The 10 best iOS games for iPhone and iPad
Michael Plant is chief editor and writer of gaming ezine and blog GamesCatalyst.com, as well as editor of 'The Independent'’s games review printed in the Saturday supplement 'Information'. Established in February 2011, Games Catalyst endeavours to bring its unique brand of fact and satire to the videogaming community and, in tandem with 'The Independent', hopefully turn a few non-believers on to gaming while we’re at it.
Thursday 22 March 2012
Mobile gaming is fast becoming one of the dominant forces in the videogame world, and at the forefront of that advance sit Apple’s iPhone and iPad. Whether you like the sleek devices or not, it’s hard to argue against the impact they’ve had on the way we go about gaming. Here are ten titles that, if you own an iOS device, you should be playing right now.
A port of an oft forgotten classic from back in the day when Sonic didn’t have an embarrassment of friends clogging up his games. Sonic CD is fast and slick, and features the sort of split second precision that the hedgehog’s more modern outings lack. It’s easy to control, and there’s a wealth of content that should keep retro fans and newcomers entertained for a good few hours. This is arguably the best version of the best Sonic game out there, and you’d be a fool to miss it.
Infinity Blade I & II
Developer: Chair Entertainment, Epic Games
The first Infinity Blade made iOS gaming cool, bringing with it Epic’s stunning Unreal engine and a style of play that worked with the limitations of the hardware rather than around them. A tale of swords, demons and retribution, it captivated hardcore gamers and more casual fans alike, and made a colossal amount of money along the way. Its sequel upped the ante, throwing in more bosses, a bigger world and some cringe worthy dialogue to boot. Whilst the original is a much more focused affair, Infinity Blade II boasts a bigger play time and some new fighting styles. Save yourself the bother of choosing, and just buy them both.
Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
Price: £6.99 (for all episodes)
Capcom’s amazing puzzle game finds a comfortable home on the iPhone. It deals with death, murder and fate, whilst filling your screen with memorable characters, all cast in gorgeous cartoon graphics. Tasking you with solving your own murder, you work through the game preventing others from grisly ends by moving around pieces of scenery and other objects in the four minute window before they’re shuffled loose this mortal coil. Far more ingenious than it sounds, this is a game that no one should miss.
Not a straight port, but a stand alone adventure set between Dead Space and Dead Space 2, this space based survival horror title sees you battling against Necromorphs in the Sprawl. It’s taut and relentless, and whilst it is hampered a little by complex controls, it’s still a worthy addition to Visceral’s gory universe. The iPhone is slightly lacking when it comes to scary titles, especially ones as competent and thrilling as this. If you want to dismember terrifyingly mutated corpses on the go, then Dead Space is the game for you.
World of Goo HD
Developer: 2D Boy
A physics based puzzler that sees you manipulating blobs of slime to achieve various goals. There’s a huge amount of content here, with five chapters to work your way through, each split up into a variety of fiendish levels. The game might not be an App Store original, but its creative, intelligent and a whole lot of fun. Plus, it’s an introduction to a lot of the themes and styles of play that keep iOS gaming turning over. The perfect place for people who are just starting their iOS gaming odyssey to begin.
Jazz: Trump’s Journey
A unique, spellbinding platformer with a remarkable soundtrack and a sepia tinted look that perfectly captures its 1930′s New Orleans setting. Games like this wouldn’t be possible anywhere other than the App Store, but it’s still refreshing to see a developer taking a chance, and trying to create something unique. It borrows a lot of its basic ideas from other games, but weaves them seamlessly into its world, adding its own twists along the way. Well balanced, and with some clever puzzle elements, Trump’s Journey is a joy, pure and simple.
Developer: Amanita Design
An iPad only release, Machinarium is a gorgeous point-and-click adventure that revitalises the genre with a unique style and some supremely clever puzzles. An endearing and entertaining story about robot overlords drives the action along, but it’s the clever design that will keep you going to the bitter end. A lot of fun, and the sort of game that exercises your mental muscles as well as the dexterity of your fingers. Ipad owners should get this gem as soon as they get the chance.
Price: Free (deluxe package £1.99)
Is it a word game? Is it a puzzle game? Is it a turn based strategy title? It’s basically all of those things and more. A remarkably clever mashing together of at least three genres, Quarrel is all about duking it out with words, taking over enemy territory and ruling the world. Presented in a charming, cartoon way, it’s almost impossible to not like Quarrel, and when you throw in some catastrophically addictive gameplay, you’re left with exactly the sort of adventurous experimentation that makes the App Store so interesting.
DrawRace 2 HD
DrawRace 2 improves upon its predecessor in every way possible – packing crisp visuals, a pleasing roster of cars and a huge array of challenging tracks set across all kinds of terrain types. While a racing game at heart, the real challenge here is in the preparation; the precise tracing of your car’s line carried out before the race even begins all important. Sound effects give you an audible cue so you’ll know if you’ve hit a corner too quickly, while once the race begins an accrued turbo gives you chance to adjust. Yet another example of a simple premise, perfectly executed, proving fiendishly addictive.
DoDonPachi Blissful Death
A garish, multicoloured shower of insanely tough death, Cave’s shooter is a timely reminder that iOS gaming doesn’t have to be cute, cuddly or simple. ‘Bullet hell’ titles have built themselves a stronghold on the App Store, and whilst it might seem odd, these projectile spewing, rocket dodging core games are a brilliant fit. Blissful Death is a hard as nails top down blaster that punishes even the slightest mistake with untimely, explosive termination. Like its stable mates, this isn’t one for the faint of heart, but if you like your mobile gaming to be relentlessly cruel and spectacularly destructive, you could do a lot worse than buying DoDonPachi Blissful Death.
Honourable mentions too to Tiny Wings, Anomaly Warzone Earth and iBlast Moki 2. Have we missed your favourite? Then let us know.
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