Ever since Apple launched their app store, games have been big business. Some game development houses have dedicated 100% of their resources to just making the best iPhone games. It took a little time, but eventually some iPhone games became so good, and so in-depth, that they successfully blurred the lines between console games and games on a mobile phone.
Obviously, this did not happen without some serious hardware backing these games, but the fact is, developers could have easily just made simple puzzle games that look like they could be played on an NES and they would still make money. For some game developers though, this is just not enough. Some developers want to push the envelope of what a device is capable of, and I am incredibly grateful to these brave souls. They have taken an app store that seemed to be filled with a bunch of cheap junk and showed us that just because a game is on an iPhone, it doesn’t have to be a match three puzzle or tower defense game.
Keep in mind, these are not the best games on the iPhone, just the ones that are the most “console-like” in their visuals and play experience.
Real Racing ($2.99)
When this iPhone console game came out I think the entire iPhone gaming communities’ collective head exploded. I remember being at the Game Developers Conference a month or two before the game came out and meeting FireMint at a party where they happened to have an iPhone with an almost finished build of Real Racing installed on it. I literally could not believe what I was seeing. A game that looked like this had no business running on an iPhone, but here it was before my very eyes.
Once I got over the first shock of the fact that an iPhone had no business looking this good, I realized that the game actually plays very well. It offered a slew of control options, so now matter how you liked holding the iPhone, there was a control method for you.
Real Racing was truly the game that made me realize that gaming on the iPhone was not just some gimmick and that it had the potential to be something serious if developers were willing to spend the money and put in the time to do it right.
Gameloft is well known for taking console games, putting their own spin on them, changing the name and releasing them on mobile devices. If you cannot tell by looking at it, N.O.V.A is very similar to Microsoft and Bungie’s staple franchise Halo.
N.O.V.A was showered with praise by critics upon release, and rightfully so. Once you got past the fact that it was clearly ripping Halo off in a big way, it was a pretty amazing shooter, with solid controls, great graphics and a pretty good story. Those three things are the same three I look for in a console shooter, and N.O.V.A tapped into all 3 in a pretty impressive way that made me forget I was actually playing a game on the same device where I check email and text messages.
To top it off, this game even has multiplayer. Granted, it’s only 4 player, but just that it is there, and actually fun to play really blurs the lines between what a game can do on a mobile phone and what it can do on a console.
Street Fighter IV ($4.99)
I can tell you honestly, when I heard this game was coming out I expected it to be complete and total garbage. I couldn’t fathom how a game that requires quick action and precise controls could possibly work on the iPhone. Well, I still don’t know how it does it, but it is good.
Part of what makes Street Fighter IV work on the iPhone is the art style. It uses a very stylized art style on the console that was more easy to adapt to the phone. It looks as pretty on the iPhone as the console, and on top of that it runs just as smoothly.
The fact the controls work as well as they do also blows my mind. Firing off a Hadouken or Shoryuken on the iPhone works very accurately.
Street Fighter IV Volt added online multiplayer, which completely rounds out the experience, and makes for a full fighting game that you can take with you anywhere you go.
I think the iPhone needs to be taken seriously as a gaming platform, and games like these are true examples of the power the iPhone has. Some iPhone console games have come along that make you completely forget you are playing on a mobile phone, and I expect there to be even more groundbreaking titles like these.
Of course the iPad blurs the line even further, bringing high-resolution visuals and a larger screen; the sky is the limit. I expect game developers to continue bringing top quality console-like experiences to mobile phones, and to Apple devices specifically, for a long time to come and I can’t wait to play the results.
Check out some other articles about gaming from MakeUseOf:
3 Games I Am Most Looking Forward To For Holidays 2011 [MUO Gaming]
5 Reasons Why You Should Not Give Up On Pokemon Games Even As An Adult [MUO Gaming]
The 3 Best Multiplayer First Person Shooters Of All Time [MUO Gaming]
What iPhone games do you think blur the line between the home console and mobile phone gaming? Let us know in the comments.