iPhone/iPad Games Guide: What to Buy This Month

  • Publish Date: July 30, 2010
  • Comments: ↓ 4 user comments

Our monthly feature offers a handy guide to the past month's best new game releases for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

Great games on a dollar a day

Here are the past month's best iPad games, up to a total budget of $30. (The list includes the best available iPad exclusives plus high-ranking iPhone games, which are also compatible with iPad.)

Best-Reviewed New iPad-Compatible Games, $30 Total Budget - July 2010
  Game Genre Rating Metascore Price
Image Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge - Spec Ed/iPad * Adventure 12+ 94 $9.99
Image Let's Golf! 2 Sports 4+ 92 $4.99
Image Osmos * Puzzle 4+ 87 $4.99
Image Plunderland Strategy 9+ 86 $2.99
Image Helsing's Fire Puzzle 4+ 84 $0.99
Image Fruit Ninja HD * Action 4+ 80 $4.99
      TOTAL COST: $28.94

* iPad-specific version; not compatible with iPhones/iPods

What are the best new iPhone games available for a total budget of $30 -- or about a dollar per day? Here are the top picks from the past four weeks:

Best-Reviewed New iPhone/iPod Touch Games, $30 Total Budget - July 2010
  Game Genre Rating Metascore Price
Image Let's Golf! 2 Sports 4+ 92 $4.99
Image Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge - Spec Ed/iPhone Adventure 12+ 89 $7.99
Image Plunderland Strategy 9+ 86 $2.99
Image Helsing's Fire Puzzle 4+ 84 $0.99
Image Infect Them all Action 9+ 81 $1.99
Image Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night Puzzle/RPG 9+ 77 $4.99
Image Star Wars: Battle for Hoth Tower Def. 4+ 77 $2.99
Image StarDunk Sports 4+ 77 $0.99
      TOTAL COST: $27.92

The Metascore for iPhone and iPad games is an unweighted average of individual scores given by professional game publications on a scale of 0 (bad) to 100 (good). A Metascore of 75 or higher denotes generally positive reviews, while 90 or higher indicates universal acclaim. Scores are not calculated for games with fewer than four reviews.

Below, we take a closer look at each of the past month's best new games. (Note that all game summaries are from the publishers' official descriptions.)

Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge - Special Edition
[iPad Version]

Metascore (out of 100):
94
from LucasArts
Adventure, $9.99, ages 12+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

More Pirates! More Adventure! More Monkeys! Relive the second hilarious swashbuckling misadventure of the wannabe pirate Guybrush Threepwood in signature special edition detail. Play it again for the first time with signature Special Edition features: High-definition graphics: All new re-imagined contemporary art style, hand-drawn and presented in high definition. Voice over: Complete voice over using original Monkey Island franchise cast members brings the story and characters to life like never before, now available for both the Special Edition and Classic modes. Renewed music score: Re-mastered and re-recorded musical score using live instruments. Special Edition and Classic modes: Scene-for-scene hot swap lets you seamlessly transition between Special Edition and Classic modes at anytime during gameplay. Hint system: In-game puzzle hint system keeps the puzzles fresh and fun.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 Gamepro
If there's a game on this week's list that I'm going to put the most time into revisiting and replaying, it's this one.
100 Pocket Gamer
Pulled up from Davy Jones's locker, Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck's Revenge breathes new life into a classic while at the same time setting a new standard for adventure gaming.
100 Slide to Play
Classic adventure fans and newbies to the genre alike will fall in love with the brilliance of Monkey Island at what many would call its peak. One of the best games of all time is magically even better.
90 TouchGen
The version to get, I know that I will be replaying this more than once on the iPad. The lack of the more helpful verb system and nicer 3d effects separates this from the PC and console version, but SE 2 is still more than playable on the iPad.
89 IGN
Fans will appreciate the colorful commentary from the franchise creators, while those intimidated by the adventure games of the past will find comfort in the simplified controls, object highlighting and hint system.
85 NZGamer
It's one of the best games available for the system. Don't bother with anything else — just sit back, relax, and keep an eye out for three-headed monkeys.

Let's Golf! 2

Metascore (out of 100):
92
from Gameloft
Sports, $4.99, ages 4+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

We've listened to the fans of Let's Golf! and given them what they want: a faster, more colorful and fun golf experience! That's why this newest edition to the popular series is just the thing to satisfy your need for an exciting golf adventure. Liven up the sport with 8 fun characters, fully modeled in 3D. Customize your golfer with a selection of gear and clothes you can unlock to improve your skills. Discover 108 holes of golf across 6 varied locations like Mount Olympus Golf Club, Aztec Temple, a Winter Wonderland in Greenland, a tree-filled Bavaria, the spectacular English Countryside and even the wild Royal Safari in Kenya. Each character has their own unique super power that can give them an unexpected edge. Pull off unbelievable shots by stopping the ball at will, making it super-sticky or by even rewinding time. Grab a friend and play against each other in one of 3 different multiplayer modes. Enjoy an in-depth Career mode and new challenges like Shoot Out where you eliminate 1 player after each hole, and Closest to Pin where players put it all on the line with a single shot.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 148Apps
Gameloft did just right with Let's Golf! 2. They gave the game more international flavor, more colorful characters, and improved game play, all while maintaining everything that made the first Let's Golf! so great. Let's Golf! 2 is an amazing game that any fan of casual sports games should pick up.
100 AppSpy
Let's Golf 2 has gone beyond expectations and is a seriously fun challenge that anyone can enjoy.
100 Slide to Play
Gameloft's sequel to their Hot Shots Golf clone hits another hole-in-one.
90 IGN
Go ahead and delete the other golf games from your iPhone. Let's Golf 2 is the only one you need right now.
90 Pocket Gamer
Let's Golf! 2 is a superb combination of features and quality gameplay that will be tough to top.
90 TouchGen
It's up to you then to make you purchase decision on what kind of gamer you are; single player? online? or both?
75 No DPad
Let's Golf 2 is still a solid sequel to one of the best games on the App Store. While there are some errors and flaws with the overall game, I'm still having fun with it.

Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge - Special Edition
[iPhone Version]

Metascore (out of 100):
89
from LucasArts
Adventure, $7.99, ages 12+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

More Pirates! More Adventure! More Monkeys! Relive the second hilarious swashbuckling misadventure of the wannabe pirate Guybrush Threepwood in signature special edition detail! Play it again for the first time with signature Special Edition features: Enhanced graphics: All new re-imagined contemporary art style. Voice over: Complete voice over using original Monkey Island franchise cast members brings the story and characters to life like never before, now available for both the Special Edition and Classic modes. Renewed music score: Re-mastered and re-recorded musical score using live instruments. Special Edition and Classic modes: Scene-for-scene hot swap lets you seamlessly transition between Special Edition and Classic modes at anytime during gameplay. Hint system: In-game puzzle hint system keeps the puzzles fresh and fun. Plus, includes all new features: Direct control: Choose how you play -- use the classic point-and-click interface or the all new intuitive direct character control for a more interactive gameplay experience. Object highlighting: Interactive object highlighting provides quicker clues to finding hidden objects.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 AppSpy
If you haven't already purchased Monkey Island 2 Special Edition on another platform, then there's absolutely no reason not to grab it for your iDevice thanks to an overhauled control scheme that works almost perfectly.
100 Pocket Gamer
Pulled up from Davy Jones's locker, Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck's Revenge breathes new life into a classic while at the same time setting a new standard for adventure gaming.
84 IGN
Fans will appreciate the adherence to the original as well as the fresh art (which is a touch degraded on the smaller screen), while those intimidated by the adventure games of the past will find comfort in the simplified controls, object highlighting and hint system.
80 TouchGen
The lack of extra artwork and developer's commentary is disappointing. Still an impressive effort on the small screen, but not all that it could have been.
80 Videogamer
Monkey Island 2 is a sacred property to many - me included - and we expect the game to be treated with an appropriate amount of respect. It isn't.

Osmos
[iPad Version]

Metascore (out of 100):
87
from Hemisphere Games
Puzzle, $4.99, ages 4+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

Enter the absorbing world that many reviewers and players have called one of the best - if not THE best - iPad game yet. Osmos features addictive, physics-based gameplay, fluid multitouch controls, lush, flowing visuals, and a chill, ambient electronic soundtrack. Some have described Osmos as "Asteroids meets a lava-lamp," others as a "21st Century Pac-Man," but all have said it's a game that needs to be experienced to be appreciated. Your goal: to grow by absorbing smaller motes; but to propel yourself you must eject matter behind you, causing you to shrink. From this fundamental balance, Osmos leads the player through ambient playgrounds, deep solar systems, competitive petri dishes, dense mote-fields, and more. This original, award-winning PC game has been fully redesigned for the iPad, including a seamless multitouch interface, new menus, play modes, levels, and tons of tweaks and refinements.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 Slide to Play
This isn't just the best version of Osmos. It's also one of the most impressive iPad games to date.
90 148Apps
Osmos for iPad is a game that plays about as beautifully as it looks. It's tranquil, yet it can be intense; it can be thoughtful, but require quick reactions.
90 Eurogamer
Quite unlike anything you've played, Osmos is the kind of game even Brian Eno would admire.
90 Gamepro
I loved Osmos' ambient soundtrack, and I was impressed with the scope of some of the game's larger levels, especially when pinching to zoom out as far as possible.
90 IGN
This kind of "ambient game" is truly a perfect match. With touch controls there is no disconnect between you and the game, which in turn pulls you deeper in Osmos' spell. Do not hesitate for one second to download this, otherwise you will miss out on something truly special.
80 Pocket Gamer
Elegant, deep, innovative, and most importantly fun, Osmos and its effervescent gameplay makes for one of the most tactile experiences on iPad.
80 TouchGen
Osmos presses all of the right buttons for me. To be honest, I would have payed five dollars for the solar mode alone.
75 1UP
Osmos' visuals are subtly stunning.

Plunderland

Metascore (out of 100):
86
from JohnnyTwoShoes
Strategy, $2.99, ages 9+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

What happens when some wannabe pirates quit their day jobs and head out to the open ocean on a haunted ship? Plunderland! Play as Captain Peg Leg's ghostly spirit and help your wannabe pirates steal back his treasure from wicked sea tyrants. Sail between ports plundering all the treasure you and your crew can find! Intuitive tilt controls and a familiar aiming technique work together to make Plunderland's unique gameplay style come together. Mixing custom built physics, in-game puzzles and dynamic animation seamlessly to create a dynamic and highly interactive game that looks like an awesome cartoon.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
90 148Apps
Beyond the gameplay, the real reason to buy Plunderland is for the striking simplicity.
90 Gamepro
An art style similar to the one found in ngmoco's Rolando gives Plunderland an aesthetically pleasing visual style, and a dynamic physics system makes ship battles on stormy seas a ton of fun.
89 IGN
Plunderland is absolutely worth your download dollars and is one of the best iPhone games of 2010 thus far.
80 AppSpy
Let your inner madman have his release and set him loose in the world of Plunderland, where monsters roam and pirates are free to blow up everything in their path.
80 Pocket Gamer
Plunderland is energetic pirating at your fingertips, a high seas adventure with charm and originality.

Helsing's Fire

Metascore (out of 100):
84
from Clickgamer.com
Puzzle, $0.99, ages 4+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

When the implacable Professor Helsing and his assistant Raffton travel to The Shadow Blight, they'll need every weapon at their disposal to defeat Dracula's vampire horde. In this captivating, dark Gothic puzzle-adventure, use Dr. Helsing's powerful torch and tonics to save the world from the demonic uprising! Helsing's Fire features a brand-new puzzle mechanic never before seen: use the touch-screen to position Helsing's torch to illuminate different combinations of monsters, then destroy them in the correct order using Raffton's supply of different tonics. The quick, rewarding puzzles make it a perfect game for brief play-sessions, but you'll always want to play 'just one more level'! With puzzles set across three worlds, with 30 different levels in each world, all featuring thirteen different monster types including three bosses, Helsing's Fire provides an incredibly rich, deep, and varied game experience. And because on replays puzzles are re-generated randomly, the game will always be fresh! The Victorian theme, Gothic setting, and engaging characters make Helsing's Fire one of the most appealing story-oriented puzzle games released. Add to that the distinct minimalist style of the character portraits, the incredible dynamic lighting of the shadows cast by your moving torch, and an original soundtrack, and it's clear that Helsing's Fire presents an epic experience.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 Gamepro
The art is fantastic and the actual light mechanics of the torch are impressive, making for an all around high-quality feel.
100 Slide to Play
Helsing's Fire is one of those puzzle games that does something completely original and is unbelievably entertaining.
90 Eurogamer
With its insidious wit and gothic charm, Helsing's Fire is a joyously original instant classic that iPhone owners should buy immediately.
90 Videogamer
Helsing's Fire has inventive levels and immediate charm, making it an instant iPhone classic you'd be a fool not to pick up post haste.
80 148Apps
While I do wish the game was more difficult, it's just too fun to put down, which can only mean good things.
80 AppSpy
Helsing's Fire just oozes with style and a fun atmosphere that continues the whole way through, while the unique gameplay is almost an exciting bonus to enjoy!
80 TouchGen
Maybe you should stop thinking about picking up that soda for a quick sugar rush, and instead use those pennies for a punt on this game, for a brain rush!
70 IGN
The light-potion combo for exterminating monsters is a great idea. But the lack of challenge is a real problem.
70 Pocket Gamer
Mixing quick thinking with fast fingers and a gothic setting, Helsing's Fire is a smart puzzler that's more about fun than challenge.

Infect Them All

Metascore (out of 100):
81
from Magic Cube
Action, $1.99, ages 9+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

Infect Them All is a game that can make zombie world by infecting and eating people. You can enjoy this game with easy and simple controls. You are gonna fascinated by the combination of dynamic actions factors and simulation factors which make more and more zombies.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 No DPad
There's just so much to do that for $0.99, this is a no brainer.
80 Modojo
About the only thing wrong with this game is the repetition.
75 Slide to Play
Playing as a plague-spreading zombie is a lot of fun, especially when you have an undead army to back you up.
70 148Apps
While prolonged play gets repetitious, it's perfect for a few minutes of undead fun.

Fruit Ninja HD
[iPad Version]

Metascore (out of 100):
80
from Halfbrick Studios
Action, $4.99, ages 4+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

The worldwide smash hit iPhone game Fruit Ninja has now arrived for the iPad, featuring glorious HD graphics and incredible unique content not to be found on any other platform! Fruit Ninja is a juicy action game with squishy, splatty and satisfying fruit carnage! Become the ultimate bringer of sweet, tasty destruction with every slash. Swipe up to eight fingers across the screen to deliciously slash fruit like a true ninja warrior, taking in all of the crisp detailed effects which have been radically improved from the iPhone version. With two games modes in single player and worldwide leaderboards using Openfeint, the addictive gameplay will keep you coming back for even higher scores. Multiplayer has now arrived on Fruit Ninja HD! Two players can play head-to-head in unique gameplay modes Classic Attack and Zen Duel. It's always fast, frantic and hilarious action with two players battling to achieve sweet sweet victory! Finally, Fruit Ninja HD will enjoy the same level of continuous support with free content updates as the iPhone game. New gameplay modes, new items to unlock in the Dojo and even more secret surprises will be added in future!

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
90 Gamepro
The best thing about this release is the promise of continued support from Halfbrick, who have done an excellent job updating the iPhone version with free added content so far. Just admit it: going all kung-fu on some fruit is fun, so if you own an iPad, don't skip out on this HD re-release.
80 148Apps
The game is simple and addictive. It's the kind of basic mechanic anyone can pick up and enjoy in seconds, and keep playing for hours, especially in Zen mode, where the quest for high scores can keep you playing for long periods of time.
75 No DPad
With that said, I enjoyed Fruit Ninja HD and can't wait to see what else they have in store.
75 Slide to Play
Fruit Ninja has become nothing less than a phenomenon, and this HD version does it justice.

Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night

Metascore (out of 100):
77
from Konami
Puzzle/RPG, $4.99, ages 9+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

Take control of Alucard, son of Dracula, and experience Castlevania in a whole new way on the iPhone/ iPod Touch with Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night! Konami brings you a truly innovative Puzzle-RPG system Developed exclusively for the iPhone/iPod Touch, an exciting first for the Castlevania series!

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
85 Game Chronicles
What Konami decided to do instead is take a genre that excels on the iPhone, and couple it with a game gamers know and love. It's a brilliant move, and one that I applaud.
80 Joystiq
Even with its rough spots, Encore of the Night is a great game and a genuine surprise. You don't have to be a Castlevania junkie to enjoy it, but you'll definitely appreciate it even more if you come from the vamp-stamping camp.
80 Pocket Gamer
Castlevania: Encore of the Night skillfully combines addictive gameplay with impressive depth and lashing of fan-service.
75 Slide to Play
It's not the Castlevania game we hoped to see on the iPhone, but Encore of the Night is an interesting puzzle-adventure hybrid with more good than bad.
74 IGN
But though I consider myself a Castlevania fan, I cannot overlook how frustrating it is to play Castlevania Puzzle at times.
70 148Apps
Very little skill is required to get through Castlevania Puzzle, just a burning desire to level your character up and get more weapons. Honestly, if you took the Match 3 aspect out of the game and just turned the battles into a standard turn based RPG affair, or even just simulated it all with no graphics, I would be much happier.

Star Wars: Battle for Hoth

Metascore (out of 100):
77
from THQ Wireless
Tower Defense, $2.99, ages 4+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

The Galactic Civil War rages: Imperial forces have discovered the location of the Rebel base on the ice planet Hoth. Darth Vader orders his forces to commence a ground assault aimed at destroying Echo Base's main power generator and enabling bombardment of the planet from space. The Rebel's only hope is that its forces can resist the Imperial advance long enough to evacuate the doomed base. Star Wars: The Battle for Hoth is a fast-paced tower-defense game that puts you in command of Echo Base's defenses. Can you use guile, strategy and reflexes to defend Echo Base from attack? At your command are Infantry Units, Gun Towers, Snowspeeders and more. Facing you is an army of Droids, Snowtroopers and the terrifying AT-ATs. The stage is set for a climatic clash of technology, tactics and action...

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
80 148Apps
For as much as I complain, I'll still play it all the way through a few times to get all the achievements, but I'll whine and kick like a baby the whole time.
80 AppSpy
Star Wars: Battle for Hoth isn't going to blast its way to the top of most tower defense fan's lists, but it's still a great game and well worth checking out for devotees of the Force.
75 Slide to Play
This Star Wars tower defense game makes adequate use of a setting that had great potential.
74 IGN
There are certainly superior tower defense games for the iPhone. And in the end, that's what really matters here.

StarDunk

Metascore (out of 100):
77
from Godzilab
Sports, $0.99, ages 4+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

StarDunk is combining the best of basketball, massive online competition and retro games. Massive online competition against all the players from the planet. Get powerful bonuses to increase your score. Earn awards and unlock more than 15 unique balls, each with its unique capacities.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
80 148Apps
StarDunk is a very nice looking game that is quite amazing due to its multiplayer capabilities.
80 AppSpy
Like so many minigames there's a chance you'll get bored of the repetitive gameplay, but the online gameplay of StarDunk will keep you occupied for a long time and it's great to throw down a quick match on the go.
80 Pocket Gamer
StarDunk is a simple space-themed basketball game that quickly becomes addictive thanks to its short play sessions and competitive online play.
75 No DPad
Competing against people online is quite exhilarating, and achieving 1st place is always a good feeling.
75 Slide to Play
As long as more players join the competition, StarDunk has the potential to be a great casual online game.
70 TouchGen
If you want quick, high energy and high scoring action on a shoestring budget, then this is the game for you.

What NOT to buy

Critics were not very fond of 1942: First Strike 57 or Risk: The Official Game 65.

What are you playing?

Have you tried any of the games above? If so, what did you think of them? Are there any other new iPhone or iPad games that deserve a download? Let us know in the comments section below.

We're sorry, but comments are closed for this article.

Comments (4)

  • lucas  

    get ready for my app when i post it, it will be a while but itll knock your socks off

  • Tkun  

    I'm really surprised that Hero of Sparta II didn't make the list. I haven't played it yet, but I've heard great things about it.

  • Chris Moore  

    Anyone played Star Wars Trench Run?

    It's good, I think it should be on this list.

  • Mitch Tough  

    Monkey Island on you iPhone.... What did the Ol' Milwaukee commercials say?

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