A lot of developers provide extra promo codes to hand out to you guys… usually just a handful, sometimes 10 or even 20… and I’ve never let those extra codes affect my decision to review an app or not… UNTIL NOW!!
The truth is BubbleClock isn’t what you’d call “great” and under normal circumstances I’d probably skip writing this up, but River Beane Software provided 49 39 promo codes to give out! Yeah, forty-nine thirty-nine. Whoops, I miscounted!
That’s still a ton of codes. If River Beane is crazy enough to drop that many codes in the comment box, I suppose the least I can do is take a look at it.
So like I said, I’m not exactly wowed by BubbleClock. It’s a screen full of bubbles and, if you touch the screen, the bubbles rearrange themselves into a working analog clock that’s complete with a little tiny bubble that moves around the clock’s edge as it counts the seconds. Hold the iPhone in landscape position and you’ll get a digital clock instead of the circular analog thing.
This is actually an interesting idea in theory, but the thing that leaves this app lacking is the execution. I didn’t know there was a control panel for controlling other functions until I re-read the iTunes App Store description, and even then I had a hell of a time figuring out how to access those controls. There are no buttons to speak of on BubbleClock, and I had to do a lot of random tapping to get the app to show me the options.
I just tried tapping all over the place and eventually the control panel showed up. I think I was tapping somewhere in the bottom left corner of the screen… or maybe the top left? I’m not sure! And when you’re done fooling with the available options, getting back to the clock is difficult, too. Again, no distinguishable buttons for exiting back to the app’s main function.
The secret controls, if you can manage to find them, allow you to set an alarm, control bubble behavior, switch to night mode which darkens the display, and control whether the clock is always on or if it’s sound activated instead of touch.
The group of functions built into BubbleClock actually sound ok in theory, but the way this app is currently put together just feels really incomplete, like it’s a very early beta version. If I had an awesome iPhone developer chained to my desk and ready to do my bidding, I would try to remake this app as a combo game/screensaver/clock utility. I realize the game is a stretch and probably increases the development curve exponentially, but gimme something to do with the bubbles, if for no other reason than to justify the $1.99 price tag! Maybe try to incorporate a game like Bugz or Sneezies where you pop a bubble and set off a chain reaction, or at least let the bubbles float over photos or something.
I’d also make it so the bubbles actually *pop* with a little sound effect instead of simply disappearing at random, and if I’m feeling truly nutty I might even throw in a button for accessing the control panel.
Again, I don’t hate the concept of what’s going on in BubbleClock and I truly do appreciate River Beane’s willingness to share the app with 39 people. As a matter of fact, I wish this app were awesome!! But the reality is that it needs a lot more attention before it’ll be worth $1.99.