Apple's iOS (formerly "iPhone OS") is the operating system that powers their iPhones, iPods, and iPads. It is derived from OS X, but applications are not compatible between the two, and no emulators capable of running commercial apps have been released yet. iOS is much more locked down than rival Android, and its app store is much more restrictive (no controversial or adult content, emulators, non-WebKit browsers, or GPL-licensed applications). Through a process called jailbreaking, you can bypass all of these restrictions (and void your warranty) to do anything you want with iOS.
|100 Rogues||Roguelike||Although lacking somewhat in content, an excellent and accessible roguelike for the iPhone that has noticeably attractive graphics for its genre. Too easy and simple for roguelike veterans.|
|Adventure Bar Story||RPG/Sim||Some former Atelier staff decided to make an RPG about cooking instead of alchemy. Like Atelier though, time management plays a big part in game flow. The game also heavily revolves around cooking, to the point where your levels and stats depend on what you eat and most of your money comes from making and selling dishes in your restaurant-bar. However, you have to buy, hunt/kill, gather, and generally obtain ingredients on your own, and doing so has you travel to different areas. Eventually you can enter cooking contests and go to new places, which lets you even access a farm to use. The hardest part is balancing gathering, cooking, selling, and eating, but you can eventually get a feel for it and the battles are never too hard, thankfully.|
Although not mandatory, I'd advise to consider using THIS for some help.
|Avadon: The Black Fortress||WRPG||Oldschool Isometric RPG. Think Baldurs Gate for iPad. The story, setting and lore is extensively crafted and immersive. The main story and most side quests have multiple outcomes that impact each other and drastically change the story's progression. incredibly high re-playability. Combat manages to be deeper than most offerings in RPG's today but that's relatively weak. There is a large amount of text for dialogue but nothing unskippable. Sound does the job. This game is an RPG for RPG lovers, definitely worth it. (Also available on Steam!)|
|Ace Combat Xi: Skies of Incursion||Flight / Action||Gets the gameplay of the Ace Combat series down pat, but is severely lacking in content, with a measly five missions total.|
|Another World||Platform/Adventure||A port of the classic platform-adventure game that inspired Hideo Kojima. Comes with both updated HD and original graphics.|
|Assassin's Creed 2: Discovery||Fighting / Platformer / Stealth||An iPhone version of the successful Assassin's Creed 2. Better then the first iPhone AC game. It's got fighting, treasure hunting, stealth missions, chase missions, stealth missions, wall jumping, stealth missions and poster-ripping. Did I mention stealth missions? Another cool thing, during the game you will find "Wanted" posters you can rip off. You can set your own photo to be on the poster.|
|Baseball Slugger||Sports||Homerun derby, online, and with leveling up.|
|Battle for Wesnoth||Turn-based Strategy||Absurdly expansive fantasy turn-based strategy game that offers 200+ hours worth of gameplay in its campaign. Port of a popular free PC game. Unique strategy gameplay that is reminiscent of SRPGs like Tactics Ogre and Fire Emblem but maintains its own identity.|
|Beat Sneak Bandit||Puzzle/Platformer/Stealth/Rhythm||Creative puzzle game where you collect clocks and avoid detection. The catch: you can only move to the beat of the music. Requires careful planning and a sense of a beat, white boys beware. Also has catchy music and cute visuals.|
|Beneath a Steel Sky||Adventure||Port of the classic PC adventure game with voice acting fully intact, as well as new cutscenes. Excellent, intuitive touch controls.|
|Bejeweled 2||Puzzle||It's Bejeweled, what do you expect.|
|Blades of Fury||Fighting||Essentially the iPhone/iPod Touch equivalent of Soul Calibur. 10 characters, surprisingly good graphics, some interesting control methods, and wireless fights make this game worth checking out.|
|Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars||Adventure||Another remake of a classic point-and-click adventure game, now with revamped graphics. Practically identical to the Wii and DS versions.|
|Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter||FPS||Dinosaur hunting simulation game. Surprisingly deep. Despite the ridiculous premise, takes the "hunting" aspect rather seriously. One of the more hardcore games on the iPhone.|
|Chaos Rings||RPG||Square Enix (which mean it's going to be pricey) RPG developed exclusively for the iPhone. Production values through the roof. No exploration to speak of - gameplay largely consists of running through dungeons. Decent battle system that has customization which is reminiscent of FFV's job system. Story isn't brilliant, but is compelling enough. Lasts a good 20+ hours.|
|Chrono Trigger iOS||RPG||The best version of one of the best RPGs of all time. Includes extra dungeons, a new ending, and all the cutscenes from the PS1 version. Also new modes, a monster battlan' minigame, optional touch-screen interface, plus tons of other extras. Time to show Lavos who's boss again and again. Even the translation has been updated |
|Civilization Revolution||Turn-based Strategy / Civilization||It's Civilization. Do you need a description? The controls can be a bit cumbersome, but it's totally playable.|
|Crimson Gem Saga||RPG||Port of a PSP JRPG. The best and most fleshed out traditional JRPG on the iPhone, albeit with wonky controls.|
(Does not run properly on any handset using iOS 5.0 or above, intermittent crashes, sound de-syncing etc).
|Crystal Defenders||Tower Defence||A Final Fantasy tower defence game where you place units in strategic areas and face against 300 waves of monsters in the span of three chapters.|
|Cube Runner||Action||Simple looking game much like the kind you played in class on your TI-83, except now in 3D. Game is controlled by tilting, level packs range from easy to ridiculously hard, and it can be played in portrait or landscape modes.|
|Cut the Rope||Puzzle||Another physics-based puzzle game by the makers of Angry Birds. Just as well-designed and addictive.|
|Dead Space||TPS/Horror||NOT a port or demake or the original Dead Space, but a side story that happens in the same universe. You play as somebody that is mislead to unleash a bunch of necromorphs into a space station and now has to get the fuck out. The plot is decent for an iOS game and the lack of cutscenes is somewhat compensated by adequate voice acting. The controls adapt better than expected to the touch interface and the graphics are quite beautiful, although they don't measure up to the other versions, obviously.|
|Deus Ex: The Fall||FPS/RPG||An augmented mercenary finds he was tricked into joining the bad guys, and must uncover a global conspiracy in order to survive. A side-story to Human Revolution, with the same flexible gameplay: you can be sneaky or go all guns blazing, manipulate people and hack into systems.|
|The Deep||Platformer / Adventure||Plays like a combination of Metroidvania and Ecco the Dolphin, with minor RPG elements. A solid game, although not very long.|
|DoDonPachi Resurrection||Shoot 'em Up||Cave-developed port of the acclaimed bullet hell shooter Do-Don-Pachi Dai-Fukkatsu. Silky smooth touch controls. Contains the original arcade mode and an iPhone mode developed exclusively for the platform, with a remixed scoring system.|
|DOOM||FPS||It's DOOM!! What more do you want?|
|Dragon Quest (series)||RPG||A series of long-running JRPGs by Yuji Hori and Akira Toriyama who also worked on Chrono Trigger (listed above). This is an earlier work for both of them though, and despite that, it is is also the best-selling JRPG series in all of Japan, even beating Final Fantasy which is a best-seller for the rest of the world. Only I, II, III, IV, V and VIII had iOS releases so far, VI and VII had been announced yet still haven't been released, IX will probably not be released or be a Japan-only thanks to the translation having been made and licensed by Nintendo rather than Square-Enix, X may be released in the iOS since it already had an Android release, fingers crossed for an English release of X which has yet to be released in the West. I, II, and III are based on their Super Famicom remixes but with full orchestra music rather than 16-bit chiptunes, IV and V are based on their Nintendo DS remakes while VIII is based on the original Japanese PS2 release rather than it's English version. The screenshot is from V by the way.|
|Dungeon Hunter/Dungeon Hunter 2/Dungeon Hunter 3||Action RPG||Gameloft's take on Diablo, with requisite loot whoring and dungeon crawling. Like other Gameloft games, it's a competent imitator of its "inspiration" and will scratch your itch for Diablo on your iPhone. The sequel improves pretty much everything, and adds multiplayer.|
|Edge||Puzzle||You control a box which you move around a map to reach the goal. It's not that simple. There are moving platforms, other blocks pushing you forward, and other obstacles which turns this game into a game of solving puzzles just to reach your goal. It is an extremely addicting game.|
|Eliss||Puzzle||Possibly the best puzzler on the iPhone. Attractive, minimalistic design. Makes ingenious use of the touch controls, requiring you to use both hands at once to keep up with the frantic pace of the gameplay. Very difficult at later levels.|
|Enviro-Bear||Action / Driving||Enviro-Bear is a game that is similar to QWOP, in the sense that it's a challenge to operate the vehicle. Fish will pop into the car and you'll find yourself avoiding other cars. Your objective is to eat enough berries and fish to gain enough fat to enter hibernation.|
|Espgaluda II||Shoot 'em Up||Another arcade perfect port of a Cave bullet hell game, with slick controls and an exclusive iPhone mode. The premier iPhone bullet hell experience, along with DoDonPachi.|
|Fastar!||ARPG||Super minimalist action-RPG where you hack and slash your way through enemies (made out of colored cubes), cast a variety of spells, and level up your stats, all in the space of 5 minutes. The emphasis is on speedrunning, so improving your time little by little is the meat of the game. It can be a bit too minimalistic, but with the variety of game modes it's easily worth the $1.|
|Fieldrunners||Tower Defense||A build-your-own maze tower defense game.|
|Final Fantasy Dimensions||RPG||Homage/spiritual successor to classic FF with Crystals, Jobs, Abilities, and new "Fusion-Abilities". Think ahead on ally specializations and FAs to learn. There's MANY more skills and abilities than FF5 had, some even have their own groups, such as Monk using Martial Arts. Many classic jobs learn new stuff too, like Red Mage's new "Attune Blade" working like FF6's Runic. The story isn't hot, and some characters are lame, and the player-character graphics are RPG Maker-tier poor, but shit does get real, monsters look baller, and other characters are pimp.|
As this IS pricey: If you really like this stuff (especially FF5), check it out. If you don't particularly enjoy anything before FF6, then probably not. If you're on the fence, try the demo and if you enjoy it, buy the first chapter, since that's the one you can actually start using Jobs and FAs. If you can't get into it past that 1st chapter , then it may not be for you. You can also get the first six FFs as well as Chrono Trigger, Dragon Quest, Secret of Mana, FF4: The After Years, Final Fantasy Tactics, Lunar: Silver Star, Phantasy Star II, Shining Force and Ys (also listed here) on the iOS if you like JRPGs.
|Final Fantasy||RPG||A port of the very first Final Fantasy, one of two ports on iOS that was released in 2010. Combines the art, FMVs, and music of the original PlayStation version, with the scripts of the Gameboy Advance version, along with new dungeons, new bosses, and fancy Gen-7 graphics. The character sprites look all RPG maker, but some of the spell effect animations and monster art are ballin' yo.|
|Final Fantasy II||RPG||The second of the two ports that were released for the iOS in 2010, this one being Final Fantasy II. Features an additional dungeon not seen in the GBA remix, which also added a few new dungeons of its own (also on here). Not as widely-liked as the first, but has it's fans. Still, you might want to look at some videos and FAQs to see if you might enjoy it.|
|Final Fantasy III||RPG||A fully 3D remake of Final Fantasy III, which was previously never officially released outside of Japan. Unlike the NES version, the orphans have a bit of individual background this time, and there's bonus content; however, most you have to unlock by filling up the bestiary. As usual, there are many classes to choose from and to level up, but choose wisely. If you haven't played it yet, now is the time to do so. Also available on the Nintendo DS with MogNet.|
|Final Fantasy IV||RPG||A fully 3D remake of the SNES game. Includes decent voice-acted cut scenes and a new ability system designed to offer a modicum of customization in the least-customizable FF game to date. Also of note is the increased difficulty over previous ports of the game. |
|Final Fantasy IV - The After Years||RPG||A fully 3D remake of the WiiWare game. Any tale you unlock after the proluge can be played in any order, similar to Live-A-Live. The Chrono Trigger-esque bands |
|Final Fantasy V||RPG||Featuring the most refined version of the job system seen in a main Final Fantasy title to date, join Bartz and his quest to have the most female-filled party in the series, as well as his battles against a magic tree. The story is lighthearted, but still plenty cool. Enough classes to make your head spin, plus an extra dungeon and new classes for the GBA/iOS versions. Ported from the GBA with the original SNES music, inferior controls and upscaled graphics akin to Final Fantasy Dimensions which makes this port better/worse than the GBA port. (It won't bug you unless you played the original.)|
|Final Fantasy VI||RPG||A ragtag team of terrorists take on a war-power that's been using nature's power against itself to further its expansion. You later take on a demigod who DESTROYED THE WORLD. Job system is gone, replaced by Espers, offering less customization and more favoritism when picking characters, of which there are many. Has some GBA/iOS extras in the form of new espers and dungeons. Like always, the graphics and controls aren't as good as the SNES/GBA. C'est la vie. Fixes the slowdown problems from the GBA version.|
|Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions||RPG||Ported from the PSP port of the PSX Final Fantasy Tactics game. The stretched widescreen, slower animations and rewritten dialogue (Fixes many of the mistakes of the original game, but is in some sort of verbose theatrical English.) seem to bother those who've played the original more, but this version also have a slightly expended story, 2 new secret characters and a secret new job. For those who don't care, it's a deep, complex SRPG and one of the best FF spinoffs ever.
An update has been released that fixes the slowdown/lag issues.
|Final Freeway 2R||Racing||If you have nostalgia for 80s arcade racers, especially Sega's OutRun, this is definitely worth a buck!|
|Flick Kick Football||Sports||Crazy addictive football/soccer free-kick game with openfeint.|
|Frogatto||Platformer / Metroidvania||Think Cave Story + Yoshi's Island. A cutsey non-linear platformer with beautiful pixel art about an unemployed frog trying to defend his town.|
|Galaxy On Fire 2||Space Sim||Full-fledged space simulator a la Wing Commander. Accessible enough to appeal to newbies while having a deeper trading system than games like Freelancer or Darkstar One. Impressive production values.|
|Game Dev Story||Time Management||Time management game where you create and manage your own video game company. The most addictive game on the iPhone. Guaranteed to suck your life away.|
|geoDefense / geoDefense Swarm||Tower Defense||The best tower defense games on the App Store, requiring more thought as they are much more difficult than most other tower defense games. geoDefense is a fairly straightforward tower defense game, while geoDefense Swarm makes many changes to the formula and is ludicrously difficult.|
|Gangstar: Miami Vindication||Sandbox / Action||Gameloft's attempt at Grand Theft Auto. A fairly decent GTA-clone with gameplay that is closest in the series to GTA III. Game length is around 10-15 hours.|
|Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective||Adventure / Puzzle||A port of the popular Nintendo DS, puzzle game, Ghost Trick. The game begins with the main character, Sissel's, death. Work your way through an interesting adventure as your own spirit in an attempt to find out who murdered you. Runs a bit slower than the DS version, but not too much. Also now has minigames after completing!|
|Giana Sisters||Platformer||Reimagining of the fondly remembered German Super Mario ripoff. A solid, very charming old-school platformer. Also for OS X.|
|Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars||Sandbox / Action||The Grand Theft Auto game that started on the DS with all the touch-screen features of the DS and the slightly better graphics of the PSP version. Controls surprisingly well and is pretty cheap at 10 bucks, considering the ones on the other portable systems are around 30 bucks. GTA 3 is now on IOS, so check that out, and Max Payne got a full port.|
|Gridrunner||Shooter||A trippy shooter from the king of trippy shooters, Jeff Minter. At first it looks like a clone of Centipede with sprites ripped from Galaga and the sound effects from Robotron, but other than the arthropod-ish enemies coming down, there are also cannons trying to zap you from above and from the side. Then the enemies start to fly in bizarre formations, you get some crazy power-ups, and suddenly you can't see shit because the screen is absolutely swamped with color-flashing bullets everywhere! The touch control is a bit clumsy, but it's still something worth seeing.
An unique trick is that holding the device in portrait position gives you the modern game, while holding it in landscape gives the unchanged 8-bit version from 1982.
|Hector: Badge of Carnage||Adventure||Point-and-click adventure game developed exclusively for the iPhone. Very nice production values, with fully animated FMVs, full voice acting, and crisp, attractive art. Clever puzzles and a crude sense of humor. First episode is free, the rest are paid.|
|Helsing's Fire||Puzzle||Inventive puzzle game with a nice Gothic aesthetic that involves lighting torches to exterminate enemies. A bit short and easy.|
|Hero of Sparta II||Action||God of War style action game for the iPod Touch/iPhone. Good graphics, decent controls, and the cyclops-decapitating QTE's that we've all come to know and love. The sequel is significantly better than the original, don't bother with the first.|
|Hitman GO||Stealth/Puzzle||A sickeningly stylish spinoff of the Hitman series, which is transformed here into a turn-based board game.|
|Hook Champ / Super Quickhook||Platformer||Lots of grapplan, coin collectan, and hat purchasan. Bionic Commando but with a heavier emphasis on swinging through levels at mach speed. The leaderboards, excellent controls, retro graphics and sound will keep you 'hooked'. Super Quickhook, the sequel, is expanded and even better.|
|iBlast Moki/iBlast Moki 2||Puzzle||Physics-based puzzle game where you must use bombs and other devices to propel your "Mokis" to level exits. Excellent level design. Has the same appeal as World of Goo in terms of deceptively accessible yet difficult gameplay.|
|Isotope: A Space Shooter||Arena Shooter / Survival||Not your typical dual-stick shooter, in that it has a lengthy campaign mode with significant RPG elements that gives it far more value than your average bare-bones survival dual-stick shooter. The level design and enemy variety is also well above most other games of its ilk.|
|Jet Car Stunts||Racing||A cool racer that resembles Trackmania. It's got heavy car physics, excellent controls, a great drift mechanic, crazy track designs and lots of opportunity for huge, satisfying hang time. The lack of a multiplayer mode is unfortunate, but the single-player affair will keep you busy for weeks.|
|Junk Jack||Terraria clone||Similar to Terraria, though it doesn't have the emphasis on combat. Controls/menus can be difficult if you have sausage fingers.|
|Jukebeat/Jubeat||Rhythm||iPad strongly recommended for large-ass screen. Addictive Japanese arcade-based rhythm game involving touching blocks on a 4x4 screen in sync with the game. App and a few songs are free but the rest is DLC out the ass. Also check out the Japanese app Jubeat (English friendly) for an almost strictly superior song list|
|Kingdom Rush||Tower Defense||The best tower defense game on the iPhone, port of the flash game. If you don't have this, get it.|
|King of Dragon Pass||Strategy Choose-Your-Own-Adventure RPG Book Simulation||Guide your clan through a vaguely medieval world with filled magic in your quest to become, well, king.
Gameplay consists mostly of reading and making decisions in various scenes, which are randomly chosen from a couple hundred, which means that every playthrough is, at bare minimum, different, and it's cool to see decisions you've made come back to bite you in the ass a few years later. It's ported from a PC game, which is available from GOG, and it's actually a really good game regardless of version so torrent it and give it a try if you're even slightly interested.
|Labyrinth/Labyrinth 2||Ball Rollan Games||Tilt all around to move the ball around the maze and reach the goal. Just like the real game that consists of a box, a maze, holes, and mad tilting skills.|
|League of Evil/League of Evil 2||Platformer||Pretty much the best platformer you'll find for your iPhone. You have two directional buttons, an A button to jump and a B button to kick evil scientist ass with. Gets very hard if you go for the 100% completion and has a LOT of levels.|
|Love Mochi||Puzzle||A iOS port of a PC puzzle game made by the Irisu Syndrome guy. It plays like Yoshi's Cookie and despite the cute look, a dark plot twist reveals itself after you play 13 times. Score high enough and you'll be able to defy it.|
|Lumines||Puzzle||Yep, it's real. Controls are fine, although a bit inferior to the PSP/PC versions. The main issue is the lack of content; there's only one skin pack consisting of about 5 skins, and you have to purchase the other pack. It wouldn't be such a problem if the default pack weren't so darn easy. But hey, if you've gotta have Lumines and for some reason aren't carrying around another portable device, this works.|
|Lunar: Silver Star Story Touch||RPG||Enhanced remake of the Sega CD original (which plays a bit differently and has some notable story differences), Lunar is a classic RPG love story. Combat is fluid and without transitions; Bosses level up with you, so you'll have to use your wits over grindan. PSP remix looks nicer with more vibrant sprites and animations, and even added some extras, but it's really easy compared to this. Was also semi-ported/semi-remixed as Lunar Legend for GBA, but that one's kinda weak and stupidly easy. Gameplay of the PS1 version, which is more or less the same.
Mostly based on the Saturn/PS1 versions while recycling some assets from the Mega-CD and PSP versions, translation is based from the PSP version
|Mage Gauntlet||Action-RPG||A magic-centric action-RPG where you explore several varieties of dungeons, search for secrets, obtain spells, fight nifty bosses, and so on. What's interesting is your equipment revolves around a WIDE variety of affects and attributes (rather than a linear progression of Weapon, Stronger Weapon, etc.), thus letting you mix up your play-style and preferences. Although it's touch-based, it utilizes this fact quite well, making spell-casting and movement a breeze. One complaint some have with finding some secrets and rooms is that it uses a bit of classic-game style "hidden paths in walls"; so, if wall-hugging annoys you, consider ignoring them or playing Wayward Souls.|
|Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint||Puzzle||Despite the name, it plays more like an anti-billiard game. You rack up points by bouncing, grazing and forming clusters of balls rather than clearing the table quickly. There's a lot of content with a nice difficulty curve; the only downsides are the high (for an iOS puzzle game) price of $6.99 for all content and the creepy game icon.|
|Mecho Wars||Turn-based strategy||A turn-based strategy game with gameplay that is nearly an exact clone of Famicom Wars/Advance Wars. Its surreal visual design by artist Luc Bernard gives it extra appeal.|
|Military Madness: Neo Nectaris||Turn-based strategy||A port of Hudson's Neo Nectaris for the obscure PC Engine CD, somewhat optimized for the iPhone hardware. The original was Japan-only making it even more obscure. That fact alone makes this port notable, as the game is now available to iPhone wielding, English-reading masses. This port itself is not particularly good however, as the scaled up sprites are not very impressive in 2010 and it is a bit sluggish, with even a bit of load times. A great game for fans of turn based tactical games a la Advance Wars (but with hexagons!) nonetheless.|
|Minigore||Arena Shooter / Survival||A quirky little top down shooter where you have to fight more and more horrid little creatures called Furries. The highers your score and the more furries you kill, the more difficulties and characters you unlock. Some of the characters you can unlock are cameos from other iPhone games, including the bear from Enviro-bear. He wields a shotgun. It's got some pretty funny voice acting, too.|
|Mirror's Edge||Platformer||A more complex clone of Canabalt. Still plays fairly similarly to the 3D PC version, and has a slightly better plot. Also, Mayor Callaghan is apparently an FTM transsexual.|
|Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus||FPS||Gameloft's imitation of Modern Warfare 2. Actually has quite the enjoyable campaign (albeit more reminiscent of early Medal of Honor games than CoD), and the online multiplayer is the best on the iPhone, containing the same level perk system as MW2.|
|Moonlights||Puzzle / World of Goo-ish||Think World of Goo.|
|Mushihimesama: Bug Panic||Arena Shooter||A two-stick shooter (kinda like Smash TV) made by Cave, featuring the characters from Mushihime-sama. Pretty fun, even if it's not Cave's usual genre.|
|NBA Jam||Arcade/Sports||Let's JAM! BOOMSHAKALAKA!!!1|
|Necromancer Rising||RPG||A huge dungeon crawler with nice graphics and good combat. Also really addicting loot based gameplay.|
|Ninja Smasher||Adventure-Platformer / Metroidvania||Spiritual remake of Ninja Striker below. Travel through a connected map full of cutesy platformer goodness. Like NStriker, it uses a curious and slightly awkward touch-based jump mechanic to move about, but the game's made with it in mind, and utilizes it better than you might think at first. Lots of silly enemies and bosses to fight and dungeons have platformy-traps and gimmicks along with puzzles to give a fair challenge and keep things from getting boring. Upgrades and secrets can also be obtained through exploration, letting you access new areas, and extra items and sub-weapons can be bought from tanuki shops using gold you find scattered across the world. Quite solid, and pretty inexpensive, too.|
|Ninja Striker||Platformer||Touch-based platformer where you play as a ninja trying to save your princess-friend from monsters. The touch-based jump mechanic combines offense and movement in one, though be careful with your landings. One thing it has over its adventure-based remake is multiple characters, each with their own attributes. As this is pure platforming, the levels focus more on utilizing enemies and obstacles to reach each stage's goal point. Clearly inspired by several platformers, but one in particular is Donkey Kong Country, as there are floating arrow-tiles which act similar to the blast barrels in launching you about at high speeds. These are even seen in Ninja Smasher (though a bit less common)|
While it mostly does its own thing as a combo of different elements from other platformers, rather than acting exactly like a particular one, it's worth a shot to any fan of the genre, and goes for fairly cheap. The DLC coin boosts are mostly unnecessary, but you might consider buying a cheaper one if you keep getting your ass kicked by bosses (embarrassingly, I bought the 99 cent pack, but even that made the fights super-easy). The game is quite beatable without using real-life money, as coins can be collected in stages and the game is made so even the initial "normal" ninja can clear it without any upgrades whatsoever, you fucking casuals.
|Noiz2sa||Shoot 'em Up||Another port of a PC bullet hell, Noiz2sa features 10 stages and several more endless stages of bullet hell goodness. IMPORTANT: The paid version of Noiz2sa is a bucket of donkey dicks, AVOID AT ALL COSTS.|
|N.O.V.A.||FPS||A very blatant ripoff of Halo and fellow Halo clone The Conduit, this was the first decent FPS on the iOS. Even though the single-player story mode is filled with cliches and hammy voice acting, the graphics are some of the best on the iPhone, and the controls work great. Also sports 4 person online multiplayer. Later games in the series improve the graphics and multiplayer even further and take the singleplayer in a CoD direction.|
|Oceanhorn||Action/RPG||Zelda for iOS. This game received major hype in the two years leading up to release- and for the most part it's justified. Beautiful graphics (that scale shockingly well to older devices such as the iPhone 3GS) and an amazing soundtrack are highlights of the experience. There are no IAPs to be found; all additional content has been provided via free updates. This is a full gaming experience.
Its only cons are somewhat touchy controls (though for the most part they work very well), rather simplistic level design, and the fact that it apes Phantom Hourglass right down to the key animation/sailing mechanic. But at least for now, it's as good as it gets- unless Nintendo releases a Zelda on iOS, which we all know won't happen for another few decades or so.
|Orbital||Puzzle||Shoot balls, make orbs, don't cross the line. Requires a bit of thinking.|
|Oregon Trail||Edutainment / Oregon Trail||You know that amazing "educational" game we all played in the computer labs back when we were kids? Yeah, this is like that, only with quirky 2D graphics and touch-controls. Arguably the best remake of Oregon Trail yet. Also on DSiware. Don't confuse TOT:American Settler which is a freemium town buildan' game.|
|Osmos||Puzzle||Port of a PC game, and now one of the best puzzle games on the iPhone. The gameplay involves manipulating physics to get your orb to consume other orbs, with brilliant level design that slowly ramps up in difficulty. Supported by beautiful presentation that creates an inviting aura of ambiance.|
|Parachute Stan||Action||A fun game from Conker's Bad Fur Day creator Chris Seavor. Use motion controls to guide Stan as he tries to escape an evil Baron and his minions while falling through the air.|
|Parking Mania||Driving/Maze/Puzzle (sort of a jumble of all three)||Top-down game where you need to navigate a vehicle into a parking space. Comes with 110 levels with different types of vehicles ranging from small minis to large trucks. Speed is controlled via a slider on the side, while the steering is done by rotating the device like a steering wheel, but that can be changed to an on-screen control in the options. iPad HD version available which looks quite good even with the cartoony graphics.|
|Peggle||Puzzle||Same shit, different platform.|
|Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney||Adventure/Visual Novel||That's right... Phoenix Wright, on your iPhone! The controls aren't quite as perfect as they were on the DS, but the writing is still compelling as it ever was. Edit: NOW AVAILABLE IN AN HD TRILOGY (WITH JFA AND T&T) FOR $20 TOTAL|
|Pix'n Love Rush/DX||Platformer||A stripped-down platformer with an interesting art style. Consists of runnan, jumpan and shootan in order to get the highest score in 5 minutes. Based off the game Pixel! on XBLA.|
|Plants vs Zombies||Tower Defense||Defend your house from Zombies using a large array of cute Plants. Seriously. Easy to learn, hard to master, and really fun. Works wonders with the touch screen. Don't bother with any of them past the first, as they basically became pay-to-win, even for things that were free in the first.|
|Pocket Tanks Deluxe||Turn-based Strategy / Artillery||Scorched Earth clone.|
|Ravensword||RPG||A WRPG that attempts to reach the heights of Morrowind, although it falls short in most key areas. Nevertheless, still a compelling RPG with an abundance of quests and game world to explore.|
|Real Racing||Racing||No other racer right now combines this title's stunning visuals, smart AI, and excellent community features. The game handles very well -- better than any other iPhone racer out there. The tilt steering is fantastic. If you love racing games, there is zero reason to not download this game.|
|Red Conquest||RTS||The most original and intuitive RTS on the iPhone, with online multiplayer and a lengthy campaign mode. Innovative gameplay which isn't particularly reminiscent of any big-name RTS.|
|Reflecbeat||Rhythm||Japanese arcade-based Bemani music game by the makers of Jukebeat/Jubeat, you tap dots on the screen in sync to music against an AI opponent. Addictive as hell and good music but DLC out the ass so maybe find a way to get the DLC for *cheaper* if you know what I mean. Also Sakura Sunrise. WOOOOOOO! iPad strongly recommended.|
|Rimelands||RPG||Although not very lengthy, a solid dungeon crawler with addictive D&D-esque gameplay and an intriguing steampunk aesthetic and story.|
|Riven||Adventure||It's Riven. Myst is also available. Controls are difficult to work with due to lack of context sensitive cursor, which makes interacting with things a lot harder.|
|Rolando / Rolando 2||Puzzle / Platformer||A LocoRoco-esque platformer that uses the tilt controls of the iPod Touch/iPhone to roll around series of little circles with faces on them through obstacles towards the goal. Really cute graphics. Rolando 2 is lengthier than the original and one of the definitive games on the iPhone.|
|Rogue Ninja||Rogue-Lite||A rogue-like that's light on various elements and Rogue(-like) beginner-friendly, though still has that "fighting against unfair odds" flair that you'd expect. Most reminiscent of ChunSoft's earliest Mystery Dungeon games, like Shiren and Torneko. Runs on difficulty levels. The first, "Easy", is a simple 10-floor dungeon, with "Normal", a much bigger dungeon, unlocking after beating that, and so on. What's nice about this is that it has a very touch-friendly menu system, removing the need to shuffle through pages of a limited view. The controls are similarly easy to grasp as well (protip: tap the center of the 8-arrows to run).|
It's on the simple side, but provides a good challenge and has nice replay-ability for the price. More advanced players may not care for the simplicity, but it's hardly bad either.
|Rogue Planet||Turn-based Strategy||Another Advance Wars clone, this time by Gameloft. Most similar to Days of Ruin. Has very high production values and a long campaign, as well as online multiplayer.|
|Secret of Mana (US)Seiken Densetsu 2 (JP)||Action RPG||Another widely-loved Action RPG by Square. |
|The Secret of Monkey Island / The Secret of Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge||Graphic Adventure||Remakes of the classic LucasArts point-and-click adventure games, now with revamped graphics. Monkey Island has unwieldy, cumbersome controls, but Monkey Island 2's control scheme is simple and intuitive.|
|Scribblenauts Remix||Puzzle / Platformer||It's a port of the Nintendo DS version but it's much better.|
|Shift||Puzzle / Platformer||This game is a lot like a 2D Portal, except instead of using portals you press a "shift" button that inverts the colors of the level and flips your character across the color boundary. Unique gameplay and controls. Also, jazzy music. Should you need even more Shift, you can find the 4 flash games that spawned the series on your favorite flash games site.|
|Shin Megami Tensei||RPG||Not the first Megaten ever, but it helped make the series what it is today. Based on the GBA version, but uses the PS1's sounds and music. Can be played in horizontal and vertical modes. Localization is very solid, with none of the stupid honorifics used in Persona games. If you're the type who can't enjoy a challenge or somewhat outdated mechanics, don't bother. If you want a pretty good retro game, give it a shot. There's some extras and improvements here not present in the SFC version, but nothing to lose sleep over if you prefer the SFC one.|
|Six-Guns||Action / Adventure||Pretty crazy title. It's wild west meets vampires meets steapunk. Actually this is Gameloft's attempt to imitate Red Dead Redemption's Undead Nightmare DLC, but not bad attempt. It's free-to-play for some reason.|
|Song Summoner: The Unsung Heroes||SRPG||A strategy RPG where the troops that you use in battle are created from the music in your song library. You can even power up your troopers by listening to the music that created them. The character design is top notch, while the in-game graphics are pretty close to Final Fantasy Tactics. The story seems pretty standard, but is really fun to play through due to the fact that all the names of the characters, places, and attacks are song references. Such as the archer attack, "Shot Through The Heart". Really good. Port of the Ipod Classic "Click Wheel" Game. You'll never find the original.|
|Soosiz||Platformer||Super Mario Galaxy in 2D. Seriously. Music sucks, but gameplay is awesome.|
|Space Invaders: Infinity Gene||Shoot 'em Up||It starts out like a regular Space Invaders game, but quickly evolves as you play it. It has fucking awesome music and graphics, perfect controls, and it lets you play to music off of your iPhone/iPod Touch. Fuck year.|
|Space Miner||Shooter / RPG||One of the most fleshed out games on the iPhone. Offers an involving story, and a compelling mix of Asteroids-esque shooter gameplay and traditional RPG elements.|
|Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor||Puzzle / Platformer||Possibly the most well designed game on the iPhone. Hits it out of the park in every department - innovative gameplay, slick presentation and a tantalizing story. As good as XBLA's Braid or Limbo.|
|Sonic the Hedgehog / Sonic the Hedgehog 2 / Sonic the Hedgehog CD||Platformer||Some true Sega classics, ported and upgraded with widescreen support and other extra coolness. The fans made these; support them!|
|Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1/2||Platforming||Very short (due to its episodic nature), but really fun. The fans were right for once. Same fun 2D gameplay that even the couple of changes, such as lock-on, doesn't ruin it. A (finally) great Sonic game for what it is worth. Also on Android, XBLA, WiiWare, PSN and Windows. There was a lot of bitching around the game's release, mostly related to the Sonic Rush physics and green eyes, but these complaints prove to be superfluous regarding the general experience.|
The second episode improves on the first regarding physics, graphics, and (debatably) audio, and features co-op gameplay with P2 as Tails. Overall it's better than the first game in almost every way, except for one major caveat- it's not compatible with iOS 7 at present, and the only devices that can run this game well are restricted to iOS 7.
|StarDefense||Tower Defense||Nice tower defense game with leaderboards. The levels all take place on mini planets with a twisting and turning path, which adds a lot of depth to what is a fairly simple tower defense game. A good step up if you're sick of Plants vs. Zombies.|
|Super Hexagon||Action/Puzzle||Fast paced action-puzzler where you have to guide a triangle (which you circle around a stationary hexagon) through incoming waves of walls. Very fun, addictive and challenging. Features an awesome chiptune soundtrack. Also on PC/Mac/Android/Blackberry.|
|Sword and Poker 2||Card Game / RPG||A unique and cute game where you play as a heroine, who has to travel to four dungeons to get four keys in order to enter an ancient tower containing a sacred artifact. Gameplay consists of adding 2 cards to 3 of the initial 9 in order to make a poker hand, damaging the opponent. Damage is based on the hand made and stats. You can find and buy weapons, shields, and HP boosts to boost your offensive and defensive stats. There are also branching paths, magic skills, status effects, etc. You can listen to your own music while playing, and it is very addictive.|
The first isn't bad, but the second far surpasses it, and the story is almost non-existent, so don't worry about missing out.
|Sword of Fargoal||Roguelike||The premier roguelike for the iPhone, with a huge amount of content and a creative control scheme that makes full use of the iPhone's touch screen.|
|Tetris||Puzzle||Tetris with touch controls, you get used to it quickly.|
|Texting of the Bread||Texting Game||Imagine, Typing of the Dead, with Gingerbread man and Internet Meme sentences, like ROFLMAO and Allyourbasebelongtous. Pretty fun.|
|The World Ends With You Solo Remix||RPG||A simplified port of the DS game, removes the characteristic mechanic of the game (having to control two screens at once). Get the DS version if you can.|
|The Quest||WRPG||Could compare it to The Elder Scrolls games. Has multiple races and skills you can pick. Pretty fun if you grew up playing Daggerfall.|
|Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2||Sports / Skateboarding||Pretty much the original THPS2 on your iPhone. Controls can be a bit iffy at times, but great fun nonetheless.|
|True Skate||Sports / Skateboarding||Remember playing with Tech Deck skateboards as a kid? This game pretty much embodies what you wish playing with Tech Decks was like. Excellent touch controls, easy learning curve, and nearly endless playtime depending on how short of an attention span you have. Downside is there's only one map, but it's a relatively new game, so new maps may be added in the future.|
|Uniwar HD||Turn-based Strategy||Turn based strategy game. Similar to Advance Wars. Contains the most pure variety out of the Advance Wars clones on the iPhone.|
|Warpgate||Space Sim||An absolutely huge top-down space simulation game with a gigantic open world and a meaty, branching campaign where you can choose between warring factions. Action is the weakest point of the game, but everything else in the package makes up for it.|
|Wayward Souls||Action-RPG / Rogue-lite||Spiritual successor to Mage Gauntlet, with most flaws ironed out, and several improvements made. Play as 1 of 3 (later, 6) characters, each with their own unique stats and abilities, and conquer challenging and ever-changing areas. Bosses and common enemies alike will require some actual strategies, different for most characters. While death may be permanent, progress is not! Clear a stage (or die) and use your found treasures to buy attribute boosts for characters to further improve their specialties, making your next retry or foray into the next stage a bit smoother. Expect to die often, but also to find even more unique items and abilities than Mage Gauntlet, including an interesting equipment-upgrade system. Aesthetically, it kicks ass and does its story-telling right. A must-play.|
|Wolfenstein 3D||FPS||Ported over from the PC, this is one of the earliest first-person shooters. You play as BJ Blazkowicz and your objective is to defeat the Nazis and escape a World War II prison called, "Castle Wolfenstein."|
|Wolfenstein RPG||FPS / RPG||Wolfenstein plus turn-based combat in fully rendered 3D environments. Battles consist of taking turns shooting or moving, giving the game an almost chess-like feel. 8+ hours of game time.|
|World of Goo||Physics / Building||You use the little goos to build bridges and other constructs to make obstacles and even gravity your bitch. Diversity comes in form of different kind of goos and cut-scenes. The iOS port is much more viably playable on iPad.|
|Worms 2: Armageddon||Turn-based Strategy / Artillery||Port of Worms 2, has multiplayer and much nicer graphics than the first Worms port.|
|Year Walk||Adventure/NOPE||Atmospheric adventure based on Swedish mythology. Controls are Myst-esque. Beautifully creepy, especially as it goes on, but a little pricey for its length. Check out the freee "Year Walk Companion" app that explains all the mythology, adds immersion/creepiness.|
|Zen Bound / Zen Bound 2||Puzzle||A puzzle game involving wrapping rope around wooden objects. Currently one of the most critically-acclaimed iPhone games. A sequel was recently released. Newer devices can run a version with enhanced graphics. The sequel, Zen Bound 2, is bigger and better.|
|Zombie Infection||Action-Adventure / Shooter||Gameloft's take on Resident Evil 4/5 that actually manages to be better than Capcom's iPhone version of RE4. A fairly decent story mode which will last a good 5-6 hours.|
|Aurora Feint 2: The Arena||Puzzle / RPG||Think Tetris Attack meets Puzzle Quest, only with online puzzle-fights and in-game text chat. Really cool.|
|Battle Bears Royale||Third Person Shooter/Online||Think Call of Duty, but good, on your iPhone/iPad. It's Free-to-play (Done Mostly Right), and includes cartoon Bears. It's worth a shot, but only if you can bear the touch controls.|
|Battle Cats, The||Line-Defense / ||The Battle Cats are bent on world domination and YOU gotta help 'em. Goofy as all fuck, the game revolves around deploying different types of units properly and balancing your funds-to-deployment ratio so as not to get swamped by the good guys. It's only in the bonus and stages past Chapter 1 where this comes into play, but as soon as you run into your first red enemy, you'll know it's time to start paying attention. The game picks up more with your additional unlocks the more you play, notably as soon as you conquer Japan and get to manage your team better.|
|Blimp: The Flying Adventures||Puzzle / Platformer||One of the best original platformers on the iPhone, with slick presentation and fresh, tilt-controlled aerial platforming. Game length is short at 2-3 hours.|
|Fairune||Action-RPG||Action-RPG remake of Skipmore's free Flash Game from years ago, inspired by Falcom's early Dragon Slayer titles and Ys 1. While the combat remains simple run-and-bump much like Ys 1, the puzzles and exploration have been notably improved and expanded upon since the flash game. Like the original Fairune, expect to move about "hidden" walls and obstacles to get to secrets and utilize found items in puzzles. There are hints in the graphics and map structure though that indicate that you'll need to do this whenever mandatory, so keep a sharp eye out.|
While simple enough to where you'll never need a walkthrough, you may scratch your head a few times until that obvious "Now I get it!" moment occurs. A cute freebie worth a play-through.
|Frotz||Emulator||Z-Machine emulator. Plays old Infocom text adventures such as Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Zork, as well as user-created games.|
|Metal Slug Defense||Line-Defense / ||Plays similarly to The Battle Cats above. However, a big part of this game compared to that one is secondary abilities, activated by tapping a unit when it glows blue. Most involve a stronger/different attack, but some benefit in other ways like building a defensive wall. Once again, balancing funds and unit types is a key factor, especially since your enemies pull out their own big guns in the tutorials, giving need for you to strategize carefully. Has lots of MS fan-service even for lesser titles like the NGPC Mission games, MS Advance, and MS4. If you found The Battle Cats a bit too easy-going or maybe not and just want to play this in general, there's nothing to lose as it's free.|
|osu!stream||Rhythm||Port of a PC indie game inspired by Elite Beat Agents/Ouendan.|
|PewPew||Arena Shooter||An iPhone owner's Geometry Wars.|
|Planet Bom Bom||Puzzle / Defense||Slingshot your cute little robot scout into the cosmos and destroy meteors before they crash into your planet. The angle and amount you pull back before releasing determine the power and trajectory of your launch and with that, how many times your scout will rebound off of satelites and the screen borders. This is key to destroying all the meteors, as if even one hits your planet, your planet's life meter goes down. However, even if this happens, simply destroy all meteors on the next stage (unless you game over'd) and you'll get a small life recovery boost. Much easier said than done on later levels.|
|rRootage Online||Shoot 'em Up||Port of the PC version. The game is essentially an endless boss rush, and it features 4 different game styles that spice up gameplay, as well as having a fuckton of stages (All you do is pick a game style, and then a stage, and then you play until you die). One of the game modes is basically Ikaruga! It's free, so there's no reason NOT to get it. Paid version is exactly the same, but minus ads.|
|(Love Live!) School Idol Festival||Rhythm||Rhythm game based off the Love Live franchise where you raise idols to raise your score. Starts off pretty casual, but when you hit Expert mode, you're gonna see some serious shit (for a touch-based rhythm game). May not be on par with some of Bemani's best, but it's quite a ride. Also has some kawaii-ass visual novel scenes for the characters.|
Oddly enough, the game's title in the app store does not have the Love Live name in it.
|Simon Tatham's Portable Puzzle Collection||TONS OF PUZZLES||http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/puzzles/|
A port of 36 types of puzzles, randomly generated and adjustable difficulty. Barebones presentations, but who really needs anything more than the basic graphics given? Bitches, that's who.
It can potentially replace other apps you might have, such as Minesweeper, Picross (Nonograms), and Mastermind. Fuck yes. If you pass this shit for any other game on this page you're a fucking casual.
|Snake Rewind||Casual||The best-selling mobile game ever... no, the best-selling game ever, period (it was bundled with hundreds of millions of Nokia cell phones after all) is back, from the same guy actually. But now it has modernized graphics, some chill music, and revamped gameplay.|
|Zenonia series||RPG||Zenonia is like a Genesis or Super Nintendo ARPG which introduces fresh concepts to the genre like the day-night system and the great skill tree for customizing the hero. Highly recommend for both retro gamers and adventure fans. The sequel, Zenonia 2, fixes many small issues with the first game and is generally considered to be superior. "Zenonia 3", has sharper looking graphics, removes the hunger and inventory weight limits, and continues the saga. Each game contains different classes to play around with. And there's also Zenonia 4, and it's free.|
|RetroArch||Multi-system emulator||RetroArch is the only emulator you'll actually need- it does everything the below emulators do and much, much more. You'll find the most use out of it as the only good N64/PS1 emulator for iOS- and it's surprisingly efficient, PS1 games run at full speed on A4 devices, and N64 can mostly run at full speed on A5 and above. It's also free- that's nice. The only con is its clunky user interface (in-game, 3 menus are available that perform the same functions with different looks), but it's well worth the learning curve.
Also features a really cool "rewind" feature that allows you to literally rewind your gameplay to an earlier state. It must be seen to be believed.
Add the repository on Cydia: libretro.com/cydia
|gpSPhone||Emulator||GBA emulator. Runs most games at decent speed, although it can be rather choppy.|
|NES.emu and other ".emu" series||Emulator||Robert Broglia has released a series of full-featured emulators on iOS. Platforms supported include NES, GBA, Mega Drive, GBC, Neo Geo Pocket Color, Saturn, and more. This is the NES emulator; it runs practically everything perfectly. Much more customization than the older emulators, including external controllers, full filesystem support, on-screen control calibration, and a robust save/load state system. Well worth the price.|
|PPSSPP||Emulator||PSP emulator. Vastly superior to JPCSP, so forget about that. It features moderately low requirements, built-in shaders, up to 10x internal resolution (that's 4800x2720), the superb xBRZ texture filter, a fantastic UI with automatic update checks, and large compatibility. Crazy stuff for only being a year old, and massively updated stable releases are still coming frequently. The downsides are the barely noticeable input delay and inability to play PSN titles.
Ad-hoc support is in the early stages, but a handful of games work flawlessly. Setup/networking tutorials and general info for ad-hoc can be found here.
|SNES9x EX||Emulator||SNES emulator. Runs most games absolutely perfectly. Has iCade and iControlpad support. Much better than the older emulators.|