iPhone/iPad Games Guide: What to Buy This Month

  • Comments: ↓ 4 user comments
  • Publish Date: September 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 devices unless otherwise indicated.

Best-Reviewed New iPad-Compatible Games, $30 Total Budget - September 2010
  Game Genre Rating Metascore Price
Image DoDonPachi Resurrection Shooter 4+ 88 $8.99
Image Rimelands: Hammer of Thor RPG 9+ 88 $4.99
Image Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars HD - iPad * Action/Driving 17+ 87 $9.99
Image Beyond Ynth Puzzle/Adventure 4+ 86 $3.99
      TOTAL COST: $27.96

* A separate iPhone version of GTA: Chinatown Wars was covered in our February iPhone games roundup.

Best-Reviewed New iPhone/iPod Games, $30 Total Budget - September 2010
  Game Genre Rating Metascore Price
Image Mirror's Edge - iPhone Version * Platform 9+ 89 $4.99
Image DoDonPachi Resurrection ** Shooter 4+ 88 $8.99
Image Rimelands: Hammer of Thor RPG 9+ 88 $4.99
Image Beyond Ynth Puzzle/Adventure 4+ 86 $3.99
Image Spider-Man: Total Mayhem Action 9+ 86 $6.99
      TOTAL COST: $29.95

* A separate iPad-only version of Mirror's Edge was covered in our April iPhone games roundup.
** DoDonPachi requires iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, 3rd-generation iPod Touch, or iPad.
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.)

Mirror's Edge
[iPhone Version]

Metascore (out of 100):
89
from Electronic Arts
Platform, $4.99, ages 9+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

True to the tradition that has made Mirror's Edge a fan favorite around the world, immerse yourself in the world of Faith Connors – an underground "Runner" who bolts into action to stop a deadly threat in a "perfect society" full of sinister surveillance and relentless pursuers. Envisioned for the iPhone 4 Retina Display and iOS 4, the vivid HD quality delivers stunning visual clarity as you pound through a graphically rich cityscape flooded with realistic sounds, a pulsating soundtrack, and dynamic camera angles. You've never seen or felt a game for iPhone & iPod touch quite like this. Run up walls, slide down ramps, ride zip lines, and hurdle between rooftops as you burn through 14 levels of increasing intensity in single-player combat mode. Think fast on your feet, engage in furious hand-to-hand combat, elude your enemies, and push yourself to the very edge.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 AppSpy
There's nothing really new for those who have played the iPad version, but if you have an iPhone 4 this is almost without a doubt a must try experience.
100 Slide to Play
Mirror's Edge delivers a stellar action-adventure experience that iPhone users would be silly to ignore.
90 Gamepro
I'm highly impressed by how EA has managed to change up the formula of Mirror's Edge to work on a touch-screen device without losing the unique feel of the franchise, and if you were a fan of the console game you can't go wrong with this portable release.
90 TouchGen
I honestly can't recommend Mirrors Edge enough.
85 IGN
As you rip across the rooftops, you feel genuinely graceful, especially because you are not trying to hammer a series of button presses to maintain speed and lift.
80 148Apps
Mirror's Edge may be short, and not fully rid of the horrid combat that has brought its other incarnations down, but it still is a fantastic agile urban platformer that shines more than it ever did on the consoles.
80 Pocket Gamer
A sophisticated platformer with style, Mirror's Edge has polished gameplay but not length and lasting value.

DoDonPachi Resurrection
[Requires iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, 3rd-gen iPod Touch, or iPad]

Metascore (out of 100):
88
from Cave Co. Ltd.
Shooter, $8.99, ages 4+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

The Legendary shooter, now for iPhone and iPod Touch. Two fully-featured game modes: iPhone Mode, an exclusive adaptation tailored to the iPhone/iPod touch portable format, and Arcade Mode, a port of the arcade shooter classic. Practice Mode included to help boost your score. Beginner and veteran shooters, brush up to beat your friends. Weave through the storms of bullets that magnificently fill up the screen. Pull off moves impossible on an arcade stick right in the palm of your hand. Internet rankings and achievements included. Rankings included for each game mode and each ship type. Compete with players all over the world for high scores. Unlock achievements by completing in-game challenges.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 1Up
For a company whose fans frequently call them a "god" of the genre, Cave is quickly lording over the iPhone's shooter selection.
100 No DPad
Dodonpachi Resurrection is the best top-down shooter I've ever played, and being a newbie at bullet-hell shooters, I've had a ton of fun with it.
100 Slide to Play
This hardcore shoot 'em up is absolute bullet heaven.
90 148Apps
If you have the right device, and if you don't mind the price, then you must play Dodonpachi Resurrection.
90 Eurogamer
It's just so devastatingly addictive - and the fun doesn't even truly start until you've got some competitive friends on the in-game leaderboards.
90 Gamereactor.se
A super-intense shooter with great graphics and a low cost.
90 TouchGen
Its high price and short play-time may put some of you off, but any serious shooter fans out there will be doing themselves a disservice by passing on this. It's a blast… quite literally!
90 Videogamer
It's a gorgeous game, and one that runs at a framerate speedy enough to justify why it doesn't support older models of iPhone and iTouch.
80 AppSpy
For arcade fans and shmup fans in particular, Dodonpachi Resurrection is almost worth the investment, but for casual gamers it may be a price too high to risk trying immediately - wait for the LITE version first.
80 GameZone
DoDonpachi looks and sounds great.
80 IGN
Dodonpachi Resurrection is probably as good a shmup as we're going to get on iPhone, but the touch controls just can't satisfy like an arcade joystick can.
70 Pocket Gamer
A sensory overload awaits in DoDonPachi Resurrection, a well-to-do arcade port with good controls and variety in spite of its intimidating style.

Rimelands: Hammer of Thor

Metascore (out of 100):
88
from Crescent Moon Games
RPG, $4.99, ages 9+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

Enter the frostbitten realm of Rimelands, where mankind with fantastic technology powered by an enigmatic substance called Steam is forever at odds with the magical creatures of legend called the Fair Folk. Rimelands: Hammer of Thor is an epic adventure full of mystery, intrigue and high adventure. Join Rose Cristo, a young and beautiful treasure hunter on her journey to unveil the plot that could tear the world apart. With both magic and Steam-technology at her disposal, she'll have to overcome threats both human and supernatural. Rimelands has the best parts of roleplaying games combined with intriguing story and puzzles to create a varied experience free of endless grinding.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 148Apps
Rimelands is the first turn based RPG that I didn't feel constrained by the controls or game speed. On top of that, there is a good story, there are good characters, good combat, good level designs, and good graphics.
100 No DPad
Small annoyances aside, Rimelands: Hammer of Thor is simply one of the highest quality traditional role-playing game experiences available on the app store. It's tough as nails, but the combat have you coming back for more.
100 Slide to Play
Rimelands is a highly original RPG that combines dice-rolling chance with player-driven decisions.
80 AppSpy
Rimelands: Hammer of Thor is an excellent turn-based RPG with an amazingly simple combat system that only gets better as you delve deeper in to your chosen character path.
80 Pocket Gamer
Rimelands: Hammer of Thor fits snugly into the turn-based role-playing genre, but offers enough variation to keep the action fresh and exciting.
80 TouchGen
Rimelands : Hammer of Thor is an extremely enjoyable game due to keeping the challenge going, and I really hope to be able to continue the adventure. Not because I care about the story, but rather because the game mechanic works well.
75 ZTGameDomain
Still, if you're an RPG enthusiast and you're looking for an experience that's well suited to the iPhone rather than simply mimicking the console, it would be disingenuous to steer you elsewhere.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars HD
[iPad Version]

Metascore (out of 100):
87
from Rockstar Games
Action/Driving, $9.99, ages 17+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars HD brings the most-critically acclaimed handheld title of this generation to the iPad with stunning 1024 X 768 HD graphics. With new control layouts optimized for the iPad, higher polygon-count models and all new lighting and effects, this is your chance to get behind the wheel of the best looking Chinatown Wars ever. Following his father's murder, Huang Lee has a simple mission: deliver an ancient sword to his Uncle Kenny to ensure his family retains control of the Triad gangs of Liberty City. Huang is a spoiled rich kid who expects everything to run smoothly, but his trip does not go exactly as planned. After being robbed and left to die, he will search for honor, riches and revenge in the most dangerous and morally bankrupt city in the world.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 1Up
No matter which version is "best," Chinatown Wars is still a fun game on whatever you're playing it on; a game that scratches the itch for GTA's particular blend of action, done up in a nifty hybrid of the old 2D editions and the well-familiar 3D sequels.
100 Slide to Play
GTA:CW looks and plays great on the iPad plus adds a few details not found in the iPhone version.
100 TouchGen
Grand Theft Auto: China Town Wars has a tonne to offer any gamer. Whether you want to get engrossed in the story and take on missions, or just fancy a quick joy ride, there is something for everyone.
90 148Apps
While you won't get any new content for upgrading to the HD version, it's so pretty I can't see why you wouldn't.
90 Gamepro
If you own an iPhone, DS, or PSP, those are probably better platforms to play this on, but this iPad version is still a great game that perfectly captures the console GTA experience.
90 IGN
At just $9.99, Chinatown Wars HD is a mere third of the price for the original Nintendo DS game, making it one of the best gaming values on the App Store considering just how much stuff is packed in here.
90 ImpulseGamer
This is a must have game for the iPad to not only showcase the power of this device but prove that it can actually host in-depth and entertaining games.
85 Game Chronicles
The iPad version of the game is not the best version of Chinatown Wars, but it is still a great game.
84 Digital Chumps
A very respectable port to the iPad gives the platform perhaps its most impressive game. Veterans and newcomers of Chinatown Wars should take note.
80 Pocket Gamer
Awkward menus and a few niggles are not enough to dampen this hugely enjoyable sandbox game.
70 NZGamer
The iPad has the sweetest graphics with a massive screen.
70 Wired
If you want the best control experience, get the DS edition. If you want a bigger screen and slightly fancier graphics, then opt for the iPad one. Either way, Chinatown Wars is great fun, and it's one of the best iPad titles that money can buy.

Beyond Ynth

Metascore (out of 100):
86
from FDG Entertainment
Adventure , $3.99, ages 4+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

Embark on an epic adventure that will take you beyond anything you have ever experienced before. This is the story of Kribl, a little bug on a big journey to bring light back to the Kingdom of Kriblonia. Help him to successfully traverse unexplored terrifying territories and find all the light-giving Dazzly Diamonds that were stolen by the Four Dark Spiders of the Apocalypse! During your journey you'll face dry dusty deserts, virulent volcano valleys, dank dark foggy forests and icy mountain peaks with treacherous slippery slopes. Each of these territories brings its own surprises and you'll find yourself pushing boxes, climbing platforms, jumping, sliding, falling - in every imaginable situation. All these actions require visionary thinking as each level contains puzzling structures which need to be turned, moved and navigated in order to get through. Use your wits to escape scorching sunbeams, freezing weather conditions and dangerous lava pits. You have to see this game in motion to truly understand how amazing it is. Follow the link at the end of the description below to see the game in action.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 AppSpy
Beyond Ynth is an amazing improvement over the first in the series and while it's still a casual game at heart, the challenge is far from simple.
100 Slide to Play
Beyond Ynth is as tough as nails due to levels crafted with high finesse. This puzzler isn't for the faint of heart.
90 148Apps
One word of warning though is that the game is extremely difficult.
70 Gamepro
I'd like to see new control options in an update, but otherwise this is a great platformer.
70 Pocket Gamer
A refined take on the original, Beyond Ynth brings extra knobs and bobs that take the existing formula and make it trickier, but this isn't a true step forward.

Spider-Man: Total Mayhem

Metascore (out of 100):
86
from Gameloft
Action, $6.99, ages 9+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man battles to save his beloved city! Spider-Man will need to use all of his great powers to save New York from the worst breakout of Super Villains the city has ever seen. Fight against time to stop the madness and mayhem created by the Super Villains who want to take over the city and disperse a poisonous virus! Spider-Man: Total Mayhem captures all the action, humor and fun of the Ultimate series in state-of-the-art gameplay and animations. Are you up for the challenge?

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 AppSpy
Spider-Man: Total Mayhem is an easy to pick up and hard to put down action-brawler that not only does justice to the comic book hero, but to the game genre itself.
100 Slide to Play
Your Spidey sense should be tingling, because Spider-Man Total Mayhem is a remarkable game on just about every level.
90 148Apps
The fighting and avoiding mechanics are a delight to watch and effect as a player, while the high quality production makes the game a must-own for any gaming or Spider-Man fan.
90 IGN
Spider-Man is both one of the best action games on the App Store right now as well as the best superhero game you can get for the iPhone.
90 Pocket Gamer
Ultimate Spider-Man: Total Mayhem is fantastic fun, offering the speed and variety of a top notch action game with the vibrant colour and characters of a great comic book.
80 TouchGen
For casual fans, this is still a great action brawler but keep in mind that it can get a little bit repetitive after a little while, despite the many characters and environments available. However, it is certainly the best superhero game out there right now for the iPhone.
50 Eurogamer
As crisp and vibrant as the game looks, there's little to elevate this above far cheaper and more interesting games designed around the controls - rather than shoehorned into them.

A few more games

Just missing the cut to qualify for the above lists were Gangstar: Miami Vindication 84, Slice It! 82, and Knight's Rush 81. At the other end of the quality spectrum, yet another mediocre football game was released this month in Steve Young Football 62, while Dead Runner 63, Real Golf 2011 65, and Assault Commando 65 also failed to impress reviewers.

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)

  • The Dude  

    Please make a section for Iphone games like for DS or PSP metacritic.

  • true gamer  

    Check out Clay Gunfighters - it's free right now

  • Oozyrat  

    Even though it's not new, I'm playing RE4

  • Adam Pitman  

    Give Helsing's Fire and Sword and Poker a shot!

What Our Users Are Talking About

  1. /feature/movie-trailers-and-news-for-week-ending-april-11-2014 Image
    Film Friday (4/11): This Week's New Trailers + News
    April 11, 2014 - 4 comments
    1. TheQuietGamer : 22 Jump Street and Neighbors still look absolutely hilarious. Definitely my most anticipated movies of the year. Read »
    2. Will : "It began with Twilight..." Don't forget Harry Potter. Read »
    3. Will : "Spoiler Alert! If you don’t want to know what happens to Juliette Binoche...." Yeah, great spoiler alert, Metacritic. Read »
    4. silasbodnick : There is just something about the sound effects in the new Godzilla trailer that make me really want to see that... Read »
  2. /feature/25-best-ps4-games Image
    Quarterly Report: The 25 Best PlayStation 4 Games
    March 24, 2014 - 3 comments
    1. lemminguk : Glad to see the a lot of PS+ games high up. Couldn't understand all the complaints about them (especially don't... Read »
    2. Plasmaneedle : I can't believe flower is on the list much less on the top Read »
  3. /feature/25-best-xbox-one-games Image
    Quarterly Report: The 25 Best Xbox One Games
    March 24, 2014 - 2 comments
    1. lemminguk : Curious about some rather obvious multi platform games missing from the list. Where's Battlefield 4, Rayman Legends,... Read »
  4. /feature/dvd-release-calendar-april-2014 Image
    DVD Release Calendar: April 2014
    March 27, 2014 - 1 comment
    1. silasbodnick : Ride along is much funnier than the critics gave it credit. Definitely take a chance on it if you are up for a little... Read »
  5. /feature/best-ios-games-of-2013 Image
    The Best iPhone and iPad Games of 2013
    December 22, 2013 - 7 comments
    1. robertandy01234 : Why not the "Amazing ant smasher"? It's my favorite. I think this game should be included as one of the best games.... Read »
  6. /feature/breaking-bad-episode-514-ozymandias-reviews Image
    Episode Review: Breaking Bad, "Ozymandias"
    September 15, 2013 - 15 comments
    1. dgroberts27 : Look at the one critic review that wasn't "extremely positive" and see what it says. "Last night's 'Ozymandias'... Read »