All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy
When you first get an iPhone, you probably don't immediately think about playing games on it. I mean, it's your phone, right? You think about keeping your life in order, planning out your days, and all of the ways you can stay connected with everyone. But what about your way to unwind and have some fun? Sure, you can sit back and let the iPod app wash over you while you wind down from a long day, but sometimes we need more than that; sometimes we need to not only take care of our work life, but also satisfy the kid in us. We need fun in our lives!
We all have a thirst for adventure, a need for excitement, and a need to wind down in one way or another. So, why not get that in the form of a game? After all, your gaming device happens to be something you already use everyday and also happens to fit right in your pocket.
And you can't say no to fun when it's right in your pocket!
Where Are The Buttons On This Thing?
What makes iPhone gaming most appealing is the way you are able to manipulate gameplay with the controls. From touchscreen to accelerometer, there really is no limit. The ability to use mere gestures, or finger strokes, to play a game on your device is simply amazing. But even more unique are the games that allow the use of the accelerometer. This allows you to control the game by way of tilting your iDevice. This is especially nice when implemented into racing games.
The most difficult genre of game to play, with the touch controls as they are, is any of the shooter games. Having to control your movement — not very fluidly I might add — while aiming and successfully hitting a target proves to be quite difficult.
Touch screens can be a bit tricky, I'll admit. They're not always fine-tuned for certain gameplay. How it handles depends solely on the type of control the specific game has, but overall the iDevice controls are second to none.
Gaming As A Social Activity And How To Brag About Your Scores With Game Center
The social aspect of gaming in general is what keeps this hobby popular. We want to play games, not only by ourselves, but with other people. We want to see how we stack up against our friends and even complete strangers.
The main appeal of gaming is the competition. By nature, we're extremely competitive and that's what drives us to keep playing games. This is what we come back for — to win.
Enter: Game Center. This is a preinstalled app on your iPhone where you can keep track of all of your games, achievements, and friends. Essentially, it just ties your iDevice gaming life together. With individual leaderboards for each game, you can see how you match up against players all over the world or even which one of your friends got the best Angry Birds score this week.
Game Center also allows you to open all compatible games from one centralized location. This is especially useful for when you finish this article and start to discover the endless sea of games available in the App Store. Soon enough, you will accumulate quite a collection and will be happy to tuck your games away in folders and access them solely through Game Center.
Unfortunately, not all games have Game Center support. This doesn't mean the games without it aren't playable or fun, though, it can take away form the overall satisfaction. Some games have other ways of tracking achievements and overall game progress (e.g., OpenFeint).
The display on the iPhone has always been superb. But now, with the brilliant retina display on the fourth generation iDevices, the aesthetics of iPhone gaming have certainly become amazing. The graphics are so crisp and clean, games literally pop out at you. Some games you can purchase in the App Store will even come with 3D graphics.
What Kinds Of Games Are Available On The iPhone?
When you think of gaming in general you may think, "Hey! Where has all my time gone?" You may remember sitting down to play some Zelda and, before you know it, it's five hours later — what have you done with your life?
If you choose to do so, you can hunker down with your iPhone for hours and get lost in many iOS games. However, this doesn't always have to be the case. Whether you're a casual gamer just trying to relax and have some fun, or a more serious type in it for the competition, there's certainly an app for that.
In fact, the majority of games in the App Store are quick pick-up-and-play games that appeal to everyone. Whether you're waiting in line at the DMV, or sitting in a doctor's office waiting room, the iPhone can keep you company for as long, or as short, as you want it to. I mean, who needs friends to keep you company when you've got your iPhone? You certainly will not be making any at the DMV, anyway.
Some Games To Get You Started
The App Store can be an overwhelming place initially. Especially when you’ve just purchased your first iDevice and don’t know where to begin. The majority of the App Store is filled with games and every genre you can imagine. Although this means there are a lot of apps to sift through (which AppAdvice helps you do), this also means you have many options.
Let's start off simple. If you've never played a free runner game before, Canabalt is the one that will get you hooked. Your character is continuously running while you control when he jumps. Avoid obstacles and certain death in the form of falling off of a building all while the fast-paced music and gameplay keep you on the edge of your seat.
The App Store is littered with many types of puzzle games — from Scrabble-like word games to Tetris. Puzzle games are very popular. Most puzzle games in the App Store are games you can play whenever. Whether you only have a few minutes, or have more time to spend, these puzzles can accommodate any type of player.
Peggle is a great starter puzzle app to have. It’s kind of like an advanced, more amazing version of Pong. It’s like playing a game of pinball on your iPhone. The goal is to eliminate all of the orange pegs to beat the level, but you’re only given a certain number of balls to do this with.
The Heist is the ultimate puzzle app to keep your mind sharp and challenged. There are four different types of puzzles all in one: a Sudoku-like symbol game to a sliding blocks game. The variety make this a must-have.
Another popular puzzle-like game is Cut The Rope. In this game, you use your finger on the touchscreen to slice the ropes and feed Om Nom the candy to progress through the levels. And once you've mastered the original, there are many other Cut The Rope versions available to challenge you even more.
If you’re a word game fanatic, definitely start with Words With Friends. There many people to play against, it’s currently the most played mobile word game. It’s like playing a game of Scrabble, but at your leisure.
Tower defense games are another popular genre. The goal of this genre of game is to essentially defeat waves of enemies that come at you. Although Plants Vs. Zombies is the most popular here, The Creeps! is also a good one to start off with, too.
The most popular games right now though are definitely simulation games. You remember the Sims games for your computer? These games simulate real life actions, usually in the business category. Why do we feel the need to play these? I have no idea, but we can't seem to put them down once we start. Whether you’re owning and operating your own business like in Mega Mall Story or being a stock girl at a grocery store in Supermarket Mania, simulation games can be really entertaining.
I would start off with playing some Tiny Tower. It's free to play and makes you feel powerful as you control businesses and the citizens that live in your tower. It’s micro management in addictive game form. You’ll never look back.
Racing games are another genre that are extremely fun to play on the iPhone, especially if they use the accelerometer (tilt to control your vehicle). Shrek Kart is one that utilizes these controls and it’s really fun. Think Mario Kart Wii, but for your iPhone — and with Shrek characters.
More involved games may be of the RPG genre or turn-based strategy games like Civilization Revolution. Civilization brings the epic computer game straight to your iPhone. Wage wars against great leaders, inspire your nation, and just rule the world in this epic battle of civilizations. Or if you would RPGs, such as Order and Chaos Online. This is literally like World of Warcraft gone mobile.
Just like we can now play computer games on our phone, there are also a lot of well-known console or arcade games in the App Store.Street Fighter IV Volt is a name I’m sure most people recognize. As with most Capcom games, you can play online, or just play against the AI. Either way, arcade gaming has never been so convenient.
If you’re not big on game-games, maybe you would prefer a more musical experience. There are a lot of games that involve playing music. The most well known of this genre is definitely Tap Tap Revenge. Think of it as Guitar Hero for your iPhone.
Another musical game is Groove Coaster. This one takes this genre to an entirely new, and refreshingly creative, level. The 3D environment keeps you gawking at you surroundings, yet the music relaxes you and keeps you in the groove.
Sports fans are certainly not left out either. Play the older console sports games like NBA Jam, or play actual sports on your iPhone: from golf to skiing to bowling — the App Store has it all.
There is, no doubt, literally something for everyone in the App Store. Any type of game genre you can think of is available for your entertainment. Whether it be a simple word games or a more advanced RPG, I'm sure you'll find just what you're looking for.
How Much Is That App In The Window?
Just as games come in all different shapes, sizes, and genres, they also cost different amounts. While most [casual] games in the App Store are only $0.99 to $2.99 in price, there are some that can cost upwards of $9.99.
Although there are some games that you must pay for, there are also a lot of free-to-play games in the App Store. When you think "free," you probably don't picture quality, but surprisingly there are a lot of great free games.
Some apps have in-app purchases now, even free apps. This means that, even if the app itself was free, sometimes you can still buy things to help you along or simply enhance gameplay. For instance, if you're playing a game and you're stuck on a certain level, some apps have a one time "help" purchase that you can make. This means that you click the button to buy it, your iTunes account is charged, and now you are able to permanently bypass, or automatically beat a level if you're stuck.
But I'm Still Not Sure Which Games To Try …
If you're still a bit lost and need some guidance, don't be shy! Check out the App Store. Shop around for games, get a feel for what's out there. Check out the App Store reviews and take a gander at the featured games. What are other people playing? What are the most downloaded games? It's all just a click away.
And if you've had your fill of App Store recommendations, and you still need app advice — see what I did there? — I know of the perfect app and site to quench your thirst for all things app. AppAdvice will give you the run down on which apps to get and which apps to avoid, as well as keep you up to date with the latest in technology news — and, hey! We even do giveaways!
The Console In Your Pocket
In the end, gaming on your iPhone brings both convenience and intuitiveness into play. Not only are there a variety of fun and challenging games of which you can choose, you can play only when and what you want to. There's always time for gaming. Especially when you have your console in your pocket. You're ready to go whenever you have some free time.
So, put your game face on! Pretty soon you'll be forgetting you can make phone calls with your iPhone because you'll be immersed in the sea of iOS gaming.
And remember, folks, your iPhone isn't just a device for work or updating Facebook on your current bowel movement status — have some fun!
(Please note: This piece has not yet been published and belongs to AppAdvice.com.)