Top 5 iPhone games of January 2010

You know the biggest problem with iPhone games? Volume. About a thousand of them come out each month and no gamer has the time or the cash flow to sift through the mountains of sludge and search out the good stuff. That’s where we come in. We’ve navigated the iMinefield of cash-ins, wannabes, and just plain crap to deliver to you the five mega-funnest, most addictive, and flat-out best games released during the past month. Then, because we care about you, we went ahead and toe-tagged two truly awful games that you MUST avoid even if they give you the puppy dog eyes from the window. They might look cute, but they stink so badly, even zombies think they smell rotten.

5) Tractor Beam
Free Demo Available? No

This is a bit of a dark horse candidate to make the monthly top five, but this game is just impossible to put down. You begin as a spaceship that has run out of fuel. It's only method of propulsion is to latch onto nearby asteroids with its tractor beam. This creates an awesome new mass vs momentum type of motion. It's almost Doodle Jump-esque in its never ending goal to get further into the sky, but the way in which you move is so addictive and challenging that it elevates this one above the herd.

It's a bit frustrating and difficult to learn at first, but you'll pick it up quickly. Soon you'll be swinging through the rocks at full speed making 90 degree turns and stopping on a dime. Without exception this is one of the most tense and fun games we've ever found at $0.99.

4) Cogs
Price: $0.99
Free Demo Available? No

Cogs is one of the coolest, most unique puzzle games on the iPhone, a system with literally thousands of shoddy match-3 games and bewildering sliding block soft-core-porn-puzzles (seriously, why not just go find real porn?) Normally we're not the biggest fans of the genre in general, but Cogs changes the rules a bit. Many of the puzzles exist as one side of a 3D object. You have to piece all of the gears together in order to make the object operate.

It's not going to change your mind if you're not already a fan of puzzle games, but it's an interesting twist for those who have been frustrated by the lack of innovation in this genre.

3) Assassin's Creed II: Discovery
Free Demo Available? No

Didn't get enough of Ezio Auditore da Firenze's delicious accent when Assassin's CreedII released back in November? Well now you can get your fill on the iPhone because the NDS version has been ported over with some tweaks and optimizations.

The core gameplay is a mixture of combat and free-running sections (which are among the best in the game) that give an unexpected sense of speed that is reminiscent of Canabalt at times. The only reason to stay away from this game is the fairly steep price. It's still far cheaper than the DS version, but $11.99 makes it one of the most expensive games on the App Store. You may want to wait for the price to drop, but snatch it up once it does.

2) Guerrilla Bob
Free Demo Available? No

Considering Chinatown Wars made its way onto the App Store without a peep from Rockstar, you would have been justified in thinking that Guerrilla Bob must be the second coming of Christ judging by how much Chillingo talked it up pre-release.

In truth, Guerrilla Bob doesn't transcend its simple 2.5D shoot-em-up roots, but it's still a damn good shooter. The real story for GB is that it actually has a unique personality. On the iPhone, hundreds of developers fall flat on their face when trying to make their games unique and funny, but GB's attitude and cavalier approach to political correctness are refreshing. Sometimes it feels a bit like they're trying too hard, but mowing down thousands of little Bin Laden's never really gets old.

Next page: Our pick for iPhone Game of the Monthand two games you absolutely need to avoid