I’ve been quite loyal to Nintendo over the years, owning just about every system the video game company has released. And as the proud owner of a Nintendo DS, I was always skeptical about what the iPhone could offer as a portable gaming device.
It didn’t take long for me to realize the iPhone’s advantages: The games are cheaper, the touch screen is way more advanced and, for the most part, the graphics are better. I’m sure Nintendo’s system has one or two advantages, but this Web site isn’t called DSolicious.
Regardless, the two share more than a few similarities and we’re beginning to see more and more games come to both platforms. While this has been done with varying degrees of success, the following five games didn’t skip a beat in their transition from DS game to iPhone game.
Those familiar with a PC version of the Civilization series will notice plenty of changes in Civilization Revolution. The entire look of the game is quite different and it lacks the depth and options of Civilization IV.
With that said, Revolution is still an addictive strategy game that appeals to longtime fans of Civilization and newcomers to the series alike. For those unfamiliar with the premise, the game allows you to guide one of 16 civilizations to world domination via economic dominance, scientific or cultural accomplishments, or military prowess.
The game is heavy on touch-screen controls, and though learning everything may be daunting at first, it’s an effective scheme that works well enough. The full version costs $6.99, though there is a free demo available.
James Cameron’s Avatar
The difference graphically between the DS and iPhone version of the Avatar iPhone game is simply staggering. While the DS game doesn’t even resemble the Xbox and PS3 versions of the game, the iPhone game does a great job given its limitations.
The highlight of Avatar isn’t its visuals, though, but instead the fact that it has a deep storyline and offers console-style gaming. While we’re starting to see more games like this, they still remain somewhat rare.
The one downside of the game is that the camera makes some curious decisions that impact the game play negatively, but not enough to spoil what amounts to one of the better action/adventure iPhone games available. The iPhone game will set you back $6.99 and is good enough for any action game fan to check out, not just fans of the movie.
Need For Speed Undercover
Before Need For Speed Shift there was NFS Undercover, an iPhone game remake of the DS game that – to put it politely – didn’t do so hot with critics. The iPhone game was received much better by fans and critics alike, enough that it was widely regarded as one of the best games of 2009.
Undercover boasts 20 cars and a whopping eight race modes, including a mode with 24 missions. It also has options to customize your car and graphics that, even though the game is a little older now, are high quality.
Of course the biggest advantage the iPhone version of the game has is the accelerometer, which, as we’ve seen over and over again, works really well with racing games. Because Shift is now out, Undercover’s price is down to $4.99, an absolute steal for you gamers who missed it the first time around.
Assassin’s Creed II Discovery
AC II: Discovery ($6.99) centers around the assassin Ezio as he travels through Italy and Spain in hopes of saving fellow assassins. It’s the second Assassin’s Creed game to come to the iPhone – Gameloft released Altair’s Chronicles last year – and though it’s different, fans of the series will feel right at home.
The major difference is that, unlike Altair’s Chronicles, Discovery is a 2D game instead of a 3D one. It still has the similar controls, and the graphics are actually a little sharper and nicer in this iPhone game.
While it is advertised as an “untold chapter” from the console game, this is still a lengthy enough iPhone title that won’t leave you bored in a few minutes. I’m still not sure I’d call it better than its predecessor, but that’s also a pretty lofty standard to be held to.
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
GTA’s first iPhone game comes in the form of Chinatown Wars, and just as on other platforms, the game has been quite successful on the device. The main character’s father has recently been murdered and it’s up to the main character to make sure his family remains in control of the Triad gangs of Liberty City.
I’m not in love with the iPhone game’s visuals, but then again, that’s never been the selling point of the GTA series. The game is undeniably fun and it works well with the iPhone’s unique controls.
The game’s reputation for violence and vulgar language is well earned, so parents should know there are plenty of both in the game. But as long as you’re of age and have $9.99 to spend, there are few games as compelling as this one in the iTunes App Store.
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