Cat Physics – iPhone App of the Week

Cat Physics – iPhone App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at the various iPhone and iPad Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive.

This week’s App is Cat Physics – Donut Games.

What are cats up to at dawn, when nobody’s around?

Sneaking around the back alleys? Probably!
Going through garbage cans? Not likely!
Playing Donut Games? Most certainly!

Join the cats in their favorite midnight ball game: CAT PHYSICS!

The objective is simple — Pass the ball from one cat to another!

Sounds too simple?
Oh, wait… did we mention flip boards, glass windows, trap doors and other obstacles?

£0.59

I don’t normally mention games in this series, though of course games certainly have their place in learning and to give learners new skills.

However the reason I am bringing Cat Physics to your attention is not that it is the holiday season and therefore an ideal time to play games, but for two reasons.

Firstly it was recommended to me by a senior manager in my college. A year or so ago this manager would be quite open about her lack of learning technology knowledge, but was eager to see the potential. I did lend her one of my MoLeNET iPod touch devices and this year she did go out and buy an iPad. Cat Physics was one of the games she bought, enjoyed and brought to my attention. Bizarre I thought that a senior manager who wasn’t really that much into learning technologies, is now advising the learning technologies manager on what applications he should buy for his iPad!

I do find it really interesting how consumer electronics can have such an impact on society and social change and the resulting impact that these devices have on learning and learners. I am sure that devices such as the iPhone, the iPad, Android phones, the Nintendo DS and Wii, the PSP and other consumer devices have probably had more of an impact on changing the culture of education towards learning technologies than anything learning technologists have done in terms of training or staff development. I have seen many staff totally change their attitudes to the use of technology in the hands of learners as soon as they buy (or have been bought) a device such as the iPod touch or the Nintendo DS.

So what of the second reason?

Well when the iPad first came out, anything designed for the iPhone to be honest looked awful on the iPad, the x2 button though worked, didn’t result in a clear look to the application. The results were often fuzzy or pixellated. However Cat Physics was the first time I didn’t notice any issues. My first thought was that it was in fact an universal app for both iPhone and iPad. However upon close inspection it was certainly an iPhone sized game with the x2 button. The reason it looked so sharp and clear was that the game had been designed for the new “retina” display for the iPhone 4 and as a result the game which was designed for the 960×640 resolution of the iPhone 4 looks fine and dandy on the 1024×768 resolution of the larger iPad. So even if you don’t have an iPhone 4, the new versions of iPhone only applications, designed to work with the “retina” display of the iPhone 4 now look really quite good on the iPad.

So what of Cat Physics itself?

Well I actually really enjoyed the game. It works well as an iPad or iPhone game in that each level can be completed in the few minutes that you find you have for these kinds of casual games. The five minutes before your TV programme starts. Whilst the adverts are on before the film at the cinema. The few minutes waiting for that train or tube. Part of the success of the iPhone has to be down to the casual gaming potential of the device, Angry Birds is a prime example of how people are using their phones.

There are (at the time of writing) eighty levels of varying complexity in Cat Physics, each requires a modicum of skill in working out both the puzzle behind each level, but also the physics of how the ball will travel on the screen.

It’s an enjoyable game and at 59p is certainly worth buying, check it out.

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