iPieces Air Hockey for iPad Review

Are you looking for an interactive game that your kids will love? Jumbo Games has just released their innovative iPieces which bring a whole new dimension to iPad gaming. They have found a way to incorporate more traditional game pieces with the unique capacitive touch screen of the iPad. There are four sets, each with a free app which you can download from the App Store. This week we took a closer look at Air Hockey.

The packaging is very well designed. Inside you’ll find two plastic iPawns, four felt sticker circles and a Jumbo Games sticker. But these are no ordinary pawns, they have been magically endowed with the ability to simulate the touch of your finger on the iPad’s screen. The felt stickers are a good idea as the plastic alone could conceivably scratch the screen, though that does seem unlikely. They also help the iPawns slide smoother.

Of course you can’t play straight away, first you have to download the app. And I must say that it was a good move to make the apps themselves a free download. There are some other companies which have the consumer buy their accessory and then they have to buy the app as well. Good show Jumbo Games.

As apps go, this version of Air Hockey is well designed. Easy to follow instructions and a polished look. It is very playable and has a realistic feel to it. You can of course play this game without the iPawns, but then it’s just another game among thousands. No, you will really want to play this with the iPawn in hand. They recommend holding it with 3 fingers and you will quickly learn why. If you don’t, it’s easy to tilt your iPawn, thus losing contact with the screen. We found this easy to avoid though and game play was quite fun.

The illusion created of hitting the virtual puck is aided by the red plastic ring around the base of the iPawn. If you remove it, not only does the puck react to soon, but your fingers tend to touch the screen. So don’t lose that little red ring!

Playing Air Hockey on the relatively small screen is bit cumbersome for adults with larger hands, as it is bit hard to see the screen. Children however, should have no trouble at all.

Overall this is a great concept. However, the price for each of these four sets is rather pricey. Especially since each iPieces set is really only good for its own app. Not to say that they aren’t worth the money, but I would have liked to see them sell all four sets together for a discounted price. That being said you will definitely want at last one of them. They are a great way to get children to play together or even for you to play a game with your child.

I’d recommend downloading the four apps first. You can play all the games, albeit in a limited fashion, then decide which one to buy first. For now iPieces is only available to purchase across the pond but Amazon UK does have it if you are willing to spend extra dough on shipping.

The Good: Unique way to play games. Great for group play.

The Bad: Limited use. Not available in the USA yet. Kids could grow bored quickly.