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: 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.



Review: Royal Trouble: Hidden Adventures HD by G5 Entertainment

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Well, it seems G5 has done it again with Royal Trouble: Hidden Adventures for the iPhone and iPad.  The best part is that despite its name and web page description it’s really not a hidden object game!  Don’t get me wrong, because I love HoGs, but there’s also a need for more traditional point and click adventure games, and Royal Trouble delivers that kind of game play in spades.  The story is funny, the characters are cool, and while you occasionally have to think about something for a bit, all the puzzles are really quite logical.  I hope this is the start of a trend towards this kind of game on iOS devices, because I like it.



Review: Reckless Getaway by Polarbit

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Generally I prefer my games to have a somewhat compelling set of goals, but there are times when I do enjoy the simple pleasure of mass destruction.  Still, while I figured Reckless Getaway would be fun, I was pretty much expecting it to be a “few minutes here, few minutes there” sort of game.  Turns out I’ve become quite addicted to this little gem.  With it’s over the top… well, everything it feels like you’re in control of a chase scene stolen from a John Woo film.  About the only thing I wish at this point is that there were a variety of cars to choose from, but otherwise it’s a nearly perfect no holds barred racer.



Review: Petri-Dash by Distorted Poetry

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Petri-Dash is one of the new generation of “dodge everything” games that realizes a game can always use something more to do than just dodge things.  In this case you are some sort of sub-species that lives in a Petri dish, and all you want to do is survive.  In order to do that you’ll either have to dodge all the other organisms or take them on in a battle of butting heads in order to dominate the dish.  Everything comes at a cost, however, and in this case you are constantly losing life just by swimming around.  You are also weakened if you collide with another organism without dashing them.  When your life is spent is back to the primordial pond for you.  You can collect energy pellets to refuel your health, and there are also little versions of yourself that will attach to you when you run them over and give you bonus multipliers to your score.  You lose these friends when you hit one of the bad guys.



Review: Terra Noctis by BulkyPix

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I have nothing against progress, and in fact I’m thrilled whenever someone interjects a cool new mechanic into the genres I love.  The truth is, however, that truly original ideas are almost nonexistent these days.  So if I can’t have something new and dazzling I’m perfectly content with a solid game that takes old school concepts and implements them well, and that’s exactly what Terra Noctis from Bulkypix does.  The story is silly and mostly superfluous, the levels are familiar yet well designed, and money has morphed from coins to fairies, but in the end the most important thing is that it’s simply a whole lot of fun.



Review: The Passenger by Loading Home

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I love adventure games, as it was probably the first genre I got hooked on when I started playing computer games.  As the genre goes it’s always nice to see an original IP pop up in the App Store, so I was pretty excited when I ran across The Passenger.  After playing and finishing it, however, I’m not quite sure how I feel about it.  There are certainly some nice points to the game, but ultimately it felt too basic and more disappointedly, way too short.  I’d still be more than happy to see a sequel, but the game will need a lot more meat to produce I viable franchise.



Review: Ninja Ponk by Alien Worm

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Ninja Ponk, formerly Ninja Pong (which, if you ask me, was a better name), is a quirky game that has you bouncing ninjas across gaps in various landscapes with the help of a breakout-style paddle.  As with many of the games I’ve enjoyed lately, the mechanics are dead simple, but to do well in the game requires a lot of focus and some pretty good coordination.  This game will probably serve more as something to fill time than as something you spend hours at a time on, but oh, what great filler it is!



Review: Treasures Of Montezuma 3 HD by Alawar Entertainment

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It’s getting harder and harder to come up with original ideas for Match 3 games, but the Treasures Of Montezuma has a nice little twist with the concept of idols that are activated when you match that idol’s color on the playing board twice in a row.  I remember getting really addicted to the first installment once I figured out how the idols actually worked.  For some reason I missed out on part 2, but now I’ve got Treasures Of Montezuma 3 on my iPad, the addiction is back, and this could quite possibly be the best installment in the series yet.



Review: Zombie Crisis 3D by Kongzhong

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I love zombie blasters, but there are enough of them out on the App Store that you might be wondering why I’m writing about one that’s over a year old.  Well, despite the fact that there have been some really slick alternatives released since this one came out back in November of 2010, Zombie Crisis 3D is still quite enjoyable.  In fact, I’d wager to say that it is probably the best of the series discounting Prologue, which really could have been just a couple of extra episodes tacked on to the original.  There’s just one small “feature” that I believe is new that’s really getting on my nerves…



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