Ramp Champ Review

Here is a post from our Trainee, Dan Harvey. Check out his quality of work and let us know what you think in the comments!

What do aliens, ninjas, and unicorns have in common? Well… nothing actually, but they are all featured in The Iconfactory and DS MediaLabs Ramp Champ. This is an adaptation of the classic game of skee-ball for the iPhone.

When you launch the app you’re greeted with a nice banner that is sure to remind you of your favorite carnival or festival. If the banner fails, the music that follows surely can not. The entire look and feel of Ramp Champ does a fine job convincing you that you’re playing skee-ball at a carnival. However, the sounds are what really make the game. The balls slide into place to start the game, each target has it’s own impact sound, and of course the subtle theme music in the background. The only thing missing is the actual sound of the ball flying down the ramp towards it’s unsuspecting target.

photo-31The game comes standard with four different levels, Clown Town, Breakwater Bay, Icon Garden, and Space Swarm. Four very beautiful ramps each with it’s own theme and sounds for $1.99 is a very appealing package. If you’re worried about only having four ramps, fear not. IconFactory has a done a very good job of implementing in- app purchases through their add-ons menu. As of this review you can pick up four additional packs. Halloween, adventure, challenge, and voyage packs all featuring two ramps whith each pack costing $1. Every pack has the same attention to detail as the four ramps included in the base application.

The game looks brilliant, sounds even better, and has a plethora of ramps, but how is the game play? Simple, addicting, and frustrating all at the same time. Each ramp has a set of three goals based on hitting certain targets and scores. Each goal you complete will give you a trophy in your loot section. One goal will get you bronze, two a silver, and three a gold trophy. As for the actual game play; the objective is obviously to roll your ball down the ramp and knock down various targets. Each of these targets have scripted events that trigger the board to change.

photo-5The only thing that doesn’t shine bright with Ramp Champ is it’s ball physics. With practice you can consistently hit targets, but it never feels completely realistic. The ball will sometimes launch into orbit with the slightest finger swipe, or barely clear the ramp with a vigorous swipe. This coupled with the some of the more evil goals will make a grown man cry. Some goals you can’t miss once, and you’re aiming at moving targets with less than perfect physics… EVIL!!! However, this is why at the end of each game you’re treated with tickets sliding out of the machine!

What soothes the soul more than spending tickets on useless plastic toys that may or may not give you lead poisoning? Nothing, that’s what. You heard me right, you save up your tickets to buy all sorts of little trinkets and toys. They all have witty sayings and will be proudly displayed in your loot section. This game is just oozing charm and nostalgia.

Presentation & Graphics
photo-51The attention to detail on every ramp is unprecedented. The entire app strives to trick your eyes into believing you’ve got a skee-ball in one hand and cotton candy in the other.

The music, impact noises, and most importantly the sound of nine skee-balls sliding into the ready position are perfect. However, the lack of any noise whatsoever from the ball flying down the ramp really takes away from this being a complete immersion.

Game Play
The controls are simple and easy to use. The physics could be much better, but on a whole the game play is solid.

Game Life
photo-4If you’re like my wife the goals will keep you coming back for more, whether you want to or not. She can’t put the game down until the goal she set her eyes on is achieved. If you’re like me you’ll want accumulate tickets and buy your very own unicorn cannon! Don’t forget about in app purchases as they will keep this title going for a long time.

Game Rating
If you’re looking for a game full of character and skee-ball goodness, this is the one to put on your iPhone.

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  • Tim

    I like Dan’s review, and I even think we may be related as we have the same last name. I have been curious about this game for a while, so it’s good to see this review and I’ve decided to give it a go. One caveat: please no more unnecessary commas in the word its, or “it’s” in this article. “It’s” always means, “it is,” it’s not the possessive of it. Sorry, it’s my pet peeve.

  • Nacho Andrade, USA

    I probably would have given it a 3.5 since the physics need tweaking, but it is a very fun game.

  • Jas

    Perhaps a bit generous with the scores, but a well written and thorough review. Nice work.

    In no way does it look like a “trainee review”. I’m not sure why it was even necessary to mention that at the start?

  • Dan

    @Tim, didn’t even realize I was doing that. lol, thanks. I just went out and re-learned how to use “its”.

    The ironclad rule – no exceptions – is that if you can replace the word with “it is” or “it has,” use it’s. Otherwise, it’s always its.

    Now we know, and knowing is half the battle!


  • Tim

    @ Dan: No worries Dan. I’m not usually a Nazi about that kind of thing, although I happen to be an English Prof. For some reason that one very common mistake just bugs the crap out of me. I guess it’s because I always read it out mentally as the “it is/it has,” and that just really friggin’ distracts me.

    Anyway, I noticed the game requires 3.0 software, so I reneged on getting the game. Too bad, I really want to hear those balls sliding. Er, wait, that came out wrong.

  • Dan

    Hmm, perhaps icons that indicate requirements would be a good idea for future reviews.

  • boring

    4/5 for gameplay? More like 2/5 – if the physics were perfect this simple gameplay would max out at 3/5.

  • Tim

    Some indicator for the software or device requirements would be pretty great as a matter of fact. It’d save me the trouble of getting excited about things I don’t want to upgrade to. :D


    looks cool

  • Ballbusta

    Yeah, I was kinda hoping to see a review on this site without a typo or three amidst other grammatical issues. Ah well, Dan fits in quite well with the crew here; I agree, no trainee moniker is necessary. Give him a job.