Game Review: iPharaoh
Release: Jan 15, 2010 (latest version)
Available Platforms: iPhone/iPod Touch
ESRB Rating: 9+
iPharaoh tasks you with protecting your pharaoh from explorers, monsters, and other creatures that seek to take him. This is presented in the form of a puzzle game. The cartoonish graphics give it a lighthearted feel, and the controls are simple to learn, so you will be saving your pharaoh from certain doom in no time.
The game gives you an overhead view of a tomb maze and control of at least one mummy or stone. It is your job to send your monster in the right direction in the maze to intercept the raider or monster that is headed towards your pharaoh. This is accomplished by flicking your finger over your character in the direction you want him to go. If you do not give him any direction, he will continue to walk and might miss important turns in the maze.
In later levels, you will have to control several different protectors at once in order to stop the approaching raiders. Once you’ve beaten enough levels, you can unlock Wave Attack mode, which is a survival mode. In this mode, waves of enemies will be sent at you and you have to defend your pharaoh against them for a set period of time. Any protectors you lose will respawn giving you a better chance at survival.
iPharaoh brings some originality to the iPhone with the gameplay and set up. Putting an Egyptian spin on the game gives a lot of personality to the game that otherwise could have been lost if the developer had used a generic style. Some of the puzzles are cleverly laid out, and I enjoyed figuring out some of the puzzles that had me stumped.
Unfortunately the puzzle difficulty can vary wildly from level to level. There are levels that are stupid simple, then others that require quite a bit of dexterity and precision to save your pharaoh. While I like a challenge, it did seem like more thought could have been given to the learning curve and the fact that the iPhone screen is small.
iPharoah is a fun and original puzzle game with a lot of levels to solve. You will feel a sense of accomplishment when figuring out some of the more clever puzzles, but you will be frustrated trying to direct 5 stone blocks through a maze with one wrong move resulting in failure. Given that, I don’t think you will regret your purchase of iPharoah. Just skip those few hard levels and enjoy.