App Review: Digicomics

Category: Entertainment
Price: FREE
TiP Rating: 4/5 stars
Release date: 12/21/2009
Version: 1.0.0
Seller: Walt Disney
Rated: 4+
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone and iPod touch. Requires OS 3.0 or later.
Link to app (clicking launches iTunes)

App Store Description: Introducing Disney Digicomics — a collection of the most successful Disney comics from around the world!

Summary: Disney’s own description sums it up perfectly. I’d even go further to say that it’s nostalgia at its finest. Digicomics itself costs nothing, but offers an in-app transaction screen, so users can purchase vintage digital comics at will. The content displays panel by panel onscreen, which is simple and easy to flip through, but a minor page-flipping transition could’ve added more to the experience.

Review: Digicomics is a free app that allows you to purchase and view classic Disney comics on your iPhone. Viewing the comics in this user interface is a pleasurable experience. A simple swipe across the screen turns the page. If even this is too taxing, you can simply have it turn the pages for you by setting it to play as a sort of slideshow that auto advances. Within each page is the option to save, bookmark or share the image with a friend. You can even select to change the sound and transition settings without having to leave the page you’re reading. It seems to be a very well thought-out app, with everything designed to make life easier for the reader.

The main screen makes it very simple to navigate the app. With 5 very thumb-able options in a row on the bottom, and two large main options on the screen, it’s incredibly user-friendly – dare I say, even child friendly. Just don’t go giving your children your iTunes password, or you may have a large credit card bill and a phone full of comics. The ‘My Comics’ section is where all your purchases are stored and can be organized by character or category.

Thanks to Apple making in-app purchasing viable with OS 3.0., there’s a “Digistore” within the app. If you want to download Disney comics, you simply type your password, and it’s charged to your iTunes account. Each comic costs $0.99 or $1.99 (which, for me, seems pretty reasonable).

The means and ability to modify an app to your liking is vital, and the settings here don’t disappoint. You can switch sounds and transitions on and off, you can even change the speed the pages turn when the “Autoplay” function is on. I think, however, that my favorite two are the disk space allocation and selecting which characters appear in your ‘What’s New’ feed. The ‘Disk Space Usage’ option gives you the freedom to choose how much of your device’s memory can be used for storing comics. You can even set it to delete your ‘less read titles’ or ‘oldest downloaded’ once your memory is full. Even better than this is the capability to restore any deleted titles if you fancy reading them again for free.

One thing I would suggest to improve it is to enhance the transitions between pages. From one image to the next, the panels only swipe across the screen. I think if they just added a page turning effect, it would improve the experience (and I would’ve given it 5 stars).

But personally, I really enjoyed using this app. If I forget about the UI and settings, and concentrate on how it made me feel, I have to say I felt nostalgic. It reminded me of sitting in my grandmother’s lounge and reading her old Disney comic books. I loved it – paging through the old classics was a joy, and it almost made me emotional. One thing about this app that added to the experience, beyond your average paper comic books, is the sound effects of the pages moving. They really assist your imagination along. (If only they had a way of adding smells too.) But as it is, it’s fantastic.

If you’re in to the old Disney comics, or you’ve never read them and would like a cheaper option than hunting the rare collections on Ebay, then this is definitely the app for you.

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