Make your own comic with Comic Craft
Comic Craft is a new iOS release from Konami. It’s available now as a free ad-supported download from the App Store, with additional in-app purchases of a special currency used to unlock new features. It’s currently featured in the New & Noteworthy section of the App Store front page.
Comic Craft is an app that allows users to create their own comic book-style scenes, but for some reason known only unto itself the development team has chosen to position it as a form of “game” rather than as a creativity app. This means that the interface has the cartoonish visual style of a typical iOS game, background music, sound effects and other elements of gamification such as in-game currency, an interactive tutorial and incentives for making use of various aspects of the app.
Using Comic Craft requires that the user have an Internet connection, and that they log in either using their email address or their Facebook account. Once they have logged in for the first time, they are taken through a non-skippable interactive tutorial that shows them how to use the software, and are rewarded with in-app currency for successfully following the instructions. This currency can subsequently be used to unlock new features for the app such as new objects and backgrounds to incorporate into scenes.
Upon creating a comic (which the game presents as “starting a new game”) the user has the option of working either solo or collaborating with other people. These other people can be Facebook friends (but only those who already have the app installed — there’s no “invite” function), friends who signed up via email address, or randomly-selected other users. Regardless of whether or not the user chose to create a comic with other people, they are then thrown into the first panel of their comic. At this point, they may pick between various categories of backdrops (and several backdrops from within each category) and then overlay “props” atop the background. Props (which include people) can be freely moved around, rotated and resized using standard iOS gestures such as dragging and pinching, and flipped by tapping and holding on them for two seconds. The gestural controls can be a bit fiddly on the small screen of the iPhone, particularly when dealing with small objects or a large number of props in the same vicinity.
After positioning backdrops and props, the player may then add speech bubbles and captions. These must be positioned first, then text added to them, though they can be moved and resized after the text has been added. There does not appear to be a means of going “back” to the previous step while doing this — the user may only press the “Next Step” button to proceed to the next frame, up to a total of four altogether. If the user is “playing” with someone else, pressing the “next step” button passes the torch to the other “player” for their contribution, and this process continues until the comic is completed.
Besides creating new comics, users may also browse finished comics from other players, which are presented in an attractive “motion comics” style similar to popular iOS comic readers, and may be rated and shared on Twitter and/or Facebook when the reader has completed all four frames. Players are rewarded with small amounts of in-app currency to incentivize the reading and rating of other people’s comics, but it will take an extremely long time to earn enough to purchase even the cheapest content packs at the current rate.
All in all, Comic Craft is an utterly bewildering piece of software. Its presentation as a “game” is completely inexplicable and it actively gets in the way of what the app is clearly trying to do. The ability to collaborate with other users is a nice idea in theory, but not terribly practical. Beyond all that, though, the rather poor quality of the built-in artwork — which becomes extremely pixelated and ugly when resized up beyond its tiny default size — coupled with the limited content on offer, the inability to use one’s own artwork or photographs and the lack of “common sense” features in the interface (such as a “Back” or “Undo” button) makes this an app with a good idea, but poor execution. Stick with Comic Life or even its older, deprecated predecessor Comic Touch.
You can follow Comic Craft’s progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.