The App Store of 2009 was a very different place, which sort of goes without saying. Most games were paid, and developers were just beginning to dip their toes into the idea of selling DLC via in-app purchases. The Iconfactory’s Ramp Champ (Free) launched at $1.99 with a couple of IAP unlocks that were $0.99 a piece. Ramp Champ was sort of a big deal because The Iconfactory were practically legends in the Mac OS scene. As their name might hint, they got their start creating icons, but went on to release things like the first really big iOS Twitter client, Twitteriffic (Free), which won an Apple Design Award in 2008. Additionally, there was a bit of an interesting rivalry between Ramp Champ and Freeverse’s licensed Skee-Ball game on the App Store charts. A lot of people thought Ramp Champ was the better game, but history would show it was totally unable to compete with the might of the official Skee-Ball brand. Regardless, Ramp Champ is a fantastic look at the days of App Store’s past- Particularly now that it’s been updated to run on modern devices.
Take a look at the original trailer:
Another thing that’s interesting about Ramp Champ is that looking back at the original story, people had really yet to begin rejecting the idea of IAP. The Iconfactory released a few more skee-ball tables and iOS gamers of the time always seemed excited to see this game get additional content. At one point, a Ramp Champ 2 was in the works, but it never saw the light of day. Following that, the game sat dormant for years until just recently where it was transferred back to the original developers, SocketFace Games. (Restoring purchases even brings back all the additional tables I bought back in 2009.)
I can’t really confidently say that Ramp Champ has aged that well, as the physics just feel a bit off compared to modern physics-based games. It’s not universal either, although it did gain widescreen support. Basically, Ramp Champ as is services as a really interesting reminder of the kind of games that we used to go wild over eight years ago on the App Store. It really goes to show how spoiled we’ve become as iOS gamers, as well as just how much iOS gaming has advanced since then. If you only got an iPhone recently, Ramp Champ is totally worth a download just to see what things used to be like. If you did originally own Ramp Champ this might serve as a totally unexpected blast of nostalgia- At least it did for me.