The iPhone Gaming Review, Week 1: Old School Platforming Alive And Well

The lack of buttons on the iPhone hasn't stopped a number of developers from making games requiring them, including vintage-style platforming games (we're talking "Commander Keen" here) that appear to be leading a healthy lifestyle on the application store.

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If you're a fan of old PC platformers like "Duke Nukem" or "Commander Keen" and wonder what happened to the good old days, you should be looking into picking up an iPhone immediately; those games are anything but dead on Apple's device.

Amidst rumors that Apple is planning an overhaul of the iPhone hardware later this year, developers are still looking for ways to make traditional games work on a device that features none of the traditional input methods.

Luckily for platformer enthusiasts, the genre doesn't require that much input to work (unlike shooters, which are having a much harder time on the iPhone). Gamers looking for some quality platforming experiences don't have look very far; here are three that I've been enjoying on my own phone.

Click on each game title to bring up their respective iTunes page.

"Archibald's Adventures"

Price: $4.99

Demo: Yes (32 levels)

The last time I can remember a game combining platforming with skateboarding was "Bart vs. the Space Mutants" on the NES, though "Archibald's Adventures" has one thing going for it: it's actually a good game. "Archibald's Adventures" takes the easy route of slapping a d-pad on the screen itself, but because even that's a little touchy, the developers have removed most twitchy action elements.

"Rick Rocketson"

Price: $1.99

Demo: Yes (5 levels)

3D Realms should contact the guys behind "Rick Rocketson" and ask them to port the original "Duke Nukem" games; these guys already have the style down. There isn't a whole lot of depth to "Rick Rocketson," but the ability for the iPhone to easily receive game patches could fix that in the future. And unlike "Achibald's Adventures," this one is pure action (and thus, a little bit harder, due to the touchy controls -- but also cheaper!).

"Toy Bot Diaries"

Price: $3.99 per episode (there are three)

Demo: Yes

It's taken less than a year for the iPhone to produce episodic gaming. Ignore the title -- "Toy Bot Diaries" isn't an adventure game, it's pure platforming designed around a "Bionic Commando"-esque hook mechanic to navigate the environment. There are three entries in the "Toy Bot Diaries," each reasonably priced at $3.99 a piece and unlike the other games here, uses a tightly tweaked accelerometer for movement.

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What other platformers are you playing on the iPhone?

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