iphone 8gbThe problem with going to any pub in Starsbourg is that when you're asked what you'd like to drink you're usually faced with a menu containing several hundred different beers. Two things then normally happen: you either opt for a glass of red; or when you do eventually make your selection, it's time to go home.

That's the thing about choice – too much is as bad as too little. And for an example of the former, look no further than the App Store. It's littered with an impossible number of games and, predictably, there are some shocking discoveries to be made.

So we've been sifting through the lot to bring you five that you should have installed on your iPhone or iTouch this Christmas. It's not just a case of picking the highest scoring games from our buyer's guide, you understand – it's a little more subtle than that. Instead, we've actually chosen games that will best complement the seasonal festivities so you don't have to – Christmas is stressful enough as it is…

The 5 essential iPhone games of Christmas 2008

5. Tap Tap Dance
Price: GBP 2.99
Publisher: Tapulous


Chances are you won't escape some form of music gaming this Christmas. Whether it's karaoke with your gran or strumming on a plastic guitar with your nephews, it's one thing you can guarantee that is going to happen. But why fight it? Rhythm-action games can actually be an excellent way to lose yourself in a gorgeous parallel musical dimension. Tap Tap Dance will do that for you. And if your Christmases are like ours, you'll be needing that kind of escape. Regularly.
tap tap dance
4. Real Football 2009
Price: GBP 4.99
Publisher: Gameloft


Come now, you know there's no way you'll be allowed to watch Match of the Day while the family have come to visit. And who wants to watch a bunch of overpaid wingers when you can be right in the thick of the action yourself? No one expected football to work on iPhone when the App Store kicked off, but Gameloft has put in a championship-winning performance. Okay, the game may look more Rooney than Ronaldo, but who cares when it plays with the skill of both?
real football 2009 iphone
3. Hero of Sparta
Price: GBP 5.99
Publisher: Gameloft


Here's the thing about Christmas: you usually end up wanting to knife some of your relatives, but it's hardly the sort of thing you've been brought up to do when sat around the dinner table. How else to vent your frustration, then? You could kick the dog or the cat, but one would instantly love you again while the other would never forgive. The only solution, then, is to massacre everyone you encounter in Hero of Sparta. Thankfully, as action games go, it's one of the very best (and bloodiest) on iPhone.
hero of sparta
2. Theseus
Price: GBP 2.39
Publisher: Jason Fieldman


Need a game that you can dip in for an hour but can drop out after five minutes – because granny's fallen asleep on the toilet or one of your children has got their hair caught in their new motorised Hot Wheels track set – and pick up again once the household has been restored to normal order? You'll need Theseus. It's one of the most addictive puzzlers on the App Store and, to our knowledge, the only one based on a Greek myth. That alone makes it indispensable.
theseus
1. Mondo Solitaire
Price: GBP 0.59
Publisher: Ambrosia Software


What do you mean, boring? There's a reason why Solitaire is one of the most enduring card games of all time, sonny. If you don't believe us, then download Mondo Solitaire and prepare for a glorious journey of discovery – not only will this devour hours of your time the way families around the world gobble up turkeys at Christmas, it'll also serve as an encyclopaedia of this card pastime. That's because just about every version of Solitaire is contained within. Live and learn, innit?
mondo solitaire