I remember the first time I played air hockey at an arcade. My brother beat me pretty badly, but that just motivated me to learn the techniques required to win. After several hours, very sore knuckles, and some friendly family competition, I learned to be pretty good at controlling the puck as it slid, high speed across a cushion of air. When I found out that iPhone app Glow Hockey is really just like Air Hockey with fluorescent glowing pieces and parts, my childhood memories came back to me.

Like many apps in the app store, Glow Hockey is a simple, single purpose app, which is more like an arcade game than a video game. You choose between two modes of play – single player or two player. If you want to play against the AI, then you select your level of difficulty from easy, medium, hard, and insane. Like all casual gamers, I have to admit I started out on the ‘easy’ level to get the hang of it, but quickly moved up to the higher levels.

For a simple little app, Glow Hockey is surprisingly well balanced and tuned. I could definitely feel the AI getting better and better as I played the more difficult levels. You can use your finger or thumb to control your paddle, and you’ll find that it is very responsive and sensitive to your slightest movements. I found that using my thumb works best in single player mode and my finger works better when playing against a friend (or family member).

The fluorescent, glowing effects is where Glow Hockey shines (pun intended). Did I mention that Glow Hockey is really fun to play in the dark? The sounds are okay, but the visual effects are stunning and, to some degree, mesmerizing. The ‘sparks’ and ‘explosions’ of bright colors as the puck dances off the walls or passes through the goal are terrific rewards that keep you coming back for more.

Like that arcade game, Glow Hockey is very one dimensional. As such, you may tire of playing the same thing over and over again. Or you may just be fascinated with the bright, sparkly, fluorescent colors for a few weeks, then move on to another app. If you like to see the ‘glow effects’ on your iPhone, there are several other apps that take advantage of the iPhone’s incredible screen capabilities.

For me, Glow Hockey is an app I will keep on my iPhone because it comes in handy in those moments of “downtime” when I need an app I can play with one of my kids. Just the other day, my daughter and I were waiting at the movie theater, and she asked to play a game of Glow Hockey to pass the time. First player to score 7 goals wins. So, depending on how evenly matched you are, the game can be over fast, or it can take several minutes. It’s a blast to play the game together using one iPhone (much more fun that watching her play the single player games while I look over her shoulder).

Glow Hockey is a bargain; a retro arcade style version of air hockey that will probably interest anyone who’s ever picked up a paddle to whack that puck across that air filled field of play. Glow Hockey is a miniature version of that arcade experience, minus the sore knuckles.