It’s the iPhone App Store’s fifth birthday, and when it first launched, there were a ton of games, both shovelware trash as well as some truly imaginative games out there. We think now would be a great time to look back at its first year and look at some of the best and unique games that have come out and made the App Store what it is today. Here are seven of our favourite games of the time:
Flight Control – Free
Flight Control may not have been the first of its kind, but it was definitely the most refined and polished one in the genre—at least back then. The game revolved around you managing an airport and all the planes and helicopters landing on it. This doesn’t mean getting into logistics and stuff… no… it actually meant tracing a line for any plane or helicopter to travel along and safely land on the airstrip. The game got truly challenging when there were loads of planes and helicopters flying around all over your screen. When it first hit the App Store, the game cost $0.99. Now, however, the game is free with a microtransaction system for new levels.
Things get chaotic in Flight Control
Trism – Rs 170
At first glance, Trism looks like a typical match 3-styled game, in the vein of the classic Bejewelled. However, actually playing it reveals some changes that might seem minor on paper, but change how the game is played in major ways. The biggest changes to the match 3 formula are the use of the accelerometer and the use of triangles instead of circles. While they seem like minor additions, or even gimmicks, they actually change the game from match 3 to something different. You can only move gems at angles, depending on where the triangular gem is pointing, and moving the accelerometer lets you decide where new gems should fall from.
Fieldrunners – Rs 55
Fieldrunners is the tower defense game that made the genre popular on the iPhone. It’s a simple game where you have to place offensive and support towers to stop enemies from getting from one point of the map to the other. Unlike other games of the genre, Fieldrunners lets you make your own pathway through which enemies travel, by strategically placing your towers. The game has gorgeous 2D graphics and has a design aesthetic that is reminiscent of Team Fortress 2. Despite having a sequel, the original Fieldrunners is still one of the best games on iOS and truly stands the test of time.
Fieldrunners is still one of the best tower defense games on iOS
Galcon – Rs 110
Do you like the boardgame Risk? How about Space? How about a game that mixes them together and removes the turn-based aspect of Risk? If that sounds appealing, Galcon is right up your alley. Unlike Risk, however, the game is set on space with “planets” to invade and capture. The game’s AI is frighteningly good, and if you aren’t careful, you’ll find your planets to be overwhelmed quite quickly. It also features a pass-and-play multiplayer mode as well as online multiplayer.
Rolando – Rs 55
One can be forgiven for looking at Rolando and thinking Loco Roco. The iOS game does share quite a bit with the PlayStation Portable classic, including the art style and even some gameplay mechanics. Instead of feeling like a knock-off, however, Rolando feels polished enough to be a great game in its own right. You tilt your iPhone and your characters jump across various obstacles in the gorgeous-looking 2D sidescroller. Along with the beautiful visuals, the game also has a clever and wacky plot.
Rolando reminds us a lot of Loco Roco
Frotz – Free
Done blowing up stuff and need something to cool you down? Or are you just a fan of old-school text adventures? Or do you just appreciate good writing and desire some form of interaction with the story? If so, check out Frotz—a collection of classic, and free, text adventure games from days gone by. Everything in the games in Frotz is text-based. There aren’t any shiny graphics. Instead, you’ll find verbose descriptions of your surroundings and objects. You play by typing your command out. If playing Zork as you wear your rose-tinted nostalgia shades isn’t enough, Frotz even has a few completely original stories to play through.
Super Monkey Ball – Rs 55
And now for something completely different; Super Monkey Ball is a port of the classic PlayStation and Dreamcast series by Sega. While the first game was an experiment at best, with its wonky controls, dodgy framerates and questionable motion-detection, the game is still quite memorable if only because it was the first “premium” game to be launched on the App Store. The game cost a whopping $9.99 (Rs 600 approx) at launch, but has since been hit with price cuts and now sits at the Rs 55 price tag. Super Monkey Ball is a great piece of iOS history, but if you actually want to roll some monkeys trapped in balls, you’re better off getting the sequels where Sega improved virtually everything.
Super Monkey Ball is a piece of iOS history
And that’s our list of what we believe to be some of the best iOS games from the first year of the App Store. Do let us know what your favourites were from 2008 in the comments below.