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App Review: Paratroopers HD
by Adam Marks on Monday, Jul 4, 2011

When the webOS app catalog initially opened up to paid apps and the only apps available were mojo-based (html/javascript/css), Paratroopers by Kaboom Apps was one of the first apps that made headlines showing how beautiful a webOS app could be, as well as proving that the Palm Pre's accelerometer worked well enough for gaming. Even with all the PDK games that are now available in the catalog, Paratroopers still holds up as a fun and exciting game. So, it was great to see a Paratroopers HD game in the Touchpad's App Catalog at launch for $3.99

For those not familiar with Paratroopers, the premise is quite simple. You are in control of a limited number of Paratroopers who will jump from airplane in an attempt to land on a target zone on the bottom of the screen, tilting the device to control the direction that they fall. Each level has a set challenge that you must overcome to advance to the next, from landing a certain number of jumpers, getting a certain score, or just surviving. As you progress through the levels, you gain more control of the jumpers (e.g. when to pull the rip-cord) while the challenges get more difficult and more hazards appear.

The HD version of the app has been optimized for the Touchpad hardware and screen size, but is still the EXACT same game available for webOS phones (and iOS). In fact, while it has received a graphics upgrade to the larger resolution and a behind the scene's tune-up, it is still just a mojo app that runs in full-screen mode and not an Enyo app. Regardless, it looks absolutely gorgeous and gameplay is smooth, even when you have multiple jumpers on the screen at once.

Unfortunately, I think I actually prefer this game on the phone as compared to the tablet. Since you need to tap the screen to make the paratroopers jump out of the plane and then tap on the troopers again to pull the ripcord of the parachute, I found myself holding the tablet with one hand the majority of the time. After just a few levels, it became awkward to hold and I needed to reposition or take a break for a while. On a phone, your thumbs could easily tap anywhere on the screen without letting go, and it's not an issue to hold the phone for long periods.

That being said, Paratroopers HD is still a fun game and it's great to see a longtime webOS dev continue to stick with the platform. The developer has mentioned that he is looking to possibly add HD-only levels to differentiate the tablet version, as well as add a method to transfer your progress between the phone and tablet versions (or even between webOS and iOS versions), but those are not available yet. So if you do pick up the HD version, be aware that you will have to start back at the beginning of the game and work your way back up.

Download the app here. Got a suggestion or comment for the developer, be sure to visit the Paratroopers HD thread in our forums.