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: 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.



Review: Aqua Panic Deluxe by BulkyPix

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When Lemmings arrived in 1991 the world took note, because there really hadn’t been a game like it until then.  Unlike many game styles today I don’t think this one really “took off”, but there have certainly been a number of clones and variants since the original firecracker-popping critters came strolling along.  Aqua Panic is one such game, but instead of manipulating individual creatures to guide the pack you actually direct the course of the stream of water the creatures are swimming in.  The game is interesting, but I’m not sure I’m real keen on the interface, and so far I don’t have a compelling urge to sit and play more than a couple of levels at a time.



Review: Dragon Fire Una's Quest by Debug Design

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Dragon Fire is the prefect example of why buyers cringe when they see the GameSalad logo come up on their screen.  The real problem is that Dragon Fire is not a terrible game, but rather a mediocre game marred by some issues that make it not as enjoyable as it should be.  It’s also fairly representative of the offerings that come from the aforementioned game authoring tool.  If this game were given a bit more TLC it could rise above the ever increasing number of vertical shooters that are making their way into the App Store, but as it stands right now the unique premise of playing a dragon doesn’t help the rest of the game.



Preview: Dino Rush by Nemoid Studio

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On November 26th you’ll be treated to a new distance running game in the form of Dino Rush, and I have to say that the game does a decent job of setting itself apart from similar games.  You play a little dinosaur that has a series of missions to complete, but it just so happens that you’re always hungry.  To keep your strength up you must consume all the fruit you can find, as well as avoid all the other nasty dinosaurs and things like quicksand and lava.  You’ll receive various power ups like a spiked helmet, fruit magnet and super-dinosaur suit that will help you in your quest (and are often imperative to your survival).



Review: Tank Raider by Sunday Studios

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I tend to like tank games, because at a base level they all tend to involve blowing things up.  Tank Raider is no exception, except it throws the convention of collecting gems into the mix.  In theory that should make the game more fun, but it tends to make it more tedious instead.  Add to that controls that aren’t real conducive to fast action, and what could be a nice change from the run of the mill tank game feels like a bit of a mess instead.  It’s certainly not a terrible mess, but it doesn’t stand out like it could, either.



Review: Aqua Pearls by G5 Entertainment

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There are certain genres that seem to remain fun even though each new game in the genre isn’t necessarily that different from the last.  Time management games are one such anomaly, and so to, it seems, are “marble poppers”.  Granted there have been some that weren’t quite as engaging as others, but there’s something about the whole concept of trying to whittle away a string of objects before it reaches its destination that’s simple yet challenging, and ultimately enjoyable.  Aqua Pearls is no exception to this rule, and what sets it apart from many of the others I’ve played are some new game modes as well as the general atmosphere of the game.



Review: Mystery Of The Crystal Portal by G5 Entertainment

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So far I’ve been pretty lucky with hidden object games on the iPhone.  Most of them have had something different to offer from all the others.  Of course I realize that’s because the genre hasn’t been oversaturated like certain other ones, but I’ll take it while I can get it.  Mystery Of The Crystal Portal is no exception to the rule.  In fact, in some ways this is one of the most original hidden object games I’ve played, iPhone or otherwise.  It’s not without its shortcomings, but its strengths keep me coming back for more.



Review: Mushroom Age by G5 Entertainment

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I had the opportunity to play the PC version of Mushroom Age briefly at one point, but I actually jumped into it in the middle of the game to pass a section for someone.  Now that I’ve had the chance to go back and play it from the beginning on my iPod Touch I’m finding that I really like the game.  The story is quirky and keeps you wondering.  The characters are amusing, especially when you get to talking to creatures you never thought you’d have a conversation with.  The actual meat of the game is a combination of hidden objects, puzzle solving and mini-games.  Overall it’s a well rounded package that delivers the goods quite well.



Review: Mani Golf by SoGoPlay Games

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Mani Golf is an interesting game.  Some might consider it an overly simple golf game with whacked out courses.  Personally, I look at it as a physics puzzle game under the guise of a whacked out golf game.  Whatever your perspective is, there’s no question that Mani Golf is fun, crazy and at times quite challenging.  You’ll not hear the word “fore” uttered from the main character’s mouth, but be prepared for some zany comments as you attempt to conquer 36 holes on two insane courses.



Review: Pig Shot by Nexx Studio

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Not too long ago I previewed this fun new casual game called Pig Shot.  Well, now it’s in the App Store for you to purchase so I thought I’d give it a more thorough review.  Of course, the irony is that the game is rather simple (hence the term “casual”), and I really kind of covered it all in my preview, at least in a nutshell.  Still, I’m sure I can find a few more words to say about it, so here’s my look at the game Pig Shot.



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