With the CayFilm festival here this weekend, it seemed to only make sense to look for an app that revolved around the world of movies. I have loved films ever since I was a child, and although my taste has changed somewhat over the years, the thrill of watching something on the big screen has never diminished.
Those who grew up in the Cayman Islands will remember that we had limited access to films back in the 70s and 80s. The only cinema was known as Cinema I and II, with two screens and two showings per night plus a Saturday matinee.
Of course obscure, independent films never came to that cinema, but at least we got to see the big ones of the time, even if they took a while to get here. It’s amazing having the modern Regal Cinema at Camana Bay, but I have a lot of nostalgic feelings about Cinema I and II.
All the ladies that worked the concessions counter knew me so well, and there were some truly hilarious moments – like when the middle two reels of a four-reel film got switched in the rotation by mistake, so part of the film looked like it was in flashbacks. Fantastic.
The only other way to see movies was to rent them from one of the many dubious tape clubs that popped up on the scene, created by enterprising people with 50 VCRs and a satellite dish in the garden the size of a giant’s dinner plate.
It is so wonderful to now have access to a huge range of films, thanks to the pioneering efforts of Apple et al, which certainly keeps me on the couch more often. I therefore consider myself to be a bit of an aficionado when it comes to movies, so when I saw the ‘Guess the movie (pop quiz trivia guessing games)’ app for free in the App Store, I was happy to give it a try. It seemed to have fantastic user reviews. Clearly this was going to be a fun one to test out.
How it works
It’s pretty self-explanatory, particularly if you’ve used this kind of app in the past. You are granted 100 gold coins at the start, and you’ll figure out pretty quickly what those are for when you get stuck.
A blue grid of squares is on the screen with some letters along the bottom, and you are given a limit of how many squares you can remove to reveal pieces of the image behind them. The idea is to guess what film is being hidden before you hit that limit. If you manage to do it, you’ll be granted five coins, and then you’ll be on to the next grid.
The squares are quite big at the start, and you’re given a limit of six to remove. Then they get a bit smaller, and you’re allowed nine. As you move up through the levels, they get smaller and smaller, and although your limit of squares to remove increases, it gets more difficult as only tiny pieces of the image are being revealed each time.
So when would you use your gold coins? If you can’t figure out the image by the time you’ve run out of squares, you can try again, or you can start ponying up the money. One letter in the solution costs 60 coins, and removing a letter that isn’t in the solution costs 100 coins.
That’s pretty pricey, and it means that if you haven’t managed to build up a store of coins in the earlier levels, you’re going to run out very quickly. This is where the freebies finish and the in-app purchases begin. 250 coins will set you back $0.99 all the way up to unlimited coins for $18.99.
If you don’t find that irritating enough, just wait until the pop-up ads for lots of other games begin, and don’t get me started on how it bribes you with 200 coins for a good rating. More on that below …
When I played it
So I get that when it’s a free app, it might need ways to create revenue, but when I began to get into the higher levels and there was a pop-up ad every three games, it became pretty annoying. Then the app locked up on me. I tapped away in fury, but no response. In the end I had to go back to the iPad home screen, close the app, and then restart it. Thankfully it held onto my coins stash, and didn’t take me back to the beginning, but it was still an inconvenience I didn’t need.
It was around level 5 or 10, however, when I seriously questioned the brilliance of downloading ‘Guess the movie,’ as suddenly it asked me if in return for 200 coins, I would rate it at five stars in the App Store. A-ha! So THAT’S how it had such a high review mark!
I then went back to the store to actually read the reviews, and sure enough – the users all admitted that they were only giving it five stars to get the 200 coins. What a waste of time.
The only review I had to laugh at was one complaining that the movies became too difficult, and how was he expected to spell all those titles correctly?
I am happy to say that by level 25 I still had not needed any hints; was getting the film names after only a few reveals (which doesn’t get you any extra coins beyond the regular five, by the way); and had amassed 215 coins. You had better bet, however, that I won’t be spending a penny on this app when I finally run out of hints and coins, and I certainly won’t sell my soul for the 200 it’s offering to give it a five-star review. How would I sleep at night?
There are loads of apps out there much better than this one that won’t bribe you for a good review. I did enjoy guessing the films, so I’ll give it a bit of a score, but I certainly don’t recommend it … unless the seller offers me unlimited coins.
Good range of movies. Nice escalation of difficulty.
Disgraceful bribing for undeserved high rating. Constant pop-up ads. App locks up sometimes.
Guess the movie
(pop quiz trivia guessing games)
- Cost: Free (but man, do you pay)
- Seller: Applewood Apps LLC
- Devices: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
- Rating: E for Everyone