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Retro Remakes: classic gaming franchises, reborn for iOS

Retro games hold a special place in most gamers’ hearts, or at least those of a certain age. Here in the smartphone era, many of those classic franchises have found a new home on iPhone.

To be clear, the following games aren’t mere ports of old games, but rather full on remakes that take much of what’s wonderful about these legendary IPs and give them a modern spin.

Super Mario Run [$9.99/£9.99]

Nintendo’s dalliance with mobile gaming may have been relatively brief, but boy was it fruitful. Super Mario Run brilliantly extracts the very essence of some of the finest retro platformers ever made, and it makes that classic side-scrolling formula work natively on a portrait touchscreen device. Despite its simplistic one-thumb gameplay and deliberate pick-up-and-play nature, Super Mario Run is packed full of deceptive depth and clever mechanics that reward repeat play.

Pac-Man 256 [Free]

There have been numerous attempts to bring Pac-Man to mobile, but few have been as lastingly successful as Pac-Man 256. It essentially reimagines the famous maze-runner as an endless runner, with a new isometric perspective calling to mind Crossy Road, itself a modern day reinvention of the retro classic Frogger. That’s no surprise given that developer Hipster Whale made both games, but the spirit of Namco’s classic remains in all its dot-munching, ghost-fleeing glory.

TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge [Netflix subscription]

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge may be part of Netflix’s ambitious gaming provision, and a direct port of a recent console hit, but its true roots go back way further. It’s both a direct tribute and indirect successor to the side-scrolling Turtles beat-’em-ups of the ’90s, complete with glorious pixel art, crunchy button-mashing brawling, and a full selection of your favorite Saturday morning cartoon characters to play as. It’s radical, dude.

Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition [$19.99/£19.99]

Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition takes the hit console game of FF XV, replaces its realistic graphical style with a cute ‘chibi’ alternative, and trims away much of the narrative and gameplay fat to produce an endearing and decidedly mobile-friendly JRPG. Call it a demake if you wish – we call it a beautifully concise iPhone adventure that some may even prefer to the overwrought original. You can pay for each episode separately, or just stump up for everything in one payment.