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: Propel Man by Spiel Studios

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I probably say this more often than I should, but it still amazes me that often the most basic concepts can be the most addictive.  Such is the case with the game Propel Man, which falls under the genre of “launch and watch” in terms of game play.  It’s certainly a concept you’ve seen many a time before, but Propel Man presents itself in such a way that it almost feels like a fresh take on the idea.  Slick audio and visual elements certainly don’t hurt the cause either.



Review: Fibble HD by Crytek

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It’s the same old story – alien ship gets hit, and despite their always advanced technology they end up helplessly careening into the earth.  Much like another physics puzzler called Marbians you end up in a suburban home and find out that humans are much bigger than you are.  You must find all your friends and ultimately flee your gigantic surroundings.  The atmosphere is cute but the levels can be quite challenging, so feel free to take the game for a spin even if you are a “macho” adult.  So far I haven’t been disappointed.



Review: Sheep In The Sky by Stimulus Response Games

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Sheep In The Sky is the first outing from Stimulus Response Games, and if this is any indication of their capabilities I think we’re in for some good things ahead.  It’s a deceptively basic puzzle game, where the object is to get the sheep to the gate found somewhere on each level.  The graphics are cute, giving it even more of an air of simplicity.  You’ll soon find, however, that some of the levels will take more than a few seconds of thought to conquer.  The game sucks you in early and keeps you glued even when you’re about ready to toss your device against a wall because a level seems unsolvable.



Review: Reiner Knizia's City Of Secrets Skyline HD

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One of the things I like about a Reiner Knizia game is that you never know what you’re going to get, but it’s always in a good way.  Sure several of the games might feel like board games (especially since the source of many of them are), but the actual contents of each game is unique and often thought provoking.  City Of Secrets Skyline HD is no exception to the rule.  I will admit that one of my motivations for wanting to try the game was its tie-in to the upcoming City Of Secrets 2, but by itself the game is a simple yet challenging strategy game that certainly doesn’t feel like any other Reiner Knizia game I’ve played on my iOS devices.



Review: Boy Loves Girl by Grubby Hands

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The title of this game kind of scared me away, because I thought it was going to be the video game equivalent of a chick flick.  The truth is that in a lot of ways it really is, but never the less it’s proven to be quite amusing.  It’s a runner with finite levels, multiple goals and an altruistic purpose – to find true love.  When you get past the mushiness you’ll discover a game that can at times be challenging, is always visually appealing and even manages to have a sense of humor occasionally.  It’s not the ‘next best runner”, but it has certainly done the job of keeping me entertaining while I’ve been playing it.



Review: Streetfood Tycoon by Kuyi Mobile

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I’ve played quite a number of time management games over the course of my reviews, and generally I find that the more hectic they are the more fun they tend to be.  Of course the chaos needs to be organized, but the key is that there has to be a lot to do.  Occasionally, though, I just want to have a nice, relaxing time, and Streetfood Tycoon fills that bill quite nicely.  At times it almost feels more like an arcade game than a time management sim, but lest you forget you can always check all the stats to bring you back to reality.  The important thing is that the game is fun, and I have become rather addicted to the game play and atmosphere.



Review: Treasure Seekers 4 The Time Has Come by G5 Games

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Tom and Nelly are back for the fourth installment of the treasure hunting, bad guy thwarting hidden object series Treasure Seekers.  Check out the links after this review for my thoughts on parts 2 and 3 of the series.  Fans of the series will feel right at home with this iteration of the franchise, and newcomers should be able to jump in fairly easily as well, though references to older adventures might not make much sense to them.  Overall it still provides a decent balance of game play mechanics but there isn’t really a lot of what I’d consider mini-games this time around.  It’s not my favorite of the bunch, but I don’t regret hanging out with the treasure seeking duo again.



Review: Retro Racing by Jamie Woodhouse

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I’m a big fan of overhead racing games, and because I remember the days when the NES reigned supreme I can appreciate things like “old school” graphics, as long as they are done well.  Like so many genres on the App Store, however, there are enough games of this type that you have to really do something different to stand out.  Retro Racing’s biggest problem is that it really doesn’t, and beyond that it has a couple of issues that actually detract from the fun factor.  I think the game is a nice start, but it might be a little too retro even for my retro tastes.



Review: Twist N' Catch by Okugi Studio

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For starters, this isn’t another Angry Birds or Bejeweled clone, so that’s a bonus.  Twist & Catch is actually a nifty little puzzle game with a bit of a… well, twist to it.  There are plenty of levels, and with a three diamond ranking system you probably won’t beat the game in an afternoon.  Be warned, though, that you will get hooked and quite possibly want to chuck your device at a wall sometimes.



Review: Diggin' Dogs by Chillingo

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Personally I would find the task of trying to pick out games to publish quite daunting.  When you’re a developer it’s almost inevitable that you think your product is good (or you wouldn’t be making it) but as a publisher you have a whole different perspective on things.  I’m rather impressed with how consistently Chillingo picks out winners.  That’s not to say that every game they publish is gold because there have certainly been some I didn’t like, but the majority have proven to be quite fun.  As you’ve probably guessed by now, Diggin’ Dogs fits into that latter category.  The concepts are tried and true, but the movement mechanic is unique and the lack of a time limit actually gives you the chance to do something that many platformers don’t, which is the opportunity to explore.



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