Set mostly in a surprisingly populated portion of the Amazon jungle during the late 40s, Flight of the Amazon Queen was released first in 1995 and was a pastiche of Indiana Jones for the most part, casting players as pilot-for-hire Joe King. Inept but loveable, Joe messes up a simple job and finds himself stranded in the Amazon Jungle with the most famous actress in the world, a mad scientist and a bunch of his horrific experiments. Dinosaur women, brr!
The gameplay is typical of the genre at its hey-day, with the humour coming thick and fast and the puzzles relying on a mix of pixel-hunting and creative thinking – sometimes a bit too creative actually, with plenty of red herrings to throw you off the scent. The humour is a bit obvious compared to Lucasarts' titles and the voice-work so cheesy you could put it in a sandwich with some ham and pickle, but these are all minor faults. On the whole, Flight of the Amazon Queen is genuinely witty and fun adventure game.
Flight of the Amazon Queen for the iPhone is hampered by poor controls
One major problem with the iPhone version of Amazon Queen though is the controls, which aren’t at all as simple as you might hope. Rather than just tapping the buttons and what you want to interact with, you have to drag the cursor around everywhere, which requires the pointer to be off-set from your finger so you can actually see what you’re doing. It’s a pain in the arse to be honest, and it reduces even simple actions into drawn-out drag and tap situations.
It’s a shame to see an otherwise fantastic iPhone release bought down by such awkward controls, but it really does impinge on the overall quality of the experience quite massively. Some recent updates have helped alleviate the problem by adding in an autosave feature and the likes, but they’ve been pretty infrequent.
Verdict: While definitely playable and fun for the nostalgia factor, The Amazon Queen is still a way off from being King of the Jungle – especially when it’s freely available on the PC.
Built on an incredibly familiar premise and framework, EA’s Lemonade Tycoon is one of the best free apps on the AppStore and offers players a good few hours of business trading and lemon-mixing simulation. The premise is simple; you’re a little kid with dreams of conquering the local soft-drink market. You start out with a small amount of pocket money, a barebones stall and some essential resources you’ve scavenged from parents. You stake up a pitch outside your house and from that point on you're on your own – can you make it in the super-competitive world of lemonade supply?
We don't want to boast, but we're pretty good at Lemonade Tycoon on the iPhone
Taking your business to the top is a surprisingly difficult task for a game that’s presented so cutely and minimally, with you having to do everything from buying ingredients to tuning the recipe to meet the requirements of the populace. Newspaper headlines will give you an idea of what to expect from your customers on any given day, helping you choose the right pitch, price and palate for your goods.
Naturally, the expected weakness for a menu-based game such as Lemonade Tycoon is that it would get hugely repetitive, which is about half right. Admittedly you are just doing the same processes over and over, endlessly restocking on lemons, sugar and ice as you work your way towards buying the next site upgrade, but the pace of the game becomes so fast this isn’t really a problem. Lemonade Tycoon has been so utterly distilled that you’re rarely focused on anything except the end of day profits.
The real problem with Lemonade Tycoon is the lack of a endgame or replayability, as once you’ve bought that last upgrade there’s nothing else left to do, nor amy incentive to play again.
Verdict:Lemonade Tycoon may not offer much replay value, but it’s short, sweet and free – so there’s not a lot to complain about really.