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: Greedy Bankers by Alistair Aitcheson

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The more I play mobile games, the more I realize that sometimes simpler is better.  I don’t mean a game that’s easy, mind you, but a game that doesn’t have a lot of options or settings or menus to mess with.  Greedy Bankers is one such game, and it’s very easy to get lost in once you get started.  It’s also one of those games that will often have you gritting your teeth down to the very last second… assuming, of course, you make the last second match to move on to the next level.



Preview Corner: Idyllic and Goop

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Welcome to the preview corner.  This week’s specials are a jumping game and the tale of creatures called eeps.  Both are coming soon, and both provide game play a little bit different than what you generally see on the App Store.  I would say they are both worth keeping your eye on, even if you don’t run out and buy them the moment they are released.  First up…



Review: Pirate Mysteries by Kristanix Games

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With companies like G5 Entertainment and Big Fish Games churning out quality hidden object games one after another, the market is quickly getting rather saturated.  This means that the little guy has to do that much more to make their game stick out from the crowd.  While Pirate Mysteries is certainly no eye sore, it doesn’t do a whole lot to distinguish itself in a more positive direction either.  Still, amusing dialog and several variations of object seeking help the game to be a fun and solid, if not overly original, title.



Review: Kona's Crate by indiePub

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When UPS just won’t do, apparently the way to deliver packages is via a platform with little jet engines in it.  Silly premise aside, Kona’s Crate is an interesting physics game that takes the lunar lander concept to the extreme.  The game has 60 levels and the three star, two tier scoring system is sure to keep most patient folks busy for a while, but the control scheme is somewhat frustrating and the time to beat for three stars often feels a bit outlandish.  While at first I found myself willing to try and fight for that third star or a “no bump” run, it eventually got to the point where I just wanted to finish a level and move on to the next.



Review: Cryptic Keep by 3D Methods

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In my humble opinion the term “adventure game” has become too broad these days.  I see some sites even try to classify an FPS as an adventure game.  To me it is games like the King’s Quest series from Sierra or Zork from Infocom that defines the adventure game genre.  Games that require you to really explore your surroundings, solve many puzzles, and quite often interact with dozens of non-player characters in more than just a “pardon me while I shoot you” capacity.  Cryptic Keep certainly strives for the feel of the classics, though the distinct lack of NPCs and very little story save snippets at the beginning and the end make it feel more like Myst than a true adventure game.  Still, I appreciate that developers are trying to reinvigorate the genre, and it was fun while it lasted.



Review: Ionocraft Racing by Pan Vision AB

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Apparently there will be pod style racing some day, because that seems to be what so many futuristic racers depict the vehicles being like.  I kind of get that feeling from Ionocraft Racing as well, but that’s okay because I like the whole “hovering craft” type of thing.  The game also has a pretty nifty customization system.  Unfortunately, the lack of any game modes beyond career / quick race and the absence of drivers other than yourself kind of dampen the festivities a bit.  Thankfully there is some decent track design to help pick it back up, and in the end you come out with a solid single player affair.



Review: Chop Chop Slicer by Gamerizon

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The ever expanding Chop Chop universe has provided a wide assortment of entertainment, from the “infinite running” game to a platformer with physics puzzles, and even a few sports games in between.  The latest entry has decided to take on the likes of Fruit Ninja and Food Processing, and in a world that made sense this could easily topple some thrones.  I don’t know if that will happen, but if you have any passion towards games that throw countless items at you for you to slice into pieces, you really owe it to yourself to get Chop Chop Slicer.  You won’t be disappointed.



Review: Mooniz by Mooniz Interactive Ltd.

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As certain genres of game continue to get overly bloated in the App Store, the first question on my mind is always “what sets this game apart?”  In the case of Mooniz, I’m not sure how to answer that question.  The game is fun and is certainly a solid entry in the ever growing category of matching games, but it doesn’t really do anything that I haven’t seen before.  I’m also a bit concerned about the difficulty level given that this is supposed to be a casual game.  Still, the bouncy music and colorful mooniz that make up the world of Mooniz somewhat make up for the brutal nature of the game play.



Review: Catch The Candy by BulkyPix

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Would you be surprised if I told you this was another physics game starring a cute protagonist?  Throw in the quest for candy and you’re already starting to think “Cut The Rope”.  Have no fear, faithful readers.  This game is as far from Cut The Rope as far can get (if far can get very far, that is).  For the most part this is about bringing the protagonist to the candy, and not the candy to the protagonist.  Forgoing your parents’ childhood rule about sticking your tongue out at people you’ll have to use that incredible appendage to crawl, climb and swing towards your goal.  The level design is quite ingenious at times, and the overall experience is quite original to the platform.  Now if there were just some social integration to be found…



Review: Foodies by Nano Titans

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Foodies is a physics game that doesn’t look much like other physics games, and in a world filled with games that want to be just like Angry Birds or Cut The Rope, that’s a good thing.  It’s even got a novel control mechanic that both makes sense and more often than not works well.  There’s even a cute protagonist and an amusing story, for those of you that need either one of those things (or both).  My main issue at this point is that there is a fine line between creative and cruel, or challenging and frustrating, and Foodies likes to play on that line quite frequently, even in the lower levels.  Oh, and it would be nice to be able to turn the insulting kids off as well.



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