Categories : iPod/iPhone Application Reviews

 

I was originally planning on spending today at Disneyland with a friend and possibly some others, however my friend had to cancel earlier this week, so since I had my heart set on going up to Disneyland and I was going to be going by myself, I opted to go yesterday instead of today as it would just work out better for me. And while I was there I took the opportunity to play a wonderful iPhone app game designed to be played at Disneyland called “Wishing Stars.”

The concept of the game is that several “Wishing Stars” have been broken up and scattered throughout the Disneyland park. In order to find them, you have to take your iPhone to the location of the clues and hit the “I think I’m standing in front of it!” button. You can’t cheat because the app uses the GPS built into the iPhone to verify that you’re standing in the correct spot. It won’t accept your attempt to stand in front of the correct answer unless you actually are in front of it. Essentially its a GPS based treasure hunt. The game is the perfect addition to Disneyland for an Annual Passholder who finds themselves wanting something more to do within the park besides the rides.

The game is a free download in the iTunes App store, and comes with two introductory quests. One is considered an easy level quest and one is a medium level quest to be a little bit more challenging. The free quests are to give you a chance to try and sample the program and if you like you can then purchase additional quests that come in three sets of quest “packs” for $1.99 each. The purchase is made within the app if you choose to purchase. I found the two sample quests to be quite easy so I opted to just outright purchase the hard quests and skipping the easy and medium level ones altogether.

The hard quests were certainly a challenge and took me to parts of the park I’d never seen before. Considering how many times I’ve been to Disneyland over the years, I don’t know if I should be embarrassed by the notion that there are parts of the park I’d never seen before or grateful for an opportunity to take me to parts I didn’t know I hadn’t seen before. I chose to go for the latter as it really was quite neat to be exploring areas of the park I’d never seen before.

About the only issue I ran into with the app, had absolutely nothing to do with the game itself, it’s the incredibly crappy lifespan of an iPhone battery. The game itself was lots of fun and the hard quests were certainly challenging, I was only able to fully complete one of the hard quests and partially through the others before my battery ultimately died on me. Now if Apple would make the iPhone with a user interchangeable battery, I would have been armed with a spare and could have swapped out the battery and been back at the game. The unfortunately thing though was my battery died on the hard quest called “Around The World” which unlike the other quests only gives you the clues one at a time and you have to solve the clue before it will give you the next clue. Well I was standing outside the site of the 3rd of the 4 clues, and successfully found my wishing star piece, and just before it revealed the last clue, the battery shut down the phone. Since it had been a long day and the park was closing in a hour, I decided to just head home at this point.

I put the phone on my charger in the car and drove all the way home to San Diego, but before I went to bed, I decided to head back into the Wishing Stars game to see what the clue was for the last piece. Not that I would be able to solve it at home, but I could at least see the clue. Well it seems the phone shutting down right after registering the third of the four pieces of the Wishing Star on that mission, interrupted the process by which the app reveals the last clue. It showed I had found the first three but the last clue was no where to be found. So I went into the help option within the app, and it gave me an option to send an email to the app creators, so I typed up a description of my problem and then went to bed.

The next morning, I was greeted with an email from Greg Maletic, the game’s creator. He was surprised the problem I was experiencing happened, but was able to quickly help me with the problem and get me to a point where the game would reveal the last clue for me. I was very pleased with the quick and attentive response and just knowing that support is there, makes me all the more enthusiastic to recommend the application. The next time I go to Disneyland I look forward to continuing my quests and because of the great support, I will also be purchasing all the available quests to further help support such a brilliant and fun app.

I highly recommend the application and think it’s a Disneyland must. Again, the application is GPS based so unless you’re going to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, it’s not going to do you any good. The application also will NOT work with iPod Touch models because of the need to be able to use a network connection at very specific GPS points. And forget it if you have a first generation iPhone as it doesn’t have a GPS built in. So if you’re definitely going to Disneyland and have an iPhone 3G or newer, then click here to get the app from the iTunes App Store. The app is free and the first two quests are free, but you will need to purchase additional quests if you want more quests. The hard ones are definitely challenging and I highly recommend them.

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