70. Pix’n Love Rush
Released June 2010
One of the most self-consciously retro-looking games on the App Store, the “pixels” in Pix’n Love Rush are gigantic, and it does its best to look like an oldie monochrome game at most times (think original Gameboy, in neon). But somehow it’s still bloomin’ gorgeous. A shooter-platformer, you play as a pixellated creature that, in old-school fashion, has to collect power-ups and avoid nasties. In 1989 this may have been a bog-standard game, but these days it’s something special.
69. Dark Nebula 2
By 1337 Game Design
Released August 2010
Dark Nebula 2 may not look all that impressive in screenshots, but it’s a dynamic game that makes excellent use of the iPhone’s touchscreen and accelerometer. Like Labyrinth 2 on steroids. You control a ball, directing it through 19 levels packed with enemies, moving platforms and bridges. Distilled to its most basic elements, it’s a maze/labyrinth game, but it takes the form much further than most other titles of this type.
Released July 2011
Bullet hell shooter are, suitably enough, a nightmare for some gamers. But for others they tweak a masochistic nerve that gets them all hot under the collar. For once though, this game does try to make itself accommodating for those without triple-jointed fingers and reactions faster than the refresh rate of the iPhone’s screen. The crucial elements are still here though – crank up the difficult and your fingers will soon be a blur of movement. Oh, and it’s absolutely bonkers too.
67. Labyrinth 2
By Illusion Labs
Released December 2009
The iPhone is lauded for having make touchscreen gaming a real, viable market, but it did the same for accelerometer gaming – which although existed before in mobile gaming was a bit of a gimmick. Titles like Labyrinth 2 prove there’s real potential in the technology. It’s a puzzler based on the real-life wooden maze games, where you navigate a metal ball bearing between various “trap” holes. Labyrinth 2 enriches the blueprint established by its predecessor with many more elements, including magnets and fans.
Released February 2009
Most word games are slow, relaxed affairs. WordFu most certainly is not. Sessions can last for less than a minute, and you only have the letters emblazoned on a handful of thrown dice to work with. The more words you make, the more time you’ll earn and the more points you’ll rack up – and the more staccato Kung fu-style sound effects you’ll get to hear. WordFu is undoubtedly one of the most exciting word games available on iPhone. It lets you compare you scores with other players online too – which we tend to find utterly depressing, but perhaps you’ll be better at the game than we are.
By Hemisphere Games
Released August 2010
Osmos is one of those rare games that tries to transcend its basic action – to become “an experience”. You’re a blob of matter meandering through the universe. You tap to expel some of your own mass in order to propel yourself. Knock into another blob smaller than you and you’ll absorb it. Knock into a bigger blob and you’ll be absorbed – that means game over. Almost eerie in its minimal style and blessed with a brilliant electronic soundtrack, this is a game to plug some headphones into, and just drift away with.
Released August 2010
A fantastic “bullet hell” vertical shooter, Dodonpachi Resurrection originally hit arcades back in 2008 – yes this is that incredibly rare thing: a new(ish) arcade game. It’s expensive in iOS terms, but production values are excellent. Publisher Cave has made sure that it’s not entirely terrifying for newbie players too, with a practice mode packed-in. For a more traditional vertical shooter (without so much of the great Japanese craziness), check out iFighter 1945, a neat take on arcade classic 1942.
By Jason Fieldman
Released September 2008
Released just two months after the App Store opened, it’s no surprise that Theseus looks a little – basic. There’s no eye candy on offer here. But give it a go and you can’t help but be impressed by its rock-solid puzzle mechanics. A turn-based game, you play as a blue ball – our hero if you like – being followed by a minotaur (okay, a red ball with horns). Like a game of chess, you have to make your moves very carefully around each maze, so it doesn’t catch up with you. You can rewind your moves, step by step, wiping out the frustration of failure.
By Crescent Moon Games
Released April 2011
Like Dark Nebula, Gears is a take on the wooden maze puzzle. But where that game is dark (predictably enough) and moody, Gears is colourful and exhuberant. There’s less blasting, more exploring – and more gawping at the lovely fantasy-tinged visuals. You can control your ball, the game’s hero, using either the iPhone’s accelerometer or your finger. It’s an action puzzle game that manages to summon a sense of adventure too.
61. Final Fantasy III
By Square Enix
Released March 2011
Final Fantasy III from Square Enix is one of the most expensive games on the App Store, but with good reason. A remake of the classic roleplaying adventure from 1990, it offers completely re-drawn 3D visuals and controls that have been properly tailored for iPhone – unlike a great many iPhone retro re-hashes. It probably would never have made it to iPhone if it hadn’t already been released for Nintendo DS back in 2006, but thankfully it did as it’s one of the platform’s best roleplaying games.
The third part in our Top 100 iPhone games series will be published tomorrow. Be sure to check out the first part too, which runs down positions 100 to 81.