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: 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.



Review: Earn To Die HD by Not Doppler

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Around the time that Earn To Die came out it seemed like several such games came onto the App Store.  I tried some of the other ones as well, and for some reason this one seemed to catch my attention the most. The concept as a whole is fairly redundant: race until you run out of gas, upgrade your vehicle and repeat.  Still, Earn To Die has managed to suck me in every time I load it up, and as far as I'm concerned that's the most important feature a game should have.



Giveaway: MacX DVD Ripper Pro

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Until November 30th, Digiarty is giving away version 4.0 of their DVD ripping software, MacX DVD Ripper Pro.  Among other things you can use it to rip DVDs to iPhone and iPad compatible video formats.  For more details and to grab yourself a copy of this software, check out this link: MacX DVD Ripper Pro giveaway.



Review: Pilot Brothers HD by G5 Entertainment

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I’ve been a fan of adventure games since before adventure games had graphics, but nowadays the industry seems a bit unclear on what constitutes a member of the genre.  The big push these days seems to be towards hidden object games, and while I’m a fan of that particular offshoot as well I still like to indulge in the more puzzle / character oriented fare like the old King’s Quest games.  Ironically enough Pilot Brothers doesn’t really fall into that category either, but instead has kind of invented its own style of game play.  It’s a two character single screen puzzle adventure, and it’s one of the best games in the overarching genre of adventure games that I’ve played in quite a while.



Review: Where Is It? by Look And Feel

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I’m a huge fan of hidden object games, but there’s no question that they all begin to feel the same after a while.  “Where Is It?” blends the hidden object game with the art of optical illusions to create what to my knowledge is a unique experience on the App Store.  I was a bit disappointed that the animal category seemed so easy, but the people and objects categories have more than made up for that to provide an overall decent and interesting challenge.  Replay value is a bit limited, but hopefully the proposed monthly updates will take care of that issue.



Review: Swingworm by 10tons

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In general I'm a big fan of 10 tons and the games they release.  At first I wasn't quite sure if I was going to like Swingworm, because it just didn't seem to have the same polish as the other games I was used to from this company.  It turns out I was wrong about that for the most part.  Swingworm is actually a rather interesting game with a unique concept, cute artwork and a pleasing soundtrack.  Unfortunately it suffers from one significant flaw - terrible controls.  They haven't deterred me from playing the game yet, but they sure can make it frustrating.



Review: The Last Driver by Chillingo

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Okay, I told you my “series” on infinite runners wouldn’t be coming out 5 days in a row.  In fact, this is part two and I think I’ve published 2 or 3 other reviews in between.  At any rate, this time around I’m taking a look at The Last Driver from Chillingo.  Apparently you are the last driver in a post-apocalyptic world filled with zombies, UFOs and dinosaurs.  Thankfully you have an upgradable vehicle that jumps and has weapons attached to it, so theoretically you’ll be okay.  In practice, though, that isn’t so much the case.  Still, it can be quite entertaining for those few moments you stay alive between menu screens.



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