iPhone Apps And Games

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Every ride in Disneyland starts with a stern warning: keep your arms and legs inside the car. For a grown adult, it's an obvious request to prevent park hoppers from losing a limb; yet for those caught up in the amusement of Magic Kingdom, it's a necessary reminder. You may already know to keep your appendages within your seat, but it doesn't hurt to be nagged.

In Disney's All-Star Cards, however, it does. It's not entirely unreasonable for the developers to assume you might already know how to play Go Fish, Hearts and Crazy 8's, but it's also a dangerous tactic.

Obviously, featuring a Disney cast, this is a game for the younger players, so extra attention should have been given to easing them onto the card table.

And yet the instructions verge on nonsense. Even if we were to overlook the absence of paragraphs, grammar or a readable font, each game's lengthy instruction sheet is immensely hard to follow, especially for the younger market this title is clearly aimed at.

The inclusion of directions isn't questioned here, but rather the poor way in which they been composed to invoke more confusion than know-how.

Three of the four games are explained in this same torturous fashion, while the fourth is a bland dexterity challenge where you've to flick cards into a hat. The instructions for that one actually aren't too bad - but you don't need them.

A digital card game also has to compensate for the lack of a physical deck, which is somewhat alleviated by the tactile nature of the iPhone. Amazingly enough, All-Star Cards doesn't offer any explanation on how to handle your digital deck.

Switching between opponents, moving cards, dealing and sorting your own hand isn't a particularly taxing system, but throwing cards away as you attempt to fathom it out only adds to the mounting frustration.

Perhaps if you have a particular penchant for Disney's characters you can find some cutesy enjoyment in playing cards against their perpetually smiling faces. It's only likely to disappoint and bore any kids who choose this game based on the inclusion of Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and the others.

Moreover, you'll be required to spend more time than it's worth trying to teach them how to play. You'd be far better off with a copy of The Lion King running in the background while you play the same games with a real deck of cards.



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