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: Green Jelly HD by G5 Games

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G5 is probably best known for their adventure and hidden object games, but they have been branching out into other genres including time management and more recently physics puzzle games.  Jumpster was an interesting first effort in the latter genre whose initial release was ultimately marred by an almost absolute necessity to buy IAP in order to play for any length of time.  Green Jelly is their second physics puzzle release and it has managed to make a much better impression on me overall, except for the less than amicable controls.  At least there's no IAP though.



Review: Tesla's Electric Mist by iCoolGeeks

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When it came to PC gaming I think adventure games were what I grew up on, and I’m happy to see more developers bringing this great genre of game play to the iOS platform.  In late November of 2012 we were treated to a cool time travelling piece called Tesla’s Electric Mist, and since I’m now getting back into it to try and finish it up I thought I’d share my experiences with the game.  There’s no question that the developer has a deep fondness for this style of game play, and there are plenty of puzzles to solve and mini-games to conquer.  I think it would have been nice to have a little golf cart with all the walking I had to do, though.



Review: Ronin by Bulwark Studios

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Infinite runners are to action games like Match 3 games are to the puzzle genre: there are a lot of options on the App Store, and so many of them start to feel the same after a while.  Thankfully I like the infinite runner style of game play enough that I’m pretty much willing to try any one I can get my hands on, and occasionally I’m still surprised to find one that doesn’t feel just like the rest.  Now I’m not suggesting that Ronin does anything revolutionary for the genre, or quite frankly even really evolutionary, but there’s something about it that keeps drawing me back.



Review: Mister Frog by Coconut Island Games

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I never considered frogs to be a very popular subject for video games, but there really are quite a few games staring the lily pad bound amphibians and their desire to eat bugs.  Thankfully Mister Frog is a different beast altogether.  Yeah you’re still trying to collect bugs with the protagonist’s tongue, but there isn’t a lily pad anywhere to be seen in this game.  Plus, the actual game play mechanic is different than any I’ve come across in this sort of game to date.  This is another fine example of simple, fun and addictive blending seamlessly together to create a game that probably won’t get the recognition it deserves.



Review: He-Man: The Most Powerful Game In The Universe by Chillingo

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Many of you are probably too young for this, and those that are my age probably had better sense than me, but the phrase “I have the power” was pretty much a regular part of my after school routine in grade school.  It was part of the battle cry that transformed mild mannered Prince Adam into He-Man, the most powerful man in the universe.  If you think it sounds just a bit corny, try watching the show some time.  He-Man makes The Brady Bunch look like intense drama.  Anyway, for better or worse – depending on your viewpoint – all the cheese that made the show what it was seems to have ended up in the game.  And of course you have many of the main characters and locations from Eternia.  Just don’t expect anything revolutionary game play wise.



Review: Squids Comics and Temple Run Comics by Ape Entertainment

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There’s a reasonably credibly founded stigma regarding crossovers between video games and other media: it doesn’t work well.  When it comes to basing video games off of other media, you tend to lose the story in favor of events that simply take place in the same universe.  Go the other route and you find that many comics based off of video games pretty much have to come up with their own stories because the source material doesn’t have any.  Either way you tend to have a match that doesn’t feel made in heaven.  Ape Entertainment is trying to do their part to stay on the winning side of the curve with two offerings based off of currently popular mobile games: the Squids franchise of action / RPG games and Temple Run, the game that did for infinite runners what Angry Birds did for physics action games.  In terms of content they’ve mostly succeeded, though I’m still not quite sure how I feel about the interface.



Review: Magic Orbz by HeroCraft Ltd.

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There was a time when “playing bat and ball” meant your kids were probably out getting a bit of exercise.  Nowadays it could simply indicate that they are sampling the latest variant of the classic Arkanoid.  Mechanics wise there’s no question that Magic Orbz pays homage to such games of old, but the environments and some of the power ups really give it a fresh feel.  Don’t get too laid back while you’re playing, though, or the challenge of the last level set will really smack you in the face.



Contest: Smize Yourself and win an audition with Tyra Banks

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If you've ever felt your photos don't have enough pizzaz, maybe it's time to "smize" yourself.  Much like Zoolander’s stare, smizing is a way to bring attention to your personality, though unlike the made up model’s technique this one apparently really works.  It’s a concept developed by Tyra Banks whereby you “smile with your eyes”, and you can learn it for yourself with the iOS application Smize Yourself!  You’ll even be taught by the mater as the lessons were recorded by Tyra Banks herself.  Don’t worry, though, because the software contains facial morphing options to help where smizing



Review: Little Labyrinths by ByteSize Games

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Sometimes a simple maze game where the main goal is just to get out of each level can actually be entertaining, as long as the game is constructed well.  My big concern with Little Labyrinths was that it was going to be too easy since you basically trace your way out of each maze with your finger.  It turns out that with the right game play mode this is not only challenging but can get quite addicting.  Thankfully Little Labyrinths has 6 game play modes to choose from, and in the right combination these can be rather rewarding.  Just make sure that you have a “big kid’s” game to quickly switch to when someone wants to know what you’re doing.



Review: Zombies Don't Ride by Retro 64

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Retro 64, developers of the awesome turn based tile RPG Rune Raiders, released a new game called Zombies Don’t Ride earlier this year.  This is one of those games that drive me nuts because while I can list several reasons why I shouldn’t like it, I find it hard to tear myself away from the game any time I load it up.  It’s certainly nowhere near the caliber of Rune Raiders, yet it’s highly addictive in its own way.  It also has the potential to be a money grubber, so if you can’t resist IAP, you might want to stay away.



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