#4 L.A. Noire (PS3, 360, PC)

Publisher: Rockstar Games – Developer: Team Bondi, Rockstar Leeds

Our Review

Every year, Pads & Panels list of top games is dominated not only by quality titles but also by a special few that try their damndest to reinvent what we can expect from mainstream games. It’s no surprise that Rockstar Games has found itself perennially among those special few. This year’s offering from the publisher is L.A. Noire. In addition to a ridiculously detailed recreation of 1940s Los Angeles and a plot worthy of its name, L.A. Noire works to reinvent what we can expect from gaming by pioneering facial technology that allowed its creators to add in-depth, emotional interrogations to what might have otherwise been a simple third-person action title. The DLC support for the title cannot be ignored, but even without it, L.A. Noire would stand out as one of the year’s absolute best. (more…)


Product: Bioplastic Phone Cover

Company: Bioserie

MSRP: $34.95

Review by: Sarah Kumley

Getting an expensive mobile device often leads to another purchase: protection for it. Often covers, screen films and carrying cases are bought to protect iPods, iPads and iPhones. Getting tired of one cover and purchasing a new one often means that the old cover is thrown out and ends up in a landfill. However, with Bioserie’s new Bioplastic Covers, when one is done with the case it is recyclable or compostable. It would also have a much smaller impact on the environment if it did happen to be taken to a landfill.

The covers that Bioserie is producing are the first in the world to be made entirely from plants rather than petrochemicals. Corn grown in the USA is used to create the biopolymer Ingeo, a renewable resource, unlike the oil and natural gases used to make regular plastic covers. Because of this, Bioserie covers contribute less greenhouse gases when they are produced and do not pollute the environment when discarded. Don’t take that to mean that these covers are flimsy or ugly. They are still incredibly lightweight, durable, functional and stylish. They are even washable (with cold water and mild soap) if they get dirty. Bioserie offers a variety of colors and also has printed styles available for the iPhone 4. (more…)


2010 Holiday Gift Guide – For the iPhone/iTouch Fan…

By P&P Staff


Cut the Rope

The latest Chillingo game for the iPhone to contain highly addicitve properties, Cut the Rope gives players the simple task of getting the adorable monster Om Nom to his beloved candy. This is done by simply swiping a finger to cut the ropes that hold him, but as the puzzles ramp up with more ropes and more angles, figuring out which way gravity will take him isn’t exactly simple, especially once players start obsessing over grabbing the extra stars along the way. (more…)


Title: The Incident

Platform: iTouch (iPhone)

Publisher: Big Bucket Software

Developer: Big Bucket Software

Rating: ★★★★½

Review by: Bill Jones

Ever have a day that feels like the sky is falling? The protagonist of The Incident has…literally. The businessman-looking character is just standing around one day when everything from road signs to cars start falling from the sky. The only thing to do is avoid getting hit and try to climb the ever-growing collection of items to get to the top and discover the source of The Incident. (more…)


Title: Madden NFL 11

Platform: 360 (PS3, PS2, PSP, Wii, DS, iPhone)

ESRB Rating: E

Publisher: EA Sports

Developer: EA Tiburon

Rating: ★★★½☆

Review by: Dan Braun

With EA owning the exclusive rights to football for the past few years, every fall, gamers face the same question: “Is this year’s Madden worth buying?”

It’s a nagging question, as nearly everybody on this side of the pond loves (real) football, but nobody wants to shell out for a paint job and roster update. Madden NFL 11 delivers enough to justify its place for both new users and veterans, but may not be the best update for the franchise. It looks wonderful and plays smoothly most of the time, but terrible play calls, online issues and a few other question marks and it’s hard to dub this the pinnacle of the series. (more…)


Title: Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Platform: iPhone

Publisher: Sega

Developer: Sega

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Review by: Thomas Braaksma

Sonic the Hedgehog is a one of the most beloved characters in the history of gaming. So naturally it’s a pleasure to see Sonic the Hedgehog 2 re-released in the App store for iPhone. The game translates beautifully when used at full screen (make sure to go to the options menu and switch this), though despite the beauty of playing this classic again, there are some faults. The gameplay can get frustrating due to the slippery directional pad. The unnatural flow of controls will have the gamer correcting finger placement, taking him out of the experience. Though the idea of translating classic games to the iPhone format is great, developers need to work on the gameplay more before passing their babies off to eager fans. In the mean time Sonic the Hedgehog 2 simply suffices, and helps pass the time. (more…)


Title: Skate It

Platform: iPhone/iTouch

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Developer: EA Mobile

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Review by: Chris Park

When considering the existing pedigree of the Skate series, there were higher-than-normal expectations for the mobile version. Unfortunately, Skate It could only be considered part of the series as a stranded stepchild. Using the accelerometer to control movement, a push button, grab button and finger motions to perform tricks, the game presents too much to control in comparison to the console version. It has a stunted career mode that focuses on challenges rather than free skating, and graphics that look worse than the original PlayStation One Tony Hawk game. Skate It isn’t Skate, but a quick attempt to cash in on the series without adapting the title properly for mobile users.

For more info, www.ea.com

Pads & Panels received a redemption code for the game courtesy of the publisher for review purposes.



We’ve had a slew of contests so far this year, but none have really catered to fans of iPhone/iPod Touch gaming. Then Konami came along and was all like – Hey, we’ve got this new rhythm game for the iPhone and iPod Touch called Rhyme Player, in which players tap the lyrics of a song in sync with the music. Would you guys like to give away a few redemption codes? We, of course, said, “Sure, that’s very kind of you Konami.” It might not have gone down exactly like that, but fact is we have three redemption codes for Rhyme Player courtesy of Konami, and we’d like to put them in your virtual hands by tomorrow. So read below for more details. (more…)


Hopefully some of you remember our “Fall Cleaning Grab Bag” back in October. Well, we’ve accumulated another closet-ful of prizes, so we thought it was time for a “Spring Cleaning Grab Bag.” We’ll be giving away a prize a day to randomly selected readers who comment on the daily posts. That means there will be a ton of chances to win. We also may give away some extra prizes via email, through our Facebook fan page, or our twitter feed (@padsandpanels), so stay alert. We’ve got an incredibly kickass arsenal of prizes this time around  (read below).

Everybody (meeting our usual guidelines) is eligible for this contest, but you can only win once in this series of giveaways. As we pick winners by various methods, we will allow those winners to each pick one (1) item from what is left of the following list of items for a prize. Remember, though, we will be picking winners all week, so if we email you the list, don’t hear back, and a later winner has already picked your hopeful prize, you’ll wind up stuck with what’s left. Is that clear? (more…)


Title: Space Miner: Space Ore Bust

Platform: iPhone

Publisher: Venan Entertainment

Developer: Venan Entertainment

Rating: ★★★½☆

Review by: Thomas Braaksma

Space Minor: Space Ore Bust is one of those games that decides to embrace what it truly is, a corny game which consists mostly of shooting and gathering. Space Miner takes shots at itself throughout the game. Miner understands that its main purpose is to entertain the consumer for short periods of time, and in this purpose it succeeds immensely. The gamer takes the lead role in trying to help a crazy uncle save his asteroid mining company. This leads to a storyline filled with interference by an evil corporation, a slow yet highly intelligent alien co-worker, missions against time, and of course blowing up asteroids to retrieve ore to save Uncle Jeb’s company. The gameplay can get repetitive, but still is highly addictive with added interludes of hilarious dialogue (constantly mocking itself). And with plenty of side tasks this game does not get old fast. When looking for a “back to the basics” and addictive game, Space Miner: Space Ore Bust definitely fills that niche. (more…)