iPhone/iPad Games Guide: What to Buy This Month

  • Comments: ↓ 4 user comments
  • Publish Date: October 28, 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 - October 2010
  Game Genre Rating Metascore Price
Image Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus  First-Person Shooter 12+ 93 $6.99
Image Cut the Rope Puzzle 4+ 91 $0.99
Image Game Dev Story Simulation 4+ 88 $3.99
Image UFO On Tape Action 4+ 85 $0.99
Image Reckless Racing Racing 4+ 84 $2.99
Image Blue Defense: Second Wave Action 9+ 82 $1.99
Image Time Geeks: Find All Adventure 4+ 80 $0.99
Image Texting of the Bread Educational 12+ 78 $1.99
Image Gangstar: Miami Vindication Action 12+ 78 $6.99
      TOTAL COST: $27.91

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.)

Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus 

Metascore (out of 100):
93
from Gameloft
Shooter, $6.99, ages 12+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus further improves the exemplary gameplay of the first Modern Combat for an astounding immersion in a modern war experience and one of the most complete FPS multiplayer games on the iPhone. Embody one of the 3 playable characters and throw yourself into 12 battlefields set in the Middle-East, Eastern Europe and South America. Facial animations and instant-kill slow-motion create a breathtaking sense of immersion. 15 weapons from real military forces that you can gather directly from your enemies and upgrade with several accessories. Engage in 10-player online and local confrontations. Choose between 4 multiplayer modes: Battle, Team Battle, Defuse the Bomb & Capture the Flag.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 AppSpy
Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus sets a high-water benchmark for shooters to come, combining a solid single-player campaign with a lasting and exciting multiplayer that makes this a must have title.
100 GamePro
Yesterday I drained my iPod's battery completely while playing online deathmatch games, and the only thing I wanted to do was stick it on the charger so I could hop back in. I just hope you readers are willing to take the $6.99 hit to your wallets and join me.
100 No DPad
Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus is one of the most complete and best games I have ever played on my device, and with such a complete online multiplayer experience and a solid single player mode, I can't see any other game really topping this, at least for a while.
100 Slide to Play
Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus provides top notch modern warfare on the go, with a lengthy campaign and a deeply addictive multiplayer mode.
92 Multiplayer.it
Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus is an excellent FPS, with nice and accurate controls. The single player campaign is short but pretty intense, while the four online multiplayer modes offer hours and hours of entertainment thanks to the ranking system. Packed with some of the best graphics ever seen on an iPhone, this game definitely rocks. Don't miss it.
90 148Apps
It's really not hard for me to say that Modern Combat 2 is my favorite iPhone FPS.
90 Pocket Gamer
A stellar combination of graphics, entertaining action, and robust multiplayer, Modern Combat 2 is one heck of a shooter.
85 IGN
Even though it doesn't exactly advance the ball, Modern Combat 2 is Gameloft's best shooter yet.
80 TouchGen
The addition of ranking and kill signatures will keep you playing for a while to come, and the gorgeous graphics really give the feel that this is much more than a mobile game. It's a shame that the lack of many basic features constantly reminds you that it isn't.

Cut the Rope

Metascore (out of 100):
91
from Chillingo Ltd
Puzzle, $0.99, ages 4+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

A mysterious package has arrived, and the creature inside has only one request… candy! Help get the candy to Om Nom, the adorable monster, in this highly innovative and addictive puzzle game. Combining outstanding physics, devilishly tricky levels, and bright colorful visuals, Cut the Rope is one of the most original and fun-filled games on the App Store. Cut the Rope combines realistic physics with simple, yet accurate and precise touch controls. Cut the ropes by simply swiping your finger across them and collect the stars by touching them with the candy, but it's not always simple. Think before you slice and be sure to avoid the enemies and obstacles. Every level is different and getting that candy to Om Nom won't be easy!

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 AppSpy
Cut the Rope is quite simply a bombshell of cute, clever, addictive physics puzzle gameplay that's hard to pass up on.
100 Slide to Play
Cut the Rope is a charming, challenging, and-- most importantly-- fun puzzle game that nearly anyone will enjoy.
90 Eurogamer
Pitched perfectly for casual on-the-move play, it's the kind of game you can happily fill a couple of bored minutes with, or power through for a couple of hours, trying to snag every star. With 100 stages included for starters, and more on the way via updates, welcome to your new favourite waste of time.
90 IGN
This has all the addictive qualities of Angry Birds – great puzzles, near-perfect use of touch controls, and cute personality. Chillingo promises that if Cut the Rope reaches some sort of critical mass, there will be even more stages.
90 Multiplayer.it
Cut the Rope is another App Store hit from Chillingo, and it could be considered as a killer App for iOS devices. A must buy.
90 TouchGen
An incredibly polished game that is addictive, fun and features just the right amount of learning curve before ramping up the challenge.
80 Pocket Gamer
Bright, imaginative, and supremely polished, the physics-based gameplay of Cut the Rope shows developer ZeptoLab has knack of putting a unique spin on familiar ideas.

Game Dev Story

Metascore (out of 100):
88
from Kairosoft Co.
Simulation, $3.99, ages 4+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

Manage your own game company and try to create a million-selling game in this unique simulation. Features the ability to develop your company's own game console, plus a system for changing your staff members' professions. Hire talented people and train them to develop their skills. As your staff gets more experience, you will unlock a wider array of game genres and content to develop. Try to find the most popular combinations and develop for the latest platform! Your staff members can have a variety of game-related professions, from programmer to sound engineer. Work hard and you may reach the top of the video game industry!

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 Slide to Play
Game Dev Story is a challenging, interactive overview of our shared gaming experience.
90 148Apps
At the end of the day though, even with the lack of killer graphics, I can safely say that I spent more time with Game Dev Story in one sitting than any other game I've played this year.
90 GamePro
I'm normally not so hot on stat-based simulation games like this, but Game Dev Story grabbed me and refused to let go. The game strikes a perfect balance between offering a large enough variety of things to manage while simultaneously avoiding a situation in which there's just too much going on at once.
90 IGN
Its touch controls are excruciatingly easy and once you pick up Game Dev Story and invest an hour of your time, none of your friends or family will see you again for a very, very long time.
80 AppSpy
Fans of gaming will love the tongue-in-cheek references and deep options that Game Dev Story has to offer, but it's a shame this game wasn't optimized for the iPhone.
80 Pocket Gamer
An intoxicating game about making games, Game Dev Story is a compelling simulation and a charming ode to our favourite pastime.

UFO On Tape

Metascore (out of 100):
85
from Revolutionary Concepts
Action, $0.99, ages 4+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

What would you do if you were driving along and a real UFO descended from the clouds? Run screaming? Or grab your trusty iPhone and give chase?! UFO on Tape puts you in the hot seat as you speed through the countryside in hot pursuit of visitors from outer space. How much footage will you get, will it be clear, will you be kidnapped and subjected to scientific experiments? Only time will tell! With photo-realistic graphics (no camera required), the best use of the gyroscope or accelerometer this side of the vega system, loads of in-game voice dialogue from your hysterical virtual girlfriend, gamecenter scoring, and the kind of elusive 'just one more try' gameplay that keeps you up till the wee hours, UFO on Tape is the ultimate pick up 'n play hi-score chaser! The kind of unique gaming experience that is all to rare and will only be found on iOS devices.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 AppSpy
UFO on Tape may feel more like a gimmicky title than the usual arcade-fare on the App Store, but its polished presentation and gameplay are unique, fun and second to none.
85 IGN
I really cannot get enough of it. The scenario and atmospherics are wonderfully creepy.
80 148Apps
As much as I enjoyed playing UFO On Tape, I couldn't help but feel that there just wasn't enough.
75 Slide to Play
UFO on Tape gives you the uncanny sense that you're actually filming a UFO. That alone is worth the price of admission.

Reckless Racing

Metascore (out of 100):
84
from Electronic Arts
Racing, $2.99, ages 4+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

Made to maximize the Retina Display, the state-of-the-art visuals will make your eyes bug out as you skid, slip, and slide in traditional top-down racing style. Challenge your buddies in online multiplayer, and get ready to go. It's the dirt-road racing game y'all been waiting for on iPhone & iPod Touch. Dirt track or asphalt, truck or rally car – take your choice and then take it to the limit. Learn the basics as a beginner and choose from a variety of driving controls. Get better with each race and move up through Bronze, Silver, and Gold difficulty levels. Adapt your race skills and push it across 5 amazingly detailed tracks. Race against rigs controlled by some outrageous in-game characters like Otis and Bubba! Unlock the reverse tracks and race 'em again.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 GamePro
The lighting is gorgeous, the textures are detailed, and the way your vehicle interacts with the environment is all too realistic.
90 148Apps
EA has done a solid job in assuring that Reckless Racing oozes with southern charm, while still delivering a solid, well-polished racing experience.
80 AppSpy
It won't take long for most people to blast their way through Reckless Racing, but if you can get a stable connection the multiplayer is fun and the 'Delivery' mode adds some replayability too.
80 IGN
Reckless Racing is a great racer. The classic top-down racing action will remind old school gamers of simpler days, but even those that didn't put a quarter or two into Super Off Road will appreciate how easy it is to pick up Reckless Racing.
80 Pocket Gamer
Reckless Racing is one heck of a good time, delivering stunning graphics and fun off-road action both online and off.
75 Slide to Play
Reckless Racing is a sharp-looking arcade racer set in the South, but it lacks replay value.

Blue Defense: Second Wave

Metascore (out of 100):
82
from Cat in a Box Games
Action, $1.99, ages 9+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

Intense planetary defense arcade action! The Blue planet is in peril - take the fight into your own hands, and blast the evil Red and Green enemies out of the sky with the all-new planet cannon! Blue Defense: Second Wave builds on the legendary pick-up-and-play gameplay of the original 2008 hit, hailed as an "App Store classic" by many. With game modes ranging from just seconds to several hours, you won't be able to put it down! 6.8 billion lives hang in the balance... how long can you keep them alive?

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 No DPad
As a sequel, Blue Defense: Second Wave captures everything that was great about the first game, refines it, builds upon it, ups the ante manifold.
90 148Apps
It's just hard to come up with a list of complaints about this game, because of how well made it is. Blue Defense: Second Wave is original, intense, addictive, and most of all, fun. Fan of action games on iOS deserve to give this game a shot.
80 AppSpy
Blue Defense: Second Wave! is a great sequel to what was already a great title and while the tilt controls may be a bit gimmicky, the gameplay is almost second to none.
80 TouchGen
A brilliant game to play for that ten minute break, or on the bus. It lacks long term appeal due to both being so intense, and because there are too many modes and choices to make.
74 Multiplayer.it
Although way better than the previous chapter, Blue Defense: Second Wave! is certainly less ambitious than Red Conquest. It must be said though that even if the game lacks any real additional mode, plot or multiplayer experience, the new units and the deeper control system will satisfy any hardcore gamer that thought the first Blue Defense was too easy.
70 Pocket Gamer
Blue Defense: Second Wave! is amusing when played to fill a free minute or two, but it lacks the depth needed to encourage extended play.

Time Geeks: Find All

Metascore (out of 100):
80
from Ivanovich
Adventure, $0.99, ages 4+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

The Zoorgs have caused distortion in space-time moving people, animals and objects from their place of origin. Our friends the Time Geeks need to find them all to avoid a total collapse of space-time before it is too late! Time Geeks is a revolutionary seek and find game based on awesome Pixel Art graphics, retro style and a lot of fun — Just like in the 80's.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 Slide to Play
Time Geeks: Find All! puts a refreshing twist on hidden object games while tapping into every gamer's inner geek.
90 TouchGen
It gives "Where's Waldo" a whole new meaning and although it is nothing new when it comes to that aspect of gameplay, this kinds of games never get old.
80 AppSpy
Time Geeks: Find All! doesn't bother with all the nonsense of other hidden object games and challenges you to a quick, strict 'Wally' style of game that's not only fun, but packs enough cultural references to keep you busy in relaxed modes as well.
50 Pocket Gamer
A stylish, well-intended hidden object game, Time Geeks: Find All! undercuts its attempt at innovation with fundamentally misguided design.

Texting of the Bread

Metascore (out of 100):
78
from ScrewAttack
Educational, $1.99, ages 12+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

Texting and action combine in Texting of the Bread. Protect the world from an evil scientist and his horde of zombie gingerbread men. Use your texting skills to annihilate the delicious enemies with your trusty cow and milk gun. Texting of the Bread features hours of level gameplay and a limitless survival mode. Unlock all the games secrets to continue with hours of new crazy fun. Features arcade, freeplay, and survival modes, Facebook integration, achievements, and hours of gameplay. 75 regular levels and lots of hidden secrets.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 GamePro
Plenty of modes and surprisingly funny writing make this a weirdly enjoyable piece of unexpected "edutainment."
80 AppSpy
It's not your traditional action title, but Texting of the Bread pits you against hordes of sugary foes as you type your way to victory.
75 IGN
Texting of the Bread is a fun little goof.
75 Slide to Play
Mavis Beacon has nothing on Texting of the Bread. This game will give you the typing skills you need with the ballistic power you crave.
60 TouchGen
Texting of the Bread is a cool concept based on a even cooler idea. It works quite well for the iPhone, but I doubt that I get better at texting personally.

Gangstar: Miami Vindication

Metascore (out of 100):
78
from Gameloft
Action, $6.99, ages 12+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

Enjoy the most immersive full-3D crime simulation ever on iPhone/iPod touch! Gangstar: Miami Vindication has a new, unique feel that delivers a deep storyline of revenge: plunge into Miami gang life and live a fast-paced adventure to liberate your little brother who has been kidnapped by the Armada gang for unknown reasons. Features an amazing reconstruction of an entire sprawling metropolis with a massive open-ended environment that recreates Miami, including Downtown, Miami Beach, The Harbor, Miami Bay, and The Swamps. The scenario was jointly written with a scriptwriter from the popular TV show, "The Wire" and is delivered by countless breathtaking, voice acted cutscenes.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 AppSpy
Where Gangstar started out by putting a competent sandbox title on the App Store, Miami Vindication steps things up with its fun storyline, solid controls and great gameplay.
100 Slide to Play
It's not as epic as GTA: Vice City, but we have to respect the ambition that brought Miami Vindication to the iPhone.
90 148Apps
All in all, even with the graphical snafus, I think that Miami Vindication will please just about anyone who wants to play a good GTA-like game. With its huge city, impressive voice acting, and competent controls, I'd say that Miami Vindication is a big win for Gameloft.
75 IGN
An improvement over West Coast Hustle and will entertain gamers looking for a 3D Grand Theft Auto-style adventure for the iPhone. This is certainly no quick shot affair either. With over 70 missions, you can pull ten or so hours out of it.
68 Multiplayer.it
Miami Vindication, the second Gangstar game for the iDevices, can provide a more wide-ranging experience than West Coast Hustle, thanks to its bigger city, truly different vehicles and less repetitive missions. Unfortunately, some of the previous episode's issues are still there, including annoying pop-ups, lack of bug fixes, very few side quests and whimsical controls.
60 Pocket Gamer
Poor writing, conventional action, and a general lack of polish conspire to make Gangstar: Miami Vindication an underwhelming game.
50 Eurogamer
All of this would have been acceptable in the nineties, but expectations change. Sure, it's only a few quid, but for once it feels like you're getting what you pay for.

Games to avoid

Some of the past month's more poorly-reviewed releases include Rogue Runner 51, Fumes Stunt Racer 55, and Naughty Bear 57. And then there's the story of the month's most-reviewed (and most recognizable) iPhone game -- Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I -- which many reviewers found disappointing. Why didn't critics like the new Sonic title? Their comments are below ...

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I

Metascore (out of 100):
71
from Sega
Platform, $6.99, ages 9+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

The sequel fans have waited 16 years for is finally here - Sonic The Hedgehog™ 4 Episode I. Featuring enhanced gameplay elements, including the classic Sonic Spin Dash, and the versatile Homing Attack, Sonic 4 picks up right where Sonic and Knuckles™ left off. All of Sonic's classic moves are available, including the newer Homing Attack which will add a new level of control and excitement. Race through 4 unique zones containing 4 acts each as well as 7 special stages. A staple of the Genesis-era games, the special stages return allowing fans to collect the 7 Chaos Emeralds and unlock Super Sonic.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
80 AppSpy
Sonic The Hedgehog 4 is the sequel you always dreamed of - only a bit shorter; this may put off some as it is a flagrant tease, but if Episode I is any indicator the whole ride is going to be an amazing one.
80 GameZone
The only negative you'll run into with Episode 1 is how quickly it's over. You'll finish up with the four worlds and the bonus stages in about 2-3 hours time, if that. However, there's replay value galore.
80 Modojo
Visually, the game stands apart from its predecessors with sharp and colorful graphics that look phenomenal in high definition. Sega did excellent work bringing each stage to life, making them unique without tarnishing Sonic's legacy. It's a pure joy to watch.
80 TouchGen
I have had a blast with Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1, and I really want to play the next episode right away.
75 IGN
Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I is a huge improvement over the iPhone ports of the original games. The action is still fun and frantic, especially when Sonic is catapulting through hellzapoppin stages at breakneck speeds.
75 Slide to Play
The first episode of Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog 4 is entertaining, but doesn't match the hype.
70 148Apps
I myself am disappointed and frustrated with Sonic 4 at times, but there are more rays of light here for the series than any other game in the franchise has shown in the past decade.
70 Destructoid
Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 is a mixed bag, with plenty of good things soured by a sprinkling of bad. While the majority of the game is enjoyable, there are certain aspects that simply should not have been allowed to enter the final product.
70 Pocket Gamer
Filled with as many fun moments as mediocre ones, Sonic The Hedgehog 4, Episode 1 is a good start to the revival of the series.
67 Multiplayer.it
Even if the game boasts a 4 in its title, SEGA and Dimps have chosen the easiest path taking the levels from the original Sonic The Hedgehog and adding almost nothing to its formula. Moreover, Sonic 4 suffers from a surprising lack of style and personality, a dull soundtrack and some technical issues, while the frame rate slows down even on an iPhone 4. Hopefully, the lack of Retina Display support, achievements and leaderboards will be fixed with the next update of the game.
63 Gamervision
It isn't the Sonic we all remember, and anyone with an iPhone can confirm as much by $6 each for either Sonic The Hedgehog or Sonic 2, both available on the iPhone. Sonic 4 isn't a return of the old, but Sonic for a new generation.
40 GamePro
Maybe it's not the developers' fault that this just isn't much fun. Perhaps the formula for a Sonic game simply no longer holds up in the 21st century.

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)

  • Will  

    @Mitch, by "page", I meant the individual pages for specific games, not reports. Although I do love Metacritic reports.

  • Enzo  

    I love Time Geeks! It's really cool!!

  • Mitch Tough  

    So this doesn't count as a page, Will? I dig these wrap-ups. The best games of the month, every month.

  • Will  

    Really looking forward to buying Cut the Rope, which is apparently the new Angry Birds. I think it's great that this website calculates Metascores for IOS games, even though there aren't any pages for them.

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