One of the greatest things about PlayStation Mobile is – at times – also its weakest link. By allowing almost anyone with a PlayStation Network account to have access to the SDK and develop their own titles for publishing on the platform is has brought us a wide range of games. It’s delivered some great games from larger studios like Team 17, indie developers such as Laughing Jackal, mobile specialists such as Chillingo and smaller developers including Thomas Hopper and Mike Oliphant who have all managed to bring something special to the PS Vita through PSM.
But then we’ve had the other end of the spectrum with games that really should never have seen the light of day. Smaller indie studios and sole programmers who may have had great game ideas but that lost direction along the way. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for encouraging new talent and wanting to see more developers support the PS Vita whether it’s through native titles or indirectly through PlayStation Mobile but sadly there are cases when some programmers really should just focus on their day jobs instead.
And that brings me onto Dynamic Visual Acuity Test… The title itself should have given things away that I wasn’t going to be in for anything particularly inspiring and the screenshots on the PSN Store looked less than exciting. The game itself takes inspiration from many of the brain challenge games found on consoles and handheld systems that have been around for years but rather than featuring a collection of several mini games to test your mental skills, it contains just one challenge, and a rather short one at that.
The game throws you right in at the deep end. There is no title screen or other presentation to speak of. You are simply asked to choose one of five difficulty levels and once you have selected this using the touch screen a random number flashes up on screen briefly. On the lowest level a four-digit number is displayed, increasing up to an eight-digit number on Level 5. The number itself is displayed for little over a second and you have to memorise this as best as you can. Once it disappears, a numeric keypad appears and you have to type in the number you just saw. Get it right, and you’re given a congratulatory message (if it could really be described as such) and then it’s game over. Get it wrong and you’re told the correct answer and… yes, you guessed it… it’s game over.
The only difference with the difficulty levels is the duration that the numbers remain on screen (getting shorter with each level) and the number of digits you need to remember). While the earlier levels aren’t too difficult, by the time you get to Level 5 it’s virtually impossible to read the numbers let alone remember them making it incredibly frustrating. However, no matter what level you play on, the game is unbelievably tedious. With games lasting mere seconds, there’s nothing to keep your interest. There’s no scoring system or chance to see if you can remember a series of numbers, no gradual increase in difficulty, no variation in gameplay and non-existent presentation and the game is played in total silence.
This truly is one of the most limited and simplistic titles I have seen released for PlayStation Mobile and to really highlight how simple it was I decided to try something out… I’ve owned a myriad of consoles and computers over the years and while not particularly competent I used to play around writing little programs in BASIC on some of my 8-bit computers. Now, as an experiment, I got my Commodore 64 out and managed to write a quick port of this to the C64 written in BASIC in under 30 minutes (with better presentation and more options, I might add!)… and that’s after not doing any C64 coding for almost 25 years. If I were to have put more time into it, I could have added sound, some limited visual effects, a scoring system, and more and still come up with something better than this PSM outing. Infact if anyone is actually interested in this, please get in touch and I will be only too happy to email you a copy of the 3-page listing so you can try it out for yourself!
When I reviewed Kick It! Football recently I said that I felt that it was possibly one of the worst games ever to grace PlayStation Mobile. Well I can safely say that it isn’t – this actually takes that dubious honour away from that. With non-existent presentation, gameplay that would allow mindrot to set in after just a few moments and something that would have looked primitive even on a ZX80, this simply isn’t worth the effort and you’ll spend more time downloading it than you actually would playing it.
At A Glance
- Title: Dynamic Visual Acuity Test
- Publisher:Toshinori Tamashihro
- System: PlayStation Mobile
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross Buy: N / A
- Cross Play: N / A
- Online Multiplayer: No
- Memory Card Space Needed: 4Mb