iPhone Games Guide: What to Buy This Month

  • Comments: ↓ 9 user comments
  • Publish Date: March 26, 2010

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

Great games on a dollar a day

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 Games, $30 Total Budget - March 2010
  Game Genre Rating Metascore Price
Image Ragdoll Blaster 2 Puzzle 4+ 94 $2.99
Image Street Fighter IV Arcade/Fighting 12+ 88 $9.99
Image Tilt to Live Action 9+ 88 $1.99
Image Brothers in Arms 2: Global Front First-Person Shooter 12+ 83 $6.99
Image Raging Thunder 2 Racing 4+ 80 $4.99
Image Vector Tanks Extreme Action 12+ 79 $1.99
      TOTAL COST: $28.94

The Metascore for iPhone 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 run through each of these games in greater detail. (Note that all game summaries are from the publishers' official descriptions.)

Ragdoll Blaster 2

Metascore (out of 100):
94
from Backflip Studios
Puzzle, $2.99, ages 4+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

The Ragdolls are back and ready for more physics puzzle action! Ragdoll Blaster 2 is the much anticipated follow-up to Backflip Studios’ critically and commercially acclaimed Ragdoll Blaster. The simple rules are the same, fire a ragdoll with a touch to hit the target and solve the puzzle . . . but in this new version, art, puzzles, physics, sound and overall gameplay have been dramatically expanded and improved. Over 150 levels will keep you entertained and challenged for days.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 AppSpy
Ragdoll Blaster 2 is what you expect in a sequel; keeping what made the original game fun, and then adding a bunch of new ideas on top of it.
100 No DPad
Ragdoll Blaster 2 serves as a classic example of how well a physics game can work on the platform, it’s addictiveness will see you through to the end, it’s charm is almost unparalleled, and perhaps above all it is unique, a rare achievement in these modern times.
100 Slide to Play
The ragdoll-launching phenomenon is back, and even more of a blast than before.
90 148Apps
If you have the slightest interest in physics based puzzle games, Ragdoll Blaster 2 is an extremely high quality option, and one that you’ll be coming back to time and again.
80 Pocket Gamer
Ragdoll Blaster 2 is everything you'd expect from a sequel to a million-selling game, although it doesn't quite have the immediacy of the original.

Street Fighter IV

Metascore (out of 100):
88
from Capcom
Arcade/Fighting, $9.99, ages 12+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

Street Fighter 4 delivers the first true fighting game on iPhone. This uncompromising fighter features all the visceral thrills, fantastic graphics and brilliant gameplay that are hallmarks of the series. Long time Street Fighter fans can jump into the action and have an instant familiarity with the controls. For more casual players Street Fighter 4 features numerous settings and tutorials that put you on the path to world warrior. Street Fighter 4 supports head-to-head arcade play over Bluetooth. (Multiplayer is not supported on iPod Touch 1st generation and iPhone 1st generation.)

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 AppSpy
It's Street Fighter IV on your iPhone. It looks great, controls well, and has mutliplayer. If you enjoy fighting games, buy it!
100 Slide to Play
Street Fighter IV sets the golden standard for iPhone fighters.
90 148Apps
I love this game. CAPCOM spent a lot of time developing it and it shows. Street Fighter IV for the iPhone/iTouch is a complete, quality port of its console counterpart that will appeal to both hardcore veterans and newcomers.
90 Games Radar
SFIV on iPhone does the franchise right. It may not be as accurate or precise as its console counterpart, but Capcom has managed to get the controls and feel as perfect as possible on a challenging format.
90 TouchGen
Street Fighter 4 is a must buy. Plain and simple. It offers everything a Street Fighter fan could want and more. With stunning visuals, sound, multiplayer, and the best d-pad/button controls I have seen, SF4 is worth every penny of its $10 price tag.
80 Gamereactor.se
Street Fighter IV is the absolute best fighting game on the iPhone.
80 IGN
Street Fighter IV is easily the best fighter on the iPhone right now. But more than that, it’s just a great edition of Street Fighter. The controls work extremely well for a platform with no physical buttons. The stick is precise and responsive. And it looks fantastic. My biggest gripe is a lack of fighters or extra play modes.
80 Modojo
Sure, the graphics were watered down, and there could've been more fighters and online play. But, as it stands, this is a commanding App that's worth its $9.99 price tag.
80 Pocket Gamer
Wise to the ways of tight touch controls, Street Fighter IV knocks out impressive fighting without the features and modes of play to back it up.

Tilt to Live

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

How do you play Tilt to Live? Just pick that bad boy up and tilt. Tilt for your life! Lure relentless red foes over to a handy, dandy nuke orb, then ram it and blow the bajeezes out of them. Think you can exterminate your enemies faster than they can multiply? Think again. If bajeezes aren't your style, how about unleashing a screaming flock of heat-seeking cluster missiles? A flash-freezing blast of glacial ice? Or transforming into a buzz saw of razor-sharp spikes? Put your skills to the test against 27 award challenges, and you might unlock some very pleasant surprises.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 AppSpy
Tilt to Live is a well polished delight, that any fan of pick up and play games will enjoy.
100 No DPad
The controls in Tilt to Live are flawless and I had no problems performing the incredibly precise movements the game requires.
90 148Apps
Tilt to Live is an exceptionally well designed, visually pleasing and frantically challenging action title.
90 TouchGen
This game is getting a game of the year recommendation from me, as it’s a great game. Right now the only thing stopping it from getting five stars is the lack of intuitive help screen and only one game mode.
75 Slide to Play
While we don’t think you have to Buy To Live, you should definitely Buy To Be Entertained For A While.
70 Pocket Gamer
A shallow and fun arcade action game with plenty of attitude to fill in the gaps.

Brothers in Arms 2: Global Front

Metascore (out of 100):
83
from Gameloft
FPS, $6.99, ages 12+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

The highly acclaimed Brothers in Arms series returns for its most compelling battle yet amidst the fires of WWII. For the first time, challenge up to 5 friends to multiplayer battles on a variety of five maps in 3 different modes (Free For All, Team Deathmatch, Domination). You can connect locally via Bluetooth or even go online with Wi-Fi to battle friends anywhere. Experience every front of the war with battles raging across 5 locations and 13 levels: Pacific, Normandy, North Africa, Germany, Sicily. Witness compelling cinematic moments with more interaction between you and your squad members that deepens the gameplay.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 AppSpy
Gameloft have made an impressive sequel here. It plays well, there is great pacing, and the story while nothing revolutionary is emotional and intriguing. Another solid FPS to add to their impressive lineup.
100 Slide to Play
While it doesn't push the genre as far as we had hoped, Brothers in Arms 2 delivers one of the best FPS experiences you can find on the iPhone.
80 Modojo
Slick graphics and action packed levels.
80 TouchArcade
A highly enjoyable, action-packed shooter that offers some of the most intense battle sequences you'll find on the iPhone, making this latest from Gameloft a gaming experience that's rather hard to pass up.
80 TouchGen
On the one hand you have a great thrill ride of a game, but on the other a disappointing core FPS experience due to poor AI and the almost on-rails linear feel.
77 IGN
Brothers in Arms 2: Global Front is a big improvement over the original Brothers for iPhone, but if you want a shooter for your iPhone, I have to push NOVA to the top of the pack. It’s just a better game.
75 No DPad
Brothers in Arms 2 is a step back from NOVA, that’s basically all I have to say.
70 Pocket Gamer
Fun and familiar - Brothers in Arms 2 opts for variety over freshness and largely succeeds in spite of its many minor shortcomings.

Raging Thunder 2

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

Are you ready to take on the most adrenaline pumping 3D street racer ever on a handheld platform? Raging Thunder 2 will take you through abandoned temples, tropical beaches, snow-covered mountains, the Great Wall and a range of other breathtaking vistas the world over! Buy new cars to upgrade and balance until you have the ultimate ride then take it online to punish your opponents wherever they might be, or play an intense round of Survival, Time Attack or any other of the 5 single player game modes. Buckle up and get ready to take it to the streets in this seminal sequel to Polarbits award-winning Raging Thunder.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
90 148Apps
If you love arcade racers, Raging Thunder 2 is one of the best available for the iPhone/iPod Touch platform.
80 AppSpy
If you want a racer that's just about speed and destruction, Raging Thunder 2 has you covered.
80 Pocket Gamer
Combining arcade racing thrills with kart racing spills, Raging Thunder 2's well-featured single player mode and accomplished online multiplayer modes ensure its place among the iPhone racing elite.
75 No DPad
While Raging Thunder 2 has its flaws, it’s still one of the best arcade racers on the iPhone.
75 Slide to Play
Like its predecessor, Raging Thunder 2 is frantic and fun.

Vector Tanks EXTREME!

Metascore (out of 100):
79
from BlipTime Studios
Action, $1.99, ages 12+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

You are in command of a futuristic tank amid a surreal 3D battlefield. Enemy tanks are everywhere. Survival seems impossible! Your mission: Take out as many enemy targets as you can before you are destroyed.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 No DPad
Vector Tanks EXTREME is not for the faint of heart. But if action is your drug, then VTX is like crack.
80 IGN
As a retrohead, the classic vectors are a visual treat, especially because they have been amped up with additional special effects like blooming. The controls are easy to pick-up, rage mode is a gas, and the voice work is great fun.
80 TouchGen
Vector Tanks EXTREME! is a great pick up and play action shooter. It is really intense, and it takes a lot of focus to get anywhere fast.
75 Slide to Play
Not a lot has changed in Extreme, but arcade purists will find a worthy challenge awaiting them should they decide to kick up the action a few notches.
60 AppSpy
Vector graphics, tank warfare. If you can used to the control scheme, there's a lot of fun to be had here.

Bonus Game

If you don't mind going a bit over our $30 total monthly budget, here's another major release receiving positive reviews ...

Transformers G1: Awakening

Metascore (out of 100):
80
from Glu Games
Strategy, $4.99, ages 4+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

After 4 million years, a volcanic eruption awakens the Transformers. Use the strengths of each Autobot to defeat the Decepticons in turn-based strategic battles. You must capture sources of Energon power to reactivate, repair or upgrade your Transformers. Get ready for epic moments. This is more than meets the eye!

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100 Slide to Play
It may not be full of transformative epic battles on massive maps, but Transformers G1: Awakening is a great cinematic experience.
85 IGN
Transformers G1: Awakening is quite simply the best Transformers game I have ever played.
80 148Apps
Even with the graphics as bad as they were, the gameplay is such that the package is a must play experience.
80 Modojo
There's no denying that Glu Mobile did a great job adapting Transformers into a turn-based strategy game. G1 Awakening lacks the pomp and circumstance in Activision's games, but it's both fun as well as a cool trip back to a time when Saturday morning cartoons and toys were actually good.
80 TouchArcade
As a strategy game, Transformers G1 Awakening offers up enough twists to help it stand out in a sea of similar games.
75 No DPad
Transformers G1 is a solid turn-based strategy game, but it isn’t perfect by any means.
70 Pocket Gamer
A nicely constructed, though often shallow tactical game that deserves attention for its quality portrayal of Transformers G1.
70 TouchGen
Transformers G1: Awakening is a quality title paying homage to one of the coolest animated series from my youth. Highlights are the graphics, the camp story and the music.

What NOT to buy

Some of the more disappointing titles -- at least in the eyes of critics -- released over the past month include Rayman II: The Great Escape 56, Catacombs 60, and Alice in Wonderland: The Movie 72. Also, if you were considering the two Final Fantasy games recently released for the iPhone, note that neither one is all that impressive: FFI has a score of 75, while FFII is scoring 72.

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 games that deserve a download? Let us know in the comments section below.

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

Comments (9)

  • jeff  

    Thanks for this feature Marc Doyle, et al. But with the Ipad coming which should be the BEST portable gamer on the market, and with 50-100 million iphones and ipod touches you really should have them fully featured.

  • lucas  

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE! you guys need to add an ipod/iphone section to your games, instead of making these features every month you can just have a whole section where we can view these at our leisure! thanks for doing these features by the way.

  • Mitch Sloan  

    Yes, you guys should definitely get an iPhone section going. I assume that these monthly features are just whetting our appetite for the real thing. It's a legitimate gaming platform, and I think people are going to be more fired up to play some simple games rather than these freakin' RPGs or MMORPGs that take 30 or 40 hours to get through and require reading freakin' directions or a handbook. I wan't some pick up and play, arcade-style action, and I think iPhone game developers are tapping into that. Let's get the "best of'" lists going like you do with the PSP, DS, NGage, etc.

  • Demis Giamalis  

    Please please PLEASE add in an iPhone section as a permanent feature on metacritic. HUGE demand for it.

  • Matt  

    Would LOVE to see an iPhone games section. This was a very useful article. Thanks!

  • Captain Maniac!  

    YES! Please add an iPod touch / iPad games section! I keep looking for it and it's not there.

  • Chad  

    Yes, please add an Ipod touch/Iphone/Ipad gaming section. It would be very Useful!

  • mmh  

    my list

    http://iphoneandyou.wordpress.com/2010/06/02/appstore-top-5-cool-games/

  • xKeri  

    My favourites are Bejeweled and Soosiz <3 I can play them for hours and they are super addictive there are some good games i found from here

    http://www.tech4girls.com/guides/the-best-most-addictive-iphoneipod-touch-games/

    Keri x

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