A number of toys have made the transition to video games over the last decade or so, such as Nerf, Leggo, and Mattel. Now, Electronic Arts has adapted Lite-Brite, Hasbro’s toy that was popular in the 1990s, for the iPhone. Nostalgia aside, there’s just no reason for some toys to be turned into video games.
On the positive side, the iPhone app is far quicker to complete.
Lite-Brite, for the uninitiated, consists of a square-shaped board with little round light sockets. It comes with LED lights of different colors, that you can use to make glowing patterns of light on the board. Of course, if you ever actually played with it, you probably got bored halfway trying to make the clown pattern, picked up another toy, and left the Lite-Brite gathering dust on a shelf, where it possibly sits to this day.
EA’s version of Lite-Brite makes your iPhone an electronic board. You can use your finger to make patterns out of LED lights that are digitally rendered. As well as the regular board, you also have the option of painting by numbers, as well as adding animation. For painting by numbers, you have to use LED lights that are pre-designated, to fill in images that are already drawn on the board. In animation mode, you can make animations from the drawings you’ve made with the LED lights – which, incidentally, is the only part that offers any actual entertainment.
To create animations, you make copies of the board, make slight adjustments to the copies by adding or removing lights, then put all the copies together as a film strip that plays the cartoon you’ve made. The ultimate achievement would obviously be to make an animated LED monster that will rampage around and destroy the screen of your iPhone. Well, it’s obvious to me, at any rate.
At the end of the day, Lite-Brite for the iPhone isn’t really a game at all; it’s just a drawing app – and a very limited one, at that. The colors you can choose from are limited, you don’t have the ability to draw straight lines, and you’re drawing on a boring, black background. Instead of taking the opportunity to take the Lite-Brite brand in new directions, they just attempted to replicate a rather dated toy.
The fun of the original Lite-Brite was in the vibrant, bright electronic drawings. That just can’t be replicated on an iPhone Screen, and the app comes across as just a cheap copy of the original.