Hollywood Undead App Review: A Practice In Moderation (iPhone Application)

***First a note: I would like to make it perfectly clear that I am not critiquing the band Hollywood Undead in this review. I would also like to further state that I have NEVER heard their music. So, therefore, I am judging this App strictly on it’s own merits. That being said, I would like to explain that the sub-title is there as a note to myself – “everything in moderation” as the saying goes; I guess that applies to mocking people. Sigh.***

Hollywood Undead has asked you to buy their albums – and you have said “yes”. Hollywood Undead has asked you to attend shows and concerts – and you have said “when and where”. Hollywood Undead now asks you to pay 2.99 in US currency for an iPhone App, and I say – “maybe wait for the next one”. This App from the band of the same name, features four different functions and a fifth button at the bottom that so far does nothing of interest. So, since this App deems itself a multi-tasker, I shall too have to adopt a multi-tasking philosophy here. I will look at three basic questions, with hopefully three -basic- answers, per each function: Mask builder, Wallpapers, Game, and Tour Info. At the end I’ll discuss, as briefly as I can, what is missing as well as that fifth button. Let’s get the not-so-short list rolling, shall we? Better buckle up, cause this is going to be a bumpy one.

First of the four major functions of this App is the mask builder. If you’ve ever used photoshop, some of it’s more interesting functions might appeal to you, however if your thoughts include a phrase that is somewhere in the ball park of, “photo-who?” or “Photo-what?”, then you might not appreciate it so well. The mask builder comes with three options, New, Saved, and help. Help, by the way, doesn’t help very much – in fact, I had to GUESS at how to use it myself. When you start a new mask, you are asked to either select an existing photo, or to take a new one. If you choose the first option; you or your friend had better be facing the camera directly or it won’t work out so well. After you have your picture you can select a mask from the plus menu. Does it look too big? yeah mine too. Fortunately, just like in the photo cropping section, you pinch and zoom as well as rotate. However, this was LEFT OUT of the help section. Might have been handy info. You can stack more than one mask on top of each other if you wish and can edit each layer individually, sound like photoshop much? It can go deeper in the next section – decorating. Again pushing the plus button gives you some limited options that you can stamp onto your mask, rotate it, resize it, and layer it just like before. AGAIN, it would have been helpful if the HELP section had something about sliding the pop-up menu left and right for more selections, but I digress. Once you have your mask made, you can save and name it. Once you have it saved, you can email it, add it to contact, which works like normal for the iPhone, or you can use it as a wallpaper.

Now the questions:

1. Does this part of the App do as advertised? Yes, but without much help or the benefit of a built in tutorial. Also the limited number of masks forces you to almost always take a new picture just for making a mask that doesn’t look like Daffy Duck’s bill after encountering Elmer’s shot gun.

2. Is this App easy to use out of the box? No. It has a learning curve and you almost have to stumble upon how to make it work the way you want through trial and error.

3. Is this function alone, if one could buy it separately, worth the asking price? No, this would be a fun app if it were free, but it’s no where near polished enough for a $3 price tag.

So, onto wallpapers then. The wallpapers selection is pretty good. Eleven different default wallpapers, plus however many you make on your own in the mask builder section. Tapping on any of the walls from the scrolling list brings up the iPhones native photo viewing API, which is probably best, and from there you can click the same button you’re probably already familiar with at the bottom center. This gives you the same three options – Email, Contact, and wallpaper. If I want to use any of them as a wallpaper, I click the option for it and it tell me that the photo I have selected has been added to the camera roll. LAME. So now I have to go play fetch from the camera roll and add it to my wallpapers manually.

Question section:

1. Does this App do what it says it can? Yeah, and let’s face it if you can’t make a wallpaper work, you need to turn over your DEV pass, and move on.

2. Is this function easy to use? Yes. And that’s probably for the best.

3. Is this function alone, all by itself, worth three double cheeseburgers? No. And walls Apps should be free.

Next up on the docket, GAME. The game is a basic “Super Collapse” clone, with a “Tetris” twist. There are all kinds of blocks, which is REALLY frustrating by the way, and four kinds of (I don’t know what to call them; weapons, activators, help you out blocks?).Sadly, again, the help section barely helps. Are we sensing a pattern? I am. Game play is simple. “Connect”, as the directions falsely say, two or more masks to make them go away, and what “connect” means is to TAP any two or more masks that touch each other in any direction save diagonally. When you do this, they disappear and the blocks on top drop, and they all try to squeeze in towards the middle. There are Star blocks, which is the “Tetris twist” I mentioned. They can’t be destroyed, or moved, or anything but dropped down. Once they fill the bottom line, which only stars can go to the bottom line by the way, they count as completing a level. Scissors will cut everything but stars in any four directions, which you need a rotate block to rotate them where you want them. There is bombs, but they are not very effective, and quite frankly appear to randomly blow up a certain amount of surrounding blocks. Mystery shuffles masks around, while concrete (or maybe rock) can only be defeated by scissors. My inner third-grader is confusing by scissors beating rocks in any game, but meh. After you die, by way of any sort of “oh crap blocks are falling from the sky!” kind of game, you can submit your high score to a local only score board.

Answers! No, wait. Questions! Yes, Ask me lots of questions! J:THM loves questions!

1. Does this App do what they claim it should? I hesitate, but yes… it is by base definition is a game. Not a a particularly well made one, but a game none the less.

2. Is the game easy to play? No and yes all at once! Yay for contradictions! Once you figure out how to play it, yes, it is mindless entertainment like any “blocks” or “columns” game.

3. Worth a single shot of cheap whiskey at a karaoke bar? No. Not at all. It’s only vaguely related to the band and doesn’t do a good job of keeping my attention really.

Last but not least. Tour Info. Simple App function. It shows up-and-coming shows around your region or country. It has an easy to read list view, and a pretty cool map view powered by Google maps that include a cool custom “Pin”. Clicking the pin gives you the date/time and location of the concert, but no option to buy your ticket. The only way to do that in the app is to use the list view. So, why have both? Wouldn’t list view be enough, seeing as how it does the buy your ticket option? I don’t know. It is kind of cool to see a globe covered in custom Pins though. If you decide you want to go see your favorite band, I’m saying favorite here because I’m assuming that only a fan would want this app, it brings up a sandboxed webpage. The process seems to be fairly simple. Fill in the blanks, ignore the missing flash plugins icons, and click submit.

You know what I’m doing here by now I hope.

1. Does it do as promised? Yes. I can find a concert, and even buy my ticket if the option is available at said venue.

2. Is it easy to use? Yup. Dead simple. Or would that be so easy an undead could use it? hmmm…

3. Worth cover charge of a local band playing in my favorite dive? Not really.

So big picture here, how does this App measure up? Not too good I’m afraid. While technically, yes, it does what it claims, it does it all pretty poorly, save for walls and the last one mentioned here. That one is pretty good. Make that a free App, and it will do good. If I had to pay for this app out of pocket, even if I were a fan of this band, I’d feel like I’ve been ripped off. Could this App be better in the future? Maybe. If they either make the HELP section have better written, clearly written, language or with some form of demo with live video, or still shots, that would help a lot. If the mask builder were more robust in it’s selection of pre cut stamps, it would be attractive. Maybe they could even sell the API’s to to other bands to do the same sort of thing. Like maybe Aerosmith could release a tour schedule App, and using this API, you could decorate the tour bus, or your own car with Stamps. Who knows? Also the fifth button needs work. The button that I’m not committing a whole paragraph to, you remember me talking about it before in the review right? No? Me neither. Anyway, that button is the HOME button. It is a loading screen, so far, with only one function; a short cut to iTunes from their App. It says, “click here to get HU music”, but when I clicked it the first time, it gave me my previous search results for House Season 6 episodes. Next time it worked and searched for HU for me, sadly though that’s all the home button does. No band news, no tweets from the bus, no face book updates, no immersion into the band’s lives at all. Sort of sad in this day and age. So, over all I give this App a 4 out of 10. It looks pretty slick, it has big ambitions, but it falls short of being inspirational. I’d give it a higher score if they come back next update with some improvements as listed above, or at the very least some more content to make it worth the asking price, because as it stands right now, it’s not a good free App.

App rated on a 10 ten point scale.

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