Developer: RealNetworks, Inc.
Price: $0.99 Download on the App Store
Unleash your inner athlete with Playman Track & Field, from developer RealArcade. This is the ninth title RealArcade has introduced for the iPhone and iPod touch and the company has a big rep to maintain in the mobile games space.
With great expectations, then, I downloaded Playman Track & Field and ran it through my Olympic-level obstacle course. It's also Playwoman, by the way.
Right off, I can tell you the graphics and animation are far better than most low-budget games you’ll find, but graphics and animation are things RealArcade has always done well, so I wasn’t surprised.
What really intrigued me was just how well Playman Track & Field would play given it’s overall theme of track and field competition. How do you throw a javelin? How do you run a race? How do you pole vault? What I didn’t want to do was learn different sets of controls for each sport.
I give RealArcade props for coming up with controls that are consistent. To do any sport requires tapping a pair of buttons located on the left and right sides of the playing field. For example, thumb tap the buttons alternately to run. Press and release both buttons simultaneously to throw a javelin or pole vault.
On one hand, the controls in Playman Track & Field are predictable. On the other hand, each event tends to require similar actions and for some game players, that will not provide enough variety. I liked it fine even after I started moving up to more challenging modes, but I'm easy to please about some things.
Playman Track & Field has five events: 100m dash, long jump, 110 hurdles, pole vault and javelin. You compete against a variety of athletes from around the world or against up to six friends. You can choose to play as Playman, Blaise or 1 of 12 other characters.
Playman Track & Field is typical: Begin at an amateur level in challenge mode, beat everyone in sight and move up to the pro challenge mode, and then finally to the survival mode, which takes place in the Arctic. Don’t ask me why the developer thought that would be cool.
Overall, there’s a lot of bang for a buck in Playman Track & Field. Anyone who faults Playman Track & Field for not having deeper game are being particularly persnickety, I think. It's only $0.99.