Full version of Underworlds, an RPG in the old-school style of Diablo, is free today. Easy to pick-up and play, the UI provides a minimalist directional mover and single action button. The button knows when to get treasure, talk to an NPC, or kill a monster. Over time you gain skills that add extra buttons for those actions. Your health and manna dropping? Touch the red and blue vials to drink potions and replenish each. Pausing allows you to dig deeper into the interface to equip items from inventory, increase skills, and create save points. Underworlds delivers both the standing-in-line as well as sit-and-lose-an-hour game experience. At free, Underworlds delivers the kind of value I love as an App Zealot.
While SteamPunk Hockey delivers only mediocre game play, it provides a novel theme to an otherwise boring genre. On the plus side, the music and sound effects are appropriate and well done. On the negative side, the initial screen puts all the choices settings in one location with confusing icons and names. “Proceed to Leisure” starts a new game, yet “New Game” erases your level and total scores. I found the single player game to be visually interesting but air hockey can be made only so exciting. SteamPunk Hockey attempts to make this more interesting with obstacles, metallic clinks and steam-hiss sounds, and a two-player mode on the same iPhone or iPod Touch.
Single Player mode held my interest for about five minutes. We tried two-player. We didn’t finish the game. Maybe my partner and I are both type-A personality gamers who get into games with a fury, but we found ourselves pulling the phone from each other’s hands time after time. Additionally, the “Pause” and “Menu” buttons are in the corners next one player’s goal. Even more so than having the phone ripped from my hands, having the game suddenly pause and staring at each other took us out of the moment. The second time it happened we both went “meh?” and gave up.
Bottom Line: Air Hockey is not my kind of game. If it is yours, give SteamPunk Hockey a try since it attempts to deliver a new experience.
Consider yourselves warned: Eliminate Pro delivers addictive first-person shooter (FPS) game-play on the iPhone and iPod Touch. The energy recharge cycle ensures plenty of time to eat and take bio breaks. If it wasn’t for the recharge cycle, you would be a slave to ngmoco‘s wildly successful game. The game itself is free. Buying power cells to replenish energy occurs through in-game purchase. Without energy, you can play but you cannot earn credits. Fortunately, ngmoco and Plus+ provide a number of cross-promotional opportunities for credits and power cells.
Credits drive both your level advancement and your ability to buy better armor and weapons. Credits are also used to upgrade them. Each time you kill an opponent, they drop credits and health power up that can be picked up by anyone. Taunting (shaking your iPhone or Touch) over a dead body adds to the credit score at the end.
Energy drives your ability to stay in the game. Each round takes a third of your energy bar. Four power cells replenish a third of your bar. You can wait to recharge naturally on a two hour cycle, or you can spend 4-12 power cells to replenish your energy bar. While energy is zero, you can play but not earn credits. You an also increase your ranking, not level, which is used by the matchmaking system to usually get a roughly equal four-way death match. I tried to lower my ranking by getting killed as much as possible and not killing anyone. No luck. Rank only advanced or stayed equal on zero energy. There may be other ways to manipulate the ranking system, but this is one they covered. A quick check of GamePro does not list any cheats. I find that gratifying. Nothing tanks a FPS than easy cheats that destroy fair-play.
This app plays best over WiFi, and I have had good-luck over 3G. YMMV on 3G. Some report not fairing as well as WiFi. I claim they are whiners.