Note from the Editor: We were working on a series of “best of” posts, but figured it might be best if we reached out to someone who’s had a lot more hands on time when it comes to iOS gaming. We reached out to Corey, and figured that the Editor in Chief of MacGamer might be more than qualified for a top-ten list. Corey Tamas has been Editor in Chief of MacGamer.com since 1998, and he has also worked for MacHome magazine, as games contributor for The Mac Bible and he co-hosts the iGame Radio Podcast.


From the first glimpse of iOS back in 2007, the world got a pretty good sense of just how much gaming awesome could be packed into that little smooth device we called the iPhone. Even so, the most optimistic gamers couldn’t have foreseen what was to come; from major-league players like Epic Games, Electronic Arts and id Software to little game houses that grew like Telltale, Freeverse and Popcap, talent and product flocked to iOS and turned it into a gamer’s paradise. If 2010 proved anything, it wasn’t just that the iOS is a great mobile gaming platform… it’s that iOS is a great gaming platform, period. Let’s take a look at what set the stage for time-wasting in 2010:

5. Mirror’s Edge

Mirror’s Edge was a modest console hit from Electronic Arts which put you in the role of the very limber female protagonist Faith, who performs split-second jumps, slides and acrobatic moves over the tops of skyscrapers. Consensus on the iOS version is that its side-scrolling adaptation is actually superior to the console version, and we agree. The interface is pure touchscreen, using swipes and taps to perform elegant moves through fast-moving, treacherous, but beautiful levels that will have your heart in your mouth the entire time.

4. NBA Hotshot

Some people believe that the best iOS games are the ones you can get into quickly and get out of just as quickly. The glorious simplicity of NBA Hotshot isn’t just a testament to this maxim; it perfects it. Very simply: You swipe the ball to throw shots at the hoop. You can either set yourself a limit with number of missed shots or until a timer runs out. Doesn’t sound like much? Trust Freeverse. They know how to take a simple concept and make it own your soul. Just try to quit after one round. I dare you.

3. We Doodle

Ngmoco’s never ending stream of “We do this” and “We do that” titles yielded a particularly sweet little gem in We Doodle… a sort of online Pictionary that is surprisingly fun. Get a word and draw it with your finger on the touchscreen (with surprising ease, thanks to the slick interface) and others take their guesses. Meet up with random players on the Plus+ network to have impromptu games or do a turn-based “I go, you go” style exchange with folks on your friend lists. The Free To Play business model means you can get it for free, play it for free, and beef it up with colored pens, backdrops and other doo-dads if you’re up for spending a bit of cash.

2. Infinity Blade

When Epic Games showed off Epic Citadel (a free-of-charge tech demo for iOS released earlier this year), it was pretty exciting: Gorgeous, smooth 3D environments which are unmatched in the iOS game realm. But what of the game? Epic made good on Citadel’s promise by turning that eye candy into a simple yet nuanced iOS game that pits you against a never-ending parade of foes who want to bust your skull in half. Parry, dodge, block and strike with a surprisingly well-designed interface (no virtual d-pads, thank God) and collect treasure to level up and take on the next foe. You’ll be surprised at how Infinity Blade is more than just a pretty face.

1. Plants vs Zombies (iPhone and HD)

What makes a great game? Some people say balanced gameplay, some say great artwork. Some say numerous and varied game modes, others say achievements, and yet others think it’s a sense of humor. Popcap’s Plants vs Zombies is one of the few games out there that has it all and more. Defend your lawn against encroaching zombies in a variation on the Tower Defense theme. As if that weren’t enough, PvZ feels like a game that was simply made for iOS; its touchscreen interface outclasses mouse point-and-click by light years. If you had to go to a desert island with only one iOS game, this would be the one.

Think we missed something? Let us know in the comments.

Looking for games 6 through 10? You can get it here.