Feeds
30%
appToyz appWheel iPhone gaming accessory

appToyz appWheel

Bum steer?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Reducing security risks from open source software

iGamer “For fuck's sake, Mum. I asked for the appBlaster; not the fucking appWheel. You've totally fucked Christmas. No wonder dad's shacked up with that 26-year-old stunner. I fucking hate you!”

I can picture it now. Christmas morning 2011 – surly, ungrateful teenager versus distraught, nonplussed mum. Not that I've even tried the appBlaster, but a cursory glance at manufacturer apptoyz' website, and it appears the more promising of its two iOS gaming peripherals.

I've never had much truck with gyroscopic controls for iOS first-person shooters – extending both arms out and moving around real space looks and feels weird. But I imagine circling around my living room - I don't do this sort of thing in public, you understand - with the iPhone seated as an iron sight could actually enhance the experience.

appToyz appWheel iPhone gaming accessory

The appBlaster also implements a nifty physical double-triggers-to-touchscreen function, which might do the trick for those FPSs with adjustable button schemes, such as N.O.V.A 2.

Anyway, like the surly teenager, I've been handed an appWheel instead. Essentially a Wii Mario Kart wheel for iPhones and iPod Touches, it's a chunk of plastic slightly larger than your average saucer that bolts around your device.

It's a unpowered dummy peripheral, meaning there's no device interface whatsoever. According to the manufacturer, the appWheel simply "utilises the [device's] accelerometer of gyrometer to give enhanced virtual reality game play!".

appToyz appWheel iPhone gaming accessory

Of course, the mere mention of "enhanced virtual reality gameplay" should evoke irrevocable distrust in any self-respecting gamer. With the device's accelerometer and gyrometer providing the handling, and its vibrate function providing the feedback, there's absolutely nothing left for the appWheel to enhance.

Structurally, there's little to complain about. It's as sturdy as you'd expect for a tenner's worth of moulded plastic. The housing cover at the back is easy to remove and devices sit snugly into the unit courtesy of two bundled caddies – one for iPhone 3GSs and iPhone 4s, and a separate one for fourth-gen Touches. Device movement is negligible, and only apparent when shaking the wheel vigorously. And the textured plastic on the wheel and housing cover provide decent enough grip.

appToyz appWheel iPhone gaming accessory

Clip-ins for specific iDevices

Which brings me nicely onto my critical point. You'll be gripping that housing cover a lot, as there's no way of curling your fingers around the steering wheel like... well, like a steering wheel.

The appWheel is as small as possible to ensure you can reach the touchscreen – vital for controlling the accelerator and brake in racing games. You might just curl your fingers through the gap at the bottom of the wheel and drive as casually as my fiancée does at 90mph on the motorway, but you'll then need to use your other hand for the touchscreen controls, which proves extremely awkward.

Small plate and Blu-tack

A saucer and a heap of Blu-tack will do just as well - for a fraction of the price

So the appWheel doesn't feel much like a steering wheel. It's no more comfortable than holding your actual device - at least not for the short periods people tend to play iOS games. And, contrary to the manufacturer's claims, it does not enhance "virtual reality gameplay".

So what does the appWheel actually do for racing games? Well, nothing that some blu-tack and a saucer won't do for a whole lot less money. ®

Thanks to Red5 for the loan of the review sample.

iGamer covers the best - and sometimes, ahem, the worst - in mobile gaming, from Android to iPad, every other Wednesday. If you think there's a great game we really should cover, please let us know.

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

30%
appToyz appWheel iPhone gaming accessory

appToyz appWheel

Stocking filler for Christmas - bin filler for the New Year.
Price: £10 RRP

More from The Register

next story
Child diagnosed as allergic to iPad
Apple's fondleslab is the tablet dermatitis sufferers won't want to take
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
For Lenovo US, 8-inch Windows tablets are DEAD – long live 8-inch Windows tablets
Reports it's killing off smaller slabs are greatly exaggerated
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Seventh-gen SPARC silicon will accelerate Oracle databases
Uncle Larry's mutually-optimised stack to become clearer in August
Report: American tech firms charge Britons a thumping nationality tax
Without representation, too. Time for a Boston (Lincs) Macbook Party?
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.