The 16 best iPhone games of 2009

The 16 best iPhone games of 2009
frugal blog

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Long BART rides, delayed CalTrains, long waits in the line at Ritual… my iPhone has kept me going. Here is a list of (in no particular order) of my top 16 iPhone games of the last year:

Tower Madness- (iTunes) My favorite tower defense for the iPhone since Fieldrunners. Although most known for it’s use of an interesting 3D camera views, but what made Tower Madness my most played game of the year was it’s constantly updating content. The developers maintained about two new free maps a month.

Sentinel 2- (iTunes) Although I usually prefer free form tower defense games over ones on rails, Sentinel 2 is a masterpiece. Every level looks beautiful and is a blast to play. My only complaint was lack of updates… perhaps some extra dlc levels or weapons would keep me playing to this day.

Sentinel- (iTunes) Every bit as good as Sentinel. Like S2, Sentinel is a tower defense game on rails.

Robocalypse- (iTunes) If you are looking for a good real time strategy (a’la Starcraft) Robocalypse is one of the best for the iPhone. Not only did they nail the controls, the writing, humor, and art throughout the game are surprisingly well done (though a little long).

Blimp- (iTunes) I used to think any game that used the accelerometer as it’s primary means of control would be terrible… but then I played Blimp and my mind has totally been changed. Blimp is a Choplifter/Fort Apacolypse style side scroller that requires picking up passengers or cargo and delivering them to other sites while avoiding obstacles. The handcrafted art is great and the constantly changing levels make the game repayable, but what really makes Blimp shine is how well the tilt control works.

Eliss- (iTunes) Every video game system needs a flagship title… a game that is so strong and so perfect for that device, that you need to beg/borrow/steal one of those devices just to play it. Eliss is to the iPhone what Tetris was for the Gameboy. The perfect casual game for touchscreens and a great way to kill time.

Samurai- (iTunes) Samurai is a clever top down adventure game that uses a minimal control scheme to great effect. There is no d-pad or "kick" button, all the interaction comes from using one motion to point or make simple swipe motions. It really needs to be played to be understood. It should also be noted this game has a gorgeous art style.

Galcon Labs- (iTunes) Not much to say about this. Everyone loves Galcon. This is the same great game, but with more more more.

DrawRace- (iTunes) A truly original casual game that’s great to play with nearby friends. The game uses a drawing mechanic that is usually used for time management games (like Flight Control). Each contestant draws a path on the course for their car to go and sets their cars speed by how fast they draw. What really made me love this game was the pass to play feature. It’s great for bus rides with my girlfriend, but it would be cool to have added multiplayer options like bluetoof or online.

Boggle- (iTunes) Let me start off by saying EA really crapped this game out. It’s got bugs, missing features, and can be difficult to navigate.. but as far as the actually gameplay goes, they totally nailed it. Boggle is even more fun to play on the iPhone than on an actual game board. This game got tons of play on BART rides because of it’s awesome pass to play feature. Other iPhone games, such as the popular Words With Friends, should definitely take note of how well pass to play can work.

IsoWords- (iTunes) A great twist on Boggle. Each letter can only be used up to 3 times before the block disappears, thus encouraging players to be frugal with their letters, while still trying to knock out tons of words. Fun for 1 player, but like EA’s Boggle, the "pass to play" feature is what warrants tons and tons of late night word battles.

Soft Freak Fiesta- (iTunes) The most fun uber-short gameplay, perfect for playing over bluetoof with nearby friends. The core gameplay is a twist on marbles. Set the direction and velocity for your "marbles" then wait to see how it plays out.

Minigore- (iTunes) The best looking dual stick shooter for the iPhone. This game is uber-stylish, but can get a little repetitive… but for some reason I keep playing it anyways. More levels, or variations, would be nice, but the developers are slowly rolling out various tweaks.

Horror Racing- (iTunes) An addictive top down racing game with monsters, missiles, and landmines. Like an updated version of the classic Ironman Super Off Road.

Shift- (iTunes) A platform styled puzzle game. By hitting the "shift" button the world flips upside down and everything that used to be open space is now solid. Shift was originally released as a free flash game, but the controls and portability are perfect fits with the game.

MinMe- (iTunes) Originally created as part of the Experimental Gameplay Projects "Bare Minimum" theme, MinMe is an addictive puzzle game that works great on a touch screen. The basic levels are a bit too easy to figure out, but they guide you into the gameplay well… and luckily the developer has added level expansion packs through dlc that are totally worth an extra buck (for about 30 levels I think ).

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