10. Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing
Released June 2011
Who would have thought the best Mario Kart game on iPhone would come from Sega? Great 3D graphics, superb controls and a fab structure mean Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing obliterates all the Mario Kart copies that have come before it – and there were more than a few. The game includes 10 characters from the Sonic universe, and 15 tracks. Forget Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart, Cro-Mag Rally and Shrek Kart, this is the best kart racer in town.
9. GTA: Chinatown Wars
By Rockstar Games
Released January 2010
In 2009 Gameloft effectively made a Grand Theft Auto game in Gangstar: West Coast Hustle. But the next year, Rockstar bettered it with its own official entry. Harking back to the old days of the series, in the series’s first three instalments (Grand Theft Auto, GTA 2 and 1969), it’s a top-down perspective game, but is still gorgeous thanks to its 3D rendered visuals. You are Huang Lee, beaten, robbed and left with nothing on entry to Liberty City. Plenty of cars, plenty of guns, plenty of humour.
8. World of Goo
By 2D Boy
Released April 2011
A multi-award-winning indie game, World of Goo offers one of the best uses of physics ever seen in a game. You have to save blobs of goo by sticking them together to make a bridge leading to the goo collector at the end of each level. The real-ife principles of bridge building really work here, so careful thinking really pays off. Visually inventive, infinitely cheerful and ruddy good fun, this is undoubtedly one of the very best iOS puzzle games.
7. Zen Bound 2
By Secret Exit
Released April 2010
One of the iPhone’s most blessed-out titles, Zen Bound 2 is a game without action or explosions. Without boss fights or even enemies. All you do is wrap a rope around an object, using the touchscreen and accelerometer to slowly turn the object around. It could be a duck, it could be a teddy bear – your only aim is to cover as much of its surface as possible using as little rope as you can. Progress isn’t really the point though. Just let the chilled-out music sink in and feel your heartbeat slow riiiight down. Ahhh…
Released May 2009
Popcap has a curious knack of getting its games on every platform under the sun, and Peggle is no exception. You fire a metal ball bearing into an arrangement of pegs, hoping that the laws of physics are on your side and it’ll hit a good few of them before flying down into the abyss below. Some say it’s a game of chance but there’s more skill than you might imagine to this genial puzzler. The expansion pack Peggle Nights is also available as an in-app purchase.
5. Space Miner: Space Ore Bust
By Venan Entertainment
Released February 2010
Space Miner: Space Ore Bust (geddit?) was a game that came out of nowhere. Its creator Venan Entertainment was primarily a contract developer, making games for big publishers like EA, but its own title blew most of its previous game out of the water. It’s part space adventure, part twin-stick shooter, part roleplaying game – and all awesome. You start off with a tiny ship, pootling around the galaxy as the relative of a space outpost owner, helping out by mining for space ore. Soon enough a much larger plot starts to unravel. As you explore, and loot, the 50 space sectors in the game, you get to equip and upgrade your ship, finally ending up with a nimble asteroid-obliterating deathcraft.
4. Plants Vs. Zombies
Released February 2010
Popcap’s reponse to the tower defence craze isn’t really a tower defence game at all. You have to defend your house from the incoming hordes of zombies, approaching in mindless rows. And all you have at your disposal is plants. Really aggressive plants, mind. There are 49 different varieties to use. You earn new types after every level, keeping the gameplay fresh throughout the 50 levels. It’s dangerously addictive, deliciously fun.
3. Cut the Rope
Released October 2010
Although labelled by some as the thinking person’s alternative to Angry Birds, it’s not much like Rovio’s casual classic. In each level, you have to guide a sweet into a little green creature’s mouth. He’s called Om Nom. The key tool at your disposal is gravity. The sweetie is suspended above Om Nom with ropes, and swipes across these ropes break them. It’s not quite as simple as swiping across them in the right order though – timing is key. Throughout the 200 levels, there are plenty of additional objects to complicate matters, like bubbles and springs.
2. Real Racing 2
Released December 2010
Still the best realistic racer on iPhone, Real Racing 2 proved that Firemint really can’t put a foot (or tire) wrong. Offering seriously advanced racing physics, fully-licensed cars and full 16-car races, fans of Gran Turismo 5 or Forza Motorsport on Xbox 360 or PS3 will find a lot to like here. EA’s and Gameloft’s rivals offer a bubblier first-person campaign, but if it’s a proper racing game you’re after, there’s only really one game to pick.
1. Monkey Island 2: Special Edition
Released July 2010
The definitive 90s graphic adventure, LucasArts’s Monkey Island 2 once again follows the trials of the pirate Guybrush Threepwood as he battles the ghost pirate LeChuck and struggles to win back the love of Elaine Marley. If you haven’t played it before – where have you been? The fantastic new special edition has completely re-drawn visuals, a control scheme that really works on the 3.5in touchscreen and an all-new speech track. It’s brilliant.