10. JellyCar (Free)
You said: "You guide your car through various courses trying to complete in the best time. The game uses 'Jelly Physics,' where your car bends, stretches and even breaks. It seems silly at first but after a few minutes, you're hooked!"
Our take: Based on the Xbox Community Game of the same name, JellyCar has clever crayonlike graphics and a unique gameplay gimmick where your gelatin-based vehicle rolls and smooshes its way toward the goal. Figuring out the physics can be challenging, and playing with the iPhone can be a bit of a pain. You have to press the left and right areas of the screen to get the car accelerating, then tilt the iPhone to add rotation to the vehicle. A few minutes of this and it's carpal tunnel time.
9. WordWarp ($1)
You said: "Take six given letters and make as many words as possible in the time limit."
Our take: Do you enjoy playing Jumble in the daily paper? Just like the well-known pen-and-paper puzzle, WordWarp gives you a scrambled six-letter word. You're tasked with unscrambling it, but also with coming up with as many smaller words as can be made from its letters in a two-minute time window. The "warp" feature lets you randomize the letters, which helps when forming words. Unfortunately (and aggravatingly), the word list isn't complete -- we found a lot of words it didn't accept.
8. Cube Runner (Free)
You said: "Free and highly addictive."
Our take: Looking very much like an early prototype of Star Fox, Cube Runner is a very simple exercise in not screwing up. Pilot your ship by tilting the iPhone left and right. Don't hit any of the cubes. For each second you stay alive, you get points; crash and it's game over. No checkpoints, no goal other than a high score. Cube Runner makes great use of subtle and responsive tilt controls, but it's less a test of your gamer aptitude than an exercise in seeing how long you can be exposed to the same repeating stimulus until you inevitably get distracted and crash.
7. Tap Defense (Free)
You said: "Set up turrets, then let the demons attack. It's great for playing in short bursts."
Our take: You're lucky we even let this one on the list, considering we covered its genre to death with Crystal Defenders and Field Runners in our previous Top 10. Tap Defense is nearly identical to those games -- waves of enemies approach your position, and you have to set up increasingly powerful sets of weaponized defense towers to hold them off. Once you buy and place your towers and the enemies flood in, there's nothing you can do except wait to see if your automatic defense system works.
6. Topple (Free)
You said: "Fun, casual stacking game from the folks that made Rolando. Bought Rolando but seem to end up playing this free game more. It's fast and fun and makes great use of the iPhone interface."
Our take: Blocks fall from the sky. But instead of just rotating them by 90-degree increments and placing them in neat piles, you have to drag and rotate them with your fingers, then gently build a stack that doesn't fall over. At first it's easy, but then you get more-challenging oddly shaped platforms (above) and things like eggs that don't stack perfectly. It's charming, addictive, works very well with the iPhone -- and you can't beat the price.
5. iShoot ($3)
You said: "Seriously? How could this not be at the top?"
Our take: Hey, it's Scorched Earth! We used to play this in high school on the computers in the library. This classic DOS game pitted four tanks against each other in turn-based, 2-D battle. Each tank takes its turn firing off a round of ammo, which destroys other tanks as well as the environment. Last tank standing wins, and you can buy more weapons between rounds. In iShoot, you can aim with the touch screen. Otherwise, it's pretty much identical to the classic, down to the taunting battle cries from your opponents.
4. Trism ($3)
You said: "Bejeweled-like but better, with tilt controls and more complex movement/combo possibilities. Very addictive. You can save games too (they can last quite a while). I would pick Trism over Bejeweled every time."
Our take: I'll agree with this -- Trism is much more complex than Bejeweled. So much so that it seems to be out of my league. Matching three like-colored gems by sliding the diagonal rows of pieces is one thing. But going beyond that initial match to set up combos isn't something my brain can process. Especially since you can alter the way the blocks fall by reorienting the iPhone so "down" is a different direction. Clever. But I just started sliding the rows in all different directions and racked up crazy combos by tilting the iPhone around randomly. Trism might be great for puzzle nuts, but I wouldn't call it casual.
3. Wurdle ($2)
You said: "Wurdle is similar to the board game Boggle, but even more addictive. Wurdle is the only game which has the privilege of living on my home screen."
Our take: One of many Boggle clones in the App Store, Wurdle's gameplay will be immediately apparent to you if you've ever played the famous word-creation game. Join up contiguous letters from the randomly generated 5x5 grid to make as many words as you can in 12 minutes. The word lists are far more complete than WordWrap's, so it'll recognize just about anything. But you won't even make a dent in the list of possibilities. If a 5x5 grid is too much for you, competing game Quordy ($3) is almost identical to Wurdle, but with a 4x4 grid instead.
2. Galcon ($5)
You said: "So easy, yet so challenging."
Our take: This is my favorite of the iPhone games recommended by Wired.com readers. It's a lightning-fast game where you and your opponent start out with a planet, and quickly start dragging your ships to nearby planets to take them over. The number on each planet is the number of your ships it'll take to conquer it. Each time you take over a planet, it starts generating more ships depending on how large it is. So the optimal strategy is to drag your ships to large planets with small numbers. Games take a minute or two at most -- you don't have time to plan a huge strategy, just to think on your feet.
1. Lux Touch (Free, deluxe version is $8)
You said: "A casual, Risk-like game that is thoroughly addictive. Can't save, but hey, it's free. And you can finish most games in 10 to 15 minutes."
Our take: Similar to Galcon, Lux World is about taking over territory and building your armies in a short span of time. But this game is turn-based instead of real-time, and hard instead of easy. In each turn, you can attack neighboring territories, place more armies on the map and shuffle their positions around. But it takes a careful balance of offense and defense to secure more land without leaving yourself vulnerable.
Top 10 iPhone Games - MORE!
by Ben at 10:41