We know what you are thinking: Here’s just another hangman app, I don’t really need that as I already have one that works fine. Well think again because Custom Hangman by Collins Research, Inc. has some unique features that clearly distinguish it from the rest of the bunch, making it one fun iPhone and iPod Touch application.
In Custom Hangman the name of the game is “CUSTOM”. You are able to play this game with a category that interests “YOU”. If the category you want is not part of the app, you can download more categories submitted by other users, or create your own from scratch. Then you can share your custom word lists with other players if you like. This feature really adds extra credit to the application and extends the overall value.
The ability to fully “customize” the word categories and lists is the real difference in game-play. There are other important game-play features like a “Skip” button (in case you want to move on to the next word puzzle) as well as a constant score tally that provides your progress for each category list. The pop up dialog box is quick to respond with a “sorry”, “word list complete!” or “you got it”, making for very quick interims between games.
The Custom Hangman interface and overall design is simple yet effective. The graphic images used for the hangman itself were responsive and in tune with the activity on the keyboard. The images themselves leave a little to be desired; theme changes and/or more overall image detail and graphic animation could have enhanced this area. The keyboard controls were effortless to read and straightforward. Once a letter has been used, it stays black so you know its been previously selected, making for an easy understanding of how the game works. The word puzzle blanks above the keyboard serve the purpose of providing location for the answer, though there is some distraction with the position of the word puzzle blanks and the hangman graphic. The hangman image hangs a bit low and his legs dangle right behind the word puzzle blanks (answer area). To fix this minor issue we might recommend raising the hangman image slightly so he fully clears the puzzle blanks.
The “skip” and “menu” buttons are in optimum positions, making for logical access points. Everything seemed well positioned on the main menu page. The “Choose Word List” scroll wheel worked as expected and the sound On/Off button was in a most favorable location. Managing the word lists worked well for the most part. Editing titles, adding new word lists, downloading codes from a friend’s list or simply downloading more lists worked fine. One thing to mention while editing a word in a word list was the automatic keyboard shifted up over the area you were trying to type, making it difficult to see what you were doing. This mostly happened when we were trying to make word edits on the lower half of the page. To solve this issue, the screen needed to shift upwards and clear the keyboard so you can fully see what you are typing.
One bug was discovered in version 0.03. Once a round has been completed a text box pops up (for example “you got it” – refer to the image above). While the text box remains up, we let the app “time out” (iPhone closes the app and turns off automatically). Then we clicked the home button on the iPhone and unlocked it which automatically reopened Custom Hangman with the text box window still in place. We clicked “OK” on the text box. The text box goes away but after that point the app remains in a frozen state. All buttons are unresponsive and the app has to be restarted. This is a minor bug, but one worth mentioning.
The game hangman is a popular classic. We counted well over 50 hangman games available for iPhone and iPod Touch. With such a high level of competition it’s critical to provide unique game-play that help make it stand out from the crowd. We think Custom Hangman achieved just that with it’s “customizable” features.
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