I never thought I’d see the day where I’d actually enjoy casual gaming. Then I got an iPhone. I obviously still prefer consoles and PC games to iPhone games, but since I’m not always at home and don’t always have my DS or PSP on me, it’s handy to be able to have a few entertaining games on a “console” I always have with me: my iPhone.
1. Luxor – $0.99
Originally a free casual PC game developed by MumboJumbo, Luxor is a highly addictive action-puzzle game where the player shoots a colored ball at a group of other balls of various colors in order to group up three or more of the same color and cause them to disappear. The sequences of balls come in waves advancing along a path, and a player clears the level by eliminating all waves before any of them reach the pyramid at the end of the path.
2. Defend Your Castle – $2.99
If you’re into stick figures and games that don’t take themselves too seriously, Castle is your type of game. The player is given a castle to defend, as the name suggests, and does so by eliminating advancing enemy forces, who take the form of stick figures wielding fists, popsicle sticks, and bombs. The player kills these enemies by picking them up and flinging them away from the castle with enough force that they die upon impact with the ground. For every enemy the player kills, he or she is given points with which to purchase upgrades for the castle, such as strengthened walls, archers, and defensive magic spells.
3. Monster RPG 2 – $1.99
Modeled after the pixelated style of old-school RPGs like the earlier games in the Final Fantasy franchise, Monster RPG 2 is a simple yet compelling game with very intuitive controls. It was developed specifically for the iPhone and iPod Touch by Nooskewl, a relatively unknown company that specializes in casual games for the PC and iPhone.
4. Tron – Free
Especially consider it’s a free game, Tron is incredibly sophisticated. So much so that I had just a bit of trouble figuring out the controls. But once I did, Tron turned out to be a single- or multiplayer game where players control a tank that can toggle between shooting lasers or rockets at enemies, in order to advance through the levels. The graphics are enchanting for such a small viewing screen, and the game makes excellent use of the touch screen by implementing a series of soft button controls, like a joystick and fire button.
5. Civilization Revolution – $6.99
Clocking in at the most expensive of the games I have mentioned, Civilization Revolution is also one of the more advanced. Published by 2K Games, the same company that published the full PC version, this iPhone port does not include multiplayer support, but does contain a surprising number of the features that the original game had. I’ve only tried Civilization Revolution a handful of times, but I still had to include it in the top five list simply because I was impressed by how intricate it was for an iPhone game.
Even though each game separately is only a few dollars, purchasing a ton of apps can really add up. So keep on the lookout for new games – I got all of the above games for free by keeping an eye out for daily deals, especially in the following days after a new game is released.