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iPhone Game Review: Graves Robber
      02/26/10 02:48 PM

iPhone Game Review: Graves Robber
Reviewed by Austin


Graves Robber is an adventure shooter game that can be played either third person or first person. It had some good ideas, but ultimately fails to produce a good gaming experience. In fact, the gameplay can get so frustrating at times, you'd want to throw your iPhone or iPod against the wall. It's a shame really because the game has such a potential and the 3D graphics look very good. The game doesn?t tell you any story, the only thing you know is that you are a grave robber named Sara and for some reason you are after the six crystal skulls. At the start of each level, you get this dialogue in a box: Smell the living, Boz, fighting for a big dinner. I'm guessing this Boz guy is the main boss, but I have no idea because the game never tells you. The game?s description in the iTunes App Store tells you more than it does in the game.

Gameplay

Graves Robber is definitely not for the casual gamer. It is hands down one of the most frustrating games as the controls and the game design don?t offer any flexibility. The game consists of 6 levels. Each level takes around 10-20 minutes depending on how you play, and ends with a boss. A boss is just a bigger skeleton with a bigger sword. After it takes enough damage, it disappears and normal enemies spawn in its place. The farther you are in the game, the more difficult enemies it spawns. It usually takes around three "downs" for a boss to die. After you defeat a boss, you get a crystal skull and go to the next level. One design makes the gameplay unbalance: the enemies usually move way faster than you do, and they can hit you while you're 20 ft above them. They can also teleport, and go through walls.



In between levels you visit the shop, here you can buy ammo, rockets, new armor, and another gun. There is one major flaw that makes this game almost unbeatable: You can't buy health potions; only loot them. By the third level, I had the best equipment and nothing to do with my money. By the end of the fifth level, I had no health potions. The game is literally impossible to play if you run out of health potions no matter how good you are at playing the game.

The controls are different, but not that bad. You move forward and backward with up and down buttons on the left side of the screen, shoot with the radar on the right, and tilt the iDevice left and right to turn. None of this would really be a problem if you didn't move and turn so slowly. Also if a group of baddies swarms, you can?t reload your weapon because every time an enemy touches you, you stop what you are doing. So don?t get yourself surrounded by enemies with an empty gun. You also have a slider on the right to switch between third person and first person views.

Graphics

The graphics are rather good for a mobile version of a 3D shooter game. Environments have different looks and most of the items in the game look very sharp. The user interface is easy to understand and the Menu and inventory screens look polished. Though there are different looking bad guys, none of the enemies have a spawning animation; they just randomly appear as you go through the level. The bosses are all very similar, and they do not have different dialogue, animations, attacks, etc... Graves Robber runs mostly smoothly but the frame rate can randomly drop or speed up.



Sound

Graves Robber has both background music and sound effects. The music is interesting and nicely done. However there isn?t an option to play your own iPod music, which will likely to turn some gamers off. While the BGM is rather good, the sound effects seem lacking. There is no sound when your hero takes a hit, and a group of enemies will only make one noise.

Conclusion

The developer has put a lot of effects into making this game and they had some good ideas. But ultimately the game design doesn?t set the right balance, which makes the game way too difficult and unfair to play. That combined with certain obstacles such as you can reload while being attacked, the gaming experience isn?t fun or enjoyable. It?s nice that the game offers a tutorial in the beginning but it doesn't fully cover all the features of the game. Wait for future updates that might fix these problem or I recommend DeadStrike as an alternative.

Rating

Graphics: 4 ? The graphics are nice, but the ?flashing? from items kills the FPS.

Sound: 4 Sound effects are lacking, but the music isn't that bad.

Controls: 3 The controls don't make the game any easier. Turning is near impossible without taking heavy damage.

Gameplay: 1 The game is extremely unfair and is way too frustrating to be fun.




Playing Hints and Tips:

? Make sure to use the "Time Machine" as much as possible, your health potions are limited; when you run out, game out.
? Try to buy armor ASAP.
? Don't bother with rockets, your second gun can't shoot them.
? On level 4, don't forget you can go prone; you have to crawl under a gate.

App Facts:
Developer: iPhoGame Dev
Release Date: February 4th, 2010
Price: $0.99
Buy App: iTunes App Store

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