The 10 most hardcore iPhone and iPod Touch games

In this feature, we’re opening your eyes to the real iPod touch and iPhone hardcore gaming list. Forget Wolfenstein 3D Classic, Metal Gear Solid Touch and Myst. Our list provides a selection of games that force your brain to scream and your reactions to sharpen. If you can master and beat these ten titles, then you can lay claim to being a truly hardcore gamer.


Buy it from the App Store

Steph Thirion’s first-rate retro-oriented planet management game is slightly less hardcore than it once was, due to lots of whiny weaklings complaining about its challenging difficulty level. (Your correspondent might actually have been one of them, but is not admitting anything.)

However, the game remains much as it was when first released: planets of varying colours pop on to the screen, and you combine them or tear them apart so they match like-coloured ‘squeesars’. Flinging a planet into a squeesar removes it from the screen and results in energy-boosting stardust being sprayed everywhere (which you ‘wipe’ up); but if planets collide, your energy soon runs dry. Tactics on one level become useless on others, so you have to learn how to defeat each stage and adapt your style accordingly.


Buy it from the App Store

Although released for Mac in 2007, it was on iPod that Frenzic found its true home. The rules of the fast-paced action puzzler are simple: place wedges (of six positions and three colours) into one of six discs. Complete circles vanish, and ones of a single colour provide an extra life, along with a power-up if completed in one of the three power-up spaces.

And, boy, do you need those extras, because Frenzic is mean when it comes to ramping up speed. Within a couple of minutes, you’ll frantically dump wedges wherever you can, and soon realise Frenzic’s about management and ‘risk versus reward’ - do you go for those single-colour circles and risk losing lives when pieces can’t be placed, or play it safe? Either way, only the hardcore need apply, because this isn’t a game for people who cry when Tetris pieces have the audacity to move at more than two pixels per second.

Flight Control

Buy it from the App Store

So popular it spawned an entire genre of path-dragging games on the App Store, Firemint’s Flight Control superficially appears to be a jolly walk in the park (well, sky). But under the surface lurks an experience that will challenge the most grizzled of hardcore gamers.

The rules of the game are simple - you drag craft to like-coloured landing strips/pads, and the first mid-air collision signals game over. Initially, the game is simple, but the difficultly ramps up as the number of airborne craft increases, forcing you to make quick decisions and refinements and plan ahead to ensure your craft stay apart. Although the difficulty of the original airfield plateaus somewhat, allowing for obscene scores in the tens of thousands, anyone who considers this game ‘casual’ and themselves ‘hardcore’ should try the military level, with its lazily rotating aircraft carrier. Master that and you’re a truly hardcore gamer.




  • maximoO - September 5, 2009 2:02 a.m.

    dudes i got assassins screed for itouch it awsome
  • MetalGearFlaccid - September 2, 2009 2:49 a.m.

    Jesus, that Space Invaders Game looks incredible! I love both SP Extreme and Rez HD, so this looks like the perfect fusion of the two ideals!
  • dahsif - September 1, 2009 7:37 p.m.

    Space Invaders Infinity Gene is an amazing game: very daring, challenging and really beautiful. BUY IT.
  • purpleshirt - September 1, 2009 3:56 p.m.

    holy fucking shit you can get space invaders on the Iphone? thats kickass
  • buminyaface - September 1, 2009 10:30 a.m.

    i hav mazefinger and is pretty hard, the guy shouting about how badly u did after reeli doesnt help tho 3rd :D
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - September 1, 2009 10:22 a.m.

    I realised the pointlessness of me reading this article about a page and a half in.... Never mind, I'll send it to one of my obsessive friends with an iTouch
  • CraigGrannell - September 9, 2009 3:48 p.m.

    @lovinmyps3 - Eliss is great, if you're willing to put in the effort. You need to adapt to each level, along with being willing to play a truly multitouch game (including 'holding' various planets steady with two fingers while tearing and flinging others with two more). @sharker - geoDefense is indeed great. I've included it in other articles I've written about iPod games. The aim here was to show games that, when you beat them, you can properly call yourself hardcore. @avangelist - Monkey Island didn't really fit in with the theme of this piece. It's a pretty relaxed game. As for Peggle, it's randomised ball flinging - pinball without the skill. (Cat/pigeons!)
  • avangelist - September 6, 2009 10:33 p.m.

    No mentioned of Monkey Island? why the heck not? Doesn't make sense. These games aren't that great. Peggle is another great one, really busts your brain.
  • sharker - September 4, 2009 11:22 p.m.

    You guys should try geoDefense, it's like geometry wars but tower defense style and it's awesome
  • lovinmyps3 - September 3, 2009 5:14 p.m.

    Eliss looks way cool! I might have to get that!
  • gutlessVADER - September 2, 2009 1:02 a.m.

    kewj (not first :(((((((((((((((()
  • doomdoomdoom - September 2, 2009 12:12 a.m.

    these don't look so good
  • gatorfan122394 - September 1, 2009 10:50 p.m.

    hah i have like 2 of those. pretty awesome games though. alive-4-ever shoulda been on there
  • iLoveKFC - September 1, 2009 8:18 p.m.

  • noobeater - September 1, 2009 4:59 p.m.

    most of these games look actually really good but obviously pac man had to finish top
  • H2A2I00 - September 1, 2009 1:22 p.m.

    Space Invaders seems pretty cool
  • nogoodnamesavailable - September 1, 2009 10:20 a.m.

    10 more reasons to get an iphone oh and first

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