Top iPhone Games - September 23, 2011

Gun-slinging cowboys, underground helicopters, a PC classic, some bone-crunching tackles, and a whole lot of weird monsters converge in this week's top games for iPhones and iPads.

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Another World
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NFL RIVALS
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Cowboy Guns
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Let's face it: At some stage, you'll probably need to leave the house. Maybe it's to go to work, to college, or even just to get a fresh case of energy drinks for your next gaming marathon. And while you're on the go, mobiles are a great way to keep your brain in a gaming frame of mind instead of, say, paying attention to street signs. GameSpot's weekly list of top releases on Apple's App Store is your handy guide to what's worth playing on your iDevices, so check out what our global editors have been playing this week.

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Monsters Ate My Condo--iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad
Those wacky guys over at Adult Swim are a strange lot, and with their latest mobile game offering, they finally seem intent on deliberately trying to break our brains. Monsters Ate My Condo is a visual and aural sense assault, with the game being a crazy mash-up of Japanese-inspired visuals, weird audio grabs, and giant monsters. Luckily, it's also a fun game, with Monsters Ate My Condo essentially being a match-three title, where you have to group three of the same colored condo floors as they drop from the sky. You only have one column to take care of, and when it topples, it's game over. Standing on either side of your shaky building are giant monsters, and you'll need to feed them floors from your structure to keep them happy by simply swiping a level in their direction. The monsters have a favorite colored floor, so you have to carefully manage what you throw at them lest their satisfaction meter goes down too low and they start to rampage. Monsters Ate My Condo is compelling fun, and there's a surprising amount of forethought required in trying to keep the monsters satisfied while trying to keep your building balanced (and upright). The over-the-top presentation makes it an upbeat experience to play each time you fire it up, and it's just the right type of weird to put a smile on your face.
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Another World--iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad
In a market where cinematic gameplay has become the norm and every game comes loaded with slickly produced cutscenes, it's hard to imagine just how impactful a title like Another World was back when it was first released in the early '90s. The game's outdated graphics certainly don't look impressive now, but back in 1991, its presentation and unique style was revolutionary. This mobile version of the Amiga classic does come with slightly upgraded graphics (which essentially smooth out some polygons, a feature you can turn off), but its gameplay is essentially intact. Yes, there's a lot of trial and error involved in this tale of a scientist being transported to a mysterious planet, but it's also very satisfying because it rewards fast thinking and quick reflexes. Its minimalist presentation adds to the overall mystery of the narrative, and its atmosphere is still entrancing, even today. Another World rightly deserves its place as an adventure classic, and if you haven't experienced it before, this is an excellent time to get acquainted.
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Cowboy Guns--iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad
Twin-stick shooters on the App Store may be as common as beards at Blizzcon, but that doesn't mean that there are no good games in the genre. Cowboy Guns is one of the more impressive twin-stick shooters; it wows us with its appealing blocky art style and narrative structure that give a lot of drive to what would otherwise be a run-of-the-mill entry in the genre. As you'd expect from a twin-stick shooter, the left virtual stick is used to navigate your character from a top-down view, while the right stick decides the which direction you shoot. Cowboy Guns tells the tale of The Kid, a man with a mysterious past who comes to the aid of a small town. Along the way, you can collect stars in each level, which are then used to buy new weapons and upgrades, such as armor or even new shoes (which can make The Kid move faster along levels; this is practically a necessity because he moves at the speed of a sick gerbil). It's fairly standard stuff when it comes to gameplay, but there's just enough juice in the narrative to keep you coming back for more, as well as enough variety in your level objectives to keep things interesting.
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NFL Rivals--iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad
The Madden franchise may have all the players, stats, teams, and plays wrapped up when it comes to NFL video games, but it doesn't quite approach the sheer pick-up-and-play fun and accessibility of NFL Rivals. Made by NaturalMotion--the guys behind the excellent Backbreaker--NFL Rivals strips away all of the complexity and focuses on arcade fun by putting you in charge of a single player in either attacking or defending runs. When attacking, you have to juke, spin, jump, and truck your way past obstacles and defenders on the way to scoring a touchdown. The role is reversed when you're in defense, a mode in which you're put in charge of a lone defender trying to sack the ball carrier. The animations in NFL Rivals are top notch; you'll wince, grimace, and even laugh out loud as you see the big hits land, and the players move and react quite realistically. The game also has the official license when it comes to NFL teams. And, in a nice twist, the global leaderboards are team based; when you first start the game, you're prompted to pick your favorite team. From there, all the points you accumulate playing the game go toward your team's global score, which means that the more you play, the higher your team rises up the ranks.
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Gyro13: Steam Copter Arcade--iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad
Of all the places in the world where you would want to fly a helicopter, underground in a gas-filled mine probably isn't the best location to do it. Gyro13 puts you in that position exactly, placing you at the controls of a chopper tasked with flying through the mines and picking up trapped miners. As you can imagine, there are plenty of tight spaces to navigate through in Gyro13, and you'll need some serious skills and finesse to pilot your bird safely. Controls are simple; the left virtual stick controls your ascent and the right one moves you forward (or backward). Controlling the chopper is a pretty tense affair of lifting just enough to avoid the bottom while moving forward in bursts to avoid other obstacles. You'll also have a time limit hanging over your head in most levels, which means that you won't be able to dawdle (apparently, the miners can only survive for so long in a poison-gas-filled atmosphere).
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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 9, 2011
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.

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