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So you just got yourself an iPhone and/or iPod Touch for the Holidays, eh? The App Store is full of fun and worthwhile games, but you probably want some help knowing where to start. You’ve come to the right place. All the games in this list are cheap and fun titles that showcase the possibilities of your new iDevice. Just so we’re clear, there are several games that seem to be eternally stuck in the App Store Top Ten. These include titles like Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, and Cut the Rope. Go get those games too: they’re all a safe bet.
Jetpack Joyride ($0.99)
I’m starting this list out with one of my contenders for game of the year. It’s a simple endless runner in which the goal is to get as far as you can with the highest score possible. Jetpack Joyride takes that concept and absolutely perfects it.
You play as iOS gaming icon Barry Steakfries as he goes a bit postal at the lab where he works. By simply touching the screen to elevate yourself, you guide Barry through lasers, zappers, and missiles as things constantly get faster and the hazards get more complex. With plenty of unlockables and objectives to shoot for, this is a game you won’t be able to put down.
Tiny Wings ($0.99)
This is one of those aforementioned “Eternally in the App Store top ten” games, but I thought I’d include at least one. Tiny Wings is a very simple game from a single developer, and a completely unexpected breakout hit.
You are tasked with guiding a baby bird with undersized wings over hills and across islands, using physics and momentum to fly as high and as far as possible each day, stopping only when night falls. Simply touch the screen to pull your wings in for speedy falls, and let go to let them flap freely. These simple mechanics are very well done. The game is packed with charming music and art, and is insanely addicting all around.
Zombie Gunship ($0.99)
This is a great place to start if your tastes are a bit more violent in nature. Combining the always popular AC-130 gunship missions from the Modern Warfare games with the hordes of the undead makes for a surprisingly addicting game.
Your mission is to protect fleeing civilians as they run to a military bunker. The bunker doors close as soon as the zombies get in, so you have to save as many people as possible before they’re overrun. With three main weapons and a plethora of purchasable upgrades at your disposal, this game is consistently evolving, becoming more chaotic and fun. It probably appeals more to the hardcore gamer crowd, but it’s still an enjoyable game overall.
Where’s My Water ($0.99)
Something you’ll soon learn is that the App Store is overflowing with physics-based puzzle games featuring cute creatures. One of the better titles of the year in said category is this little gem from Disney Mobile. Everything from the visuals to the sound design is humorous and fun.
Your job is to help Swampy the sewer-dwelling alligator keep clean after some mean alligator friends of his sabotage his water supply. By digging through dirt, flipping switches and maneuvering around acid, you need to guide a body of water to the pipe leading to his tub. With lots of content consistently being added to the game and the family-friendly fun that Disney provides, this is a solid title that anyone can enjoy.
Tiny Tower (Free)
Tiny Tower is a very well made resource management game in which your goal is to build your tower higher and higher. By making money and expanding your tower, you’ll attract new tenants and business owners to your tower, allowing you to make more money to build even higher.
The towers are very customizable, and there are plenty of upgrades to purchase. Best of all, you can compare your tower with your friends’ towers, courtesy of Game Center. On top of the simple and addicting gameplay lies the charming pixelated aesthetics and pleasing elevator music soundtrack. Definitely give this quirky title a try.