June 3rd, 2012 | By Jamell Brown
Every once in awhile, a pleasant gem finds its way onto the App Store, and you have probably come upon one in the past. After combing through endless lists of newly released titles, you find one whose icon catches your eye, and decide to give it a second look. The app’s description and design seem understated, simple, and that low profile design is what coaxes you into tapping the install button and giving the game a chance to make a home for itself on your iPad’s solid-state drive. Simply put: This developer knows that “less is more”. I’ve had such an experience recently, and at the end of that long, almost dreary process, I stumbled upon Secret-Library’s Centrifeud, and as its developer’s name might suggest, it’s a gem hidden away in the folds of the App store.
Centrifeud is a beautifully designed, easy to pick up, addicting game currently available on the iPad. Having been optimized for the third generation iPad, Secret-Library’s minimalist design direction practically jumps off of the screen, no matter what generation of iPad you own. Dark background colours are contrasted by a vibrant foreground palette that pleases the eye, as the “puck” sweeps from corner to corner. The simple design also helps players to keep their eyes on the action during the course of each game, which can be difficult as the number of players increases. Even though the game is, at its core, a pick up and play multiplayer experience, it even has a smirk-worthy plot summed up by Secret-Labs.
“In the year 3212 the Circumlords have established their complete control over the known circle-verse. It is here in the sinister Hexadome that they exert their cruelty over a helpless populace and feed their insatiable lust for the circle-on-circle combat known as CENTRIFEUD.
In the last star-cycle your mentor perished in the final round of CENTRIFEUD, and now you must step up to represent your homeworld.”
Up to four players may go head-to-head on the screen of iPad in a race to thirteen points. Each player picks a corner of the screen, and by touching their finger to the button in said corner, set a disc of the same colour into motion within the playing zone. When all four zones are in play, the playing zone can appear incredibly crowded, which makes for more intense competition. While each coloured disc zips to and fro, players will have to keep a key eye on the center of their disc, because lifting a finger from your playing node and placing it back down will cause the disc to change direction towards whatever path the spinning needle at its center is pointing.
If that’s not enough to keep your eye on while trying to hunt down the discrete pink dots which appear at random points on screen to score points, the subtle background will constantly change the dynamic of the game with rings which light up in sequence starting from the outside. On the surface, it may now sound like such a big deal, but the pattern these sparsely spaced and pulsing rings create something of an optical illusion which can warp one’s perception while tracking their rapidly moving disc, as it ricochets off of the limits of the screen as well as other player-controlled discs. The final layer of player lies in the very center of the game board, where icons appear periodically to represent power-ups. In order to gain these power-ups, players must quickly lift their fingers from the playing node and tap the center of the screen – a scramble which left myself and friends all but wrestling on the living room table – winning a temporary advantage for themselves before charging right back into the action, assuming everyone else isn’t frozen solid.
On the surface of things, Centrifeud may seem simple to the point where you’d be bored, but it really isn’t! While the game’s core concept is simple, the subtle tasks it requires players to accomplish in order to be competitive elevate enjoyment to another level. To me, the game strikes up memories of sitting around a table with family and playing Hungry Hungry Hippos on Christmas Eve, and that’s a rare feeling type of feeling to conjure from any game. Beyond those personal feelings, it’s fair to say that the game is meant for short term sessions. Even with four, highly competitive individuals playing the game, playing for more than twenty minutes at a time diminished the entertainment value of the experience, but that is still a long session for any mobile experience.
Centrifued is currently on the App Store for $1.99 and is more than worth the money. If you’re someone who has friends over often and find yourselves sitting around on a hot afternoon with nothing to do, there’s nothing better to for a few laughs and good fun. For more information, check out Secret-Library’s official website.