Arcadie For iPhone Lightning Review: A Mini Arcade Cabinet You Can Take With You

By Jacob Lewis on at

The Arcadie brings me back to the good old days when the joystick was king. Not my good old days of course -- I'm far too young -- but I hear there was some appeal to wasting all your money stood in a dark, sweaty video arcade day-after-day. The Arcadie for iPhone is like a mini version of iCade for iPad, and takes that warm and fuzzy retro feeling to a new level of portability.

 

What is it?

A mini retro gaming cabinet to take the arcade with you.

 

Who’s It For?

Anyone with an iPhone or iPod touch who enjoys the retro things in life.

 

Design

Not exactly premium, the artwork is just made of stickers so it might age pretty fast, and the buttons aren't going to compare with your PlayStation controller, but they do the job.

 

Using it

The Arcadie comes with three free App Store games that imitate original arcade classics. There's Ping (Pong), Blasteroids (Asteroids), and Alien Invaders (Space Invaders), with three more titles coming soon, including a Tetris clone. The games are good fun and stay true to the retro theme, right down to the 8-bit music.

The Arcadie opens up at the back to let you comfortably slot your iPhone into the dock connector, then closes back up to magically transform your phone into a mini arcade machine. I'm pretty terrible at retro games, having been mollycoddled by today's easy titles, I'm certainly no King of Kong. The controls were pretty responsive, but despite my appalling reaction times, I still think some cock-ups were the machine's fault.

 

Tragic Flaw

Having to switch between apps is a bit of a faff when you need to pull the phone in and out of the machine. It would have made more sense to have just one Arcadie app, but I guess laboriously getting the iPhone out adds to the retro feel -- almost like inserting a cartridge -- and at least your not queuing up for a go on your favourite cabinet.

 

This is Weird
There are these strange squidgy rubber pads that touch the bottom of the screen and correspond to the number of buttons on top, so maybe it sends a little electric current mimicking a finger press. Or maybe it just works through the dock and my fascination with the squidgy things is misguided. How does it actually work?

 

The Best Part

Your iPhone's lovely screen. It's makes so much sense to make a cheap toy that utilises the tasty iPhone screen you already have in your pocket -- the games look really good on a vivid retina display.

 

Test Notes

- Don't play near your housemates, you'll never get it back.
- When playing it at a table or desk you need to lean over a lot because of the screen angle.
- If there's no table around then the best tactic is to clamp it between your knees.
- If you really wanted you could use it as a terrible iPhone case, but it won't squeeze in your jean's pocket, I tried.

 

Should You Buy It?

For £15 with six games, the Arcadie is great. In the age of the touchscreen, people miss the tangible feeling you get with retro gaming: everyone in the office wanted to have a go. I wouldn't buy one for myself, but it's got a great price point as a gift or stocking filler.

Arcadie for iPhone 

- Screen: Your iPhone's retina display
- Games: Three with three more 'coming soon'
- Buttons: Joystick plus A and B face buttons
- Price: £15
- Gizrank: 4