So, you’ve got your shiny new iPhone 3G S, but you want to have some fun with it, right? We’ve trawled through the past year’s hit games to see which ones are really worth your hard-earned iTunes tokens.
These are the games we think are ones you really shouldn’t miss, so they’re not all new, or even necessarily all that snazzy in the graphics department. They are all, however, great fun to play.
Get your touchscreen finger at the ready for some App Store action.
- Flight Control
Why? It’s furiously addictive
Flight Control’s a simple game. All you have to do is direct planes to their respective runways, making sure their passengers get home safe. It’s no leisurely stroll across the airways though, as things soon get hectic as the sky fills with helicopters, huge jets and nippy smaller planes.
It’s a high score lover’s paradise, and it’s sure to have you boasting on your favourite social network, whether that’s Twitter or your friends down the pub. Don’t blame us when you find out everyone’s got a higher score than you. Trust us, we’ve been there.
- Real Racing
Why? It’s the iPhone’s best racer
If you want a realistic racing experience, Real Racing’s the best there is on the iPhone. With fantastic visuals, great handling and three different types of car to drive, it’ll keep your screeching along the tarmac for months.
It’s also got a well-designed online mode that lets you compete against other petrol heads. It even keeps tracks of your place on the worldwide leaderboard. Trying to claw your way up it is as addictive as it is infuriating.
- Castle of Magic
Why? It’s the iPhone’s best traditional platformer
Platform games have had more trouble than almost any other genre on the iPhone. The touchscreen controls just aren’t that well suited to the sort of carefully timed challenges the games feature.
Gameloft, already well known as one of the top purveyors of quality iPhone games, has done the best job yet with Castle of Magic. It’s incredibly slick, with 2.5D visuals that bring this mobile port right into the iGeneration.
Why? It’s one of the original App Store stars
Match-3 puzzlers are abundant on the App Store, but Trism was the first one that really caught the attention of iPhone gamers as it uses the accelerometer as well as the touchscreen. Bringing physics into this traditional puzzler equation, the triangles in Trism fall as you would expect them to under real-world physics.
It’s one a host of awards, and its reputation is so strong that it’s a game that hasn’t seen a price drop since September last year. Sure, this may seem like a bad thing, but it shows you what a quality game Trism is. It’s only £1.79 as it is.
Why? It’s a unique and quite wonderful experience
When we first took a look at Glyder back in February, we weren’t quite sure what to make of it. It looked like a flying game set in a fantasy world, except that it didn’t have any enemies, or weapons.
Guess what, that’s just what it turned out to be. Playing Glyder’s not entirely unlike meditating. Set in a colourful otherworldly environment and backed with some chilled-out piano music, it’s the perfect antidote to an overdose on shooters.
- Star Defense
Why? It’s a great tower defence game
Tower defence games have been one of the iPhone’s most notable success stories. There are a great many out there, including the best-selling Fieldrunners, but for iPhone beginners, Star Defense gets our vote.
You have to place towers along a path that leads to your base. These will destroy alien invaders as they approach, but if you don’t place your towers strategically, they’ll eventually break on through. Star Defense’s USP is that its levels are set on 3D spheres, making this game even more of a looker.
Why? It was the first truly great iPhone-only IP
Rolando was one of the first games that really got the wider gaming press and public interested in the iPhone as a serious gaming device. ‘PSP quality’ and ‘killer app’ were the cries heard throughout the games scene, and a star was born.
It’s a platform game, but not in the traditional sense. You move your Rolandos about using both the touchscreen and the accelerometer, and can operate objects directly using your finger. A strange cross between Loco Roco and Lemmings, Rolando is a must-have. And its sequel’s coming out soon too.
- Word Fu
Why? It’s the fastest word game in the west
Read our review
No portable gaming system is complete without a decent word game. Word Fu strays a little from the norm, but its quick-fire gameplay keeps on pulling us back in again and again. You roll a selection of dice, each side of which has a letter on each side. You then make words out of the resulting selection of letters.
You start off with just a very short time limit, but as you find more words you’ll get extra power-up dice and more time. Even more than Flight Control the desire to beat your previous high scores is inescapable, especially if you’re fond of a bit of wordplay.
Why? Because it’s Peggle
Increasingly, it seems like no platform is complete without having Peggle on it. Now, it’s available on the iPhone too. Guess what, it’s just as good as any of the other versions, even though it costs just a few points.
In it, you have to launch a ball into a screen full of pegs, with the objective of hitting all of the orange-coloured ones using a limited number of balls. Simple as it may sound, you’re at the mercy of the game’s wonderful physics that make predicting its movements more-or-less impossible. Not that this’ll stop you from trying to perfect the angle of your shots again and again for hours on end.
- Zen Bound
Why? It’s one of the few truly original iPhone games
Now that gaming’s established itself as a huge industry rather than a niche pastime enjoyed by geeks and tech fans, it’s rare to see a game that feels original. Zen Bound manages to evoke this sense of the new, and does so with a rather strange concept.
You have to wrap up various objects using rope, with the aim of covering the largest surface area of the object as you can, using as little rope as possible. With understated visuals and natural-feeling controls, Zen Bound ropes you in (geddit?) and refuses to let you go. Plus, as one of the classiest looking games on the iPhone, it’s the perfect game to show off at dinner parties.