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Just shut up, idiots

Posted on March 08, 2011 by RevStu

There is literally nothing more tedious on Earth than some scared 15-year-old fanboy thicko witlessly pronouncing that the iPod, iPhone and iPad aren't "proper" videogaming devices, because "all the games are five-minute casual Flash rubbish or Angry Birds".

It gets really wearisome having to point out how ignorant and stupid they are in detail every time, so to save myself a bit of effort in the long run I've knocked up a convenient one-stop counterpoint for easy reference.

Please note: I'm in no way suggesting these are necessarily the best games in the App Store. Those of us who are already confident in their maturity are more than happy playing Electro Master, Dungeon Raid, Meteor Blitz, Bob Jump, Ready Action!, Finger Sling and of course Rise Of The Robot Dogs without needing to prove to anyone how "hardcore" we are.

I'm just demonstrating that a broad range exists, and that you get all this conventional stuff on top of Fruit Ninja, Drop7, Soosiz, Monster Dash, Pix'n Love Rush and the literally hundreds of other brilliant, brand-new game types unique to iOS that sell for the price of a bag of cheese'n'onion McCoys, or a third of a 1987 Spectrum budget game on cassette tape.

Oh, and you REALLY need to shut up about real buttons too. In the early days when nobody had quite figured out how to do old-fashioned d-pad games on a touchscreen device there was a valid case for criticism as they blundered around with horrible fixed virtual sticks, but pretty much everyone's figured it out by now. Games like League Of Evil are every bit as fluidly controllable as New Super Mario Bros ever was.

So let's get to it.

(All prices correct at time of writing, but are frequently lower.)


Zombie Infection (£1.79)

Basically Resident Evil 4 without all the brown.



GT Racing: Motor Academy (£2.99)

A bit like Gran Turismo PSP, except with other cars in it. 

(See also Real Racing 2, pictured above, which effortlessly manages 15 CPU opponents where GT Mobile has a pitiful three, and which has a metastructure that if anything is even more fun-grudgingly "realistic" than the PSP game.)



Rock Band (£2.99)

(See also Guitar Hero, Dance Dance Revolution, Tap Tap Revenge and lots more, in many of which you can use your own music library instead of paying 99p a track for a load of Metallica and dismal hair-metal from 1985.)



Dead Space (£3.99)

Most of these are way up at the premium end of the App Store. Yet you could still buy everything mentioned in this feature – over 50 games – for less than the price of the three Nintendogs titles the 3DS is launching with.



Tom Clancy's HAWX (£2.99)

Seen 3D air combat this pretty on the DS recently?



Rally Master Pro 3D (£2.99)

Like Colin McRae Rally when it was still good, before it turned into whatever the hell that thing was that it turned into.


Espgaluda 2 (£5.49)

(See also: Dodonpachi Resurrection.)

There isn't even a shred of competition when it comes to handheld bullet-hell. Go back and play Ketsui Death Label again if you want to see the size of the gulf, and even if the 3DS and NGP improve on the shooter catalogues of their previous generations, who wants to play a portrait-mode shmup either by awkwardly twisting a hefty PSP2 around 90 degrees, or on two different-sized landscape screens with a big gap between them?



Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus (£3.99)

All of these are iPhone screenshots, incidentally. And we're actually skipping over most of Gameloft's vast stable of FPS knockoffs of famous hits (eg Halo lookylikey N.O.V.A.).



Command & Conquer: Red Alert (£2.99)

Real-time strategy could hardly be better suited to touch-screen control.



Zenonia/Zenonia 2 (£1.79 each)

Want some classic Zelda-style capers? We've got you covered. (See also the very similar Across Age DX, or ports of Secret Of Mana and various FF titles.)



Undercroft (free)

Although if your role-playing tastes are more from the Dungeon Master/Eye Of The Beholder era, the splendid Undercroft might be more up your alley.

Our favourites when it comes to turn-based RPGing, however, are the superb reimaginings of Doom 2 and Wolfenstein, which utilised some ingenious lateral thinking to completely eliminate any potential control issues.



X-Plane Airliner (£5.99)

Serious flight sims? Check and roger. (The X-Plane series alone runs to a dozen games, and there are plenty of others.)



Dark Nova (£2.39)

Still missing Elite after all these years? Not a problem.



Need For Speed Hot Pursuit (£1.79)

Cutting straight to the chase, in every sense.



Galaxy On Fire 2 (£3.99)

Epic-scale space combat.



Dungeon Hunter 2 (£3.99)

Epic-scale non-space combat.



Civilization Revolution (£3.99)

Epic-scale epics. (Not required: floppy-disk-swapping.)



Gangstar: West Coast Hustle (£2.99)

See also: the sequel Miami Vindication (below), as well as GTA Chinatown Wars and Car Jack Streets, providing both modern 3D-type GTA and the fondly-remembered overhead-2D style for the old-skool.

(For something a bit different, Car Jack Streets 2 is also looking very stylish.)



Broken Sword: Director's Cut (£2.99)

Pretty much all of your favourite Lucasart-style adventure games from the 90s get a whole new lease of life on iOS.

Monkey Island 1 & 2, Flight Of The Amazon Queen, Beneath A Steel Sky, Simon The Sorceror and lots of others, they're all here in fancy new graphically-prettified versions with intuitive and natural touch control.

(As well as plenty of all-original adventuring too.)



FIFA 11 (£2.99)

Finally, a console football game that isn't too complicated for the people who actually star in it to play. (See also: PES, Real Football, X2.)



Neuroshima Hex (£2.99)

Good luck finding yourself some excellent original board games on any other videogame format nowadays…

…to go alongside superb ports of legendary real-life titles like Catan (above, with expansion packs too) and Carcassone, as well as sensibly-priced versions of family favourites like Monopoly, Scrabble and Risk for under two quid, rather than £25 cartridge releases.



Reckless Racing (£0.59)

Remember all those game genres you used to love that they don't make any more? Turns out they still do, if you look in the right place.



The Settlers (£2.99)

We've already documented extensively here on WoSblog how the iThings are almost like tiny portable Amigas. Speedball 2, Llamatron, Qwak, Warblade, they're all back, and better than ever. Worms is back too, but I suppose you can't have everything.



Driver (£2.99)

Playstation 1 fans can also relive their glory days, though we're sure Sony are hard at work even as we speak trying to find a way to stop them.



Battle For Wesnoth (£0.59)

300+ hours of heavy RPG action is just about as far from a five-minute Flash game as it's technically possible to get. Personally, give me the five-minute Flash game any day, but the people who like to spend hundreds of hours pretending to be a wizard seem to love this.



Resident Evil 4 (£2.99)

Resident Evil 4, with all the brown restored.



The Sims 3 Ambitions (£1.79)

We're a bit unsettled that there's a camera here.



Madden NFL 11 (£1.19)

Being able to draw your own plays (and not having to sit through six hours of ads) is almost enough to make American Football exciting.



Chaos Rings (£7.49)

From the people who brought you the Final Fantasy series, a completely unrelated game that coincidentally looks just like Final Fantasy.



Football Manager (£2.99)

Now you can miss the entire point of football on the bus too. (Try Soccer Superstars for a more fun footy-manny experience, which also has player-manager options if you want to get more involved.)



Street Fighter IV (£2.99)

This was on promo sale for 59p not long ago. Alternatively, why not fork over £39.99 for essentially the same game on 3DS?



Uni War (£0.59)

Whatever happened to Advance Wars, eh? We loved Advance Wars.

Oddly, though, there hasn't been so much as a hint of a new one coming out for the 3DS. Luckily you can keep the flame alive with a whole slew of great iOS titles like Uni War, as well as Rebirth Of Fortune (complex), Highborn (funny), Palm Heroes (pretty) and more.

There's also Mecho Wars, actually the closest of the AW clones  and also featuring online competition, for the nearest thing currently available to the tragically-lost Email X-Com.



Rise Of Lost Empires (£2.99)

Not all that similar to Flight Control.



Rage/Rage HD (£0.59/£1.19)

FPS with all the headshot action and none of the yawnsome trudging around.



Pocket Legends (free)

This list, it should be noted, comprises only the things I can bear to mention. There are whole enormous genres of online MMOs, casino stuff, Farmville-type social games and the like for iOS machines that I'm not qualified to comment on, because I'd rather be shot in the face than play one.



Infinity Blade (£3.49)

Well, we could hardly not mention it, could we? A graphical tour-de-force, but also an innovative new slant on traditional beat-'em-ups like Soul Calibur, except with more depth and skill. And for the price of a deli sandwich rather than most of a decent digital camera or 16GB MP3 player.


You're getting the idea by now, hopefully. If you're still dismissing iOS games as throwaway slices of trivial bite-sized fun (as if that was a bad thing anyway, you pompous tool), it really is time you shut your parping noise-hole before you make any more of a twat of yourself. It's for your own good, kids.

41 to “Just shut up, idiots”

  1. Jon says:

    My noise-hole parps:
    I want clicky buttons and d-pads and joysticks. I can see how things like Civ would work great on a touch screen but surely not Street Fighter. Is it actually any good?

  2. RevStu says:

    I'm not really the person to ask, as I've never been very fussed about Street Fighter. But it seems to work fine, and a touchscreen is actually the perfect medium for doing quarter- and half-circles.

    Broadly speaking, for traditional-style games, are physical controls better? Sure, a bit (depending on the genre). But iOS SFIV is £2.99 while the 3DS version is £39.99, and they’re nowhere near THAT much better.

  3. Derek says:

    I have to say I've found it awkward on games that have virtual buttons quite often. Doesn't really feel right and my fingers often slip well off where the buttons are supposed to be (and I have tiny hands). 
    Maybe I'll get used to it though.

  4. Ross says:

    Have to agree about the controls – a hard screen is a pretty rank substitute for a pad/stick/buttons, and then there's the fact that your thumbs are hovering over the action itself.
    I dunno, maybe people like looking at their thumbs, but I bite my nails, so they're the last thing I want to see.

  5. Ben Paddon says:

    Imagine playing Street Fighter IV, but instead of being able to see your characters you can see your own thumb instead. 59p.

  6. I think the problem for me is that it just doesn't feel right for me. I have the opposite problem to Derek (huge hands) and I have a hell of a time with virtual controls, with no feedback to know that you're pressing it.
    I still believe that iThing gaming is a flash in the pan. An interesting flash in the pan, but it will inevitably be drowned out by the fact that Apple is an increasingly greedy whore who wants more and more of the yummy money pie.

  7. RevStu says:

    So let's be clear – when you lot play Street Fighter, what you're normally focusing your vision on is your character's left heel? Because that's the bit your thumb's over.

  8. RevStu says:

    As close to scale as I can get:


  9. I wonder if a game has ever had an invisibull in it. :/
    If not, then I would like to see one.

  10. Irish Al says:

    This is a great list as I've just recently gotten an iPad. All the games I've tried work well  with their own control style – Jeff's trying some new methods with his shooters, the driving games are fine with the tilting, turn-based RPGs are fine. Don't know if I'd like them as much on an iPhone … I have a Droid phone but emulators aside the gaming is pretty shite thus far.

  11. Dumpster says:

    I have to say that I do agree with your main point – the Ipod and Iphone are excellent games machines and the variety of games (and pricing) is the reason I won't be buying a 3DS, and my other handhelds have not been touched in ages.
    But I NEED buttons.  I play games like Mr Driller, and find my finger has slid slightly too far to the right, so when I need to move left, I'm actually in the centre zone, and can't get my head around my why character is not moving.
    Even the brilliant Parsec drives me up the wall as my finger slips below the screen area, to be just above the home button, at those crucial moments when the games getting exciting.
    I'd give anything for a little slide-out tray with a D-Pad and buttons on it.

  12. Lave says:

    I'm going to copy and paste this from the comments thread to the 3DS Street Fighter review. In short: I think the iPhone version of Street Fighter is the most innovative SF ever made. I also think it has the definitive controls. It may be the muscle memory of touch gaming starting to match over a decade  with the analogue stick – but I genuinely love it. And play it over the 360 version – even when sitting in front of the TV.

    "I think this review's comments about comparing 3DS games to the iPhone's missing a few crucial points. Firstly the iPhone has a version of Street Fighter IV. And it costs £2.99 

    Now like most people who read Eurogamer, I laughed heartly at the idea of playing SF on a touchscreen and never bought it. 

    Till they put it on sale for 59p. 

    And you know what? It is *brilliant*. Firstly it controls superbly. Maybe I'm finally building the muscle memory to compare with the decade I've been using analogue sticks or the twenty years I've been infront of arcade sticks, or maybe Capcom just nailed it. Either way I have no problems at all with the controls. I really can't emphasise that enough. 

    In fact I find shoryukens far far easier to pull off with the touch screen. Zig-zags and Quarter circles are natural gestures for the screen and work great. 

    The second big revelation with the iOS version is the fact that knowing that the hardcore would never touch it Capcom felt happy to experiment. The controls are paired down. 1 punch button; 1 kick button; 1 special button; and 1 focus button. In addition tapping the appropriate (filled bar) pulls off your super or ultra combo. 

    Its a crazy but it took an iphone game to make the game about the actual tactics of when to use each move rather than if you can input them. I have SFIV for the 360 and it has nothing on the iPhone version. It boggles my mind that I think that. But I do. 

    The game is tremendous, and I'm very happy that some of the revolutions that were introduced into the iPhone version have made it to the DS version. Although I do think that the 3DS implementation seems a step back. I would go as far to say that the new iOS controls should be an option for the 4 face buttons on the 360/PS3 – they work that well. 

    I too think SFIV shows the difference between the 3DS and iOS – but I don't think it paints quite a rosey a picture for the 3DS and the author leads us to believe… 

    TL;DR I genuinely think the iOS version of Street Fighter IV is the definitive version of the game. It's controls are brilliant and it's a tenth of the price of the 3DS version."

  13. Jayminer says:

    But I NEED buttons.  I play games like Mr Driller, and find my finger has slid slightly too far to the right, so when I need to move left, I'm actually in the centre zone, and can't get my head around my why character is not moving.

    I would say that is a fault of the virtual d-pad in Mr. Driller, and not a fault of virtual d-pads in general. The D-pad is really tiny and very gruffy about where you are pressing.
    I do agree that actual real buttons are preferable for many games, such as platformers, fighters and… well, come to think of it, most other genres play really well on the iPhone, and most platformers with a well constructed control-scheme also work really well.

  14. RevStu says:

    "I would say that is a fault of the virtual d-pad in Mr. Driller, and not a fault of virtual d-pads in general."

    Exactly. As I say in the piece, the earliest virtual pads WERE rubbish. But nowadays, by and large, they're vastly, vastly better.

    Mr Driller is about as tough as it gets for a touch-screen, because it's so based on right-angles and digital, block-based movement, and Namco didn't do a great job on it within those already-tricky parameters. I'd still rather play that on my GBA, but almost no games need a physical pad as much as Mr Driller does.

  15. romanista says:

    The first few months i hated the virtual controls too. But slowly it started to click, and then i remember the first months when i changed from The Arcade Stick (still the best joystick ever made) to my first d-pad, i was so conditioned i really did imagine a dpad as being as natural as my trusty old joystick…
    i don't think we're still having this discussion in two years time..

  16. Partario says:

    People slagging off the games are idiots, but slagging it off because it's a hateful piece of constantly crashing hardware that goes out of date after about two years? Yeah, that's seems about right to me.

  17. Jon says:

    Thumbs on the screen, even if they're only in the corners, that's still a bit distracting for me.
    It's like going to the cinema and having some lanky bugger sit in the row in front. Even if he's a couple of seats to the left or right, and I'm focusing on the action the middle of the screen, I can still see him.

  18. jon says:

    Any chance of a similar list for Android games?

  19. RevStu says:

    Not unless you write it yourself.

  20. Irish Al says:

    Some exceptions aside the games ain't there yet.

  21. MelonManga says:

    Great article as always RevStu.

  22. Matty says:

    Interesting you refer to 'Battle for Wesnoth' as an RPG. Assuming it's the same as the freeware PC version gameplay-wise, I'd always thought of it as straight-up strategy title but I suppose, with its experience-based advancement system and characters who carry-over into later campaigns it's as much a Role-Playing title. I'm a bit conflicted about it, on one hand it looks gorgeous and its heartening that people were willing to put such a professional-looking game together and give it to people for free (or near as dammit for iThings) on the other hand the combat has a pretty hefty random element which can make battles frustrating as your levelled-up horseman dies at the hands (or rather claws) of some 'orrible underling who managed to get a lucky "roll".
    Regarding game controls, I'm one of those people who prefers physical feedback as well. Whilst I'm sure virtual joysticks work well in most instances they're still standing in for and attempting to emulate a "proper" stick controller. With iPhones and iPod touch's it's impracticle to use anything other than the touchscreen method but surely for iPad owners (assuming there are any outside the media villages – I've still not seen one in the "wild") should have the option of a plug-in controller?
    Finally, and this is more of a rhetorical question than anything else, but I've been tempted for a while by an iPod touch, not least because of the wealth of iThing games available and more-than-reasonably pricing policy for them but why the flippety flop can't Apple just allow people to drag-and-drop music onto their music players like you can with my five-year-old mp3 player? All of the feedback I've heard about iTunes is resoundingly negative? Why don't they fix it or just let people sort out their music themselves?

  23. RevStu says:

    There IS a plug-in controller for iPad, or more accurately a stick-on one. I can't remember the name offhand but it's a weird-looking little clear rubber thumbstick affair that's apparently amazingly good.

    I can’t defend iTunes in any way – it’s the stinking dogturd in the ice cream of iOS – but to be fair you CAN just drag and drop MP3 files onto it and sync them, it’s not exactly a faff. In fact, as a music management system it’s pretty good. It’s only when you throw apps into the mix that it utterly falls apart.

  24. RevStu says:

    Ah, here we are:

    £20ish for a pair, but almost as much again to ship from the US, which is silly for something so small. Hopefully someone will import them sooner or later. Or if loads of us fancy some we could make a bulk order.

    (Actually, I’ve just noticed if you order four pairs you get free international shipping.)

  25. Rob M says:

    Virtual joypads are all compromised arse.  Differing amounts of compromised arse, but nonetheless.
    Mr Driller tip – I find swipe controls (blech! but, no, wait!) work best. Because you're never far from hitting a wall you can rely upon them to stop you, which alleviates much of the "aagh, I'm out of control!" problem, and makes swipe much better than the "aagh, where's the d-pad gone!" anxiety mess of the virtual pad.

  26. EGMassive says:

    Touchpad controls will always, always, always be behind real physical controls. They're emulating real sticks, so they can never better them, and in most cases don't come close. They hurt to use (solid surface & squishy thumbs = pain) and have no feedback.
    If we're even discussing the possibility of them "being as good as a d-pad" then they've failed immediately.

  27. RevStu says:

    That’s a foolishly simplistic view. Physical controls are better sometimes, for some things. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve caused myself physical pain from pressing too hard on d-pads in particularly tense games. But people need to get over the idea that there are only a certain number of types of game that count as “real”. Because if d-pads and joysticks were the only things permissible, we’d have had no Marble Madness, no Battlezone, no Tempest, no Paperboy, no Atari Star Wars, no Arkanoid, no Missile Command, no Out Run, no Dance Dance Revolution, no… well, you get the idea, right? Touchscreen is just another new kind of control, with pros and cons like all the others. Get with the beat, baggy.

  28. EGMassive says:

    Yeah, touchscreen controls are fine for some games, specifically those with touchscreen controls from day 1. For Street Fighter, Doom, and thousands of racing games, they will always be a poor substitute.

  29. RevStu says:

    Racing games? So a d-pad (digital) is a better way of simulating a steering wheel than an analogue tilt sensor or touch slider? That's your position, yeah?

  30. EGMassive says:

    Yes, yes it is. Both are obviously compromises on a steering wheel, but only one forces me to actually tilt the screen I'm supposed to be concentrating on.

  31. GeeZa says:

    Tilt screen can be awkward but some games (Speed Forge comes immediately to mind) with a sensitivity-adjustable analogue slider work brilliantly. And then you have Ridge Racer on iOS where one option is just a simple left-and-right virtual dpad and it's basically flawless. Less fatiguing than a plastic dpad for me anyway. Honestly, I think it's really tough to generalise here, there are some good and bad examples across a whole slew of genres. Just sayin'.

  32. romanista says:

    Thought about this some more, and i thnk you failed to mention one point. When people say "there are no real console games", what they might really be saying is "The ipod hasn't one of the big console franchises (fifa excl.)" . Which might not be interesting at all to you and me, but this essay probably won't be an answer for them, since they would probably respond "yeah, but we got the real Halo" (like if that matters). Even responding then with but the ipod has GTA they will probably only respond with, yeah, but that's a two year old ds game…
    time for pacman celine dion now..

  33. itsallcrap says:

    Battle for Wesnoth!  Glad someone else has heard of it.  I love that little guy.

  34. RevStu says:

    "The ipod hasn't one of the big console franchises"

    I'm not sure that stands up to scrutiny. Not only FIFA but most of the other big sports brands (eg Madden, Tiger Woods and PES), plus Resident Evil, Street Fighter, Sonic The Hedgehog, Super Monkey Ball, Ridge Racer (in other words, most of the 3DS launch lineup…), Need For Speed, Dead Rising, Silent Hill, Dance Dance Revolution, Assassin's Creed, Guitar Hero, Rock Band… that's a lot of the traditional mainstream franchises with iOS releases.

  35. says:

    You may know this, but it's not terribly clear in the article – Neuroshima Hex is a real board game.  A good one!  Has fan-made armies and official expansion(s?) and everything.

  36. RevStu says:

    Ooh, I didn’t know that. Will edit.

  37. romanista says:

    @revstu, i'm not saying that stands up, i'm saying that might be part of the image the "idiots" your piece is aiming at… 

  38. No Name says:

    I can complain about virtual D-Pads and shitty controls all I like, but in the past year the ratio of iPod Touch games I've bought to games purchased for every other console or handheld I own is 410:1. And that one was a shoot 'em up for the Sega Saturn.

    It's revolutionised the way I feel about gaming. Specifically, that £30 is too f***ing much for a piece of software

  39. Marc says:

    And to whoever above mentioned Doom, you can't have tried that hard.  Initially – yes, I found it frustrating as hell.  An hour of perseverance and I found the combination of d-pad and tilt about as natural as any control method I've ever played the game with.  I don't know how people can be so blind, yes there are shitty touch controls.  There are also shitty digital controls and shitty analogue controls, it's the thought that actually goes into them that gives the end result.

  40. Steve D says:

    I've never been one to claim iOS devices aren't 'proper' games devices, as far as I'm concerned if it brings someone happiness while playing a game it's a gaming device.

    Looking at some of those (specifically Reckless Racing, Dark Nova and Undercroft) almost makes me want to get a new iPod Touch to play them on, I gave my old one to the girlfriend. The only stumbling block is my HATE for Apple.
    But man alive they look good fun…

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