Can’t Control myself…

One thing I find annoying of late is the misuse of traditional “joystick” type controls in iOS games – that is, a less-than-ideal implementation of the virtual joystick on the left side of the screen with buttons on the right – or any variation thereof. NB: After posting the first draft of this article I had to repost to acknowledge games I’ve played where the virtual joystick did work ok – that’s what I get for rushing a post out just to meet a deadline xD. But what does stand out to me is the feeling that the virtual joystick seems like a retreat to traditional methods for convenience. I won’t go so far as to claim a lack of originality but it seems like the new interface paradigm of touch and tilt calls for a completely new approach.

The dual virtual joysticks of games like Minigore work relatively well for me – and I played through Lego Harry Potter with only minimal frustration. However, I stand by my original post in that I haven’t yet seen a stand out implementation that definitively validates the combination of the touch platform with the joystick control scheme.

The video below shows an RPG for iOS that I really like and would play a lot more if I could but the control scheme is waaaaay too frustrating. The joystick control is small and fiddly and so are the buttons. Maneuvering through menus is an extremely annoying affair involving much backtracking and careful presses. I know I’ve got fat fingers but this is ridiculous!

I’ve got the first two games in this series so far but have only played a little way through the first. I see the third game is out now but I can’t bring myself to purchase it when the control scheme for the first two isn’t manageable. The game is great fun, as far as I’m able to play it, but the control scheme is too annoying to continue. I know I’m not alone in this – it’s been mentioned in a few reviews and by many a player in various forums and feedback spots. Without being too derogatory of the effort Gamevil have put into every other aspect of the game – the excellent graphics, reasonably engaging story, world design, and RPG fan-friendly game mechanics – I’m convinced the virtual joystick method could’ve been implemented far better than it is here, and the design of the menus seems, frankly, to be ill-conceived in its fall back to a standard approach.

So are there any “traditional” RPGs out there for iOS with a decent control scheme?

Developers, PLAY your own game! Um… well, actually, in this video they are, so… yeah… but note how he keeps lifting his thumb/finger off to change direction – you should be able to roll it for true ease of use! <– so say I

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