Still spend most of your iPhone gaming time glued to big-name best-sellers like Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, Cut the Rope, and Draw Something? Nothing wrong with that, but you’re missing out on a mobile landscape teeming with incredibly varied, beautiful, and inventive games in cheap (or even free) packages.
From brain-busting puzzlers to epic action romps, these are just a handful of the iPhone games you should be playing these days.
1. Hero Academy (Robot Entertainment) - Free
The chess-like Hero Academy with mix of strategy and tactics won’t wow you with its originality, but the smooth interface and nice graphics make it fun to play all the same.
You and your warrior crew fight against another online player, so the task is to knock down your enemy’s energy bar or eliminate the enemy’s whole squadron before he or she does it to you.
There are two levels of combat. First, you have melee. There are five different types of characters, from tough warriors to magic casters, all with different strengths. Second, you have a crystal that gives you power.
The game becomes a balance of defending your crystal and team while using your party to attack the enemy’s crystal and squad. Where you are on the 9×6 board makes a difference as well. Shield tiles raise your defences, attack squares increase your power, and so on.
Hero Academy is a free-to-play game. There are five-second ads after every turn, but they’re fairly unintrusive. Pay a pound or a dollar and the game will unlock more team options – and turn off the ads.
You can find opponents via Twitter, Facebook, or email, or get paired with a random player online. No matter the choice, you’ll be matched within a few seconds.
Hero Academy‘s gameplay probably won’t satisfy hardcore turn-based gamers. There’s no AI to speak of, so you can’t sharpen your skills against the computer before you hop online. Furthermore, with only ten characters and a handful of power-ups, there’s only so much strategy you can use.
But, this is a nice game that may well turn into a great game: if the players continue to stick around, if the developer doesn’t let the micro-transactions take over, and if the design team keeps its eye out for bugs and exploits that emerge as people start to get really serious.
2. Tiny Wings (Andreas Illiger) – $0.99
Elegance in gameplay is a hard concept to nail down, but sometimes minimalism in gameplay can have more of an impact than any flashy button-mashing action title could ever dream to accomplish.
Tiny Wings is a delightful little play – a one-touch physics/rhythm game that you can play for three minutes or three hours.
The main character is a flightless bird, it has always dreamed of flying that gets air by diving down slopes. Tap and hold the screen when your bird slips down the hills and then release as it goes up. Your bird catches height if you time to taps and releases just right along the undulating hills (which change colors as you go, a very cool feature), but the longer you go, the more complex the landscape. Plus, you are trying to stay one step ahead of nightfall. Each run is ended once night-time catches up with the tiny bird, but if you can master the perfect slides you’ll be able to out-pace the coming sunset and nightfall while flinging your way between islands and enjoying the soothing background music. The further and faster you go, the more distance you put between your bird and the starry sky.
It sounds so simple, but like some of the best iPhone games – such as Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds – it comes together as a very playable simple pleasure. It’s definitely worth the 99 cents, but hopefully it indeed gets some features as time goes on, such as additional play modes and Game Center functionality.
Tiny Wings is a rare pearl and a definite must play for all but those completely burnt-out on the endless concept. The overall effect is staggeringly addictive and despite the difficulty of later challenges it’s easy to keep coming back for more.
3. Triple Town (Spry Fox, LLC) – Free
Triple Town is a devilishly addictive puzzle game, masquerading as a town builder. Gameplay involves placing three or more like items adjacent to one another (grass, bushes and trees in a 6×6 grid), which then combine to form more complex items, earning players more points and freeing up valuable real estate. Patches of grass make a bush, bushes form trees, trees become houses, etc. When players run out of room, the town is scored according to its age and complexity. Simple enough.
But then there are the bears. Don’t forget them.
Periodically, bears appear in the queue, wandering the map, scaring tiny townsfolk and generally being in the way of expansion. Boxing them in so that they can’t wander reduces them to gravestones, which build churches, then cathedrals.
The better a player plans, the longer their round will last. Play it right and you’ll perfectly line up three mansions & wrack up big points. But one mistake can lead to churches, houses and other structures littered around the field, making it tough to progress.
Triple Town’s only real drawback is the limited number of turns. Normally they regenerate at the rate of one per minute, but the refresh rate while the app is closed is currently bugged. Those in dire need can shell out the exorbitant sum of $7 for unlimited turns (currently discounted, due to the bug, to a far more reasonable $4) or squeak by on those purchased via coins earned in-game.
There’s a lot of strategy in figuring out where to deploy each object. Presentation is clean and easy to grasp. It’s fun to discover what new structures can be built.
Triple Town is so addictive that one has to control himself from spend too much time on it. One will never get bored, just want to play it better and better. I would recommend it a must casual game on iPhone.
4. Doodle Jump (Lima Sky) – $0.99
The main character of the game – is an endlessly bouncing squid-like fellow (Doodle) who has the only one goal – to jump, using the platforms, as higher as possible.
But it’s not so simple: there will be evil monsters, UFOs, black holes on his way, as well as moving and breaking platforms. But Doodle has a barrel, in his arsenal that can shoot with balls.
There are two game modes: full and classic. If you select the full game mode, in the way you will come across with jet packs and caps, helicopters, which greatly accelerate the process of lifting up, as well as protective shields that protect against all obstacles, except black holes and getting in them.
As to the graphics – the background of the game is a notebook into the cell, pictures are made in children’s style, quite legible and do not hurt the eyes.
There is a possibility of playing together (in a queue on the same phone).
You can also send your records to the developer server.
In the version for iPhone and Android game is made in several styles, such as New Year style or Gothic.
There are little sounds in the game, they sound very cool and match the current situation. Conclusion: The game Doodle Jump at first glance, looks simple and uninteresting, but when you start to play it – do not tear yourself away (although eventually get bored, but not for long). If you’re looking for a new timewaster, invest 99 cents in Doodle Jump. It’s not going to rock your world, but it’ll sure as heck keep you sane at the DMV.
5. Angry Fly Adventure (USOApps) – Free
If you enjoy iOS games with gorgeous graphics and action oriented gameplay, you are in for a treat.
It’s the sequel of arcade-style game Angry Fly.
This is not a game that was quickly thrown together! A lot of thought and work went into every single feature and move, and that will be immediately obvious when you open the game.
The main character of the game is a fly with gun on his back. During the adventure there will be a lot of enemies (sluggish and nimble wasps, drones, tricky caterpillars, snails with beehives) and obstacles, which you need to overcome. With levels when you need to collect hearts, crush bulbs or Exit signs, and don/t forget to collect food – it will be the source of energy for your character.
In addition Angry Fly Adventure has simple touch control: in the lower left corner there is a joystick, with the help of which you’ll operate your character. In the lower right corner – buttons for shooting (rockets, bombs, gun), boost & landing.
The game and levels are beautifully designed and dynamically loading so they’re different each time you play, creating challenging gameplay which is always unique and engaging.
The app is free, and during the game you can upgrade your character buying more powerful weapon or better armor, boost and so on…
Angry Fly Adventure is a game that will keep people of all ages hooked with its addictive, quirky and stylistic gameplay. It’s a perfect timekiller, and by the way, free.
6. Hoggy (Raptisoft) – Free
If you like puzzle and platform games, you will love Hoggy – a purple friendly looking blob, your job is to rescue your girlfriend who has been taken by some annoying moon men. The only way to do so is to visit each of forty five different worlds encased in jars and eat all of the fruit contained inside of them. Sounds a little strange, but some of the best games are right? Hoggy is full of side-scrolling action and lots of cartoony looking graphics as you go through the game.
The way to play the game is to tilt your iPhone to make Hoggy move left and right. It’s pretty simple and once you get used to it, it becomes second nature. To turn him upside down, which you will do frequently throughout the game, you simply tap the screen. You’ll have to be both smart and quick to save your girlfriend – being a slowpoke just won’t cut it here.
This adds more to the game, making you feel as though you’re getting your money’s worth.
The graphics is cute and generally appealing, although a bit silly and cartoony, so if you’re into that sort of think you’ll love this game. Nothing about it is serious, so having a sense of humor is pretty important when playing Hoggy. The sound effects are pretty fitting as well, although they don’t really stand out as much as they should for a game like this, but overall it’s not bad.
Hoggy offers great level designs, intuitive controls, and variety of enemies in a nicely polished package. A lite version offers 14 levels for you to get a feel for the game. Overall, Hoggy comes highly recommended.
7. Paper Toss 2.0 (Backflip Studios) – Free
At first glance this is a very unpretentious game but it’s really addictive. The purpose of the game Paper Toss 2.0 – flicking wads of crumpled up paper into a virtual trash bin. It all works very intuitively, with users simply touching the paper and sliding their finger in the direction they want it to go. For each wad that lands in the trash bin, points and coins are earned. It seems to do very easy, but not! The fan, running at different speeds, keeps us from getting paper into the trash. As you make your shots into the trash bin, you score paper points which can be used to buy new types of objects to throw like tomatoes, bananas…
The game comes in six different scenes:
- Cubicle – The classic environment.
- Intern – Throw at a moving intern
- Warehouse – Throw between the aisles of a warehouse
- Easy – Throw across the cubicle aisle
- Medium – Throw from one corner of your cubicle to the other
- Hard – Throw to the water cooler way over there!
Overall, the core of Paper Toss 2.0 is the same as it ever was. That said, it was always pretty enjoyable, so that’s probably a good thing. Along with the classic mechanics that made the first game popular, the new rendition comes with several new modes to offer greater variety and challenge. More polished and expansive than the original, Paper Toss 2.0 is a great new free game for wasting time and procrastinating real work, a great timekiller!
8. Knights Onrush (Chillingo Ltd) – $0.99
You may view tower defense games as boring, but Knights Onrush will keep you glued to your iPhone with many amusing ways of getting rid of invaders.
the game asks you to defend a castle from waves of angry knights. While you buy and set up defences as in a tower defence game, it’s up to you to roll up your sleeves and get stuck into the enemy hordes directly.
The simplest way to achieve this is to physically pick each enemy up with a finger and fling him into the air. This won’t be enough as the numbers increase, however, which is where your defences come in to play.
From simple cannons to raging dragons, there’s a fine variety of destructive counter-measures. The ways in which these murderous devices are activated are as varied as their effects.
The console-quality graphics are surprisingly crisp and easy on your eyes. Unlike other tower defence games, Knights Onrush packs in colorful and large characters and items, clearly distinguishable for easy finger interaction. Parallax scrolling of multiple background elements, like sun and clouds, coupled with smoothly rendered explosions will leave you lusting for more carnage. Automatic saving and loading and online chat and leaderboards with separate scores for each level in the campaign are also welcome nice-to-haves.
First and foremost, Knights Onrush is pure fun. The game will certainly appeal to casual gamers who like blowing stuff up. Hardcore tower defence fans should also pay attention to the fresh ideas in Knights Onrush. A wide variety of ways of destroying attackers, crisp graphics with large characters, simple mechanics, comprehensive upgrades, and cool weapons, all stand out as major selling points of this game.
9. Nick Chase: A Detective Story (Big Fish Games, Inc) – $1.99
Nick Chase, a cool private detective, is in search of work. And then came a good day – he is hired by a collector. You solve a wide variety of puzzles (mostly hidden object, but also things like jigsaw and slide puzzles) to guide Nick through the seedy underworld, looking to unravel the mystery of the missing manuscript, composed by Leonardo Da Vinci. Explore every corner of the game, where everyone is a suspect.
Nick Chase: A Detective Story mixed a “search for hidden objects,” many conventional and unusual puzzles, exciting story, heartbreaking soundtrack and unparalleled hand-drawn graphics in it.
One nice thing about Nick Chase is that different types of games are all integrated into the story. You never feel they threw in a block memory game just so you can get stuck in the elevator for a little longer. Another interesting aspect of the game is when you go into a new scene the tasks aren’t immediately obvious. The game does a good job at giving you hints in the Task note, but you often have to figure out how to go about to complete the tasks.
If you like solving puzzles and like variety, Nick Chase offers plenty of both. If you are a fan of adventure game/interactive graphic novel games, this game packs solid gameplay and has a good length. For those who simply love a Guy Noir, Mike Hammer or any gritty PI story, Nick Chase will fit in right at home. Nick Chase: A Detective Story is worth every penny and is one of the best adventure/hidden object games on the iPhone.
10. Tap Tip Block’em (CAPCOM) – $2.99
The Fantastic-Horror Survival-Defense game. It’s a story of sleeplessness, strategy and survival in order to keep the ghouls out.
Every night, unearthly visitors invade Nick’s home (various monsters ranging from zombies, aliens, and even Old Saint Nick himself)! Use your fingertips to make barricades and keep them out ’till morning! If they get in, he’ll be in big trouble!
Swipe to look around and put up chains, tap to hammer nails! Really simple controls means making various barricades and keeping out the monsters is fun for anyone – barricade the room by placing planks over windows, chaining the doors, and stacking anything heavy over trap doors!
Play 19 levels across 3 different Worlds. Feel the fun and relief as you just scrape through another night to victory!
Plus just when you thought you were done, there’s a devilishly challenging HARD mode waiting to be beaten by the toughest of players!
On top of story mode, Tap Tip Block’em offers three additional gametypes, including Endless Mode, Time Attack and Glory Mode. Coupled with the achievement and leaderboard systems through Game Center, competition between friends can give this game a good amount of replay value.
I consider these are the best for killing time. What are you waiting for? Most of them are free – so just download and have fun! See ya!