Community Networks: The XBox 360 has one, the PS3 has one, the PC has several, and now the IPhone does too. Introducing the definite solution, “Plus+”!
We all know the joke, “the IPhone isn’t a gaming machine”! Har har har! Wooh.. but seriously, for those of us who take their Swiss Army Knife of phones seriously, here is your answer to an IPhone gaming community. I present to you all, Plus+ (pronounced “Plus Plus”), an ngmoco (creators of the popular Rolando series) project! If you will allow me, I will show you just why Plus+ should tighten your trousers and bust some zippers!
What is Plus+?
Simply put, Plus+ is ngmoco’s no-sub-fee-necissary solution to a gaming community network for the IPhone platform. Just as Live, just as PSN, just as Steam, Plus+ serves to connect games and gamers into a single network in which they can interact together. Plus+ is a completely open network for developers to partner with and insert into their games using ngmoco’s own SDK. As of now the roll out is limited to select developers, of which ngmoco chooses from submissions, but once Plus+ satisfies the standards set by its parent company the network plans to open up to all IPhone developers! It is truly a one stop shop for everyone.
Why Should I Care About Plus+?
I can give you three good reasons (and many more smaller tidbits);
- Awards: Be honest, who here is an whore of some numerical reward system? Who here has played a crummy Avatar game to inflate their Gamer Score? Played Terminator: Salvation to add a platinum to your Trophies? Hell, who here has actually obsessed over Steam Achievements in Left 4 Dead? If at any point you said, “that sounds like me”, then you should be jumping for joy about the Awards system in Plus+. Like a hybrid between Trophies and Gamer Score, each game has a set amount of awards worth a set amount of points. As you earn these Awards you are earning points, which contribute to a greater character level, which in itself follows a milestone system. I can truly say that, if Dan “Shoe” Hsu would never let it go, than neither should you!
- Leaderboards: Man, leaderboards, how we know thee so well! Hell, even I spent a whole three (3) hour session playing the PSN title Super Stardust HD as to achieve an high score of 98 million+, scoring me a mid 5,500’s spot on the global leaderboards. So, if leaderboards wet your appetite then you will surely be bloated with this meal! Plus+ provides the possibility for developers to create their own, unique leaderboards for their games. Developers can even create numerous categories for which to base a leaderboard off. Imagine, a whole leaderboard devoted to how many gutter balls you got in a single game of virtual ibowling! So, any starving being in need of public attention and over glorification of a score should not lightly pass this up!
- Friends List: Got a personal chum with whom you’ve had a rivalry that has lasted longer than even the stars can remember? Or did you just meet some fellow couch potato at a party who also happens to iGame (TM, get off it, yo) and want to keep tabs? Well, Plus+ has got you covered again, as it offers a robust friends list for you to keep tabs with all your peeps. Simply press the “+” icon, search their ID and tap them. Voila! They are now added to your list of friends. Better yet, now you can visit their profile and check out their games, leaderboards, and awards! Heck, in games that support it you can even send direct challenges, just to give them a simple reminder that “I’m better than you, so eat me”! If you got friends or wish to make friends then Plus+ should be your first stop to togetherness!
Besides that, Plus+ offers a bunch of tidbits to peek your curiosity; 1) Updated news on your games (available when you tap any of your games), 2) Game lists showing both your games and all Plus+ enabled games, 3) Profile Avatars, and 4) A simple Status space to broadcast a message for all of your profile visitors!
How is Plus+ Accessed? Also, Just How Intrusive is it to My Gaming?
This is probably the most amazing part about Plus+, it’s completely tethered to and within the games! It simply lingers as a tab in the right most edge of your screen during play. To access it you merely tap on it, which it will then transfer you to your Plus+ home screen. You can then use all Plus+ functionalities! As for your abandoned game? Well, fret not little buddy, for as soon as your done doing your Plus+ business you simply tap the “x” button on the right of the screen. This will instantly take you out of Plus+ and put you back in the exact moment you left the game! Man, so not only is Plus+ all in-game and available at all times, but it also seamlessly takes you out and places you back into your games. Not a single moment lost. Damn, now don’t you wish the XMB or Dashboard could do that, eh?
Plus+, in Summary:
Truly, the boys and gals over at ngmoco have struck gold with this network. Not only is it effective, it is simply blissful and difficulty free, giving the user a portable network satisfaction vastly unheard of on handhelds (and to some extent even consoles.) Any gaming enthusiast with an IPhone and an appetite for IPhone games should definitely have Plus+ on their radars, if not on their IPhones. Truth be told, there will most surely come a day when you ask not “should I find some games with Plus+ integration?”, but rather “how does this game NOT have Plus+ integration?”!
If your still not convinced, or even need a sample, ngmoco themselves have several titles for both purchase and demo that feature their Plus+ network. Right off the bat I would suggest Star Defense Prelude, a free title from ngmoco in celebration of Star Defense tower defense title, that features Plus+ integration.
Now, now I shall leave you with a flickr of screens and the decision in your hands. It is your choice to make now! SO DO IT!