There are loads of games in the App Store for the iPhone/iPod Touch, but if you want to save money and space, which are the true essentials? Here are our 10 must-haves.
While there are enough good games in the App Store to fill up multiple pages on your iPhone or iPod Touch, you don't need that many, nor do you need to spend that much money. If you focus on filling certain genres with single games and not doubling up on multiples, you can make yourself the ultimate "games page" of apps. Here's the list.
Touchgrind: This skateboarding game was designed from the ground up for the multi-touch iPhone platform, and it shows. The completely unique control method of using your fingers as legs on a skateboard immediately makes sense and is totally addicting. As you get better, the new skateboards that are unlocked with high scores continually feel just within your grasp. $4.99
Galcon: Galcon is a space-based strategy game that delivers super-short games, which is perfect for the iPhone. Rather than getting dragged into games you won't finish, Galcon lets you play a bunch of one or two minute games. You can refine your strategy with each game, and every time you lose it's just too easy to try again. Lite: Free; Pro: $4.99
Fieldrunners: Many call this the best game in the App Store, and it's tough to argue with them. A tower defense game with a super-high degree of polish, this is the definition of addicting. Basically, you want to set up weapons to stop soldiers for storming your towers. You earn more cash for more weapons for every guy you stop, and you lose health for every guy who gets through. And then you can't. Stop. Playing it. $4.99
Line Rider iRide: You've probably played Line Rider on the internet in some form or another: you draw a bunch of lines, then a little man on a sled gets tossed down your makeshift track. The controls are simple and work great on a touchscreen, and you can play in short bursts, saving your maps for later. It's intuitive enough that there's virtually no learning curve, but you can spend countless hours working on your masterpiece of sledding physics. $2.99
Uno: You know Uno, you love Uno. But here's a version that involves no pesky shuffling. If you're more of a poker fan you probably went for Texas Hold 'Em, which is cool, but if you ask me, Uno is a much more fun card game. After all, what fun is poker when you're gambling with pretend money? $5.99
Rolando: This is a wonderful, cartoonish platformer that uses simple controls that are easy to learn but are used in increasingly complicated and challenging ways as the game progresses. You control a series of little balls—Rolandos—by tilting your iPhone and swiping up to jump. But you can control many of them at once, and there are also obstacles and switches you can manipulate. It's got a high degree of polish and will suck you in from the first level. $9.99
Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 3D: This is our favorite racing game, despite not being fully sold on the accelerometer controls of iPhone racing games. But because of that, you really only need one, and this should be it. Great graphics, good stability and plenty of variety add up to make this the essential iPhone racing game. $5.99
SimCity: This port of SimCity 3000 is stunning. This is no gimped version of SimCity, dumbed down for a touchscreen. It's the full game, complete with advisers and all the building types you can handle, with intuitive touchscreen controls. Finally, you can build the epic metropolis of your dreams whenever you sit down and have a few minutes to kill. $9.99
Touch Hockey: FS5: Air Hockey on the iPhone is just like regular air hockey, minus the high probability of getting one of your fingers smashed with the puck. Simply put your finger on the mallet and try to score some goals. It's also fun to play with two people, with each person holding an end of the iPhone. And hey, no quarters required. Lite: Free; Pro: $1.99
Trism: This is essentially a modified version of Bejeweled, and if you know that game then you know why you'd want it on your iPhone. It's a classic puzzle game, one that makes the transition to the touchscreen beautifully. You're trying to get three pieces of the same color together to make them disappear, and depending on how you're holding your iPhone, the resulting tumble of pieces will happen in a different direction. It adds a new level of strategy to the game while retaining what made the original so awesome. $2.99
[A Bonus 11th game, From Brian: I'd like to add Motion X Poker Quest to the list for its amazing use of the accelerometer and in game physics used to roll the dice, as well as beautiful graphics and sounds and addicting game play. ]