Update – Pocket God

On March 24, 2009

Pocket God, which just received yet another update, is one of the more creative apps in the App Store.

Well, actually it isn’t the app itself that is so creative (it’s good but not mindblowing) but rather the way to app is evolving and taking shape over time.

Pocket God lets you play God to bunch of cute little islanders. You can cause the sun to go up. You can cause the sun to go down. You can make boulders and coconuts drop on poor little islanders . You can make lightning strike and showers come. As the developer describes it…

What kind of god would you be? Benevolent or vengeful? Play Pocket God and discover the answer within yourself. On a remote island, you are the all-powerful god that rules over the primitive islanders. You can bring new life, and then take it away just as quickly. Exercise your powers on the islanders. Lift them into the air. Throw them in the water. Propel them into the horizon. Show them who’s boss!

The developer calls Pocket God "an episodic microgame". And THAT is where this app gets interesting and truly creative.

The game EVOLVES over time. Updates are frequent and each brings some new functionality to your divine powers. One added a shark. Another added the ability to manipulate the shark a bit. And the list goes on and on. The most recent update brings the ability to create a hurricane.

Each update adds new features, renews interest in the app and makes the whole experience a little nicer. It is a neat use of the update process and one I would love to see other apps make use of with the same frequency.

But there is also a concern…

The new in-game payment system that will arrive with 3.0 may spoil the fun. From what I saw in the demo last week it brings new ease of updating features but also makes it simple to pay a dollar here and a dollar there for updates and features that have been free up to this point.

Take Pocket God for example. Thus far updates have been free but who knows what will be after 3.0. Imagine the possibilities…

you bought the app and have been playing with it when a popup tells you… "Would you like to be able to create a hurricane? If so, please click ‘Yes’ and this feature will be unlocked for $.99."

I’m not SAYING this is what will happen but if it is I will be one unmhappy camper. Pay for good app? SURE. Get continually gouged in order to keep playing? No Thank you.