky about resolution, or for players that just want to give their level that extra graphical “pop”, Sketch Nation allows players to import images directly from their device photo album. This obviously allows for an even larger range of game props. Since there is no crop or cut out options. and the scanner technology is designed to identify and convert well-defined drawings from a white background; do not expect every single picture or image in your photo album to scan properly, or even at all.

Sketch Nation Shooter

Before you complain, keep in mind what the technology is actually doing here. The device is not just scanning your image as an exact copy like your computer scanner at home. The engine then converts your image into a game resource with its own proper hit detection. Now you’re in a game asset can run into walls, crash into obstacles and explode into a fiery mess when shot down by opposing forces.

Engineous Games have gone above and beyond, providing so much more than a tech demo or proof of concept. The level creation tool is incredibly detailed, allowing for an impressive amount of fine-tuning when building your creation. Just as impressive however is the accessibility of the tools, with options to suit just about anyone. The barrier to entry is a common problem with most level editors and creation modes.

The most common complaint I hear when discussing level editors is that is just too time-consuming and difficult for the average user to make something worth playing. Sketch Nation addresses this problem by providing both basic and advanced level creation kits. So if you just want to make a few quick drawings and see them almost instantly dropped into a basic shooter framework, you can have your own level in a few minutes flat.

Gaming World

An advanced mode allows for more drawings as well as plenty of tweaks and adjustments for each individual set piece. So the user who wants to take the time and make something truly unique has everything they need to do so. The amount of tweaks and variables available when creating a level is very impressive. You can choose from multiple bullet types when creating enemies and bosses, choose from multiple game music types, and even program a separate music type for your boss battle. You can even include making your own story frame to appear before the level. Write a story in a few sentences, or draw out a storyline comic book style.

Choose how enemies move, how they react and even choose how many shots they can withstand before dying. The incredible number of options means you can expect to see much more then just basic shooters appear in the level sharing server. That brings me to the level of sharing. The game actually uses Facebook for its social network allowing for a relatively robust level sharing community. After logging into your Facebook account in-game on your device, you are then able to download other users’ levels which are all ranked via a 5-star rating system.

Conclusion

In addition, you can browse the most recent uploads, or just browse your Facebook friends levels. You can even download updates for the levels you have loaded on your device as new versions of the levels are released by the creators of the levels. Each and every level you download and play has its own online leaderboards so that you can compare your scores with your Facebook friends, and the world at large. Sketch Nation is just full of little details like that, adding a level of polish rarely seen in iPhone games.

By combining solid and accessible level creation tools with the organic and natural fun of drawing. Engineous Games has developed a whole new way to interact with our drawings, our devices, and our games. The integration feels seamless, and unlike many cutting-edge iPhone apps featuring new mobile gaming technology; Sketch Nation Shooter feels like a complete package instead of just a tech demo. This title is the new killer app on the iPhone and is sure to have a long and healthy life.

Game of the Month