As a portable gaming devise, Apple’s iOS devices have shocked many people. With an App catalogue of literally thousands upon thousands to choose from, what deserves your money? Here are my suggested iOS games for the iPhone 4, in no particular order.
N.O.V.A 2: £3.99
This first person shooter on iOS that borrows a few tricks from Halo, whilst making it’s own mark. The sequel doesn’t offer the same ‘wow’ factor that the original N.O.V.A had, but it’s still a top notch iOS shooter.
In essence, N.O.V.A 2 is not too dissimilar to its predecessor, you still play as protagonist, Captain Warden, fighting to protect the human race from the Voltarites, an alien race attempting to invade Earth. And this is where it shows that N.O.V.A 2 is just an FPS. Pretty much every level see’s you shooting and blasting your array of weapons, but you know what? That’s not such a bad thing. The controls are tight, it’s a gorgeous game to look at, with the only main gripe of the on-screen clutter — all the various buttons (two analogue sticks, fire, reload/change weapon, etc.) taking up quite a bit of screen real estate, which can be a little distracting, because there really is a lot going on. But hey, you get used to it! Add a massive online multiplayer game, and there really isn’t any reason you shouldn’t give N.O.V.A 2 a try.
Shadow Guardian: £3.49
Until Sony releases the NGP, we’re stuck for an Uncharted portable, so, to bridge the gap, Shadow Guardian does a pretty neat job of tying us over. A nice, vibrant looking game that borrows nearly everything from Uncharted, from death defying leaps to the smart ass protagonist, the only major changes are the names. That and it lacks a decent story line.
You play as Jason Call, Gameloft’s answer to Nathan Drake, only, whilst we loved Nathan; the smart, funny protagonist of the Uncharted series, Jason is more, well, forgettable. Whilst the game looks fantastic, and the level design is highly impressive, you feel nothing for any of the characters. With no real story other than your searching for some mysterious statues, which are mysterious only for the reason that it’s never explained why you’re on the hunt for them until much further into the game.
But for a game that slips into your pocket without the need for any extra hardware, it‘s sure to pass a train journey or two.
Angry Birds: £0.59
You’ve all played it, and 9/10 you’ve at least said “right, just this one level and I’ll turn it off…” Yes, it’s Angry Birds.
The premise is simple; some evil pigs have stolen the birds eggs, and as said birds, you must catapult yourself into the pigs (and their environments) to claim back your beloved eggs. Sounds easy, right? It is in fact pretty technical. For instance, each level only grants you so many birds, each with their own ability/strength/weakness, which you must use to effectively take out those pesky pigs.
With plenty of levels, and new editions (including Seasons and now Rio), Angry Birds is the ultimate time killer app.
Mirrors Edge: £0.59
Taking the original console game and removing all the frustrating elements. Mirror’s Edge is a great looking, smooth affair that takes simple finger swipes and turns them into a fantastic on the go, side-scrolling platformer.
You play as Faith, a “runner” (courier) whom you must control via a series of swipes. The control element works tremendously well. To jump, you swipe up, to duck, you swipe down and so on. Attacking guards is done in a similar manner, requiring you to time your swipes, following with a cool “mid-air” karate like kick, then proceed. Timing is the crucial part of Mirror’s Edge, for a bad swipe can result in loss of flow, or getting hit by bullets. Which is never good.
The game looks very nice, especially if you’re playing on an iPhone 4 (the Retina display still looks fantastic) but even blown up on an iPad 1 screen, it looks great.
Gangstar: Miami Vindication: £3.99
If you’re looking for an iOS GTA game, and Chinatown Wars isn’t your thing (although it’s pretty awesome), then Gangstar: Miami Vindication may be for you. A 3D sandbox game, with over 70 missions and some brilliant (if poorly scripted) voice acting, Gangstar: M.V. is a pretty stella effort from Gameloft, who, in all respects, seem to be trying to bring our favourite console games to our Smartphones.
The usual quirks are here; steal cars (and boats, planes, bikes), shoot people, drive somewhere etc, but it’s done with a great fluidity that you actually appreciate the work Gameloft have put into making this sequel, which is much more fun than its predecessor. The graphics are better, control, shooting, even the draw distance is hugely improved (but still has some glitches).
In all fairness, if you’ve played GTA, you know what’s coming with Gangstar, it owes every ounce of its being to Rockstar’s massive franchise, but Gangastar: M.V. is fun enough to pass a bus journey or even just playing at home.
Everyone’s favourite blue hedgehog (not that there are any others) returns in the direct sequel to the 1994 game, Sonic & Knuckles. Going back to his 2D roots, Sonic the Hedgehog 4 is a fast, good looking game, and is a return to form for SEGA’s spikey mascot.
Featuring four worlds for you to speed through, you have a choice of controls; the virtual joystic controls for the platform sections, and the accelerometer for the special stages and (iPhone exclusive) Mine Cart stages, which, are a welcome break from the high speed platforming.
If you’re a Sonic fan, then Sonic 4: Episode 1 will keep your thumbs twitching, and your nostalgia beaming.
World Of Goo: £1.79/£2.99 (HD)
One of the finest iPad games is now available on iPhone, and about time! Using the touchscreen to bind pieces of goo together may not sound too fun, but the physics and gameplay make for one the strangest, yet most addictive puzzle games I’ve played in a long time. Using the intuitive touch controls, you stick your pieces of Goo together, forming towers or bridges to reach your goal. Planning your moves is a little harder, as you only have limited balls of Goo, so if you use one too many, you may find yourself short just before you reach your target.
One of the games other stand out feature, is the beautiful, yet haunting music, almost reminiscent of a Danny Elfman score, and it adds to the wonderfully designed levels, and fantastic art styles, that pays homage to some darker yet strangely cheery themes, a la Tim Burton.
I urge all of you to get World of Goo, as it really is a brilliant puzzle game, one that adds merit to the iOS App store, and proves that there are designers out there pushing mobile gaming forward.
All games compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.