We review HeyZap, an Android social check-in application for gamers
The flood of 'social' apps on mobile phones has been staggering over the past year or so; the likes of Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare and Gowolla now seem to control and influence every aspect of our lives. Some people seem unable to pass wind without an app on their phone recording the moment for posterity, and now the 'check-in' revolution has entered the mobile gaming arena, too.
HeyZap is essentially the FourSquare of Android gaming. It links into your Facebook account and finds other friends that are using the app, and thereby builds you an instant selection of gaming cohorts. Alternatively, you can simply create an account without brining Facebook into the equation, or – if you've already signed up on the HeyZap site – simply use your existing log-in.
The app notes down when you play games on your phone, and effectively 'checks you in' when you have a gaming session. You can look at what your friends are playing too, and download said games in order to indulge in some friendly competition. Unlockable medals add to the appeal further.
The social element extends even further with the ability to add tips for certain titles. It harks back to the good old days when magazines used to print strategies for the most popular games, and is a neat way of interacting and sharing information with other players.
With 1.6 million registers users on its web-based site, HeyZap sure has a good chance of dominating the Android social gaming scene. There's still some work to do, though. While the app looks brilliant, it takes a while to move between the various sections. We also noticed that it sometimes refused to log on, even when we had a perfectly good mobile data connection. Teething troubles no doubt, but troubles that impact the usability of the app.
Although the social gaming scene is likely to be an acquired taste for many people, HeyZap does offer a compelling way of discovering new games and sharing information with other users. For seasoned mobile players that relish the thought of being in competition with their friends, it's going to be an absolute godsend.
For everyone else, it could end up being just one more needless distraction, but we'd recommend you at least give it a spin before rejecting it completely. It could provide the impetuous you need to up your game and truly become a legend in Android gaming circles.