Reviews: Railroad Racer 3D & Grumps for iPhone

For the past week or so, I’ve been playing two games on and off: Grumps and Railroad Racer 3D. Both are Indie titles, but they couldn’t be more different even if they tried.

Grumps, developed by Carl R. Andrews, is a relatively simple game. Mean smiley faces fall from the sky, and you tilt the iPhone from side to side to move your Avatar out of the way. The Avatar looks like something taken from the Xbox Live Dashboard, and at times, he doesn’t move fast enough. If you are hit by one of the Grumps, you lose a life. The object of the game is to keep going for as long as possible, racking up points. Sometimes nice smiley faces fall, and you want to get those because they give you even more points. There are even bombs that fall, and while one would naturally try to avoid hitting a bomb, the bombs in Grumps are to help you. Since they can be accumulated, their purpose is to help blow up all of the Grumps on the screen. With a simple tap, one bomb will be used, and you will be Grump-free.

Graphically it’s not the most impressive thing out there on the App Store but, as you progress, the scenery does change along with the outfits your Avatar wears. The music is rather pleasant, so that should be noted. With Grumps being OpenFeint enabled, players can earn achievements and compare their high scores to their friends. Grumps is worth taking a look at, but if you have high expectations, you might be let down.

Railroad Racer 3D is a game that, for me, showed such promise but ended up having flaws. Your character is in a rail cart, blasting through a mine and other locations. You don’t have to use the accelerometer in this one, as the cart will travel on the railroad on its own. Instead you have to tap the screen to collect ammo, gold bricks, health, to jump over obstacles, shoot down obstacles, and brake. By looking at the menu screen, it almost comes off as being scary, but that’s what happens when one uses the wrong kind of font. It just didn’t fit the style of the game.

My biggest problem was that I would run out of ammo, even though I was conserving it like I was playing a Resident Evil game. That’s how scarce the ammo was. When you run out of ammo, and if you come up to a boarded up area, you have to plow through it and lose life. It would be during those moments where boxes and kegs filled with a caustic substance would be off to the side, causing me to take even more damage. Needless to say I died a lot, and what could’ve been a nice enjoyable game became one that gave me a decent amount of frustration. I think the team at exosyphen studios had a good idea, but it was just poorly executed.

Both games are currently available on the iTunes App Store for only $0.99 each, and are compatible with the iPod Touch and iPad as well. To download Grumps, click here, and to download Railroad Racer 3D, click here.

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