LandFormer, Pro Evolution Soccer highlight this week in iPhone gaming

Jul 2, 2010

There were no shiny new toys released this week to talk about, so this week’s best game list is all about games. It almost seems too good to be true. Sports gamers can delight in the release of a Pro Evolution Soccer app as well as an Ace Tennis Online sequel; puzzle fans have LandFormer […]

There were no shiny new toys released this week to talk about, so this week’s best game list is all about games. It almost seems too good to be true.

Sports gamers can delight in the release of a Pro Evolution Soccer app as well as an Ace Tennis Online sequel; puzzle fans have LandFormer and everyone can get into Oddy Smog’s Misadventure and Juggle!

Now that you know which games are in the Top Five, take some time to get to know them better:

1. LandFormer

I’m a little wary of heaping this kind of praise on a game, but LandFormer (free) is just about the perfect iPhone puzzle game. The Streaming Color Studios game is definitely unique; each level consists of a 5×5 board with hills and valleys, and you have to level out the terrain in a set number of moves by using one of six tools. The game also excels at presentation, from its short-but-informative instructional intro to its above average look. Oh yeah, and the game is free – sort of. The initial download will give you access to the first 10 levels, user-generated levels and a feature that allows you to create your own levels — though you can’t save them. The $1.99 upgrade will give you 50 more levels and the ability to save your created levels, and there’s a 99-cent discotheque theme available. You have no reason not to try the game out; it’s free and has already had all kinds of praise heaped upon it… so decide for yourself if it is the perfect puzzler.

2. PES 2010

The Pro Evolution Soccer series has often been touted as the most realistic soccer experience in the video game world. So much of what Konami’s PES 2010 ($1.99) has to offer isn’t exactly surprising, but it is stunning. Not only does the game excel when it comes to gameplay, but the graphics are absolutely outstanding – and both of these highlights are made even better by the game’s ridiculously low price tag. Still, it’s not really clear that this game is better than FIFA 10 or Real Soccer because it simply lacks the depth of those titles. While you can play both national teams and club teams with real players, there aren’t as many as FIFA, and it lacks that super cool build-a-superstar or team management mode. There have also been many complaints from 3G users about the game not performing up to snuff. With that said, for $2, this is a game that any sports fan must experience. While it may not be the best overall soccer title the iTunes App Store has to offer, it’s absolutely one of the best.

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3. Oddy Smog’s Misadventure

Medusa’s Oddy Smog’s Misadventure (99 cents) is a story we’ve all heard before: a small piece of smog gets tired of being part of the machine and has to climb its way out of a seemingly endless pit using various gears. Okay, so maybe it’s not that common of a theme, but the actual game is your standard vertical platformer, like Doodle Jump. You control Oddy by tapping and holding the right side of the screen to move from gear to gear, while tapping the left side to jump in midair. The lack of any onscreen buttons is especially nice given the game’s solid graphics, which are beautifully animated but unfortunately repeated quite often (which isn’t that disappointing, given that the game appears to be endless). The main fault of Oddy Smog’s Misadventure is that there’s not an online leaderboard on which you can post your high scores, but this is an easy fix and, in the grand scheme of things, not a huge deal. While it’s far from original, this title is charming, cheap and strongly recommended for any casual gamers.

4. Juggle!

Juggle! (99 cents) by Denki is about as minimalistic as a game can get and still actually be fun. It’s really not that far removed from Pong, not only in its look but also in the gameplay. You control a single paddle, juggling blocks until you let them all fall. The big twist is that every time a block hits your paddle, the block gets smaller; so even if you’re only juggling three of them, it can get quite tricky. Another nice feature offered by the game is that every time you juggle a block you will hear a tone, with it getting higher the smaller the block gets. While it may be a small touch, in a game like this it’s the small things that matter. Like Oddy Smog, Juggle! will appeal mostly to casual gamers, but anyone who’s into mindless fun should check it out.

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5. Ace Tennis 2010 Online

Ace Tennis 2010 Online ($4.99) is a curious game, one that will both frustrate and intrigue you. A sequel to the popular 2008 title Ace Tennis Online, this version has seen a big jump in graphics from the original. It’s also still easy to grasp the game’s intuitive controls; of course, the multiplayer online mode is always a plus. Despite those positive features, the player movement and gameplay in general is rough, and that’s putting it nicely. On top of that, there isn’t much when it comes to game modes or depth in general when you compare it to other sports games. As far as tennis games go, though, you don’t have many options and Ace Tennis 2010 Online is one of the better ones. It’s not a perfect release, but it’s not without positive features, either.

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David Lister

David Lister is a freelance writer in Chicago. He is a former editor and writer at the and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. 

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