Macenstein’s Top 20 iPhone games of 2008 - Macenstein

Macenstein’s Top 20 iPhone games of 2008

Best iPhone Games

Most people will tell you that video games are too subjective a thing to rate – after all, one man’s Halo 3 is another’s Dance Dance Revolution. However, those people are WRONG. Not only CAN you rate videos games, I have done it. Here are they are… The top 20 iPhone/iPod touch games of 2008.

Missile Command

20. Missile Command ($4.99) An old school classic gets a major facelift for the iPhone, and it’s pretty sweet. The touch controls make targeting your missiles much faster than in the traditional Joystick version, and while it’s basically a one-trick pony of a game, there are a few surprises. Fans of horrible graphics will be happy to know that you can also play the original version if you’d like.

Ms. PAC-Man

19. Ms. PAC-MAN – ($9.99 ($5.99 for a limited time)) Sure, it’s old, sure it’s insanely overpriced (like all Namco titles), but it’s still an undeniably great game, and it works surprisingly well on the iPhone (assuming you use the “swipe” controls)


18. Balloonia ($7.99) Another overpriced but excellent game. Not quite the “overflow” pipes game you might think, the closest thing I can think of to describe Balloonia is the Webkinz game “Home Before Dark” (which like all Webkinz games, is a total rip-off of some other game I am sure). The object is simple, fill up balloons with helium (or is it nitrogen?) by creating a pathway from the pump to the balloons by rotating pipe pieces to form a continuos tube. The longer the path, the more points, and of course there are power-ups and bonuses gallore, plus 3 different game modes. This is just a solidly built game all around, and I love the disturbing 3D Einstein look-a-like professor guy.

Adrenaline Pool Online

17. Adrenaline Pool Online ($4.99) One of the few games with an online “social” component that I actually use, Adrenaline Pool pits you against real live people from around the world in your choice of 8-Ball, 9-Ball, Straight, or Snooker (you can also play the CPU if you’d like). I have chatted with (and lost to) people from pretty much every nation on the planet so far, and I am looking forward to an interplanetary version soon to cement my title as worst player in the galaxy. (Hey, just because you suck, doesn’t mean you can’t have fun).

Hero of Sparta

16. Hero of Sparta ($9.99) Whether you’re a fan of Hack n’ slash games or a fan of low frame rates, this game has something for everyone. Performance issues aside (which hopefully will be addressed with an optimization update) this Gods of War rip-off type game has one of the best virtual joystick controllers I’ve seen, and the game is very pretty (if monster slashing can be pretty). It reminds me of a 3D version of Kroll, which starts out identically (a giant, half-naked muscular man on the beach with a weapon and a mission) but the worlds, weapons and enemies are much more detailed in HOS. At $9.99, you really need to be a fan of this genre, but if you are, it’s worth the money.


15. Wurdle ($1.99) The best Boggle implementation for the iPhone, Wurdle offers a choice of tile colors, grid dimensions, and a great 2-player mode which lets you find out which of your friends you are smarter than, and which you should show a little more respect. Much like Scrabble, the key to winning is knowing all those bizare “cheating” words that no one has ever heard of, like “ZOX” and “ZEXVAIFISH” and such.

14. MetaSquares ($2.99) I reviewed MetaSquares a few months back, and I have not lost any love for it. The idea of the game is to create squares on the board by mapping out all four corners, all the while trying to block the computer from doing the same. The enemy AI is pretty good here, and after the first couple levels don’t be surprised to find it takes you quite a while to get to a new level. MetaSquares is one of those rare “brainy” puzzles that for some reason makes you feel like you’ve actually accomplished something by beating a level, even though we all know you should have been doing something much more productive with your time.

Collapse Chaos

13. Collapse Chaos ($0.99) This is a favorite of the online world (known as Super Collapse 3) and the port to the iPhone is awesome. Basically you tap groups of three or more similarly colored bricks to make them disappear as they are pushed up from the bottom (think Fire Drop or Aurora Feint). What could have become a boring game gets a little extra shot in the arm by the addition of story mode and powerups. Collapse Chaos is the ideal casual game and timewaster for the times when you are stuck in 2-5 minute lines, or stuck on the can.


12. Touch Physics ($0.99) Sort of a poor man’s Enigmo, each of the 30 levels presents you with a different puzzle with the same goal: somehow move a purple ball and have it collide with a star. What makes Touch Physics unique from Enigmo is that you draw out simple shapes with your finger to create the objects which you can use to move the ball, such as boulders, levers, wedges, bridges, etc. There is no one right way to solve any of the puzzles, and it’s fun to come back to a level you’ve already beaten and try to beat it again with a different tactic. The physics involved and child-like “crayon” look to the game make it one of the most deceptively simple games out there, and one of the most fun.

Guitar Rock Tour

11. Guitar Rock Tour ($7.99) Yeah, you can keep your Tap Tap Revenge, GRT is the real deal. This is another game I stink at but love anyway. The production values, both visually and audio-wise, are really top notch. The game-play is basically identical to Guitar Hero, and the song catalog is impressively large and performed by talented cover bands. I doubt I will ever graduate from the “easy” level, but hey, at least I got past “Rock You Like A Hurricane“.

Top 10 Games on Page 2!

47 Responses to “Macenstein’s Top 20 iPhone games of 2008”
  1. Sergio says:

    I only bought Super Monkey Ball and Spore and play them like once a week when i have time

    anyways, its pretty cool how all kinds of games are coming to the iphone/ipod touch, its such a cool device

    Keep up the good work doctor 🙂

  2. Rowlings says:

    I might quibble with the order, but there are some good ones here, and I can’t argue the top 5. Fieldrunners and Frenzic kick ass. Nice List.

  3. dizzy says:

    Thanks for the list Dr. Macenstein. I haven’t really played many games on the iPhone because when I find time to play games I would go for my expensive PC, Wii, or PS3. Now that I’ve got my mophie I will be looking for some good standing in line, car, shop, mall, etc. time killers and now I know where to start!

  4. marshall007 says:

    I really enjoy Missile Command. The option to play in retro mode is amazing reminds me of the good ol’ days.

  5. Alex says:

    I’m looking for the Top 20 iPhone Games for 2007 but can’t find a list anywhere. Any help?

  6. Trevor says:

    I hope you didn’t spend from 3:03PM to 5:40PM rearranging icons. 🙂

  7. odin says:

    Bejeweled on the iPhone is fun.

  8. Fairies Fly? Really? Looking at the screens, it certainly has some nice production values, but one kinda assumes most of the time games based on movie and cartoon licenses are gonna be pretty lame. So I’m looking forward to your inevitable review on it.

    Also, you may have tried it, but if you like Balloonia, you should take a look at Paradox (which has a Lite version). It’s also a ‘pipe’ game – though from the looks of it, a bit different – but I’ve had a lot of fun with it.

  9. ashergrey says:

    No love for TouchGrind? Pshaw.

  10. TheCos says:

    Yeah! Fieldrunners!

  11. Me says:

    No Trism??

  12. Mule says:

    Lux rules! Free, too!

    Worst captcha system ever!

  13. Chesh says:

    There has to be a mention for Virtual Pool somewhere…
    Ok, the ‘storyline’ is a bit hackneyed, but the gameplay is awesome and it’s easily as much of a time-waster as bejeweled!

  14. Jess Minor says:

    OMG I didnt know about Missle Command. I just downloaded it and it does totalyl ROCK!


  15. Comatoast says:

    No, no, no! Not complete! Mouse About MUST be here.

  16. memals says:

    “The game is very face paced,” spell checks be damned 😉

  17. Memals,
    Well, spell check wouldn’t catch that, technically those are real words. That’s why I have you guys.
    -The Doc

  18. CyberTeddy says:

    You forgot Lux Touch. it’s a Risc like game and free 🙂

  19. Kramit the Frog says:

    Why are there no free games on the list like Lux, Aurora, Cube, Cube runner, etc?!

  20. Odi says:

    Any top 20 iPhone games list without Galcon can’t be taken as all that great. But nonetheless, you hit upon some great ones anyway, thank you.

  21. I DO hope you guys realize I was being sarcastic when I said that it was possible to make a definitive “Best of” list… But these are all kick ass games.

    – The Doc

  22. Kramit the Frog says:

    Yeah no doubt, of course it’s not a complete list… just thought it was odd the there were zero free games.

    Good list either way

  23. Rodney says:

    TouchSkate definitely deserves a spot on this list.

  24. Peanut says:

    What about BombBlocks?

  25. Awesome. I’ll have to try some of these.

  26. Kit says:

    Trism is an excellent game. I rank it higher than Frenzic.

  27. Awall1987 says:

    C’mon no one likes enigmo?

  28. MattGutberlet says:

    I second that no top iPhone games list is valid or complete without Galcon. Still enjoying multiplayer games after several months.

  29. Connie Dobbs says:

    Venger is probably my favorite of the year.

  30. J. Acai says:

    I just bought Warfare Incorporated and am blown away by how good it is. Watch the video review. Perhaps there’ll be a free demo later. It’s such a breeze to scroll around on the map, select units, even select multiple units with a pinch. This is how you’re supposed to use multi-touch. In ways, it’s actually easier than using a mouse. Looking forward to play it some more.

  31. ZildjianKX says:

    I wouldn’t support Critter Crunch after they switched publishers and won’t allow any of the previous owners to update to the newer version without paying $4.99. That’s right, if you bought it for $9.99 when it came out, you can’t update from 1.0.5 to 1.0.6 without paying another $4.99, lame.

  32. Frank says:

    Just putting this out there: would you do a Top 20 Free Games list?

  33. Thanks for taking the time to post this. Something that would have been useful would be providing some kind of voting or ranking of these applications don’t you think?

    The Best iPhone and iPod Touch Accessories at the Best Price!

  34. Philippe says:

    You’ve never played a tower defense game but you’re reviewing games?

  35. Chris says:

    What about doing a top list of sudoku games. There are like 40 of them on iTunes so I think there is a need. I’d like to mention that I recently started playing Zen Garden Sudoku. It’s pretty cool as it uses no words in it’s interface so it’s truly an international game.

  36. alezz says:

    Good list either way!!! Thanks

  37. wiedo says:

    Where’s Papijump(+)?!
    It’s free and the payed version (1$) is even better! Most addictive iPhone game ever!

  38. KMG says:

    Balloonia is descended from a older game called Pipe Dream, which was an update of the 1989 Amiga game Pipeline (thanks Wikipedia). I remember spending too much time playing Pipe Dream when I should have been studying.

  39. Patrick says:

    Why isn’t Tap Defense on this list??? It’s by far one of the best free games in the App store. It should make the top 10 out of all the games in the App store.

  40. kendel says:

    no aurora feint?



  41. steave says:

    I really enjoy Missile Command. The option to play in retro mode is amazing reminds me of the good ol’ days….

  42. Blah says:

    Does the person who wrote this article not realize that it’s impossible for our first two screens to look like that? I mean, the bottom four doesn’t change with each page, it stays the same unless you change it so we would have to be constantly switching Applications around.

  43. Erik says:

    Any top 20 iPhone games list without Galcon can’t be taken as all that great. But nonetheless, you hit upon some great ones anyway, thank you…

  44. Hozefa says:

    The review is great this was used as reference before I bought FieldRunners and Crash Kart Nitro

  45. Michael says:

    the great thing about fieldrunners is that it u build ur own maze, unlike tap defense or any other TD’s i played. and it has more variety of enemies and allows a bigger diversity of strategies, such as juggling the enemies back and forth by switching guns.

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