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iPhone review round-up: May

2:00 PM on 06.01.2010 // Jim Sterling

The iPhone isn't just for looking at porn in the bathroom at work. It's also for playing mediocre games that you'd be playing on an actual games console. I'm joking of course, because my iPod Touch is full of cool games and that's why we're always trying to push more App coverage out there for you. 

Anyway, this month (or last month, technically) saw a handful of decent games that we deigned to get our hands on and review. In this month's installment, there's free running afoot with DynamoKid, we get bouncy with Jumpa and, of course, there is plenty of Trucker's Delight on the menu. 

Read on for May's iPhone reviews!

DynamoKid Touch
Publisher: OrangePixel
Developer: OrangePixel
Released: May 10, 2010
MSRP: $1.99

DynamoKid Touch is a free running game which not only requires players to keep the titular "kid" jumping in order to avoid death but to also eliminate obstacles in his path. Using quick fingers, players need to draw in missing platforms, kill enemies, and destroy objects, all the while keeping one thumb on the game's hero to make him jump from ledge to ledge. 

It's a game with serious potential, but it's far too overwhelming in its current state. For one thing, the lack of a jump button is absurd. Having to touch the Kid himself (haha) in order to make him jump is silly, not least because he's so small. The controls can also be unresponsive, possibly due to the size of the sprite, meaning that the Kid often falls into a chasm even if you pressed him. Having to deal with obstacles in a similarly unresponsive fashion makes the game far more difficult, confusing and frustrating than it has to be. 

With a few more updates, DynamoKid may be a truly great runner game. The basic concept is solid and the game is quite fun when it's not throwing too much stuff at the player in a conceited effort to be difficult. It also has a great stylized retro look that makes the whole experience endearing. I hold out hope that DynamoKid becomes a terrific little App in time, but at this current juncture it could be considered decent at best. 

Score: 6.0 

Publisher: AppaZoo
Developer: AppaZoo
Released: May 14, 2010
MSRP: $0.99

Jumpa is quite surprising. On the surface, it's another uninspired tapping game, but digging deeper reveals quite a challenging and addictive little bastard that should satisfy most iPhone users for its measly asking price. The aim of the game is to keep a little round creature away from the screen, starting with a fish and moving onto more tricky spherical animals. The creatures move toward the screen while a circle appears around them. The aim of the game is to tap these animals when the circle is perfectly in line with their bodies, at which point the animal will be pushed away before heading back towards the screen. 

It's nothing truly original, but it's still a fun game that looks really good and will challenge one's dexterity, especially when multiple creatures must be kept afloat and bonus objects need tapping for extra points. The only real downside is the repetitive music that won't change until an entire set of themed levels is completed. The rhythm of the creatures not being in tune with the rhythm of the music can jar one's senses as well. 

Small niggles aside, Jumpa is worth checking out. A good little game indeed.

Score: 7.0

Truckers Delight: Episode 1
Publisher: MobiGame
Developer: MobiGame
Released: May 18, 2010
MSRP: $2.99

Easily this month's biggest iTunes game, Truckers Delight is famously based on Jérémie Perin's risqué music video of the same name. The video became a huge viral hit last year, and this game seeks to capitalize on the popularity with a set of games based upon the video's bizarre narrative. This first episode is centered around the original chase scene as trucker Jack pursues Alpha Girl across the desert. 

The game is very clearly based on OutRun, with Jake having to pass checkpoints within a strict time limit. He gains extra points to bashing into the back of Alpha Girl's car, and can also score by destroying other cars in the road. However, a head-on crash with vehicles will slow Jake's truck down and doubtless cause him to lose. It's best to avoid all cars or tackle them side-on while keeping on Alpha's Corvette at all times, since this game is very unforgiving and won't allow much margin for error. As the game progresses, enemy bikers and cop cars attempt to slow Jake down and must be taken out with side-on bash attacks. Nearly everything's controlled with the iPhone's tilt interface, aside from a horn which can be honked at any time for seemingly no good reason and a certain power-up.

The game's power-ups all retain the original spirit of the music video and are essential for racking up high scores. Jake can collect a turbo boost that lets him speed across the road, and a set of bull horns that will destroy everything in his truck's way without slowing him down. Also included is a super tongue, based directly off the music video, and providing more nudity than Apple has ever allowed before. It works exactly like it does in the video -- Jake gets to lick the clothes off a passing group of young ladies. Simply tap on the girls within a time limit and Jake will do the rest, tearing off clothes to expose bare breasts and reap in some extra points. It's salacious, but funny in a very stupid way. However, it's unusual for Apple to allow this and it's still strange to see that the game's not been pulled yet. 

It's a good thing that the game hasn't been yanked, as it's very enjoyable and a must-have for fans of the music video. The price might be a bit steep considering the lack of extra modes and rather repetitive gameplay, but it's so well made and hard to put down that it's still worth a go for devoted followers of Jake. Plus, that awesome soundtrack just can't be ignored!

Score: 8.0

Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
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