Nobody knows portable gaming better than the folks at Pocket Gamer, so naturally we asked them to get involved with our iPhone issue this week. They managed to tear themselves away from their DSi's, PSPs and Game Gears (what?) to share their favorite iPhone games with us:
Rob Hearn, Editor: Orbital, Bitforge
If you play a lot of browser-based games, Orbital will be very familiar. It's based on Wouter Visser's Gimme Friction Baby, and it contains elements of Geometry Wars: It has the former's dangerously compulsive gameplay, and the latter's oddly hypnotic presentation and gravitational effects, which let you swing and swerve your missiles around fixed and expanded orbs in proportion to their size.
Orbital is a game of chance masquerading as a game of skill. Like a fruit machine, it positively reinforces each tap of the touchscreen with colors, explosions, flashing lights and swooping close-ups. The ability to steer your shots around areas affected by gravity, denoted by wells in the grid over which the action takes place, just encourages the delusion. Orbital works by convincing you that you've mastered it: you just need one more go, one more go, to get it right.
Joao Diniz Sanches, Editor-in-Chief: Fieldrunners, Subatomic Studios
Not an eccentric choice, perhaps, but Fieldrunners remains the game I most often return to on my iPod touch. Granted, I have a predisposition for tower defense (geoDefense is another regular haunt) and had to stop engaging in last-thing-at-night Fieldrunners play due to a growing number of unhealthy truncated sleep sessions.
This near-compulsion shouldn't be surprising - Subatomic Studios's excellent command of tower defense fundamentals had announced itself from the moment Fieldrunners marched onto the scene. Any game that manages to keep you entertained for hours despite sporting an uncommonly thin features list and no sound (as Fieldrunners did in its earliest iteration) is clearly very special.
Tracy Erickson, iPhone Editor: Squareball, Dromsynt
It's been said that there are thousands of stories, but only a handful of plots. Squareball shows that the same is true of gaming, conjuring as it does fresh experiences from a range of sources.
A unique mash-up of elements from Super Mario Bros. and Pong, Squareball requires you to bounce a ball through treacherous environments that you move by sliding your finger across the touchscreen. With instant kill red blocks, massive gaps, and slowing quicksand spaces, new ideas meet old ones in a game that's as clever as it is fun.