GameSpot's weekly list of top games on Apple's App Store looks at, naturally, the best game experiences available in that massive marketplace. But occasionally, there are also a few non-game apps that we think you need to know about. One is VidRhythm, the new app from the team behind the original Guitar Hero and Rock Band franchises, Harmonix. It's more of a goofy music-making piece of software, and you can check out our thoughts on this gaming giant's first foray into the mobile space here. And for those currently enjoying the zombie-slashing Dead Island, there's an app for that too. The official Dead Island Map App gives you a detailed map of all the areas in each game, as well as the location of all in-game collectibles.
But enough about non-game stuff--check out our list below of the best games we've been playing and enjoying in the past week.
Grand Prix Story--iPhone/iPod Touch
Kairosoft is at it again, releasing yet another one of its horribly addictive management-sim games on Apple devices. This time around, you're put in charge of a budding racing team, with your job being to rise up the ranks and become a grand prix champion. As with all Kairosoft games, the start can be a little intimidating, but Grand Prix story does better than most of its titles when it comes to holding your hand during those first few races. It's certainly not as complex to get to grips with as Pocket Academy, but it'll still take some digging to find out exactly what you need to do to succeed. You'll have to research new types of cars, individual pieces of technology to improve vehicle performance, manage mechanics and drivers, and deal with sponsors. You unfortunately won't get to do any of the actual racing, which is a bummer given you're forced to sit there and watch the noninteractive race play out. You'll get experience from each race you join, which is yet another upgrade path for both your vehicle and its parts. Grand Prix Story is another winner from Kairosoft, so make sure you clear some time from your schedule this weekend to get racing.
Samurai Bloodshow--iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad
This excellent, feature-packed title from Sega is what we imagine would come out if Plants vs. Zombies made out with Yugi-Oh in feudal Japan. It's a tower-defense game mixed with card battle elements, with the actual "battles" taking place on lanes a la Plants vs. Zombies. Your task is to protect your general from enemies advancing along five lanes, and you have to set up defenses along those lanes to thwart your foes. Each of your units is represented by cards, and you'll have to decide before each battle what the makeup of your deck will be, as you're only able to take a certain number of cards into the fray. And once you're in battle, you have to spend gold to draw cards for use, with your gold supply slowly increasing with time. It adds yet another strategic element to the game, as not only will you need to figure out your deck balance and unit deployment, but you'll also have to keep an eye on your gold to make sure you're not caught short when you desperately need to draw. There's a lot of content packed into Samurai Bloodshow; there are plenty of levels included, with each level featuring five difficulty levels. The game also looks gorgeous; it's all presented in traditional Japanese wood block print styles, and there are neat touches to be found everywhere (from the animation of the units to the game map rolling into a scroll as you move back and forth). Samurai Bloodshow is an engrossing tower defense game that takes a bit of skill and patience to play through, and it is highly recommended for download.
Machinarium--iPad 2 only
The indie darling finally makes its way to the App Store, but it's being a bit picky about where it wants to be played. Machinarium--the adventure game developed by Amanita Design--is a visually impressive title that won plenty of plaudits when it was first released for PCs in 2009. It's finally on portable devices, but it's only available for iPad 2s, so the majority of iOS device owners will unfortunately miss out. This is a pity, as Machinarium on the iPad 2 looks and plays great. For those who missed out on the PC release, Machinarium follows the travails of a little robot named Josef as he tries to thwart an evil organization from blowing up a city. There's no dialogue in Machinarium, with the story being told through thought bubbles appearing over each character's head. The puzzles can also be quite tricky, but help is always on hand with an in-game hint system that can tell you exactly how to get past a puzzle (although you'll have to complete a little shooting minigame first to access the cheat).
Radballs-- iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad
If music-heavy puzzle game Lumines somehow found Doc Brown's DeLorean and travelled back to 1985, you might have a game like Radballs. This bodacious puzzle game sees you matching different colored balls to turn them into larger blocks, which then get wiped off the screen when the beat wave comes down. This wave--which moves in time to some pretty wicked '80s and '80s-inspired tracks--can also be manipulated, meaning you can move it around with your fingers or even scratch it along the mega radballs for extra points. The whole aim is to build up your radness meter, which slowly depletes over time and only fills up when you take out the mega radballs. You'll also find the occasional power-up, such as an exploding ball or one that grants you electrical powers, which is helpful in more difficult levels. The music mixed with the matching gives Radballs a pretty hypnotic feel, and it's easy to lose yourself in its simple but addictive gameplay. Its '80s aesthetic is a blast as well, with the game being all pastels and bright neons.
Race Illegal: High Speed 3D-- iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad
Bearing more than a little resemblance to games like Burnout and Need for Speed Underground, Chillingo's new driving game puts you behind the wheel of several supercars as you partake in--you guessed it--the illegal street racing scene. The game features some pretty impressive looks, with the cars and surroundings offering some nice detail, as well as a good sense of speed. As with most other street racers, the city streets are your track, and you'll have to weave in and out of traffic to get the jump on your AI opponents. Drifting earns you boost, which you can use at any time to get a temporary speed upgrade. Thankfully, the game also offers three different control schemes: one uses tilt, one taps left or right on the screen to steer, and one offers a virtual steering wheel in the corner. During our playtime with this fun arcade racer, we actually found tilt the most responsive, although your personal preference may differ.
GameSpot's weekly mobile games recommendation list aims to bring you a snapshot of what games the editorial team members around the globe are enjoying on their phones and tablets. For a more in-depth explanation of GameSpot's mobile games coverage policy, click here. For more games, be sure to check out our previous coverage:
Top iPhone/iPad Games – September 2, 2011
Top iPhone/iPad Games - August 26, 2011
Top iPhone/iPad Games - August 19, 2011
Top iPhone/iPad Games - August 12, 2011
Top iPhone/iPad Games - August 5, 2011
Top iPhone/iPad Games - July 29, 2011
And for even more mobile videos, check out our new show Appetite for Distraction.