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20 best iPhone games of 2009

5. Tom Clancy's HAWX

Price: $6.99
Free demo available? Yes

Why we love it: With its accelerometer, the iPhone has always been well-suited for flight simulators. And for a long time, the king of those was an app called FAST. In December, however, HAWX changed that for good. The controls are the same, but while FAST was based on short half-minute missions, HAWX introduced long-form missions that could take upwards of 15-20 minutes and evolve an engrossing storyline mid-flight. Consider the bar permanently raised.


4. Zen Bound

Price: $1.99
Free demo available? Yes

Why we love it: Most iPhone games are better played than described, and this is doubly true with Zen Bound. When we tell you that it involves wrapping up small wooden toys with lengths of string, you’ll likely roll your eyes and move on to the next entry. Just trust us – and the dozens of other critics who have lavished the game with praise. Zen Bound is one of the best puzzlers to be released in years. Not just for iPhone, but for any platform, period.


3. Space Invaders: Infinity Gene

Price: $4.99
Free demo available? Yes

Why we love it: The theme of Space Invaders: Infinity Gene is evolution. Throughout the game, you’ll be presented with evolutionist quotes and famous philosophical thoughts – the point is to demonstrate that the simple play mechanics you’re starting out with (a basic model of the original Space Invaders) are going to change and mutate as you pass levels. By the time you reach the fifth stage, you’ll be dumbfounded at what the game has become. Suddenly, you’re playing a manically hectic top-down shooter with tons of modern ideas. Infinity Gene has more in common with a Sega Saturn-era 2D space shooter than the original arcade game.


2. Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor

Price: $2.99
Free demo available? No

Why we love it: Spider is as close as you can get to an "art game" on the iPhone, but it's not just for the pretentious. You move from room to room in a mansion, creating webs to trap flies and other insects, while slowly realizing that you’re also unraveling the mysterious story behind the mansion itself. You can play for the poetic vibe, but the game is also pretty fun as an action-adventure whenever you feel like jumping in and tackling some hornets out of mid-air.


1. NOVA

Price: $6.99
Free demo available? No

Why we love it: Forget what you thought you knew about the iPhone. Once you've played NOVA, any previous conceptions about mobile games being one-button shovelware will fly right out the window. Not only is NOVA a good first person shooter -- a compliment which has seldom in history been granted to a handheld game -- it's also a technical feat that will push the boundaries of what developers are willing to try on the platform. Granted, NOVA is also a colossal rip-off of Halo… considering how well the developers ripped Halo off for a tiny touch screen, though, we're willing to let that slide.

Watch. This game will be endlessly imitated in the months and years to come. For now, however, it’s the greatest first-person shooter ever designed for a mobile platform.

Jan 26, 2010


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Topics

iPhone Mobile

25 comments

  • DoctorCrazy - February 17, 2010 11:53 p.m.

    Where is the Quest!!!!!!!!!!
  • WayByWind - February 2, 2010 12:30 a.m.

    I'd like to see a dedicated iPhone/Touch section of GamesRadar, and these bite-sized little paragraphs seem like a great review format.
  • kare123ty - February 1, 2010 9:13 p.m.

    I don't know if Canabalt is worth $3 because you can just play it online... Also, N.O.V.A. is a really good game, even without any joysticks or buttons because the controls are in good locations and work well. There is what I think is a fantastic pot of Mega Man 2, with even more modes than the original, but I don't know if it was released in 2009.
  • EricBratcher - January 29, 2010 1 a.m.

    Chinatown Wars was actually released in 2010, so it's not eligible for this article. Stay tuned. We'll probably be doing a bit more iPhone stuff going forward, especially if you guys make clear to us that you want it by clicking and commenting.
  • Gonzobot - January 28, 2010 4:17 a.m.

    The simple fact that you've got FPS games in a toplist for a system with NO BUTTONS OR JOYSTICK shows that you know jack shit about good games.
  • uupinko - January 28, 2010 2:11 a.m.

    Great article but I would have like to have seen Doom Classic closer to the top of the list. Jess www.online-privacy.int.tc
  • MattyBoomLol - January 28, 2010 2:03 a.m.

    Canabalt is truly awesome... but where is Train Conductor? :D
  • highsox20 - January 28, 2010 12:12 a.m.

    Solid list, WHERE IS NAZI ZOMBIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! best iphone game hands down
  • testertap99 - January 27, 2010 11:18 p.m.

    Drop7 is the best game on the iPhone, no question.
  • JohnnyMaverik - January 27, 2010 4:10 p.m.

    @ NotBraze Well seeing as GamesRadar only really review the big titles now in their super reviews, with a couple slipping through on the side (Machinarium, Rogue Warrior) I doubt they'd actually review many if any of the iPhone games themselves. I'm not sure how many of their Future owned partners review iPhone games either, so you'd probably end up with a blank section seeing as the reviews on this site have to come from GamesRadar or a Future partner (for obvious reasons).
  • boyverygood011 - January 27, 2010 3:56 p.m.

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  • boyverygood011 - January 27, 2010 3:41 p.m.

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  • iKOemos - January 27, 2010 5:11 a.m.

    NOVA looks awesome. I'm getting it.
  • raxafrax - January 27, 2010 5:09 a.m.

    Baseball Superstars 2010 is really good too.
  • NotBraze - January 27, 2010 3:01 a.m.

    You've had several articles now about how the iPhone (and, by extension, the iPod Touch) is a legitimate gaming platform, yet you guys still don't have a section dedicated to it like you do with everything else. These compilation reviews are great but I'd like to see iPhone games get individual reviews as well.
  • Ravenbom - January 27, 2010 2:26 a.m.

    Doom but no Myst? It's only like 5 bucks now and has a demo. Myst is more of what an iPhone game should be, since it's pretty chill (you won't be screaming at your iPhone while standing in line at the DMV) and there's a guide that comes with the game, something I didn't have back in the ftp days of the interwebz.
  • Hobojedi - January 27, 2010 1:09 a.m.

    THANK YOU. I've been looking for something good to play on my little iPod. Also GeoDefenseSwarm is great if you like the TD games. It gets hard fast though
  • Yeager1122 - January 27, 2010 12:11 a.m.

    Hmmmmmm now im thinking i got to get nova.
  • Ocelot3997 - January 27, 2010 12:02 a.m.

    @Darkmagshin Chinatown Wars is amazing, but it came out in January 2010. It will almost certainly be on next year's list though. At this point it's the #1 of 2010.
  • Cyberninja - January 26, 2010 11:42 p.m.

    still sad i dont have a ipod touch

Showing 1-20 of 25 comments

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