It's time for the third part of our iPhone gaming fest, as we count down the 100 best iPhone games ever. We're getting to the real good stuff now, as we break into the top 50, heading ever towards the very best titles of them all.
Gameloft makes a good showing in this instalment, and there are entries from other top publishers including EA and Square Enix. On top of those big-name treats there are also some great must-have indie titles. We don't favour the big boys here.
Don't forget to check out the previous instalments as well -
100 Best iPhone games 60-41 <- You are here
60. Shadow Guardian
Released December 2010
Gameloft’s take on Naughty Dog’s critically-lauded Uncharted series, Shadow Guardian, is an adventure on a scale not often seen on iPhone – it’s pretty epic. In typical Indiana Jones fashion, you’re an explorer after a priceless artefact that hides a secret power. It’ll take up more than 500MB on your iPhone, but it’s worth every meg if you’re after an involving adventure.
59. Aqua Moto Racing 2
By Resolution Interactive
Released July 2010
Once you’ve tried a jet ski racing game, sitting back behind the wheel of a car can seem dull by comparison. In Aqua Moto Racing 2, you don’t just have to worry about the horizontal axis – turning around corners and so on – but the vertical too. Courses feature jumps, and the movement of the waves will send your jet ski bobbing up and down like mad post-landing. It’s not a purist’s racing game, but supplies more than its share of fun.
Released June 2009
Although it’s a game for mobile devices, Isotope offers more depth than many of the console-bound games it’s inspired by – most notably Geometry Wars. A twin stick space shooter with elements of roleplaying included to keep you hooked, there are many hours of gameplay on offer here. You can buy new ships, and upgrade them with new weapons and armour. The neon-style graphics give Isotope a high recognisable style too – even if it is an already-familiar one.
57. Defender Chronicles
Released June 2009
A novel take on the tower defence genre, Defender Chronicles ditches the usual top-down view of game style in favour of a side-on view. Enemies approach, looking to destroy your castle, and you have to make outposts of warriors, magi and archers to stop them. With a compelling fantasy setting and roleplaying elements thrown in for good measure, Defender Chronicles will keep fans of the genre occupied for a hours in the double figures. We've spent many a train journey hooked on this one.
Released January 2009
You’d never guess to look at it, but EDGE is one of the most controversial iPhone releases ever. Owner of publisher Edge Games Tim Langdell claimed the game’s name infringed his “EDGE” trademark. This led to the innocuous (but rather brilliant) puzzler being pulled from the App Store, but also spurred-on the backing of reams of other indie developers, which temporarily renamed several of iPhone games in support - comically inserting "EDGE" wherever possible, naturally. After Langdell tried to accuse gaming giant EA of the same infringement, a court case ensued, which ended in Langdell giving up his right to the trademark. Thankfully, EDGE is now back in its rightful place on the App Store.
55. Dead Space
Released January 2011
With great graphics, a creepy atmosphere and compelling gameplay, Dead Space reaffirmed EA’s position as one of the iPhone gaming market’s best developer-publishers. It’s based on the console game of the same name but features a campaign that doesn’t just ape that seen in its bigger console brothers. Played from a behind-the-shoulder perspective, you control a suited soldier as he taken on hordes of nasty, many-limbed enemies. Scary stuff.
54. Star Defense
Released June 2009
One of the last games made by ngmoco before it took the plunge into social gaming waters, Star Defense is a wonderful tower defence game where each level takes place on a dinky 3D planetoid. The paths are preset, leaving you to simply place defensive towers along them strategically. Your enemies? S’rath invaders from outer space. The gameplay is pure TD (tower defence) and is super-addictive. Games like this make us long for the golden days of ngmoco, back when the App Store was a gold mine still full of gold fit for a plundering.
53. Ultimate Spider-Man: Total Mayhem
Released August 2010
Gameloft is a publisher often accused of nicking ideas off others, and borrowing bits from its previous games. But every now and then it hits it out of a park with a game that tops its genre. Ultimate Spider-Man: Total Mayhem did this for the third-person action adventure back in 2010. Great graphics, near-flawless controls and plenty of characters from the Spider-Man universe ensured this game’s success. Even now it lingers in the lower end of the top 100 chart.
52. GeoDefense Swarm
By Critical Thought Games
Released September 2009
iPhone gaming has made tower defence games more popular than ever, with titles like Fieldrunners having made the once-niche genre mainstream. That doesn’t mean all iPhone TD games are sweetness and light though. Dubbed by some the “thinking man’s” tower defence game, this neon-infused take on this strategy game type is extremely challenging. Make the wrong move and it’s game over. Crank up the difficulty and it’s virtually impossible to succeed – but incredibly satisfying when you do.
51. Chaos Rings
By Square Enix
Released April 2010
While there are official Final Fantasy games available to buy on iPhone, Chaos Rings is the closest you’ll come to a real, current-gen Final Fantasy adventure – because it basically is one, in all but name. Along with a gang of mysterious adventurers, you are transported to the mysterious Ark Arena, where you have to battle your way towards freedom. Turn-based fighting, plenty of adventuring and loads of androgynous-looking men with white hair feature – just what any self-respecting Final Fantasy fan is after.