In this gorgeous game of stylish, minimalist graphics, you preside over what must be the most lethal duck pond ever.
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Great music, fiendish humor, and lasting gameplay make this game a standout in the App Store’s crowded category of tower-defense games.
Scrabble collides with Tetris in WordCrasher, a colorful and fast-paced game for spelling speed demons.
Santa Wings 2 has you swooping on Santa's sleigh through a 3D village, blasting grinches and firing presents into (presumably grateful) homes. Grinchmas nabs an honorable mention for putting the Grinch on the other side of the action, lobbing snowballs and presents at Whoville.
Work out your not-so-passive aggression on a hapless crash-test dummy in this marvel of harmless 3D cruelty. Position your dummy at the top of one of six staircases, and give him a shove. The dummy tumbles down the stairs to soothing string music, bones crunching along the way.
Backwords makes your iPhone the host of a challenging, often hysterical parlor game. One player privately records a spoken phrase, and Backwords plays it in reverse to the next player who has to mimic the garbled result. The app then plays that copy-cat attempt backwards, and if it’s good enough, the player can identify the original phrase to score points. Speed Charades nabs an honorable mention for its race-the-clock version of the classic parlor game.
This app turns your iPhone into an ersatz tricorder, complete with long-range sensors, communicator, and a library of data about Borg spheres, dilithium, and Federation personnel. The meticulous sound effects will delight Trekkies and annoy everyone else. Live long, download, and prosper!
Canabalt is an instant classic in more ways than one. Sure, sure, its simple gameplay makes it wildly addictive, a complete success for casual diversions of a few seconds or, if you’re not careful, hours. But the game’s entire sensibility is classic, too, its retro black and white graphics conjuring a noirish science-fiction fantasy.
Disciples of the squares, look no further. With 2 Across, you can pluck any of thousands of crossword puzzles from the archives of major papers and work them over on your iPhone or iPod.
Ramp Champ is a kind of Skee-Ball shooting gallery. You can practically smell the popcorn and taste the cotton candy when you fire up the game, a charming and addictive homage to the old-school midway arcade.
Battle evil from the shadows of medieval cities in this sensational Middle Eastern adventure, featuring rich environments and sword fights aplenty.
Trism is a subtle, mind-bending game of sliding tiles (er, trisms). You play by sliding three or more of the same color together. Move rows up, down, sideways, or diagonally.
Sidle up to the table to play the world's most popular poker game against lifelike computer players, complete with twitches and tells, or against your real-life poker buddies over your local WiFi network.
The fabulous if spacey King of All Cosmos knocked out the stars in an all-night bender, and it's up to you to gather enough stuff to replace them.
Categorizing a flight simulator as a game is typically a stretch, since the genre is less an escape than a technical recreation of piloting. X-Plane for iPhone comes from a family of just that type of serious sim, the venerable X-Plane desktop software, but it's been leavened to fit the iPhone.
Move over Tetris, there's a new kid on the block (on top of another block, on top of another). In Topple, you stack a skyscraper of cartoon shapes as high as you can.
Goooooaaaaallllll!! This game nails all the details, right down to the familiar goal-time exclamation. Real Soccer 2009 is a vast, impressive game but stays fun and fast with intuitive controls.
Take over the life of a "sim," managing his or her dreams, needs, social life, and career in this iPhone version of the popular computer game.
Blue Defense! puts your iPhone's motion detector to novel use with a simple but stylishly challenging game of space invaders: Shoot the aliens before they reach your planet.
Galcon is a nitro-charged version of the board game Risk, launched into space. Take over an enemy's planets by sending waves of ships to overwhelm its forces.
How often do you get the chance to play midnight pickup hoops with the president? Streetball offers three game modes with a choice of cartoon players and, in a nod to Barack Obama's favorite sport, he's one of the options (not speedy, but aggressive and accurate), as is the first lady.
Cross pachinko with unicorns and rainbows, and you get... Peggle! In this simple but wildly addictive game, you fire a ball into a field of pegs where it ricochets like a pinball, earning points for each peg hit and removing them after each round.
It's up to you to save the cartoon world of Rolandoland and its rolypoly residents. Tilt to roll rolandos through obstacles and avoid menacing shadow creatures.
The App Store is thick with Sudoku games, reflecting the popularity of these number-crunching logic puzzles. Among several strong contenders, Sudoku Unlimited is the best entry, with a functionally limitless supply of randomly generated puzzles, five difficulty levels, and four "skins" for changing the look of your puzzles.