Punch Quest, The Latest iPhone Game Everyone is Talking About, Is a Knockout

Whenever starting one of these App of the Day pieces, it's sometimes good to have a lead sentence that eases the reader into the article. Not this time. I'll get right to the point: Punch Quest might be one of the most enjoyable iOS games I've played all year.

I guess the game would fall into the "endless runner" subgenre in which you try to make it (well, run, to be technical) as far as you can before being defeated, killed, whatever. It's become a worn genre, but Punch Quest breathes new life into it.

In Punch Quest, you have the endless runner mechanic, but there's a twist: combat. On the lower right, there's a "Dash Punch" button, and on the lower left, there's "Slam/Uppercut" button, which is akin to jump, but with punching.

The first couple of plays, it's easy to think that's all there is and to be completely unaware of how deep the combat is. You can level up and unlock new attacks, by spending "Punchos", the in-game currency you earn while playing. As you unlock each new move, combat becomes more and more interesting. The different paths you can take while playing makes the endless runner element more interesting, too, along with the several minibosses the game throws into the mix.

The gameplay is well done, and I really like the look and feel of the game. I mean, you get to ride a dinosaur that shoots a laser out of its mouth! But what really sealed the deal for me was that this free-to-play game never really pressured me to spend real money to get more Punchos. That, oddly enough, made me want to spend money to unlock things.

Actually, the game is so hands-off about that, you could really forget that this is a free-to-play game. It is, and it's wonderful.

Punch Quest [Free, iTunes]