Quick Game Impressions – BarStar for the iPhone

I’m a sucker for local talent. I like Canadians and I like people who feel genuine passion about their product.

So when someone named, @barstar tweeted me, saying that if I liked Plants vs. Zombies (I do), I should try BarStar, my interest was slightly piqued. When I found out that they work practically down the street from me, well I decided to give them a shot. Why not? What have I got to lose? Let’s help that Ottawa  job market one app at a time. So a week later, I downloaded BarStar for the iPhone.

BarStar - Featuring Chase in red; Artie is behind the bar.

Bottom line: It’s a great little app.

BarStar a time management game. In this case, our heroine, Chase is a waitress at a bar that she and her brother, Artie have inherited. Chase has to check IDs, take orders, show people where the bathroom is, take in cash and a myriad of other tasks. Artie has to mix drinks, as well as pour wine and beer. And you only have a certain amount of time to do all of this AND make a certain amount of money. Give someone a wrong drink: it’s game over. Take too long, customers leave the bar.

Over the days and weeks, you can earn enough money to purchase upgrades to your bar. A bouncer will check ID for you. A DJ will keep the dance floor hopping. You can magically make Artie and Chase perform their tasks faster. And so on and so on.

The controls are very simple, intuitive and responsive. Press where you want to go, drag your finger to the selection. Done.  The screen for the iPhone does not show the entire bar, but this adds to the difficulty. You have to keep scanning left and right to make sure a customer in the corner isn’t getting mad. The difficulty ramps up nicely, some levels have quirks, and force you to play the game differently.

It’s fun, it’s cute and it also has that pick up and go-ness that is important in a handheld game. I can play a level in a few minutes while I’m waiting in a line up or whatever. There is a mix of long-term strategy (what upgrades do I purchase?) and simple “in-the-now” gameplay.

I also like Chase as a visual character. She is beautiful without being exploited. She’s also the brains behind the operation. Artie is also decently portrayed. He’s a bit geeky, but not as annoying as I feared. My only criticism is that I can’t necessarily replay a previous level. That is merely my game play preference.  But hey, it’s an iPhone app, its meant to be fun: it is. If that is the only criticism I have: so be it.

I say, if you are looking for a pick up and play game on the iPhone and you have already downloaded the usual suspects, give BarStar a try, and let me know what you think!

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  • Jedi_Kez  On July 16, 2010 at 10:38 am

    Okay, picked up the game too. Looks like it can be fun, and I always look for quality apps that can be played minutes at a time.

    Oh, and it’s currently on sale for $1.99 (from 2.99 it seems).

  • barstargame  On July 16, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Excellent! Thank you so much for the great/honest review. 🙂

  • EmotionRays  On July 16, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Hmm… Just wondering, was there any chance for you to try that game if Barstargame didn’t tweet?

    Actually, there are many great games on the AppStore. Its like a river where you can dive as deep as you still can breathe 🙂

    • yellingatpixels  On July 16, 2010 at 1:40 pm

      I am not sure if I would have picked it up if theynever tweeted me. But that doesn’t matter, you have to get the word out about your game somehow.

      Emotionrays: what apps are you using that you think are awesome? Any hidden gems to share or apps that you can’t do without?

      • EmotionRays  On July 16, 2010 at 4:07 pm

        Well, that’s a good question. As for the hidden gems, my vote is definitely for Build-a-Lot, which comes free on iPhone and its not the lite version, but a full game. I think that they’ve made the Build-a-lot free to promote Built-a-lot 2, but anyway its great to have one of the most popular PC games on my iPod for free. 🙂 I also like Doodle Bombs game, a fun puzzle game, and probably the one I’ve played most.

        As for the PC, there are many games that deserve to be popular, but for some reason they’re not. Its of course Rocket Bowl (http://emotionrays.com/rocket-bowl-arcade-game-download.html), I’ve spent several days playing it. Also Garden Defence (http://emotionrays.com/garden-defense-download.html), I especially like the intro animation. Eets is also a great game (http://emotionrays.com/eets-game-download.html), although it wasn’t too popular. I’ve planned to make similar game for iPhone until I realized how small the iPhone screen is. And of course it’s Circulate (http://pieyegames.com/Circulate/Info.htm) that wasn’t were popular among buyers, but a cracked version have been distributed very well.

        To speak about the apps, I don’t use too much of them (except those that I need for development of games and websites). And the rest are mostly well-known, like Skype, Total Commander, and so on. Well, I also like a Trillian chat application for my Yahoo and ICQ accounts, it isn’t free but beautiful. And that’s probably all that I can call a rare gem by now.

      • EmotionRays  On July 16, 2010 at 4:09 pm


        “I am not sure if I would have picked it up if theynever tweeted me. But that doesn’t matter, you have to get the word out about your game somehow.”

        – Yes, I love their style too. If their game will be as popular as Diner Dash, at least they deserve it by putting so many efforts in the marketing.

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