Some of the most addictive games also happen to have a really simple game-play mechanism. Think Bejewelled, Candy Crush, Snake, Alto’s Adventure, among others. One such game that caught my fancy over the weekend was Rainbrow.
Developed by computer science graduate Nathan Gitter from Washington University, Rainbrow is a game that makes uses Apple’s ARKit framework using the TrueDepth camera module on the iPhone X. The game controls are not on the screen, but it is controlled by your eyebrows.
Rainbrow is a game that is easy to learn and has a simple game-play mechanic. The central character of the game is an emoji and its objective is to collect stars. The seven colours of the rainbow form seven levels along which the emoji has to jump up or down. And the way you make the emoji jump up is by raising your eyebrows and go a level deeper by frowning. Keeping a straight face will ensure that the emoji stays fixed in one place. The TrueDepth camera module maps your facial topology and expressions. Keep your eyebrows raised, and the emoji will keep going up and vice versa.
There are other emoji obstacles (cars, clouds, basketballs, duck families, etc) that are travelling along each level or coloured row, and your objective is to avoid touching these emojis while you are on your star-collecting quest.
While there are no levels to the game as such, the game starts getting progressively difficult as you collect more stars. The speeds at which the obstacle emojis move along the different coloured levels changes, thereby adding levels of difficulty. During my game-play after crossing a certain number (26 in my case) I got this thing called Rainbrow eyebrows, which make you immune to the obstacle emojis.
I played the game with my spectacles on as well as with them removed and didn’t notice much difference in controls of the game-play. The game quickly gets addictive as you want to improve up on your best score. Controlling the emoji using your eyebrows is not as simple as it sounds as you will notice when you play the game. There were a few instances where the momentum of jumping up or coming down continued for a step or two despite me having a straight face. But over time you will get better at it. But unless you are planning to get weird stares from your co-passengers, avoid playing the game on public transportation.
The game currently works only for the person who has registered their Face ID details on the iPhone X. In his statement regarding the privacy settings Gitter says, “The camera images and resulting depth data are only used for gameplay purposes. The live video feed is never used, and its data is never stored locally or remotely. Camera access is required to get depth data from Apple’s API’s. The only depth data collected is related to the movement of your eyebrows: whether they are in an “up”, “down”, or “neutral” relative position. Face data is never stored remotely, given to third parties, or used for any non-gameplay purposes. The face data only remains on your device, and never leaves your device at any time.”
According to MacRumors, Gitter has plans to integrate Apple’s Game Centre for multiplayer competitions in future updates. He does not have any plans to include ads in the game. The game may get an in-app purchase option in the future with added emojis according to Gitter.
This may be a simple game, but gives a good example of interacting with the game using only your facial muscles. I am sure that more developers are working on innovative games which will not involve you swiping up and down on your displays. We shall keep you updated on any such games.
The game is available as a free download on the Apple App Store. While the compatibility section mentions that the game is compatible every phone from iPhone SE to iPhone X, that is not the case. It only works on iPhone X as it requires the TrueDepth camera module.