Physics-based motocross and a zombie survival shooter: iPhone apps of the week

This week's apps are both games. The first is a close remake of a physics-based motocross Flash game, and the second is a new survival shooter with RPG elements to keep you playing.


Apple recently announced that September 9 will be the date of their 2009 iPod event. For the past four years, Apple has hosted these events in San Francisco to unveil its latest generation of iPods. This year, there has been much speculation at rumor sites that Apple will introduce camera capabilities to its iPod Nano and iPod Touch media players. Many sites are also posting that we will see iTunes 9 with rumored social networking features. As with all things Apple, you can never know what its going to announce at the event, but as we get closer to September 9, check our Download blog for the latest rumors.

Both of this week's apps are games. The first app is a close remake of a physics-based motocross Flash game, and the second game is a new survival shooter with RPG elements to keep you playing.

Moto X Mayhem
Tilt your iPhone to land safely so you don't lose your momentum. (Credit: Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

Moto X Mayhem (99 cents) is a fun physics-based side-scrolling game that's been popular at the iTunes store in recent weeks, but I've been reluctant to write about it. In the game, you use your accelerometer to lean forward or back, and press the screen to accelerate as you navigate your way through a 2D course. You get five lives to try to complete seven different courses in a row to finish the game. The graphics are cartoon-smooth and the controls are excellent, but once you've played a few games, you'll be able to finish fairly easily.

I was reluctant to write about this game because I used to play what I assume was the original--a free game called TG Motocross--at a couple of years ago. At the time, I was obsessed with getting the best times and thought it was a great free time waster (and so was the sequel), but now that it's on the iPhone, I feel as if it isn't enough. Teagames hasn't had any new games for quite awhile, so maybe this iPhone game is its new endeavor. In any case, Moto X Mayhem is quite a good game, but if it added more levels or a way to pull off tricks, I would feel better recommending it at 99 cents. I guess the good news is that you can try it online before you buy.

Don't forget to reload (bottom center) or you may end up surrounded. (Credit: Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

Alive4Ever is part survival shooter and part RPG in which you'll fight off zombies using onscreen joysticks. It's similar to iDracula: Undead Awakening, a survival shooter game I've reviewed here before, but adds several new elements to make it even better. In Alive4Ever, you choose between four characters with varying strengths and weaknesses, and you play through 30 missions of increasingly hard zombie mayhem. When you're low on health or ammo, you can often fight your way to pickups to replenish your supplies. As you complete missions, you'll earn experience to increase your character's capabilities and extra cash to buy new and more powerful weapons.

While it is a top-down 2D survival shooter, Alive4Ever also borrows a lot of elements from Left4Dead (yes, even the name is similar), the 2008 game-of-the-year first person shooter from Valve. There are four characters to choose from and even some of the zombie characters resemble those in the popular PC game. But probably the best element borrowed from Left4Dead is the capability to play co-op multiplayer over a Bluetooth connection with your friends. We tried it here in the office with a couple of iPhones and had a great time working together to stay alive as long as possible. Overall, Alive4Ever is an excellent and well thought-out app that combines good elements of two popular games to make probably the best survival shooter for iPhone. One word of warning: it can get quite bloody so it might not be right for the whole family.

What's your favorite iPhone app? Is Moto X Mayhem just fine the way it is or do you agree with me that there should be more? What do you think of Alive4Ever? Let me know in the comments!

About Jason Parker

Jason Parker has been at CNET for more than 13 years. He is the Senior Editor in charge iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.