iMobsters app for the iPhone makes an offer you can’t refuse

Oct 19, 2009
Games

Managing the day-to-day operations of a criminal syndicate serves as a natural mask for a text-based role playing game. While iMobsters will never be mistaken for Grand Theft Auto, that doesn’t make it any less engrossing. Rather than spinning a Godfather-like origin story, iMobsters jumps into the thick of things with a dumb but functional […]

Managing the day-to-day operations of a criminal syndicate serves as a natural mask for a text-based role playing game. While iMobsters will never be mistaken for Grand Theft Auto, that doesn’t make it any less engrossing.

Rather than spinning a Godfather-like origin story, iMobsters jumps into the thick of things with a dumb but functional story: Your Uncle Antonio invites you over to his house and nonchalantly says, “Hey Kid, I hear you want to start your own mob.” By the end of the helpful tutorial, you’ll have killed poor Antonio for getting intimidated by your quick ascent in the criminal underworld by shoplifting from a stranger and attacking a street vendor.

Much of iMobsters resembles other iPhone games in the same genre, but it’s executed better here. Not only does the tutorial make the resource management of your health (to survive attacks), energy (to do jobs), and stamina (to attack other gangsters) crystal clear, but the game’s setup is improved over its peers. Yes, your stats slowly regenerate over time, but thankfully they also automatically max out every time you level up—which becomes a bigger boon the more advanced your gangster gets.

Also clever is the necessity to buy profit-generating real estate to counterbalance some items that drain on your cashflow, like armored suits, Tommy guns, and higher end vehicles.

But that doesn’t mean iMobsters is perfect. While your character will automatically bring his best weapons to a fight, some jobs inexplicably can only be done with the right tools. A liquor-store robbery, for instance, can only be done with a revolver—apparently a shotgun or AK-47 won’t cut it. Still, that’s a trifle in an iPhone game that is otherwise benissimo.

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David Wolinsky

David Wolinsky is the Chicago city editor for The Onion's A.V. Club and is also the  undisputed 1994 Blockbuster store champion at collecting bananas in Donkey Kong Country.

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