Have you ever wanted to create an “ultimate game room” but lacked either the finances or the space? Well, Warner Bros. has introduced the next best thing with Midway Arcade, a re-creation of the classic game meccas of yesteryear, conveniently rebuilt for your iPhone and iPad devices.
If you’ve ever visited a Chuck E. Cheese or similar gaming center, you’ll be quite familiar with the way that Midway Arcade is set up. Several games are available for free play, including Defender (a space shooter), Root Beer Tapper (serving drinks to impatient customers) and Spy Hunter (destroying enemy cars on a fast-moving road). Really old-fashioned games such as basketball shooting, billiards and a variation of Skee-Ball are also on hand. (If you need more games, you can purchase two in-game add-ons for 99 cents to expand your arcade, including such favorites as the dungeon action game Gauntlet, the shoot-em-up Total Carnage and the cop chase driving game APB.)
The arcade games are almost perfect replicas. There are a few audio snags here and there, and you’ll have to get used to a virtual controller and buttons. But otherwise, they’re as fun as the originals. The real action skill games have some downsides. The pool controls are quite limited (pull back and shoot), and throwing basketballs is a lot trickier than it should be, due to inaccurate controls.
Get good enough at the games, however, and you’ll be able to unlock a series of rewards at the redemption counter, ranging from little toy planets to stuffed animals to virtual full-size arcade games for your personal collection. These provide rewards for your Game Center stance as well, through Achievements (game points) that boost your overall score.
Along with the games, the in-app virtual arcade is fun to explore, as if you’re walking through an actual game center from yesteryear. It also comes with a jukebox that lets you play music from your iTunes library while you game.
Despite issues with certain games, Midway Arcade is a nice blast from the past. For $3, you get your own special game room, with no need to move the sofa.
($1 initial app, $1 for each three-game add-on, iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch, TND Rating: 3 / 4 stars)