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5 iOS Games You Should Own (But Might Not)

by Eric Frederiksen | September 18, 2012September 18, 2012 12:00 pm PST

Everyone has Angry Birds, Words with Friends and Draw Something. Most fans of touch gaming know Sword and Sworcery, Infinity Blade and Tiny Tower. Instead of recommending those again, here are a few games for iPad and iPhone you may not have heard of or have hesitated to buy.

10000000 (Universal, $1.99)

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When it first hit the iTunes store, 10000000 (App Store) was described by TouchArcade as having a bad icon and a terrible name, but they’re right: It’s an awesome puzzle game.

The first screen promises freedom at 10000000 points. To reach this goal, the tiny pixelated hero has to run through endless tunnels, fighting monsters, busting into chests and through locked doors, doing damage and collecting resources. The dungeon itself is constantly sneaking up on you, limiting your time. To interact with monsters, chests and doors, you’ll match tiles at the bottom of the screen.

This fusion of timed tile matching and endless runner strikes just the right balance. The game is fast-paced, the controls are responsive, and the take on the tile matching genre feels fresh.

The game’s been getting a ton of attention in the games press over the last week and it’s well deserved.

Tiny Wings ($0.99 iPhone, $2.99 iPad)

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Tiny Wings (App Store HD/SD) is simple. Help the optimistic, if less-than-aerodynamic, bird go as far as he can in a day, building momentum by diving into divots and launching off hills. Touch the screen to dive and let go to fly. The simplicity is deceptive and the mechanic is incredibly catchy.

The adorably stunted bird in Andreas Illiger’s single-touch game has been taking to the clouds for a full year and a half, but it’s just this summer that the little guy has been able to do so in full high definition.

As someone who owned the original I can say the update is definitely worth it. Even better: if you’re just on an iPhone or iPod, the update is free; the only thing that costs any additional money is the extra pixels.

Radballs (Universal, $0.99)

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Radballs (App Store) wears its ’80s influences right on its sleeve and isn’t the least bit ashamed. Everything about it, aside from the fact that it’s on an iPad, oozes ’80s style.

Mechanically it’s a simple tile-matcher, where you move the different-colored balls into 2×2 (or larger) blocks, while a bar travels across the screen to eliminate them, not unlike Lumines or Chime.

At just $0.99, though, style counts for a lot. Radballs is covered in palm tree silhouettes, pastel gradients and paint splatters. Some of the radballs wear shutter shades. The soundtrack, though, is the best part. The synth-heavy soundtrack comprises artists like OK Go, Com Truise and others. Every track is is an earworm, and the game is even considerate enough to make the soundtrack playable in a separate menu and provide a link to the artists’ iTunes pages.

Tilt to Live ($2.99 iPhone, $4.99 iPad)

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Tilt to Live (App Store HD/SD) uses the tilt mechanics (as one might expect) exclusively, discarding any kind of touch or swipe aside from the menus used to start the game. As the dot in the center of the screen, you must survive as long as possible against the red dots, unleashing deadly purple waves and blue explosions to clear the board. At $2.99 it might seem a little expensive, but it has that special one-more-game quality and somehow there aren’t a million imitators.

Also, I heard the music from it on a Food Network show, which was pretty weird.

At the time of this writing, Tilt to Live HD is free on the App Store.

Organ Trail (Universal, $2.99)

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This game might not hold the same entrancing nostalgia value for some younger players that it does for those of us who remember when Apple and Two were said without “iPad” between them.

For anyone that doesn’t remember Oregon Trail, it was an educational computer game meant to teach grade-school kids about the path pioneers took to the west coast and the hardships they encountered on the way. Organ Trail (App Store) isn’t simply the original concept plus zombies (in the way of books like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), but a more modern re-imagining. The cart is replaced with a station wagon, oxen with fuel, etc.

This game is a must-play for anyone looking forward to a zombie apocalypse. For anyone familiar with the flash version, this is the Director’s Cut, adding in things like leaderboards, achievements and some actual game content (though it’s hard to tell what, since not even the developer website specifies).

Don’t let the old school graphics turn you off; Organ Trail is as hardcore as DayZ.


Eric Frederiksen

Eric Frederiksen has been a gamer since someone made the mistake of letting him play their Nintendo many years ago, pushing him to beg for his own,...

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