iOS Games and Favorites: 25 Things you should own for your iPhone or iPad

Jan 15, 2013

Written by: George Phillips (Google Plus

At the core, I’m a PC gamer (think Diablo 2—NOT D3, Counter-Strike, League of Legends, Fallout). However, the App Store and iOS gaming has completely changed my view on video games and software.  Games and apps that I never dreamed would be successful have soared to the top.  Conversely, many games that I thought would be amazing, or at least trigger pleasant nostalgia, were terrible (ahem, THPS2). Some of the largest game companies have had epic flops, while some of the smallest indie developers have made the greatest hits. Today, I am going to cover a few of the best and brightest App Store gems that I have discovered over my years of iOS gaming and iPhone use by genre, in no particular order:

RPGs: This genre of gaming is by far my favorite and the AppStore has plenty to choose from.

  • Aralon – Sword and Shadow: This game is basically an Elder Scrolls game for your iPhone.  Multiple classes to choose from, open world, and story driven. For a game of its type, it has great gameplay through lots of action and tons of character customizability.
  • Mage Gauntlet: This is a fast paced, action oriented RPG.  While a little light on the RPG elements, you’ll enjoy the 8-bit artistic style and tight controls.  To no surprise, it’s made by the _ of the iOS world, Rocketcat games.
  • Horn: Set in a beautiful world, this action RPG is very reminiscent of Zelda.  Use grappling hooks to travel around, craft items, and solve puzzles all while fighting enemies with unique backstories.  The story also grabs the player right from the get-go.
  • 100 Rogues: If you were one of the perseverant gamers who can appreciate a good Roguelike RPG, than this is the game for you.  100 Rogues is a solid turn based game, with fun aesthetic elements, humor, and multiple classes to choose from.
  • Dungeon Hunter I & II: These are essentially the mobile game versions of Diablo I and II.  Tons of action, loot, and classes. Plus, the second game can even be played online!  Unfortunately, I’d recommend avoiding the third iteration of this series, as it was created to be a freemium money pit that lacks the qualities of the first two versions.
  • Bastion: This award winning Action RPG game finally made its way to the AppStore.  Bastion is the best example of an indie developer making one of the best games available.  Seriously, if you haven’t played this one yet, go get it now.

Online Games: If you’re looking for a good multiplayer online experience, than these games will be right up your alley.

  • Heroes of Order and Chaos: I would call this a DotA rip-off, but it is actually more like League of Legends.  This PvP MOBA game has two maps (3v3 and 5v5) that also let you practice against AI.  It has a very similar model to League of Legends in that there is a weekly roster of free champions available to choose from, and playing games earns you points which can permanently unlock champions.  You also gain levels outside of the game on your account, which can be used to boost your champions in game.  It’s F2P so check it out!
  • Pocket Legends: About as close as you can get to a good online dungeon crawler for the iPhone.  Choose a class, customize a character and team up with other people to go raid dungeons for loot and glory!
  • Letterpress: Challenge your friends and strangers to a strategic word game in which the goal is to take control of the board.  Do so by spelling words, and preventing your enemies from using letters. Better than Words with Friends.

Platformers: Everyone has the platformer of their youth, whether it’s Mario, Sonic, Mega Man, etc.  Here are some of my new favorites.

  • Soosiz: One of the most creative platformers I have seen in a long time.  Run and jump from planet to planet while dodging traps and using gravity to your advantage.  Be careful not to fall to your death.
  • League of Evil I & II: This game is a platformer broken down into bit sized levels.  Each level is carefully designed, challenging, and creative.  The sweet bonus? The goal at the end of each level is punching an evil scientist!
  • Hook Champ, Super Quick Hook, and Hook Swing Worlds: These three games are all made by Rocketcat and make for an awesome platforming experience.  The primary mode of transportation in these is a grappling hook, with which you swing from obstacle to obstacle.  In Hook Champ you’re doing so to outrun an evil spirit on a variety of levels.  Super Quick Hook is more about time trials and exploration and Hook Swing Worlds is four mini-games in one!

Arcade Strategy/Tower Defense: These games are designed for fun quick strategic sessions.  Pick any one of these up and it will have you always wondering about how to beat the next level you’re stuck on!

  • Defender Chronicles I & II: These two games provide a really unique style of tower defense and puzzle gameplay.  Instead of having a flat board, the maps are actually multi-layered fortresses and mountains.  It is up to you to choose wisely which towers will go in the preset spots.  The most fun part about this game is choosing a hero who levels up through the campaign.  Equipping items and leveling up stats make your hero and towers better, and each map has a number of different difficulties to play through. The best tower defense on the AppStore to date.
  • Peggle: Excellent game that I originally played on Steam.  Imagine Pachinko and Bust-A-Move mixed together, with an awesome dose of humor.
  • Hambo:Play as the pig Rambo and strategically aim guns, grenades, knives and other projectiles at the hiding enemy pigs.  Tons of cleverly designed levels, and fun outfits for Hambo to wear.

Action Games: Alright, I’ll admit it.  I do not play many of these types of games, but the ones I do play, I absolutely love!

  • Bike Baron: If you have ever played Trials for Xbox Live you get the picture here.  This is a side-scrolling race against the clock to get the best times on the 127 levels and more to come.   Each level has three challenges for you to achieve.  This game can get notoriously tough, but it is always a good time.  The great level editor and ability to share custom-made levels with friends adds to the insane replayability of this game.
  • True Skate: Do you remember Tech Decks?  Well the devs over at True Axis games sure do.  They made this game play extremely well. The tight controls and excellent physics engine create an experience that feels surprisingly true to life (even more so than Touchgrind). Just do a 360 flip and you’ll see. Having a developer dedicated to updating this game regularly just makes it that much better.  What’s not to love?

Utilities and Tools: I know that this is not the most fun category, but I guarantee that these are some free awesome apps that you should not be without.

  • AppShopper:  This handy little tool tells you when apps go on sale or are temporarily free.  You can sort through the AppStore by section or popularity and just makes it super easy to pick up on those one day sales!
  • Alien Blue:  If you love Reddit or just happen to be a casual lurker then you should really pick this up.  It makes Reddit so easy, and even visually pleasing, that I never look up Reddit in Chrome anymore (by the way, Chrome > Safari).
  • Google+ Snapseed:  The most comprehensive photo editing program I have seen for the iPhone. It’s much more than just filters, although it does have nice ones.  After the initial learning curve, the interface becomes more fluid, and the user can appreciate just how powerful this software is.
  • Waze:  A very cool mix of social media and maps.  This app allows you to see and post traffic hazards, police traps, traffic and even just chat.  It has voice navigation built in and has saved me time and money on numerous occasions.
  • Jasmine:  So Apple took away their YouTube app, and Google replaced it with their own.  Google’s leaves much to be desired and Jasmine jumped in to fill the void.  It is sleek, fast, and well designed.
  • Grooveshark:  Grooveshark allows you to listen to any song in their library for free and even play entire playlists that you can create from your computer.  While this may be only a web app, you can put it on your homepage through Safari and listen to any song for free.

If you already own some of these games/apps I’ve love to know what you think in the comments!  Definitely check out the games on this list you haven’t tried yet.  I guarantee that you will be pleasantly surprised!