It's amazing what a simple change in perspective can do. Dropping the third dimension of typical sims in favor of a side-scrolling approach made the original Super Stickman Golf a revelatory mobile experience, both with its puzzle-platform single-player courses and the raucous speed-based multiplayer showdowns. Considering the ample success of the debut, Super Stickman Golf 2 expectedly doesn't mess with the formula too much, employing the same mechanics while adding fresh courses, customization options, and another gripping multiplayer mode.
The endless runner genre has been particularly well-plumbed on Apple's devices. Some of the App Store’s best-selling games are not only endless runners, but sequels, spin-offs, and imitators of existing genre entries. This environment leaves very little room for plucky upstarts like Danger Boat, as it accents similarities and demands innovative differences for a title to really stand out. Danger Boat is, at its core, very much like others in the genre. From an overhead perspective, you'll use tightly responsive tilt controls on your iPhone or iPad to steer past obstacles such as missiles, rocks, and depth charges.
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Catching scads of fish at once and then blasting them with a firearm as they're launched into the sky? It sounds like dumb fun – and it is, at first – but also potentially a flimsy gag concept intended only for shock and momentary diversion. Luckily, there's much more beneath the surface of Ridiculous Fishing, and that's not simply an easy water pun. It's the difference between a game designed for laughs and an experience made with heart, and the distinction between a title you'll pull out for moments and one that'll command your attention as you plunge into the vivid depths.
Like other popular games ported to iOS, Minecraft: Pocket Edition has spawned an abundance of "me too" clones attempting to cash in on the game's prolific momentum. Block Fortress certainly looks like just another carbon copy to throw on the pile, but it's a very different experience once you dig beneath the surface. Instead of grand exploration and adventure, this frenetic tower defense game mixes first-person shooter combat, base building, and an addicting RPG progression and unlocking system to create something that feels fresh and fun.
Liberation Maiden has all the makings of a title by Goichi Suda (a.k.a. Suda51), the eccentric creator behind console games like Lollipop Chainsaw and Killer7. In this iOS shooter, you play as a Japanese schoolgirl named Shoko and blast robotic terrorists aboard your flying mech suit; on top of that all, she’s also the president of New Japan, set 100 years in the future. Its bizarre premise brings with it shooter action that’s beautiful to look at and fun to play, but ultimately leaves you hungry for more.
Sonic the Hedgehog's rough modern history on consoles is well-documented, and his traditional iOS entries have likewise been hit-or-miss. Lately, Sega's tried to improve the blue blur's fortunes on the App Store by pairing his iconic look and abilities with tried-and-true mobile formulas. Sonic Jump aped the Doodle Jump formula with middling results, and now Sonic Dash aims to put the hero into a behind-the-back endless runner. While it's certainly a better thematic fit than the former title, this awkward entry never quite finds its footing.
Thanks in no small part to the perpetual success of Angry Birds, the puzzle game has mutated its own amazingly popular block-breaking sub-genre. Not content to simply ape the competition, Toy Story: Smash It! takes that concept into three-dimensional space, and in doing so makes for one of the best games of its kind on iOS devices. It's a simple concept that makes great use of a familiar property: Buzz Lightyear lobs balls at toy block play sets in Andy’s room, attempting to knock over all of the squeak-toy aliens in as few throws as possible.
It's no wonder that the endless runner genre has flourished on the iPhone: simple concepts and control schemes tend to work best on touch devices, and running for your life is about as basic a game premise as you can get. Luckily, thanks to inventive developers, we haven't tired of this fast-paced template, as there's a wealth of variations on the theme in the App Store with many even available for free. Need a getaway game that can send you vaulting up the leaderboards while you're actually just sitting around? Here are our picks for the 10 best endless runner games available today for iPhone.
Shaking up the classic hard-boiled detective story formula with a supernatural twist, Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller's gritty adventure game yarn about a psychic FBI agent makes a bold attempt to set itself apart from the status quo. Colorful language and violent encounters punctuate this tightly wound murder mystery geared towards more mature players, but while Episode 1: The Hangman has some pretty intense high points, it gets bogged down by dull stretches and technical issues.