If you’re one of the people who lined up at Apple Stores or gleefully had carriers ship a shiny new iPhone to your house or office, you’ll undoubtedly be going through the process of getting all your apps and contacts running on your new device.
And since a new iPhone means new hardware, you’ll probably be thinking about what kinds of games to play. So to help push your new handset to the limits, here’s ten recommendations on what games you should download today to push your iPhone to the limit.
Asphalt 8: Airborne (Free + IAP, Gameloft)
Those who prefer a more realistic looking racer might lean towards Firemint’s Real Racing 3, but if you’re more attuned to the maniacal nature of the FlatOut series will feel more at home with Asphalt 8.
It’s free-to-play although none of the in-app purchases are necessary for a quick drift through the tunnels of Tokyo or a 360 burnout. That’s perfect if you’re looking for something to waste a few minutes if, say, you’re on the toilet or the train.
Order & Chaos 2: Redemption (Free + IAP, Gameloft)
It seems strange to play an MMORPG on your phone of all things, but if you’re looking to push the boundaries of what your device is capable of then exploring Gameloft’s free-to-play MMO world is a pretty good way of going about it.
I’m not sure how the PvP aspect would hold up on Australian mobile networks — particularly if you’re travelling through the tunnels of the city circle in Sydney or one of our country’s wonderful black spots — but those using a Wi-Fi connection at home should have no difficulties whatsoever.
As far as an MMO goes, it’s got all the trimmings you’d expect. There’s five classes, starting areas, a tutorial and an opening zone that features lots of squishy monsters to practice on and a skillset that becomes more interchangeable as you level up.
My only initial advice: disable tap to move, because you’ll be tapping on a lot of characters at the beginning and if the default movement setting is chosen you’ll end up wandering around an awful lot by accident.
XCOM: Enemy Within ($12.99, 2K)
Given that the sequel is coming out later this year and the original — or at least 2K’s reboot of the Microprose original — is already a good test of your device’s hardware, it’s not a bad time to jump back into turn-based strategy with the Humans vs Martians simulator that is XCOM: Enemy Within.
The control scheme already works well on phones and the game has enjoyed a swath of bug fixes since its first buggy outing on mobiles. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect, of course, but in terms of a substantive experience it’s difficult to find a game on the App Store offering as much depth and substance as one of the most beloved games of the last few years.
Fallout Shelter (Free-to-Play, Bethesda)
It’d be strange if Fallout Shelter didn’t make this list. Chances are you were already playing it on your phone or tablet before you upgraded, so why stop there?
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 ($4.99, Frontier Developments)
RollerCoaster Tycoon’s initial outing on mobiles was an atrocious, IAP-riddled nightmare, so it’s heart-warming to see that Frontier Developments — the studio responsible for the originals, and Elite: Dangerous — opted not to mess around with their iOS port of RCT3.
It’s a straight up release that has plenty of scenarios and most of the features nostalgics will remember. It’s also a good test of your mobile: the fast forward functionality will really push the iPhone’s hardware, the first-person rollercoaster rides are a visual delight on the phone and there are plenty of visitors vomiting everywhere to keep your CPU busy.
Five themes, 18 scenarios, the Sandbox mode, Coaster Cam and everything a RollerCoaster Tycoon game should have. Also, it’s pretty reasonably priced. Perfect combination, if you ask me.
Republique ($6.49, Camouflaj LLC)
I’ll go out on a limb here: I actually quite enjoyed the first episode of Republique, the crowdfunded stealth adventure set within the totalitarian Metamorphosis facility.
It’s not the best game in the world, although Watch Dogs certainly owes it at least a mention in its credits. But it does have a few things going for it: it looks sweet, has some nice voice acting and an intriguing premise that is just enough to carry you through to the end of each episode.
Only three episodes are available, but for all their flaws Republique does at least offer a style of gameplay that’s not oft seen on mobiles. Hitman GO is probably another option for those who are wanting a stealth fix, and while that does look pretty enough in its own right, I’m sticking with my recommendation — couched though it is — for Republique.
Call of Champions (Free + IAP, Spacetime Studios)
If League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, SMITE or Dota 2 is your preferred genre of choice at home, then Call of Champions might be just the thing to scratch that itch while you’re out on the road. It’s a 3v3 fighter that’s built from the ground up to work on a phone, rather than wedging the traditional MOBA interface from PC into the compressed screen space.
One of the great features about the game is how matches are capped at five minutes, giving Call of Champions the opportunity to be as practical for people’s lives as Rocket League has been. And while the match is ultimately decided the ability to kill the other side’s main tower, most matches often end before that happens.
That means the amount of offensive towers killed ends up being the determining factor in a victory, and if both sides are tied on that front it comes down to hero kills. It’s a fully fledged MOBA experience that fits in your pocket with an artstyle that League of Legends fans in particular will immediately take to.
FIFA 16 Ultimate Team (Free + IAP, EA)
This year’s edition of FIFA on mobiles is significantly pared down from previous editions, but the new engine powering it all makes EA’s annual football simulator the most attractive game of soccer you’ll find on the pitch, so it’s worthy of inclusion if you’re looking to push a new phone to the limit.
It’s not just the fact that the game looks better: the AI has been improved, particularly defensively, and the controls have been improved from last year as well.
The majority of FIFA fans, or so EA says, only play Ultimate Team so it makes sense why the mobile edition would concentrate solely on that aspect. I’ve never been one of those players, however, so this year’s mobile port is pretty disappointing to me. But if you’re sitting across from someone on the train looking at the ball pinging back and forth, there’s no doubt that it still looks pretty bloody good.
I just wish we could get developers to stop taking content out of new releases, but that’s another argument altogether. Let’s move on.
Horizon Chase ($3.79, Aquiris Game Studio)
Racers are usually pretty solid when it comes to visuals on mobiles and it’s difficult to avoid the wonderful retro stylings of Horizon Chase.
The fact that the game is a love letter to classics like Out Run, Rush and Top Gear is an easy enough sell for a nostalgic like me, but there are plenty of trimmings to make it a worthy purchase. The action is easy enough to follow at high-speed thanks to the artstyle, the day/night cycle adds to the visual spectacle and animations are incredibly smooth throughout, which is precisely what you want when playing a new game on a new iPhone.
You can upgrade and customise your car throughout, along with other little layers that make Horizon Chase more addictive than you’d expect. I don’t want to give anything away, but I’d be surprised if this didn’t end up on most lists for mobile game of the year: it’s pretty bloody good.
Oceanhorn ($10.99, FDG Mobile Games GbR)
Oceanhorn’s one of the most expensive titles on this list, but there are plenty of reasons why it’s worth a look on a new iPhone. The game, which was already easy on the eye for a mobile isometric action-adventure, has been heavily patched to take advantage of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+ devices.
It now runs at 60 FPS — pretty impressive for a mobile game — and has a better lighting system, ambient occlusion and more detailed models to take advantage of the improved hardware.
Oceanhorn is the name of the monster inhabiting the waters surrounding the Uncharted Seas, which gives you an indication of what kind of adventure you’re about to embark upon. There are a string of boss fights, upgrade mechanics and items that will sit right at home with any Zelda fan.
It’s not a perfect title by any means, but it’s definitely worth a playthrough and the artstyle and technical performance of the game will definitely show off your new iPhone’s assets better than most games on the App Store.
That’s my list of 10 games you can download right now to push a brand new iPhone to the limit. What games have you downloaded first whenever you’ve upgraded your phone — and what games are you playing right now?