Mobile games will never be on par with console titles. N.O.V.A. 3 comes close, though, offering optimized gameplay similar to that of the Halo franchise. You fight to protect Earth as Kal Wardin, an ex-officer of the Near Orbital Vanguard Alliance. You blast your way through an extensive campaign consisting of 10 gorgeously-rendered levels and a barrage of chaotic, 12-player battles. Plus, you earn weapon upgrades, pilot all-terrain vehicles, and so much more.
Geometry Dash ($2)
Play as a square and bounce, slide, and jump over obstacles in different worlds. You can even make your own level once you get tired of the ones they provide. Level up to get different sizes and colors of squares. Unlike most game music that gets repetitive, each level has its own soundtrack.
Alto’s Adventure ($2)
Alto is going on a snowboarding journey around the world. Slide down roofs, bounce off trees, and go over mountaintops, saving llamas along the way. Controls are easy, but it takes awhile to master them and get really good. Interact and play with the weather.
Jetpack Joyride (Free)
Basically, the object of the Jetpack Joyride is to escape a lab with a stolen jetpack, while gathering coins and avoiding fireballs. Controls are dead simple, requiring you to do little more than press the screen, and the arsenal of surprising extras give it even greater replay value.
Draw Rider (Free)
Realistic, ragdoll physics make Draw Rider hilarious. You attempt to navigate the jagged edges of the game’s bike courses without losing your head, while trekking over various perils depicted as black lines on a white background. The cartoon blood may not be gruesome, but it is graphic.
Tiny Wings ($3)
Bird-themed games are very popular these days, but thankfully, Tiny Wings doesn’t see you hurling birds at distant obstacles. Instead, you guide a small bird through a series of hills while collecting coins and ramping up for the next launch. It’s all about timing, as you need to beat the sun.
Street Fighter IV is back, and it is just as awesome as you remembered. The latest revamp features many of the series’ long-running hallmarks, right down to the mesh of 2D and 3D graphics, along with three additional characters and an online mode for battling others using a Wi-Fi network.
LEGO Star Wars (Free)
Spanning all six films, the developers built the latest LEGO compilation with brick-by-brick detail. The stylized gameplay appeals to gamers of all ages. You can play iconic scenes as one of 120 different characters. The polished graphics and classic soundtrack don’t hurt, either.
Metal Slug 3 ($3)
The Metal Slug 3 port for iOS feels like its 8-bit brethren for the Neo Geo Pocket. Its still a difficult side-scroller, ushering you through a myriad of environments and boss battles, but ability to select specific missions and play alongside friends via Bluetooth make it something more.
Micro Battles (Free)
Micro Battles requires two players and a single device — no exceptions. Developers randomly choose one of four simplistic games every day, each of which offer 8-bit graphics and minimalist controls, whether you opt for axe-wielding viking matches or an overhead game of one-on-one soccer. It offers nothing more than what it showcases on the surface.
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