Though many have derided Steve Jobs's claims that the iPhone is a gaming device, that hasn't stopped a large number of developers from having a go at it. What might be a surprise is the number of large publishers and developers that have also hitched their wagon to the iPhone's -- and now the iPad's -- rising star. Many of them are testing the waters by choosing to create spin-off games based on existing titles in hopes that the popularity will transfer over from one platform to the next. Here are 10 mobile games that extend your PC gaming experience, for better or worse.
10. Resident Evil 4: Mobile Edition
Considering how much the original Resident Evil 4
did for the franchise, it's ludicrous that the Mobile Edition
even made it onto the iPhone, as it manages to undo all of RE4
's innovation, reducing a great game to what looks and feels like the very first Resident Evil
. The animation is terrible, the controls awkward and unwieldy, and the plot and dialogue stilted and worthless. It looks like a PlayStation One game, and that's nearly unforgivable these days, given how sharp so many other iPhone games look. Give this one a pass and go play the real thing.
9. Doom Resurrection
This plays more like House of the Dead
than any kind of Doom
game. Doom Resurrection
is an on-rails shooter that uses the accelerometer to aim, dodge, and shake off enemies when they grab the character. While all the usual tropes are here -- the fleshy, grotesque enemies; the washed-out monochromatic palette; the repetitive growls and wails -- the gameplay is so basic it's nearly insulting. There is almost no sophistication to this game; it's a wonder that id even released it with their name on it at all. Having said all that, if you're looking to pass some time, this will work between bus rides.
8. Call of Duty: World at War: Zombies
The Call of Duty
series is beloved among players of World War II first-person shooters, but if all you knew of the franchise was this Zombies
offshoot, you'd be hard-pressed to understand why. I'll say it directly: if your game controls require the player to obscure the action with their fingers, you've failed. This game is the hunt-and-peck method of zombie eradication, and it fails to entice. However, I understand that there is a competitive mode, so you might want to try it out if you're looking to play against others.
7. Mass Effect Galaxy
This game is meant to be a lead-in to Mass Effect 2, so its shallow gameplay might be forgiven. But it's difficult to say otherwise who the audience for Mass Effect Galaxy is. Players of the original will find nothing to appreciate about this version, and people who have never seen the first Mass Effect will be misled into thinking ME2 will be anything like the action in the iPhone game. It's top-down where ME was full 3D, the dialogue choices are too broadly painted, and there is none of the expansiveness of the first game. If you're simply itching to know more about this minor character, by all means pick this up, but otherwise, pass it by.
6. Assassin's Creed 2: Discovery
This time-spanning series has acquitted itself well on consoles and the PC, but its free-roaming movement seems hampered by the confines of the iPhone. Assassin's Creed 2: Discovery
has been likened in some ways to playing a Sonic the Hedgehog
game, in that there is a definite on-rails feel to the action, and a sense of speed that is baffling, given that its predecessors don't feature it as a selling point. Moreover, the player's fingers are all over the screen, getting in the way of the action and intruding on the ambiance of what's meant to represent the Renaissance Era of Europe. The one thing that remains, however, is the solid visceral feel of stabbing guys, so if you're craving more of that, you'll enjoy Discovery
5. Mirror's Edge
The original Mirror's Edge
came out to mixed reviews. A lot of these had to do with the nature of the camera and how much of Faith's (the main character) body it displayed. People found moving around the 3D environment challenging, and not always in a good way. The iPhone version changes all that with a mostly fixed 2D viewpoint, and simple, swipe-based controls. Faith runs, and the player makes her jump, wall run, slide, etc. As a game it's not terribly complex or challenging, but it makes a decent diversion. Fans of the first game might want to grab this for completeness' sake.
4. Need For Speed Shift
There will probably always be a Need For Speed
game out there somewhere; the series has been around for quite a long time. No surprise, then, that it's come to the iPhone. For the most part, the game plays the same on the iPhone as it does on the PC, until you account for the tilting mechanic, which is how the player's car is steered. It may be possible to get a decent sense of how precisely to tilt to control the movement, but it will likely take a while to master. Once that's handled, however, you'll be thrilled by the sheer sense of speed the game delivers, and the number of car options is nothing to sneeze at.
3. Spore Origins
Will Wright's Spore
was a huge success, and has spawned a couple of expansion packs. Spore Origins
is essentially the first level of Spore
, which concerns itself with the player as a single-celled organism floating around in the primordial soup. Players tilt the iPhone to move their creature around, which is a terrible thing to do to someone who is trying to watch the action on the screen. Like Spore, your creature may be upgraded in various ways, and there are some great customization features available. This is a great little time waster for both fans of the series and new players alike.
2. The Sims 3
What's most surprising about The Sims 3
for the iPhone is how much like its big brother it is. The gameplay is nearly identical, and the controls feel fine. If there is any lack, it's in the number of choices. For example, there are only a few job options to pursue, as opposed to the dozens of the PC game. That aside, the game is refreshingly full-featured, right down to the appearance creator, the personality traits, and the ability to modify one's home. It's definitely possible to spend far too much time playing this little gem, but if you're looking for a good value for your money, pick this up right away.
1. Civilization Revolution
Sid Meier's venerable Civilization
series has made the jump to the small screen with Civilization Revolution
. Though the series has always been available to PC owners first, the Revolution
brand is the first of its kind to come out for the iPhone and iPad, not to mention the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and Nintendo DS. The point-and-click nature of basic Civilization
function translates fairly smoothly to poking at the iPhone with a finger, and the typical issue with one's hand obscuring the action is ameliorated somewhat by the relatively static turn-based strategy gameplay. While not necessarily as complex as the PC games
is rich enough to be more than worth the cost, and is the best game on this list, hands down.