Social Arcade Puts Users in Control

Remember the times when you would bug your mom for quarters so you could visit the arcade? It was one of the premiere money vacuums of its time (next to candy, of course). However, now arcades are rather few and far between. They feel outdated and tired, and what was once something that could be seen in any mall across America is now something only occasionally noticed in passing.

Of course this isn’t to say that arcades are dead. No, they just have evolved into a different form. An arcade in present time is more virtual and is a compilation of multiple smaller games. Social Arcade is one such example, as it comes with pages of various mini-games.

When you first visit, you are presented with pages of different games with the two primary games dubbed Bird Hunt (sound familiar?). As you may expect, you shoot birds… and apparently flying pigs in order to score the highest possible amount of points. The other games, however, are more platformer in nature.

There is a logical reason behind the similarities of the other mini-games: The majority of them are user-generated. That is the unique feature behind Social Arcade. Any player can utilize their level building tools to create a platformer game, in which the user is granted two options. If the person isn’t so design oriented, the app has the ability to walk you through a simple step by step process to create a game for you. All you have to do is select the choices of genre, theme, enemies, and so on. Once you’ve made your key choices, the game does the hard parts for you and generates a level.

Of course, if you are feeling creative, you can always use the builder tool and manually place everything in your game. It is a little hard to get used to, and isn’t exactly user friendly, so you probably shouldn’t mess with it unless you’re really into level design. There isn’t a way to simply set the level size, there are no scroll bars where there should be some, you can’t seem to zoom in and out, and so on and so forth. Nevertheless, the builder does have enemies that you can place, traps, platforms, and characters that are all programmed to do their jobs. There is no scripting required. Once you get used to the builder, it is actually possible to build some fairly decent levels.

Social Arcade definitely needs some work, but it does have a lot of promise. Based on the greyed out options in the level builder, it looks like users can expect to see many different types of games, such as RPGs, shooters, racing, and more. Once those are available for construction, the app will certainly improve, but right now there is just very little variety in the games and the builder tool really could use some tweaks. All in all, it works well for what it is; it just can be a bit annoying to use sometimes. Also, as with any platform, games will improve as the would be developers learn more and, well, get practice. As such, the overall level of quality from this app would be expected to rise as well in the near future.