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10 App Store titles that revolutionized mobile gaming
How everyone laughed at the prospect of iPhone and iPad gaming. Nothing was going to bump Nintendo and Sony handheld consoles from their lofty perches. A decade and many billions of dollars later, Apple begs to differ.
As the App Store approaches its tenth birthday, we’ve selected ten games we feel defined the state of iOS gaming over the years. These titles aren’t necessarily the best games ever made (although many of them are good), but they helped usher in the range of incredible iOS games we know and love today.
Arguably the first big gaming hit on iPhone (making its creator $250,000 in just two months), Trism ($3/£3) combined the familiar – matching gems – with the iPhone’s gyroscope to great effect.
Super Monkey Ball (2009)
With tilt awareness baked into the iPhone, monkeys inside of marbles were a good fit, and Sega’s title became the first major modern brand on iOS. The original’s long gone, but Super Monkey Ball: Sakura (free) is still available.
With the iPhone lacking physical controls, quick-fire one-button Flash game Canabalt ($3/£3) made perfect sense on iPhone. It caught the attention of games creators everywhere, simultaneously kickstarting auto-run and one-thumb gaming on the platform.
Angry Birds (2009)
Arguably the first iPhone mega-hit, Angry Birds (free) captured the imagination of iPhone users everywhere, as they catapulted miffed avians at ramshackle constructions within which lurked nefarious egg-stealing pigs.
The original Eliss ($3/£3) defined the platform, fully leveraging the iPhone’s multitouch capabilities as you tore apart, matched and dispensed with minimal planets. Even now, semi-sequel Eliss Infinity ($3/£3) feels fresh and modern.
Infinity Blade (2010)
Marrying Fruit Ninja-style swipe gameplay (albeit withs swords and monsters rather than fruit) with lush visuals, Infinity Blade ($6/£6) felt like console-quality gaming in your hands – but with the kind of intuitive controls only a touchscreen could provide.
Candy Crush (2012)
On the surface, Candy Crush Saga (free) appeared to be yet another me-too match-three game. But lurking underneath were the algorithms of a casino, with freemium machinations attempting to chip away at your soul and wallet.
Device 6 (2013)
An exercise in rethinking narrative gaming, Device 6 ($4/£4) turned the written word into map and narrator, in an intriguing, mysterious tale of madcap science and technology. It remains among the finest iOS games in the App Store’s history.
Pokémon GO (2016)
Pokémon GO (free) predicted the rise of AR, having you capture critters with your iPhone’s camera. But in utilizing GPS, it forced players to go outside, becoming a global phenomenon as families hunted down elusive creatures together.
Increasingly, the power of mobile devices enables console-like gaming experiences, but Fortnite (free) puts iOS on a level pegging with powerful TV consoles, as you aim to be the last person standing in massively multiplayer battles.