Graves Robber in Review – Indiana Jones never saw this coming

One of the most romantic and lucrative professions, at least according to the word on the street is the profession first made popular by the infamous Indiana Jones and later by Lara Croft: grave robbing. For some reason the iDevice has still remained free of such games despite their popularity on both the consoles and the PC. But finally one such game has found it’s way onto the platform after all – Graves Robber is here to unearth the popularity of grave-robbing on the iDevice.

Graves Robber is a Third Person Action/Shooter with some light RPG elements. You take control of a would-be-treasure-hunter who’s just arrived on an island in search of 4 fabled Crystal Skulls that are rumoured to bestow immense power (sound original?) Hefting your trusty multi-function gun, it’s time to go digging.

The gameplay in Graves Robber is fairly straightforward. You are plunged into the thick of it and have to eliminate the baddies up to the big boss while collecting loot and bonus items. At your disposal you have a rifle and a rocket launcher all bundled into one beautiful package. Both of them have a limited ammo supply, replenishable at the hideout. By the way, at any point on the level you may decide to whisk yourself back to the relative safety of the hideout, though it does take some time during which the zombies may eat you up.

The RPG elements are extremely light – you may use the cash collected from destroying zombies an d defiling graves to buy ammo and upgrade your weapon or armor. You can also use powerups collected during the levels to refill your life bar, quickly dispatch a few nearby baddies and some other minor stuff.

Unfortunately that’s about it for gameplay. The story is almost nonexistent and the gameplay quickly gets repetitive. The interface, however, will probably be the biggest downer. The developers have opted for an original system of combined touch/tilt controls. You use the two buttons on the left to control your character going backwards and forwards and to change the direction you tilt your phone left/right. This makes turning a pain, especially if a quick turn-around is required. To try to ease the aiming part the developers added laser sight along with an indication if the weapon is locked onto an enemy. Unfortunately the lock area is too small and it’s easy to lose aim especially with the awkward tilt controls.

The shoot buttons are grouped on the right and are convenient to use. There is also a zoom sliders on the top right which allows you to gradually change the camera angle up to a first-person view if you want. It’s a mystery to me why the more common touchpad style control has been designated to panning the camera angle as it could’ve saved the whole control scheme if left to aiming. Oh yes, despite the 3D landscape there is no way to aim up or down with the autoaim ignoring enemies that are even slightly above or below you. Guess what that leads to.

The visuals are done pretty well, though the pixelization is sometimes frustrating. The enemies for some reason look much better than the main character. The particle and lightning effects look quite nice and that’s about all that can be said about it.

Overall Graves Robber is a disappointing experience. The story is nonexistent and gameplay is fractured. While the basic mechanics seem to work fine they immediately get stomped on by the awkward and uncomfortable interface and design flaws. The visuals combine a nicely built environment and enemies and the poor work on the main character. Graves Robber feels like an Alpha version of a Tomb Raider clone and really needs at least a couple of months of polish. At the moment I would recommend everyone to skip it. At the same time if the developers continue working on it could prove to be a decent game in a few months or so, provided they really put their heart into it.

With this I declare Graves Robber officially touched!

App Summary
Title: Graves Robber Developer: iPhoGame Dev, inc.
Reviewed Ver: 1.1 Min OS Req: 2.2.1
Price: $1.99 App Size: 57.5 MB
  • Nice graphics
  • Solid mechanics
  • Nonexistent story
  • Very poor controls
  • Too light on the RPG element
  • Gets repetitive quickly


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A project manager in a major telecommunications supplier, an iPhone junkie and lately - a TMA editor. Love long walks on the beach and my wife, who is the most beautiful girl on the face of this planet. You can also follow me on twitter for all things iPhone and project management (and some personal stuff as well):

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