Latest iOS games
Andrew Hayward looks at this month’s best new releases
The past month was a huge one for iPhone hardware, from the now-released iPhone 8 and 8 Plus to the upcoming iPhone X, but you don’t need a new device to have a little fun right now. We saw loads of intriguing new iPhone and iPad games debut. These are the games that made the strongest impression, from the ethereal Flower and puzzling The Witness to the frantic online battles of Modern Combat Versus and the glossy hoops action of NBA 2K18.
1. Flower Price: £4.99 from tinyurl.com/y924oxcs
First released for PlayStation 3 in 2009, Flower is one of my all-time favourite video games, so imagine my surprise when it popped up on the App Store. It’s a quiet, almost meditative experience in which you control actual flower petals, beginning with one and then guiding it around open spaces with the breeze to activate other flowers and re-beautify the surroundings.
Yes, it’s an 'art game’, but it’s a really gorgeous and unexpectedly emotional one. And it works pretty well on iOS, letting you tilt your device to send the petals soaring around as you tap and hold the screen. I can’t recommend it enough.
2. The Witness Price: £9.99 from tinyurl.com/ycuqr7tc
Six months after its Mac debut, The Witness is now also available on iOS, and it’s surely one of the meatiest and most engrossing puzzle games found on the App Store. This first-person experience finds you on a vibrant, deserted island filled with hundreds of puzzles, and you’ll wander about the world and try and solve them to figure out the mystery at hand.
The brain-teasers start simply enough with little maze puzzles on placards, which you’ll solve by drawing your finger from start to finish, but they quickly become significantly more complicated and start to be more intertwined with your surroundings. It could take you dozens of hours to play through The Witness, but it seems like it’d be time well spent.
3. Modern Combat Versus Price: Free from tinyurl.com/yddaloty
Gameloft’s Modern Combat series has been a reliable source for online multiplayer thrills over the years, even if it’s pretty much been a carbon copy of Call of Duty – and this time around, there’s no single-player campaign mode to pull you away from the competitive action. That’s right: as the title suggests, Modern Combat Versus is all about online play. Luckily, it’s all pretty impressive. This is easily one of the best-looking games I’ve ever played on iPhone or iPad, ramping up the ‘console-quality’ claim to new heights, and the controls are a bit simpler this time around to make the first-person blasting even more manageable. It’s still a free-to-play game, so there might be some annoyances along the way, but the core action is stronger than ever.
4. NBA 2K18 Price: £7.99 from tinyurl.com/y9tzoorc
Looking to shoot some hoops on your commute? 2K Sports is back with NBA 2K18, which delivers another impressive on-the-go simulation. While it’ll never be quite as flashy or fully-featured as the console game, the iOS rendition does a stellar job of capturing the quality of the larger experience in a much cheaper package. The players look (mostly) lifelike in motion and the gameplay is realistic and entertaining, plus there are in-depth modes available beyond doing quick pickup matches. For example, The Association mode lets you guide a franchise across multiple seasons, while the MyCareer mode has you control just one player during his NBA ascent, instead of a full team. It’s pretty flashy for £7.99, considering the source material.
5. Push & Pop Price: Free from tinyurl.com/y6udhhxs
Looking for something free and fun to fill a few minutes during the day? Push & Pop might do the trick. This little puzzle game is hugely appealing, bringing together elements from Tetris and modern mobile classic Threes. In essence, you’ll push around boxes to create complete lines and clear them from the board, creating space in the process.
However, in a very Threes-like move, the action takes place in a very compact area, and every time you move, a new box comes onto the screen. That means you’ll need to continue steadily clearing lines to have room to keep playing. It’s claustrophobic but really compelling, with the thumping synth soundtrack and changing colours keeping the excitement high all the while.
6. Iron Marines Price: £4.99 from tinyurl.com/yby43e95
The Kingdom Rush tower defence series just kept getting better and better, but rather than pump out a fourth entry, developer Ironhide has turned its attention to real-time strategy with Iron Marines. It looks much the same as the previous games and even has a similar interface, but instead of holding down the fort by building offensive towers, you’ll explore alien planets and blast their aggressive inhabitants to bits. Even with the shift in game style, it doesn’t feel dramatically different from Kingdom Rush, but’s that’s because it’s just as smartly streamlined and built for on-thego action. It’s pretty hearty, though: Iron Marines has 14 main campaign missions, 10 more special ops, an ‘impossible mode’, and loads of upgrades to unlock.