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: Dead Space by Electronic Arts

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I was planning on passing this game by, because I’m not a fan of first / third person shooters.  With the way everyone was raving about it, however, I figured I wouldn’t be much of a reviewer if I didn’t check it out.  Turns out it was a wise decision on my part.  I’m still not planning on jumping up and down for joy the next time a big FPS gets released, but this particular outing has been well worth my while.  Much like Half Life for the PC, Dead Space proves that an interesting story can turn an FPS into much more than a “run and blast” experience.  The horror element of the whole thing doesn’t hurt, either.



Review: Volcano Escape by Bravo Games

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I don’t know what it is about the whole falling down / continually climbing genre of games.  It’s no more complex than the constantly running variety, yet it can be just as addictive.  To be perfectly honest, though, when I first started playing Volcano Escape I thought it was going to be different.  I actually didn’t think I was going to get into it.  Turns out I was wrong.  The thing that actually sets Volcano Escape apart from the crowd is you’ll actually find yourself doing better if you don’t completely rush.  There’s no room to dawdle either, but a happy medium will take you a long way.  I’m not sure I’m thrilled about the controls, but given enough time I’ll get used to them.



Review: Cardboard Castle by BulkyPix

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Puzzle games are a dime a dozen, and some genres are so oversaturated that it’s hard to imagine a developer doing any more with them.  Then a game like Cardboard Castle comes along that doesn’t really fit neatly into a category and reminds us of why we love puzzle games in the first place.  You’ll find no matching or physics related quandaries in this game.  Instead what you get is a series of rooms that contain multiple “use this object for this purpose” puzzles that while in hindsight are fairly simple, can be quite perplexing until you’ve figured them out.  Add to that the awesome cardboard graphics theme and you have one pretty snazzy puzzle game to include in your collection.



Review: Treasure Seekers 2 The Enchanted Canvases by G5 Entertainment

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Since I’ve started playing hidden object games I’ve noticed that they have become less about searching a room for a bunch of objects and more about being like an adventure game.  You often need to find an object to be used somewhere else, there are mini-games to be solved to unlock objects or rooms in the game, and you even have dialogs with other people in the game.  The focus tends to be around people searching for their parents, grandparents, or kids, so the original Treasure Seekers was a nice change of pace in that it revolved around a younger child trying to find her brother (and then looking for a treasure, of course).  Now the kids have grown up, but the premise hasn’t changed – sister must find brother, and together they’ll seek the Philosopher’s Stone.  Turns out it’s still as interesting this time around, and the more balanced mini-games make for an overall more pleasant experience.



Review: Shinobi III by SEGA

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I remember playing the Shinobi games on both my Genesis and Game Gear when I was a kid, and I remember them being tough.  However, I also remember them being lots of fun.  I guess I enjoyed my games being a bit punishing in those days.  When I heard they were bringing a Shinobi out for the iPhone I was quite excited, though I was a bit disappointed that it was part 3 instead of Revenge Of Shinobi, which is by far my favorite.  After spending some time with Shinobi III, though, I’m really enjoying it.  The game play actually holds up quite well for a game that’s almost 20 years old, and I’d say this is definitely one of SEGA’s strongest emulated games to date.
 



Review: Push Panic by Appular

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I don’t know if you ever run into this problem or not, but due to the sheer volume of games I go through, it often takes me a while to play many of the games I own.  Then when I finally do, I sometimes think to myself “wow, I wish I would have played this game sooner”.  If you haven’t guessed yet, Push Panic is one of those games.  The concept is simple, yet it’s a fresh take on the matching genre that really sets a new standard for this type of game.  Add to that four different game play modes, social network integration and a snazzy appearance and you have a causal gaming experience that no one should miss.



Review: Paper Ninja by Real Inverse

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It seems we live in a world where highly skilled assassins have taken a dislike to the four basic food groups.  Paper Ninja takes the novel approach to the whole “slice objects” idea and actually gives you ninjas to swipe at… well, sort of.  The game is cute, it is challenging, and best of all you can’t get any paper cuts.  I have a couple of niggles with it, but overall I’ve found the game quite fun to play.



Review: The Balls by Savant Inc.

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Most games these days that toss things in the air at you expect you to slice and dice them.  The Balls takes a different approach to the subject, and as a result stands out nicely from the crowd.  It’s kind of like Hacky Sack on steroids, and it’s definitely the sort of balancing act most of us would only attempt electronically.  Thankfully, though, the end result is a fun game that doesn’t involve ninjas or samurais, fruit or vegetables, yet provides a similar sort of satisfaction.



Review: Plxeline And The Jungle Treasure by Osao

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I’ve been playing electronic games for a long time, and one of the best genres since I can remember has always been the platform game.  Sure they’ve evolved greatly over the years just like any other type of game, but the basic premise has always been “start at point A – run, jump and do whatever to get to point B – collect things and bop bad guys in the head along the way”.  Pixeline And The Jungle Treasure exemplifies this tried and true formula.  The truth is that it adds nothing new to the genre, and actually hearkens back to the simpler days of platform gaming in a lot of ways.  Still, I’ve quite enjoyed it thus far, and hope we see more of cute little Pixeline in the future.



Review: Altered Beast by SEGA

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20 years ago, Altered Beast was one of the first games I played on my brand spankin’ new Sega Genesis.  Playing the emulated version on my iPod Touch brings back fond memories of my 16 bit gaming days, which are probably among my favorite as far as consoles are concerned.  It’s also a great reminder of how it takes something special to stand the test of time.  Honestly, I’m not sure that Altered Beast has that something special.  I’m quite enjoying the game as it’s a part of my gaming past, but I’m not sure how well modern gamers will take to the limited control scheme and basic game play.



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