iPhone/iPad Games Guide: What to Buy This Month

  • Comments: ↓ 8 user comments
  • Publish Date: November 29, 2010

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

What are the best new iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch games available for a total budget of $30 -- or about a dollar per day? Below are the best-reviewed titles released over the past month. All games are available for all Apple portable devices unless otherwise indicated.

Best-Reviewed New iPad/iPhone/iPod Games, $30 Total Budget - November 2010
  Game Genre Rating Metascore Price
Image LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 Action-Adventure 9+ 90 $4.99
Image Mushihimesama Bug Panic Shooter 4+ 89 $4.99
Image Galaxy on Fire 2 Adventure 12+ 88 $6.99
Image Silverfish Action 9+ 88 $1.99
Image Baseball Superstars 2011 Sports/RPG 4+ 87 $4.99
Image Linkoidz Puzzle 4+ 85 $0.99
Image Fragger Puzzle 9+ 84 $0.99
Image Age of Zombies Action 12+ 80 $2.99
Image Amateur Surgeon 2 Simulation 17+ 79 $0.99
      TOTAL COST: $29.91

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.)

LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 

Metascore (out of 100):
90
from Warner Bros.
Action-Adventure, $4.99, ages 9+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

Experience the events of Harry Potter's first four years at Hogwarts – LEGO® style. Play as Harry, Ron, Hermione and many more as you explore Hogwarts and engage in countless hours of gameplay spread across 40+ levels based on the Harry Potter books and movies. LEGO® Harry Potter™: Years 1-4 brings the world of LEGO® Harry Potter to life on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, giving gamers the power to play with LEGO characters and models in a brand new way. Based on the first four Harry Potter books and movies, LEGO® Harry Potter: Years 1-4 builds on the foundations of previous LEGO® videogames by offering a mix of fun, accessible gameplay and light-hearted humor – appealing to all ages. Players can explore the wizarding world and feel as though they are at Hogwarts.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 AppSpy
While the lack of suitable controls can prove to be bothersome, it doesn't take away from the game's otherwise simple and compelling gameplay.
100 Slide to Play
Harry Potter's unabridged adventure on the iPhone is first class.
90 148Apps
Lego Harry Potter is simply stunning. For $4.99 you get a good 15 hours or so of gameplay and it's all excellent fun.
90 TouchGen
You will have hours of fun at the fraction of the cost for the same game on Nintendo DS.
80 IGN
A crazy-good deal for your iPhone. Right now, it's priced at $4.99 (although it could go up in the future as Warner Bros. lists it as an introductory price) and offers an easy 20 hours of play time if you really want to collect everything and enjoy mixing-and-matching LEGO parts to make goofy characters.
80 Pocket Gamer
LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 is a charming adventure hampered by an ill-conceived touch control scheme.

Mushihimesama Bug Panic  

Metascore (out of 100):
89
from Cave Co. Ltd.
Shooter, $4.99, ages 4+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

A bomb-throwing bug-busting action game based on the legendary arcade shooter series Mushihimesama. A mysterious voice, and a mysterious girl... what's going on in Shinju Forest? Reco's adventure begins now. Use three different types of seed bombs to bring peace back to the insect kingdom.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 AppSpy
Mushihimesama BUG PANIC goes out on a creative limb, but fans won't be disappointed as they're given plenty of bullets to dodge while dispensing justice to bugs with a unique weapon system.
100 No DPad
It is easily among my favorite new app store releases.
100 Slide to Play
Mushihimesama Bug Panic enters a crowded shooter genre on the App Store, then blows them all away with thousands of glowing bullets.
90 GamePro
The touch-based lock-on controls work amazingly well, and as a result the game is a joy to play.
80 Pocket Gamer
Quite unlike any other twin-stick shooter you've ever played, Mushihimesama Bug Panic is a mini-masterpiece that combines gorgeous visuals with arresting gameplay.
80 TouchGen
But, after playing it, and thanks to some truly great controls, challenging boss battles and endearing graphics and music, CAVE have done it again… I'm hooked.
75 IGN
Bug Panic is a cool action game. I like the mash-up of twin stick shooter, Bomberman, and an adventure.

Galaxy on Fire 2  

Metascore (out of 100):
88
from Fishlabs
Adventure, $6.99, ages 12+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

Catapulted into a war-torn future, eminent space adventurer Keith T. Maxwell finds the galaxy at the mercy of a powerful alien race. Uncovering the truth about this dangerous species, he boldly takes the fight to their doorstep. Join Keith in an intergalactic trek of exploration, pirates, space battles, weird aliens and romance. Featuring a living galaxy with over 20 inhabited solar systems and 100 space stations, Galaxy on Fire 2 allows you to travel using hyperspace and wormholes to visit the far reaches of this fully 3D, war-torn galaxy. Follow the rich and engrossing storyline for over 10-hours of action-packed gameplay, or head off at any time on an interplanetary journey of your own design; mining asteroids, trading ore and supplies, taking on mercenary missions, working as a pirate and manufacturing new weapons and equipment.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 Slide to Play
Galaxy on Fire 2 is a supernova. Get lost in space and don't bring your head up until you've reached the end.
90 148Apps
With over 100 different space stations to explore and four different races to interact with, Galaxy on Fire 2 will take you much longer to complete than the 10 hours that FISHLABS promises.
90 TouchGen
Galaxy On Fire 2 is one of those games that rewards gamers the further they progress. It's a trend that has faded in recent years, and I fear that too many gamers may get bored before they experience the best that GOF2 has to offer.
80 AppSpy
Galaxy on Fire 2 tries to bring a console level of content to the App Store in a genre that guarantees a huge amount of gameplay time even before factoring any side-missions you partake in.
80 Pocket Gamer
The stars are nearly aligned for Galaxy on Fire 2, a wonderfully varied, in-depth action-adventure game that could benefit from expanded combat controls.

Silverfish  

Metascore (out of 100):
88
from Chaotic Box
Action, $1.99, ages 9+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

Weave your way through swarms of menacing space bugs and defend yourself with powerful detonations. Silverfish combines pure arcade action with stunning visual effects. Reaper Mode: Charge your POW and avoid enemies with the awesome Time Shock powerup. Earn MAX POW and turn the tables on your foes! Onslaught Mode: Destroy waves of enemies as quickly as possible to avoid overwhelming swarms. Drive up your score multiplier to rack up points and earn extra lives. Scavenger Mode: Keep your POW from draining by destroying enemies and collecting tasty Protons.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 GamePro
Silverfish is an expertly crafted arcade-style "shooter," and I expect to find myself playing it regularly for a long time to come.
90 148Apps
Silverfish is a fantastic example of what you can do to take well-known genre influences and mix them up to make a fresh and addictive game.
80 AppSpy
Silverfish is the sort of game you'd get if you crammed Snake and Geometry Wars together, but instead of some half-half mix it's a unique blend that looks and feels solid.
80 Pocket Gamer
Like a shoot-'em-up sans bullets, Silverfish offers challenging gameplay that revolves around keeping your enemies close at hand without being taken out in the process.

Baseball Superstars 2011  

Metascore (out of 100):
87
from Gamevil
Sports/RPG , $4.99, ages 4+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

Baseball Superstars® 2011 is a full featured baseball game which includes 6 different modes to satisfy everyone's needs. My League Mode contains unique RPG elements in a sports title, Season Mode requires great management skills, Exhibition Mode provides sheer entertainment, Homerun Race offers quick challenge, Mission Mode demands finest skills and Match Play Mode allows you to boast your talents to the rest of the world.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 AppSpy
While it may be hard to put down the previous titles, Baseball Superstars 2011 adds more depth and detail to an already choc-filled series.
100 Slide to Play
Baseball Superstars 2011 is a Must Have sports game; it's as simple as that.
90 GamePro
I'll be honest -- this is not a game for people looking for a lightweight, pick-up-and-play baseball game. Despite its cutesy appearance, Superstars is about as hardcore of a simulation game as you can get.
80 148Apps
Baseball Superstars 2011 is still far from being a perfect game, and the changes in this year's version are really only minor tweaks to the overall formula. But the minor tweaks add up to make this a better game, in some ways, even if the pitching is still far from perfect.
80 IGN
If you're looking for a fun baseball experience that also dabbles in the world of RPG gameplay, Baseball Superstars 2011 is for you.
70 Pocket Gamer
Baseball Superstars 2011 makes enough improvements on its predecessor to become the definitive version, but it doesn't offer anything substantially new.

Linkoidz  

Metascore (out of 100):
85
from Retro Dreamer
Puzzle, $0.99, ages 4+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

Linkoidz is an out of this world new arcade puzzle game. Crash landed on an alien planet, you must fight off the Linkoidz onslaught with only your gravity gun and trusty energy shield. Linkoidz has 3 different Arcade modes, as well as 30 training and challenge missions. The training missions will teach you the basics, then you'll be on your own against all the Linkoidz and their queens if you want to escape. The Endless arcade mode offers non stop adrenaline fuelled action, but there's also the Sprint mode for a quick game, and Zen mode if you prefer a more relaxing game. All of the arcade modes can be played in a variety of different difficulty settings.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 Slide to Play
Linkoidz is a surprisingly polished, fast-paced puzzle game that vastly exceeded our expectations.
90 148Apps
Even if you're jaded on match-3 games, Linkoidz is worth playing.
80 AppSpy
Linkoidz gets the best of both worlds as it matches fast-paced three-match gameplay with an element of strategy to create something unique and fun to enjoy over and over.
70 Pocket Gamer
A blend of arcade pace and tactical nuance makes Linkoidz an innovative match-three puzzler, which is notable in and of itself.

Fragger  

Metascore (out of 100):
84
from Miniclip
Puzzle, $0.99, ages 9+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

The world of Fragger is at risk, and he needs your help to explode all enemies. Unleash your shooting abilities to kill all the enemies and unlock 3 different perks. Featuring 160 challenging levels, and 5 different worlds, Fragger guarantees you many long hours of exploding fun. Once you become and grenade launcher expert, compare your score online with the millions of Miniclip users that play Fragger.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 AppSpy
What started out as a competent Flash game has quickly come in to its own on the App Store and now boasts 130 levels with more on the way; HD content; and a physics puzzle style that's satisfying to solve.
100 Slide to Play
Fragger is a deviously fun game that's quick and easy to pick up and play.
80 148Apps
Fragger is a solid, well-developed, addictive pick-up-and-play title that should appeal to both casual and hardcore gamers alike.
70 GamePro
It's hard not to draw the comparison between Fragger and Angry Birds, but the similarities are obvious. Fragger has arguably better level design than Angry Birds, but Angry Birds has a bit more variety because of its different types of birds, so the two coexist well and are certainly not clones.
70 Pocket Gamer
A neat action puzzler, Fragger is another example of a popular Flash game making a welcome leap to iPhone.

Age of Zombies  

Metascore (out of 100):
80
from Halfbrick Studios
Action, $2.99, ages 12+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

From Halfbrick, the creators of Fruit Ninja and Monster Dash, comes their newest and biggest adventure yet. Lock and load through the history of time as a tough-as-nails commando named Barry Steakfries, who is looking for nothing more than to shoot some zombies and make it back in time for a hearty dinner. The evil Professor Brains has sent hordes of undead to the furthest reaches of time to destroy mankind, but Steakfries won't be taking that lying down. He'll take it with a gun, a Zombie T-Rex and a whole repertoire of cheesy one-liners. Shoot up ninjas, mummies, cavemen and massive bosses with a huge variety of weapons and explosives. Bonus Survival mode to take your zombie-blasting skills to the next level, with Game Center leaderboards and achievements. Age of Zombies is the definitive action-comedy experience for the iPhone and iPad.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 AppSpy
Age of Zombies goes for bigger, badder and better and as a result Halfbrick studios manages to rekindle the magic of slaughtering zombies en masse.
90 GamePro
Age of Zombies doesn't play that differently from any other shooter on the App Store, but it has enough personality to easily warrant my recommendation.
90 IGN
Age of Zombies is a great game to have in your pocket. It's clever, the soundtrack is fun with different tracks for every time period, the voice announcing what weapon you picked up changes depending on what era you're in, and -- most importantly -- it's great to jump in and play for a bit.
80 148Apps
On a device where solid gameplay is king and dialog is an afterthought, it is refreshing to see something that epitomizes the full package.
75 No DPad
While imperfect, it's a great game and highly entertaining.
75 Slide to Play
Age of Zombies reveals more about Monster Dash's Barry Steakfries, and his obnoxious personality is the most enjoyable part of the game.
70 Pocket Gamer
Age of Zombies needs to pull back on the lame jokes to let its nicely designed gameplay shine through.
60 Eurogamer
Although decent fun in short bursts, Age Of Zombies is a little too relentlessly repetitive to enjoy over the longer term, and this general lack of variety makes the inflated price seem a tad questionable.

Amateur Surgeon 2  

Metascore (out of 100):
79
from Adult Swim
Simulation, $0.99, ages 17+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

Alan Probe is back with new patients, new surgeries, and a whole slew of medical ethics violations. Taking place 51 years after the events of the first Amateur Surgeon, Amateur Surgeon 2 brings Alan Probe out of retirement to contend with twenty new surgical procedures of questionably necessary proportions. Facial reconstruction. Clowning emergencies. And a squidectomy. Grab your pizza cutter.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
90 148Apps
Amateur Surgeon 2 is one of the best experiences that you will have in the App Store. It's full of personality, has great graphics, and uses the touch screen to perfection.
80 AppSpy
Amateur Surgeon 2 continues its whacky take on backyard hospitalization, fixing issues from the original that help to make this a far more immersive title.
75 Slide to Play
Amateur Surgeon 2 can be a bit repetitive, but it's certainly not amateur.
70 Pocket Gamer
A fun and humorous operation, Amateur Surgeon 2 suffers from complications with its controls and difficulty spikes, but remains an appealing prospect.

What not to buy

The new iPhone version of Splatterhouse is a huge disappointment, with a Metascore of 49, though the title for the lowest-scoring game of the month goes to Voice Fantasy 44. Other games receiving poor-to-middling reviews were Zombie Crisis 3D 60 and Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner 63.

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 (8)

  • Susan  

    Good review,really a classic game, Thanks. For Latest on iPhone,iPod,iPad,Android and Jailbreak please visit www.enewsplus.com Thanks

  • Dermot  

    I find the discussion about the different systems in use very funny. First of all, this is a argument that has raged on for decades between gamers, (different systems, consoles, etc.) There is no one system better than the other, just people trying to antagonise others by saying mine is better than yours. My point of view is whatever system you use, just enjoy it no matter what anybody else may say.

  • Christopher  

    "ipoop" market share? Android is available on SO many smartphones it's ridiculous to compare that with just the one iPhone, which has obviously easily outsold any single android phone. Also, since there are so many different android phones with differing hardware, games are more difficult to develop for it. So developers go to the iPhone, which is quite frankly much more popular for games.

  • Tony  

    Matt, Rage is an on rails shooter with undoubtedly amazing graphics, but offers little more than 30 minutes of gameplay. It's not a game, it's a demo of what's possible on the devices...

  • Matt  

    Where in God's name is Rage (e.g. Mutant Bash TV) for crying out loud? It's a little game from a tiny company called Id? Perhaps you've never heard of Doom or Quake? What is wrong with you people?

  • Dave  

    Corey, your numbers represent share of quarterly sales, not user base. Android OS is outselling iOS, and sales growth is far outpacing the idevices, but there are still more Apple devices in use overall. And actually, Symbian and RIM (Nokia and Blackberry, essentially) still have the most users. But they're fading.
    I do think there's something different going on with Apple and Android products, however. Android is rapidly becoming a power player in the smartphone world. But the big change is that Apple's iOS devices are rapidly gaining acceptance and respect as GAMING devices.

  • Dan J  

    I own an android phone AND an ipad... and I have to be honest... in terms of games, android is pathetic. My HTC Hero can't even run angry birds for christ sake.

  • Corey  

    Don't you know that the android OS Has crushed the ipoop markets share, 27% to 14% ? Can we get some droid games?

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