iMobsters by Storm8 is a strange beast. At first glance, its menu-driven gameplay feels off-putting and clunky and comes off as a mindless time-killer. After all, this is a mobster game that forces the player to focus on stats, read piles of text, and sift through menu after menu in order to advance through the ranks. Grand Theft Auto this isn’t.
But after a while, as you take on some jobs, earn a few big paydays, and begin to climb up the pecking order in the mafia, a strange sensation takes over. You become addicted, checking in on your progress every so often, perhaps in the elevator or on the way to your car. And that’s where iMobsters gets you. What it lacks in visceral, action-packed thrills, it makes up for in obsessive character cultivation in a way that would make role-playing-game enthusiasts proud.
iMobsters begins with you creating your character, a low-level thug who’s just been under the wing of a powerful Don. You select your class, dole out your attribute points, and are then set off into the thrilling world of…menus. Yes, a lot is left to the imagination in iMobsters. Missions are presented in list form and your interactivity is limited to pushing a “Do It” button and hoping for the best. But once you pull off a few successful heists, crack a few skulls, and begin to level up, the game manages to become not only interesting, but incredibly addicting.
As you move up the ranks, earning cash rewards and increasing your statistics, you’re able to buy new weapons, defensive equipment, and other items that boost your standing in the mob world. You see, while iMobsters is mostly a single-player affair, you are able to interact with other players of your level by “attacking” them. If your equipment, stats, and mob level outrank theirs, success will be yours. Additionally, you can recruit other players into your mob by inputting their player codes. The bigger and stronger your “mob” is, the better your chances are of survival. And fret not. If you have no friends who are playing iMobsters, there are dozens of websites listing player codes.
One of the problems with iMobsters is in the pace of play. Performing tasks use up stamina points, and once your stamina is depleted you need to wait – in real time – to charge back up. Unfortunately, the wait time is around five minutes per stamina point. And since most missions require at least four stamina points, the wait time can be quite long.
Bottom Line: Those expecting a Grand Theft Auto style of play will be quite disappointed with iMobsters. But fans of role-playing and stat-building games will find the game to be a fun time-killer.
iMobsters is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.