Mixing up the 35-year-old roguelike genre with a distinctly arcade-friendly style, 100 Rouges drops you into a dungeon where normal RPG elements like leveling up and acquisition of spells come at a ridiculously fast rate.
Age of Zombies
In Age of Zombies you'll play as Barry Steakfries, a foul-mouthed character with a penchant for guns and one liners. Crisp pixel art, a varied selection of weapons, and great humorous writing make Age of Zombies a shooter no iPhone owner should miss.
Angry Birds' steup is as goofy as the gameplay itself; you're a bird and evil green piggies have stolen your eggs, so you've decided to take revenge by flinging yourself from a catapult at the filthy swine until all of them are dead.
A "love story on wheels," Bumpy Road is about guiding a couple on a drive, controlling their car by manipulating the xylophone-like ground. Tapping the road makes it bump -- launching the vehicle -- while dragging it allows the landscape to ripple.
Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night
With gameplay that combines a Puzzle Quest-like battle system with the classic side-scrolling Castlevania games, Encore of the Night is a strange but surprisingly good App Store release from Konami. Think Bejeweled but with tons of RPG elements, and that famous Castlevania art style.
Drop7's weird combination of Sudoku and Tetris has you trying to prevent an ever-rising pile of numbered bubbles from reaching the top of the screen. Any bubble can be popped whenever the number of bubbles in a row or column matches the number displayed on the bubble itself.
Dragon Hunter 2
Dungeon Hunter 2 fixes everything wrong with the first game and makes the series into something that stands out as an action-RPG with a distinctive feel. As you hack and slash through beautiful environments you’ll collect mountains of loot, earn points that allow you to customize your character, go online, and show off your armor and skills while playing cooperatively with up to three other players.
Eternal Legacy features a battle system that has been more or less ripped from Final Fantasy XIII, but it's a mechanically solid and great-looking game that's in a league of its own as far as turn-based RPGs on the iPhone go.
Developer Halfbrick Studio’s Fruit Ninja puts you in a situation that has no explanation and frankly doesn’t require one. Fruit is flying up from the bottom of the screen and you need to kill it by swiping like a crazy person -– but there’s something oddly therapeutic about the whole thing.
As the Sherlock Holmes-inspired Dr. Helsing and his jovial companion Raffton, you must place torches in 2D, top-down levels to illuminate and destroy the creatures hiding in the darkness. Light shoots out in all directions from your torches, but obstacles like frail maidens (which you must avoid, of course) will force you to position your torches carefully.
Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus
Much like Dungeon Hunter was a Diablo clone, the first Modern Combat game was a shameless rip of the new Call of Duty games -- but Modern Combat 2 feels like all the greatest parts of the original Goldeneye, albeit with a Modern Warfare-esque online multiplayer system. Using surprisingly accessible controls you'll storm through hallways with shotguns, mow down dozens of enemy troops with turrets, and stealthily snipe baddies in a campaign that blows away every other FPS on the App Store.
As you drift around turns in both single-player and online multiplayer races, you're likely to be blown away by Reckless Racing's realistic lighting, detailed textures, and the convincing way your vehicles dangerously lean as they roar around turns.
Silverfish is effectively a dual-stick shooter, but without the dual sticks or the shooting. Using swipe controls, you command a strikingly colorful "space fish" around a small, rectangular arena. As you do so, baddies will randomly spawn into the world and begin to relentlessly chase you around. If you hope to escape –- or get a high score –- you'll have to let the enemy space fish get as close to you as possible before running into on-screen bombs that target all surrounding threats (much like in Geometry Wars 2's Pacifism mode).
Sparkle features the same match-three gameplay that made Zuma a hit, although it also integrates a few interesting collectible power-ups (along with a strangely dark tone). If you're worried about possible complications stemming from the fact that the iPhone screen is seemingly too small for a Zuma-style game to work, fret not -- it’s easy to be accurate with the touch screen, so Sparkle is in no way an inferior experience.
Super Mega Worm
Rednecks are trashing Mother Earth, and as the long-sleeping guardian of the planet, you must exact justice upon the entirety of the human population. Using intuitive slider controls, you'll guide a gigantic, ever-growing worm as he rockets through the Earth's crust, only leaping out into the air whenever there's a nearby person or vehicle to be snacked on.
Sword & Poker 2
Sword & Poker 2 combines familiar card game mechanics with RPG tropes like health bars and loot as you descend into many dungeons. In battle, you’ll take turns laying down cards on a five by five grid while attempting to create poker hands. Bigger hands (like a flush) will deal out more damage to your enemies, so you’ll have to have both strategy and luck to crush friends and AI opponents.
Sword of Fargoal
In Sword of Fargoal, you're out to collect a powerful sword, and have to descend into an increasingly dangerous dungeon to reach it. Like in many roguelikes, dying just once in Sword of Fargoal will mean that you can no longer play as that character, so it's tailored for a more hardcore audience.
Words With Friends
In Words With Friends, you can have up to 20 games going at once. Once your opponent has made a move, you’ll be alerted via push notification and you can open the app and send your own move in return. If you like Scrabble, this is by far the best way to play the game with others.
This story, "The 15 Best iPhone Games" was originally published by GamePro.