This review originally appeared within iLounge’s iOS Gems series within the compilation article, iPhone Gems: Big-Named Games & Inspirational Apps. Additional details may be found in the original article.
The iPhone really needs its own version of After Dark, a set of Macintosh screensavers that famously included “Flying Toasters,” a collection of winged, chrome toasters that flew across the screen with pieces of toast. It’s not that the aggressively power-managed iPhone desperately needs a screensaver, but that Apple’s products have long been known for inspiring developers to put out quirky, funny little pieces of software, and as weird as it sounds, the Flying Toaster screensaver was symbolic of the Mac’s old development community: charming, practical, and memorably different.
A new app called Koi Pond ($1) from The Blimp Pilots is not going to be the iPhone’s After Dark or Flying Toasters, but in a world where Apple’s devices didn’t have to shut off their screens to conserve energy, one could easily imagine the company including it with every iPhone. You’re presented with the classically zen combination of water, lily pads, and Koi fish—oversized goldfish in different colors. They swim around on the screen as you watch, and you can touch the water to make it ripple. That’s it; settings let you adjust the number of fish or lily pads, change the background color modestly, and nothing else.
The Blimp Pilots have the right general idea, the right look and feel, and the right price for this application. It’s slightly charming and different from what else is out there. But there’s no hook to make you keep coming back to it, no practical need to run it independently, and not enough color or other visual customization to let you get it exactly the way you want it—you can tweak the pond, but not really improve it, or radically change it. Is it as pointless to hope for more from a zen application as it would be from a zen garden? Ideally, Koi Pond could be made so “right” that we’d open it just to relax; right now, it’s close enough that we lose relaxation thinking about how we’d fix it. Not a bad start, though: iLounge Rating: B.
Company and Price
Company: The Blimp Pilots
Title: Koi Pond
Compatible: iPhones, iPod touches