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: 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.



Review: Samurai Tale by SteamPack

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Samurai Tale is a simple combat game, and it had the potential to be rather interesting, especially if you’re looking for something with fighting that doesn’t have the complexities of a Street Fighter type game.  Unfortunately, there are enough little things wrong with it that the game becomes somewhat mediocre as a whole, and given the number of quality games available on the App Store, that’s not a good thing.  I would love to see some more work put into this to help it rise above its current level, because I’m one of those that really likes a casual fighter from time to time.



Review: Treasure Reef by Invisible Unit

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There’s something about an underwater setting that promotes peace and tranquility – unless, of course, you’re a fish with a vengeance and can blow killer bubbles.  In Treasure Reef you play Herby, a fish trying to find the legendary treasure of Reef Island.  Unfortunately there are these nasty creatures called Creeps that will do whatever they can to make sure you don’t get that treasure.  You have 28 levels to prove them wrong and find out what the legend is.



Review: Finger Raider by Nemo Games

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As I’ve grown to have less time for playing games, I’ve come to appreciate the simpler things in entertainment.  For example, I’m just as content playing a quick dungeon crawler like Sword Of Fargoal now as I was playing a sprawling RPG like Might & Magic when I was in high school.  However, despite the fact that I’ve seen on many occasions where simple can be fun, simple doesn’t always mean fun.  Sadly, Finger Runner is the perfect example of this.  I think the concept is sound, but the execution is frustrating more than anything.



Review: Dog Pile by ArtWitz Design / JoshOClock

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I had never even heard of Pachinko until Peggle arrived on the iPhone, and now it seems like there are several different variants of the game on the App Store, most of them trying to disguise the fact that they are actually a Pachinko variant.  One of the latest such variants is Dog Pile, an interesting combination of Pachinko and Match 3, of all things.  Interestingly enough, it is probably one of my favorite versions so far.  Of course it doesn’t hurt that I’m a huge fan of match 3 games, and it’s also a bonus that the dogs are so cute!



Review: Hysteria Project 2 by BulkyPix

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After a false start on part one (I loaded it up one time and just watched a slight intro without actually playing the game), I couldn’t put it down the first time I actually tried to play.  In fact, I liked it so much that I played it again before playing part two.  Needless to say I was pretty stoked about venturing into the second installment of this psychological horror mystery, hoping the answers to all my questions would be revealed.  Well, I’m still hoping…  At least it was an enjoyable second leg of the journey.



Review: Atomic Ball by Meritum Soft

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One thing I really like about the mobile scene is that it has helped me to appreciate genres that I never really got into on the PC.  For instance, I’m pretty sure I’ve played as many FPS games on my PocketPC and iPhone as I have for as long as I’ve owned a PC (unless you count the myriad of mods I played when I was into Half-Life).  Another genre that didn’t really catch my attention until the small screen was the Arkanoid style game.  I’m not suggesting that I jump up and down with joy now every time a new one of these games is released, but I do find that when certain variations like Atomic Ball come along, they actually manage to hold my attention for a while.  Of course it doesn’t hurt that aesthetically this is one of the coolest looking Arkanoid clones on the market either.



Review: LilRacerz Pro Rally by Irix Pty Ltd.

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There have been a number of top down racers available for iOS devices since the inception of the App Store, and one that I’ve particularly enjoyed came out about a year ago.  It’s called Lil’ Racerz Pro Rally, and despite its age it has held up rather well.  It might not be as fancy as the likes of Reckless Racing, but it offers lots of tracks, 10 different cars to unlock and upgrade, and some sweet “modern retro” graphics and sound.  If you're a top down racing fan this would certainly be a fitting addition to your collection.



Review: Crazy John by Trinity Games

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I know there are a lot of people that believe Trinity Games is basically in the business of making cheap knock-offs of other developers’ games.  The truth is that their games do tend to be derivative of other games on the App Store, and often aren’t nearly as good.  You can rest assured, however, that such is not the case with Crazy John, which is why I’m bothering to review it in the first place.  Some will argue that it is merely a Minigore clone, or possibly even a rip off of Age Of Zombies.  The reality is, however, that the game offers more features than the first couple of iterations of Minigore (I honestly haven’t played it lately), and I find it more enjoyable than Age Of Zombies.  If you’ve not been convinced in the past that Trinity Games could take a concept and make it their own, Crazy John might just be the product to persuade you.



Review: Sky Combat by Chillingo

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I love scrolling shooters, I’ve reviewed quite a few of them over time, and I often find myself commenting on how I wish the developers would go back and play 1942 to get a basic feel for how a scrolling shooter should play out.  I’m not sure where the developers of Sky Combat got their inspiration, but they certainly hit the mark.  This game has formations, it has level design, and it’s actually challenging without succumbing to the “bullet hell” gimmick.  I’m not saying it’s perfect – not even 1942 was perfect – but this is definitely one of the best scrolling shooters I’ve played on my iPod Touch.  Take note, Capcom: this is the game First Strike should have been.



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