iPhone Life magazine

Eric Pankoke has been a gamer for more than 20 years. He began with arcade games, moving to consoles and eventually handhelds and Pocket PCs. Now he spends most of his time on one of his iOS devices. Eric has written more than 700 gaming reviews, which have appeared on a number of gaming websites as well as several issues of both Smartphone & Pocket PC and iPhone Life magazines. He regularly contributes to iphonelife.com and TouchMyApps. Ultimately he hopes to eventually develop games himself for whatever the hot mobile device is when he finally gets moving.

Review: Cryptic Keep by 3D Methods

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In my humble opinion the term “adventure game” has become too broad these days.  I see some sites even try to classify an FPS as an adventure game.  To me it is games like the King’s Quest series from Sierra or Zork from Infocom that defines the adventure game genre.  Games that require you to really explore your surroundings, solve many puzzles, and quite often interact with dozens of non-player characters in more than just a “pardon me while I shoot you” capacity.  Cryptic Keep certainly strives for the feel of the classics, though the distinct lack of NPCs and very little story save snippets at the beginning and the end make it feel more like Myst than a true adventure game.  Still, I appreciate that developers are trying to reinvigorate the genre, and it was fun while it lasted.



Review: Ionocraft Racing by Pan Vision AB

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Apparently there will be pod style racing some day, because that seems to be what so many futuristic racers depict the vehicles being like.  I kind of get that feeling from Ionocraft Racing as well, but that’s okay because I like the whole “hovering craft” type of thing.  The game also has a pretty nifty customization system.  Unfortunately, the lack of any game modes beyond career / quick race and the absence of drivers other than yourself kind of dampen the festivities a bit.  Thankfully there is some decent track design to help pick it back up, and in the end you come out with a solid single player affair.



Review: Chop Chop Slicer by Gamerizon

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The ever expanding Chop Chop universe has provided a wide assortment of entertainment, from the “infinite running” game to a platformer with physics puzzles, and even a few sports games in between.  The latest entry has decided to take on the likes of Fruit Ninja and Food Processing, and in a world that made sense this could easily topple some thrones.  I don’t know if that will happen, but if you have any passion towards games that throw countless items at you for you to slice into pieces, you really owe it to yourself to get Chop Chop Slicer.  You won’t be disappointed.



Review: Mooniz by Mooniz Interactive Ltd.

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As certain genres of game continue to get overly bloated in the App Store, the first question on my mind is always “what sets this game apart?”  In the case of Mooniz, I’m not sure how to answer that question.  The game is fun and is certainly a solid entry in the ever growing category of matching games, but it doesn’t really do anything that I haven’t seen before.  I’m also a bit concerned about the difficulty level given that this is supposed to be a casual game.  Still, the bouncy music and colorful mooniz that make up the world of Mooniz somewhat make up for the brutal nature of the game play.



Review: Catch The Candy by BulkyPix

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Would you be surprised if I told you this was another physics game starring a cute protagonist?  Throw in the quest for candy and you’re already starting to think “Cut The Rope”.  Have no fear, faithful readers.  This game is as far from Cut The Rope as far can get (if far can get very far, that is).  For the most part this is about bringing the protagonist to the candy, and not the candy to the protagonist.  Forgoing your parents’ childhood rule about sticking your tongue out at people you’ll have to use that incredible appendage to crawl, climb and swing towards your goal.  The level design is quite ingenious at times, and the overall experience is quite original to the platform.  Now if there were just some social integration to be found…



Review: Foodies by Nano Titans

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Foodies is a physics game that doesn’t look much like other physics games, and in a world filled with games that want to be just like Angry Birds or Cut The Rope, that’s a good thing.  It’s even got a novel control mechanic that both makes sense and more often than not works well.  There’s even a cute protagonist and an amusing story, for those of you that need either one of those things (or both).  My main issue at this point is that there is a fine line between creative and cruel, or challenging and frustrating, and Foodies likes to play on that line quite frequently, even in the lower levels.  Oh, and it would be nice to be able to turn the insulting kids off as well.



Review: Samurai Tale by SteamPack

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Samurai Tale is a simple combat game, and it had the potential to be rather interesting, especially if you’re looking for something with fighting that doesn’t have the complexities of a Street Fighter type game.  Unfortunately, there are enough little things wrong with it that the game becomes somewhat mediocre as a whole, and given the number of quality games available on the App Store, that’s not a good thing.  I would love to see some more work put into this to help it rise above its current level, because I’m one of those that really likes a casual fighter from time to time.



Review: Treasure Reef by Invisible Unit

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There’s something about an underwater setting that promotes peace and tranquility – unless, of course, you’re a fish with a vengeance and can blow killer bubbles.  In Treasure Reef you play Herby, a fish trying to find the legendary treasure of Reef Island.  Unfortunately there are these nasty creatures called Creeps that will do whatever they can to make sure you don’t get that treasure.  You have 28 levels to prove them wrong and find out what the legend is.



Review: Finger Raider by Nemo Games

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As I’ve grown to have less time for playing games, I’ve come to appreciate the simpler things in entertainment.  For example, I’m just as content playing a quick dungeon crawler like Sword Of Fargoal now as I was playing a sprawling RPG like Might & Magic when I was in high school.  However, despite the fact that I’ve seen on many occasions where simple can be fun, simple doesn’t always mean fun.  Sadly, Finger Runner is the perfect example of this.  I think the concept is sound, but the execution is frustrating more than anything.



Review: Dog Pile by ArtWitz Design / JoshOClock

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I had never even heard of Pachinko until Peggle arrived on the iPhone, and now it seems like there are several different variants of the game on the App Store, most of them trying to disguise the fact that they are actually a Pachinko variant.  One of the latest such variants is Dog Pile, an interesting combination of Pachinko and Match 3, of all things.  Interestingly enough, it is probably one of my favorite versions so far.  Of course it doesn’t hurt that I’m a huge fan of match 3 games, and it’s also a bonus that the dogs are so cute!



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