By premise alone, 101-in-1 Games could be the only game app you ever need. Starting out, you have 10 of the 101 total games unlocked. Playing the games earns you points, and you then spend those points to unlock more games. It’s a great way to have an app with a large number of games introduced at a reasonable rate, so you’re not overwhelmed.
The problem however, lies within each mini-game. The layout is similar to that of your iPhone or iPod’s home screen, with each game represented by an icon on a 4×4 grid. Out of the games I unlocked and played, maybe one or two are worth revisiting. Most have very spotty controls, usually requiring you to flick your finger across the screen or tap an object. For example, the first “game in the game” is Basketball. It plays how you would expect. There’s a hoop, and a ball, and your goal is to score. You shoot the ball via pressing your finger to it then flicking it towards the hoop. Now it takes some trial and error before you get the hang of it, but sadly the game is timed. You have one minute to score 4,000 points, with each basket being worth 750. If you miss a shot, you have to wait until the ball either stops bouncing, or bounces off screen before your next ball respawns. This flaw eats up serious time from your clock. Failing to reach 4,000 points, you fail the game.
Most games included have a “one strike and you’re out” rule. It sometimes takes two or three attempts at a game just to figure out what you’re supposed to do before you can avoid instant failure. Each game does have its own instructions and controls screen, but they’re the most simple, unhelpful pieces of advice possible. You’d think it’s impossible to make a simple Darts mini-game incredibly frustrating, but you’d be wrong.
Other titles I got to included Thunder Hockey, an air hockey game, where each time your opponent scores, you lose points. All the goals you scored can be easily lost in the last moments by a lucky computer shot. The Descent has you gliding a bat down a cave, trying to avoid rogue rocks and collecting pieces of candy. The contact is extremely sensitive. If you’re a hair too close to that rock, you’re a goner. One hit and you’re done. And by using your thumb to guide the bat, you’re blocking the screen below to see what’s approaching, thus making obstacles harder to avoid. I recommend playing that one upside down if you can.
While some of the games are a cute distraction that serve the purpose of a quick mini-game, too many of the titles are either too similar, too difficult, or just flat out broken. There are much better apps, granted they’re standalone, that accomplish what most of the games are attempting to do for less than $2.99. Hang on to your three dollars, and seek out better alternatives for your mini-game fix.