Apple has just whipped its dedicated fanbase into a frenzy with the release of its hotly-anticipated iPhone 5. With a speedy A6 processor chip and dazzling Retina display on board, the device's potential as a gaming platform soars to dizzy new heights.
Games on the App Store are in no short supply, with casual and blockbuster titles spanning every genre ever conceived. With droves of fans descending on Apple Stores across the world this weekend, Digital Spy rounds up its favourite gaming apps for the smartphone.
Street Fighter X Tekken Mobile
There are those who scoff at the notion of a versus fighter without physical controls, but Street Fighter X Tekken Mobile is the best thing to happen to the genre in the handheld sector for a generation. Capcom has reinvented its crossover series for the iPhone's interface, proving that touch-screen technology and brawlers don't have to be uneasy bedfellows. It might lack the cinematic qualities of its console counterpart, but packs one hell of a Dragon Punch.
New Star Soccer is living proof that you don't need a lucrative licensing deal and 3D match engine to deliver a definite simulation of the beautiful game. New Star Games' mobile masterpiece combines the simplicity of casual titles such as Angry Birds with the fiendish addictiveness of Football Manager to offer an experience of Champions League pedigree. This triumphant mix of arcade mini-games and stat management is an essential mainstay on any handset.
With the iPhone 5 packing a cutting-edge Retina display and zippy A6 processor chip, high-end software takes on a new level of significance. Chair Entertainment's Infinity Blade 2 is a technological powerhouse that will put the impressive hardware through its paces, while providing robust fighting mechanics and balanced RPG elements. The game was already cinematic enough to grace any home console, and with Apple's new tech on its side, it's never looked so good.
The original Secret of Monkey Island is widely regarded as one of the greatest adventure games of all time, and when its Special Edition arrived in 2009, it became more than just a relic of a golden era. The iPhone edition wisely leaves the title's quintessential point-and-click gameplay untouched, but added vastly improved visuals, full speech and an enhanced soundtrack. The remake is now more than three years old, but like the original, it's as timeless as they come.
There's plenty of high-end fare on the App Store capable of pushing the iPhone 5 to its limits, but there are times when less is most certainly more. Jetpack Joyride is an absolute blast, fuelled by effective one-touch platforming and some incredible power-ups. Moreover, Halfbrick Studios' opus offers depth and replay value through a broad range of challenges and unlockable rewards. This one is a must for any iPhone owner who often find themselves with idle thumbs.
Like all effective casual games, Temple Run has a straightforward premise and simplistic interface, relying on its infectious gameplay to keep players coming back for more. Imangi Studios' take on the endless runner doesn't add a great deal to the genre, but it does embody everything that's great about it. Sleek, intuitive controls make Temple Run the equivalent of gin to an alcoholic, and the volumes of unlockable bonuses will keep addicts coming back for more. This one is living proof that the simplest of concepts can please the most when executed well.
N.O.V.A. 3 may have learnt everything it knows from Halo and Crysis, but it delivers a first-person shooter experience of home console calibre in the palm of your hand. With awe-inspiring visuals, Gameloft's smash hit is another tour de force worthy of that Retina display. Control issues prevent the game from reaching the dizzy heights it might have ascended to, though these are easy to overlook when you are gunning down hordes or extra-terrestrials with futuristic weaponry.
Although id Software's role-playing take on its seminal first-person shooter is beginning to show its age, we still have a soft spot for it. Wolfenstein RPG is a seamless blend of two genres that hits all of the right notes, with a healthy dose of nostalgia to boot. It offers the kind of plug-and-play RPG experience that will satisfy the hardcore and casual crowds alike, and comes fully loaded with wit and personality. Putting das boot in has never been so much fun.
The Total War series is well known for its in-depth campaigns and strategic complexity, and Creative Assembly somehow managed to maintain these elements when scaling down the experience for mobile. Through some effective streamlining, Total War Battles: Shogun plays host to some of the most intense skirmishes on the iPhone. With mountains of stats jettisoned, it's Total War from the Plants vs Zombies school of thought - a shrewd move on the developers' part.
A game about making video games might sound like an unorthodox idea, yet Game Dev Story remains one of the most original and addictive simulations on the App Store. A lovingly-crafted homage to the medium, Kairosoft's magnum opus will delight lifelong gamers with its industry-related in-jokes and old-school graphics, while its infectious gameplay and charm lends it universal appeal. You'll develop a hardcore addiction to this one in no time.
Angry Birds didn't take long to establish itself as a global phenomenon and assert its dominance on the physics-based puzzle genre, but after countless updates the formula ran the risk of becoming stale. Rovio's decision to take those disgruntled avians into outer space was a stroke of genius, with the zero gravity conditions turning the series on its head. Angry Birds Space is a far cry from a glorified expansion pack, proving that one small step for man is a giant leap for our feathered friends.
There's always room for a good puzzler on any mobile handset, and Bejeweled Blitz has found a permanent home on many thanks to its ludicrously addictive gameplay and constant drip feed of rewards. There are myriad match-three puzzlers on the App Store, yet PopCap Games managed to steal their collective thunder with a vibrant and colourful offering that preys on the competitive nature of the high score fanatic. It's the Bejeweled we know and love with extensive social networking support and amped-up pyrotechnics. Yet another jewel in the iPhone's glistening crown.