I remember way back when the App Store opened that one of the games to quickly emerge (in several different variants) was Air Hockey. Over the last couple of years, I’ve played several different Air Hockey games, some good and some bad. The one thing that seems to be universal is that they are difficult to make playable on the small screen of the iPhone. This is one of the first games that I’ve seen that fixes that problem with a 3D table, and it is a lot of fun!
When you open up Virtual Air Hockey one of the first things you’ll want to do is link it to your OpenFeint account if you have one already. If you don’t, it’s easy to set one up. OpenFeint is a great way track achievements/see who else is online and playing the same games as you are!
The main menu screen a few simple buttons with a demo of the game playing in the background. It’s a very nice effect and is pulled off quite well. There are three buttons in the main menu: “Play,” “Options,” and “OpenFeint.”
The options menu is fairly basic. You can select the amount of goals that your game will be to (3, 5, or 7), how difficult your computer opponent is, the game volume, and one other attribute called “Paddle Offset.” The Paddle offset makes it easier to see what’s going on while you play by placing the paddle just above where you are holding your finger. You can set the offset anywhere from 0 to 20.
Once you actually get into the game itself the controls are very simple. Wherever you touch on the screen your paddle will be there. Just like Air Hockey in real life the object is to hit the puck into your opponent’s goal and to protect your own goal. For the most part the controls are fairly smooth, although it is a little jerky occasionally if you move around too quickly.
While the graphics are amazing and the controls are very simple, I do have a couple of small gripes about this app. The first thing that’s missing is the ability to pick up your paddle and place it on top of the puck to grab it and move it around. The other thing is that the puck sometimes seems to fly off of your paddle even when you don’t hit it very far. It doesn’t happen all of the time though, and I was able to adjust to it pretty quickly.
One other thing that I’ve seen in some other games that is missing from this one is the ability to play multiplayer. With the 3D perspective, it would be hard to do multiplayer on the same device, but it would have been nice to see either a wifi or bluetooth multiplayer mode. With that said, a lot of multiplayer modes that I’ve seen in games like this lag too much to really be fun anyway.
Another really great thing about this game, in particular, is that it looks great on both the iPhone and iPad. By purchasing just this one universal app you can play it full screen on any of your iOS devices including the iPad! Not only that but the app is also $0.99!
If you’re looking for a game that’s easy to pick up for just a few minutes and play, this one is both fast-paced and fun. It is especially enjoyable for people that like completing achievements because there are a ton of them! But don’t just take my word for it, check it out for yourself in the App Store today!