Best iPhone games: casual

Sometimes the best kind of apps are the ones you can just pick up and play. Instantaneous fun for the train, bus or any other boring situation, they are ideal time fillers to pull out of your pocket.

Consider these guys the iPhone classics - easy to play, hard to master and just as much fun whether being picked at for five minutes tor for over an hour. The other great thing is, they're usually cheap. 

Oh! Edo Towns

We are big fans of Kairosoft over at Pocket-lint, its uber-addictive formula of retro gameplay and graphics has had us wile away many an hour on one of its numerous apps. Oh! Edo Towns puts you in charge of building villages in Japan. Think of it like a simplified version of Sim City, without all the complex building zone laying. You start off with a small plot of land and only a few residents to manage. Build on vacant lots and wait until people start arriving, from then on the game begins to get seriously fun.

Once you have a decent little collection of chappies enjoying the delights of your simple yet likely barren village, you're going to want to start building fields, shops and all other types of entertainments for your citizens. The usual emphasis on upgrading and researching is there, as in all Kairosoft titles. You can boot straight into the gameplay, provided the app hasn't been killed, and it saves ands load very quickly. This makes it the perfect title to pick at while on the train and well worth the £2.49 asking price. Read More

iTunes: Link

Price: £2.49

Rating: 3/5

 

Anthill: Tactical Trail Defense

This little gem combines real-time strategy and tower defence, merging the two, admittedly very similar genres, into one - and creating an excellent game in the process. The plot is straightforward enough: you take control of a variety of friendly formicidae which all work together to gather food and destroy enemy bugs so that your anthill might be preserved. There are workers who collect the food, an army variety that gets stuck in hand-to-hand, and flying ants that bombard the opposition with green goo, among others.

As ever, it's a case of balancing the different varieties at your disposal; creating workers to forage for food and combat troops to defend them, if you're going to be successful. You can determine where each type of ant goes by creating a line on the screen which they'll follow to a target - the whole system working very well. Where the real beauty lies is in the gameplay. Things can look pretty hectic at times, but because of the intuitive interface everything remains under your control. For a game that, somehow, feels quite fresh on the iOS platform, we have to say that it's a bargain. Read More

iTunes: Link

Price: £1.99

Rating: 4/5

 

The Nightjar

The Nightjar is a space adventure in which you play the last crew member of a spacecraft about to spiral into a black hole. As black holes and spacecraft (and pretty much anything for that matter) don't tend to mix, the aim of the game is to get the hell out of Dodge.

The storyline is all pretty straightforward sci-fi, but it's in the gameplay that things start to get interesting. Immersed in total darkness, it is by use of sound cues that you have to navigate your way off the doomed ship. You also have a guide at hand in the form of Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who gives you hints on the task at hand.

This is a genuinely unnerving game, which increases the tension with subtle suggestions of other lifeforms on the ship - whether it's the gruesome chomping of a nearby lifeform dining on a fallen shipmate or the computer announcing that a party of complex lifeforms has just boarded: "one of which is human". The game is brief but while it lasts every step and sound oozes quality; and the fact that it's a free download means that if you have the iDevice on hand it's a must. Read More

iTunes: Link

Price: Free

Rating: 3/5

 

Paper Glider

Neon Play, known for Flick Football and Golf Putt Pro, couldn't buy the sort of publicity that it has been awarded by its Paper Glider being the 10 billionth application downloaded from the App Store. So it's incredibly heartening to note that it couldn't have happened to a nicer company or concept. 

Paper Glider is a mind-boggingly simple idea: guide a paper aeroplane as far as you can by an initial swipe and gentle gusts of wind. Yet it is fiendishly addictive and an ideal and welcome time-waster for any journey.

You can also post your scores to Twitter and Facebook or send an email. Simple, cunning and a prime example of a "just one more go" game. Also, as the app is completely supported by advertising, it's free - you won't lose anything by giving it a try. Read More

iTunes: Link

Price: Free

Rating: 4/5

 

Angry Birds Space

Space is the final frontier, as that fella on Star Trek says, and now, rather than heading down to Brazil in some movie tie-in, or finding yourself blasting pumpkins in some extra levels for Hallowe'en, Rovio's latest venture takes the angry birds and the green pigs out of this world.

What ensues are three planetary bodies, with 30 levels apiece and plenty of space pigs to kill. The gameplay is as addictive as it always has been, and not too dissimilar from the tried-and-tested formula of AB games past, so you'll know whether that means you are bored of it already or raring to go. The key difference is that gravity has been added as a gameplay tool, and specifically the gravitational pull of planets and moons. They have an affect on the trajectory of your birds and that's something you now have to factor in. Read More

iTunesLink

Price: £0.69

Rating: 4/5

 

Where's My Water?

Where's My Water? revolves around our hero (in the loosest sense of the word) Swampy the Alligator. Swampy wants to take a shower, but someone has been messing with his water supply. We're sure you can guess how the game unfolds after that. 

Of course, the aim of the game is to get the water running out of Swampy's shower so the dirty 'gator can give himself a good scrub. But this isn't just a pipe game like Toobz, here you have a whole range of different environmental conditions to deal with.

 

Along the way you'll have to clear earth to let the water through, move ramps, avoid weeds, divert acid, bounce water jets, navigate mazes, avoid mines and all manner of things to complete the level. Levels are beautifully designed and we love the cartoon styling. Levels are easy enough to make good progress without getting frustrating, but there are moments when you'll need a little trial and error to figure out exactly what everything does. Read More

iTunesLink

Price: £0.69

Rating: 4/5

 

Cut the Rope: Experiments

Like the original Cut The Rope game, this involves getting as many sweets as possible into the mouth of your Om Nom. Rope-cutting is of course also central to the premise of the application, though there are now plenty more special items thrown into the mix to make feeding your Om Nom harder.

Things like the rope gun and suction cup holder now mean you can take more direct control over the path of your sweet. This doesn't mean things are any easier than they were. In fact all this new controllery makes the game a little bit tougher, which we definitely like. Read More

iTunesLink

Price: £0.69

Rating: 4/5

 

Temple Run

There's no great complexity to Temple Run, but it's within its simple gameplay that its genius lies. Its simple, twisted, evil genius - even more evil and tortured than the monster-monkeys that chase you throughout the entire experience.

For you see, as with any successful casual mobile game, the power of Temple Run is its addictiveness. The "one more go" lure that will see evenings, days and weeks lost, blurred into a hazy nightmare involving hollow trees, gold coins and, weirdly, an American footballer.

The premise is straightforward: your character (there are several protagonists who you can unlock) has escaped from a temple (hence the name) and is being chased incessantly by the aforementioned monster-monkeys.

You're not sure why you're running but run you shall. Run, turn, jump and slide. That's it. Avoid the trees, don't fall off the track and make sure you collect as many coins as you can along the way - presumably whatever your character has made off from the temple isn't enough for him or her.

iTunesLink

Price: Free

Rating: 4/5

 

Flick Kick Football

There is one football app that, regardless of whether you follow the beautiful game, you'll be glued to as if it's Match of the Day and you don't know the result. The premise is simple. You've got to score as many goals as possible to carry on playing. Shooting at certain areas classed as the Skill Zone earns you lives or more time. Do well and you'll be on to a cracking score; crack under pressure and you'll be starting back from scratch.

Sounds easy, doesn't it? That is until you put moving goalies and players in the way. Then you've got the varying distances to cope with and the ability to curve the ball like you're David Beckham. Ten minutes in and like Paper Toss you'll find you're addicted. With smart graphics, some great nail-biting camera replays and gameplay that you'll enjoy and be infuriated by, this app is a winner. GOOOOOOAALLLLLLLLLLLLL. Read More

iTunes: Link

Price: 69p

Rating: 4/5

 

Whale Trail

This highly stylised and polished game has clearly been influenced by previous successful iPhone games, such as Tiny Wings. This is not to say that it's not original - there are plenty of innovative ideas - but the simple gameplay, controls and sound are nothing if not reminiscent.

Game mechanics are simplicity itself: pressing and holding anywhere on the screen makes the whale rise, while releasing brings about a swooping action - the aim being to collect bubbles to fuel your flight.

As you move on through the levels, bubbles become more scarce and your flying skills will need to improve. Nice elements include frenzy mode which makes your whale invincible, enabling you to smash through the dark clouds - these suck away your bubble fuel in order to curtail your flight - and high-speed boosts that enable you to go where no whale has gone before.

iTunesLink

Price: 69p

Rating: 4/5

Any other casual style games we have missed? Let us know in the comments below ...