App Review: No Freakin’ Way!
Release: Updated January 21, 2010
Genre: Magic app
Developer: Mojo Software
Available Platforms: iPhone and iPod Touch ver. 3.0 or later
ESRB Rating: 4+
Have you ever wanted to be like Criss Angel or David Blane; just walk into a bar or say to someone randomly, “Pick a card, any card and I will guess what card it is.”? Chances are you wouldn’t actually do that since you don’t know how to perform said trick or don’t have a deck of cards. Hey, there’s an app for that! It’ll have people saying “No Freakin’ Way!”
I must admit, at first I was quite skeptical of this app. Seriously, can it really guess what card you are thinking of? Short answer – No it can’t. Similar to the physical card trick, the app requires input to know what card is selected. The traditional card trick goes like this – Present the audience with a deck of cards. Allow them to choose a card, memorize it, and put it back in the deck. You then do some “magic” shuffling and reveal the correct card to the audience. If done right, the audience will stand in amazement wondering how you knew. This trick can be performed in many different ways. Each magician has their own way of tricking their audience. I don’t know exactly how it is done as I am no magician, but without the audience seeing, the magician is able to keep track of where the card is in the deck at all times. When it’s time to reveal, he always knows where the card is.
With the “No Freakin’ Way” app, a similar technique is applied. As described, ask your audience to select a card (You don’t need an actual deck of cards, just have them say the card) you then pull out your device and show them no app was running to record what they said. You then find the app and hand the phone to your audience. A screen will ask them to place their finger on the screen as it tries to read their mind. Through some magic, the card they were thinking of is revealed.
Really, it’s that simple? No. I’ll back up and explain how this trick really works. When you seem to turn on your phone and look for the app, you actually have the app running already. This is the clever part. The screen has icons and looks just like your home screen. Each icon represents a different card in the deck. So while it looks like you are swapping between screens to find the app, you are really selecting the card that was mentioned. Then, you hand the phone to the audience and have them select the app. To make it look fancy, it says it is going to try and read their mind but really it already knows the card.
This app is great to trick someone at least once, but doing it consecutively can be hard to pull off. If done right, you will surprise some people and hopefully have them saying “No Freakin’ Way!” Even for iPhone users, they won’t be able to figure out the trick right away because it mimics the home screen. The onscreen options are clean and the instructions are easy to follow. There is even a video that explains how to use the app.
My overall thoughts:
Don’t be fooled by the description and think there is some special magic behind this app. Sure, to an unsuspecting audience, they will be surprised. At first I thought this app was a training tool. I thought there was going to be a collection of tricks with instructions and videos of how to perform them. Instead, it turned out to be an app that “guesses” a card. At $0.99, I could recommend it for some little fun on friends, but at $2.99, it’s too expensive. The idea was neat and the clever use of hiding the trick is well done, but for $2.99, you won’t get much use from this app.