We looked to the past, this month. In July, the App Store played host to a dusty old PSP game, an ancient arcade game, a PC point and click from yesteryear, and a 20 year card game.
But it wasn't all about nostalgia. There was also the shooter so modern it had the word "modern" in its name. And the hip one-touch platformer. And a MOBA. MOBA's are still cool, right?
As ever, this month's iOS games came from a dizzying number of different genres, eras, sensibilities, and regions. And while they often vary in quality, all ten of these are terrific.World of Tanks Blitz
By Wargaming - download on iPhone and iPad
World of Tanks is one of the most profitable free to play games around. In 2013, PC players bought fancy new Shermans and premium shells to the tune of $300 million.
That's not all it has going for it, of course. It's also a staggeringly good tank battler (blowing all its iOS copycats out of the water), that creates stories of heroics, bitter battles, last-ditch efforts, co-op excursions, and much-loved metal friends.Monster Hunter Freedom Unite
By Capcom - buy on iPhone and iPad
This PSP port really captures the experience of heading out into the mountains to kill 20 foot tall beasts - from the grand sense of epic adventure, to the nitty gritty details of keeping your sword sharp and your temperature consistent.
It's fun enough checking off quests by your lonesome, but it's even better when you go online, team up with a pal, and go exploring together. It's like going deer hunting with a friend, but less atrocious and vile.Fates Forever
By Hammer & Chisel Inc. - download on iPad
If you've never played a MOBA - a sort of team-based multiplayer twist on Diablo, with a pinch of tower defence - Fates Forever might just be a perfect introduction to a game like League of Legends or DOTA 2.
Then again, you may not want to leave it behind. This is a fun, frantic, no-compromise battler that works wonderfully on the iPad. And it encourages tactical thinking and tight teamwork so that each battle requires brains before brawn.Magic 2015: Duels of the Planeswalker
By Wizards of the Coast - download on iPad
Magic: The Gathering couldn't rest on its laurels this year. Not while Blizzard is around, stealing away players with a bubbly 3D interface and talking cards and little tree leaves you can rustle on the game board.
Duels of the Planeswalker is never going to win a beauty pageant, of course, but it still holds its own against Hearthstone with a killer underlying card game, new fully open-ended deck building, and a handful of fresh cards.
You can't expect to play this without paying for very long (or you'll get stomped by AI and other players with stronger scraps of cardboard), but download this freebie and see if you get hooked.Modern Combat 5: Blackout
By Gameloft - buy on iPhone and iPad
You know what you're getting with a game when the main character is called Caydan Phoenix. And Modern Combat 5 doesn't disappoint: it's dumb, broad, and about as original as a Flappy Bird clone.
Set your expectations to "Transformers sequel", though, and you'll find a competent shooter with terrific visuals, a full suite of multiplayer modes, and that ever-so addictive breach simulation side quest.Blackwell 3: Convergence
By Wadjet Eye Games - buy on iPhone and iPad
The Blackwell games follow medium Rosa and her spirit guide Joey, on their quest to help recently deceased New Yorkers come to terms with death. And after the uneven prologue episodes, the series found its groove with Convergence.
It looks outstanding (in a defiantly retro, '90s VGA game kinda way) and weaves a twisty, mysterious story filled with intrigue and mystery. The puzzles, which often involve using the web to track down leads, are grand too.Battle Fleet 2
By Capital j Media - buy on iPad
Believe it or not, but World War II naval simulation Battle Fleet 2 is a lot like Worms. In that you have to guess the distance to your target, and then try to calculate the right range and power to land a hit.
Just, replace holy hand grenades and donkey bombs with Frigates and Battleships, now trading shrapnel in the pacific.
It's a clever twist on the formula, and makes for a fun game. Plus, there's loads to do - both offline, and when playing multiplayer bouts - but watch out for the near complete lack of tutorials or instructions.King of Fighters '98
By SNK Playmore - buy on iPhone and iPad
Anyone who's anyone will tell you that '98 is King of Fighters at its best. It has the sharpest balance, a humongous roster, a crunchy fighting system, and no storyline nonsense to slow things down.
This iOS port is a spot-on, faithful recreation of a much-loved game. And best of all, it supports MFi controllers so you don't need to suffer the nightmare that is make-believe buttons in a duel to the death.Beyond Gravity
By Qwiboo - buy on iPhone and iPad
This list is getting a bit heady, ain't it? I mean, card battlers, complex arcade fighters, World War II strategy games, and MOBAs? I don't use my iPhone to think, you're saying, I use it to wile away a three minute ad break during Mad Men.
That's exactly what Beyond Gravity is for.
This utterly simplistic, one-thumb platformer is brainless and ephemeral, but those satisfying interplanetary hops and that compulsive greed for the next power-up will keep you satisfied until Don Draper's back on screen. The ol' scamp.Traps n' Gemstones
By Donut Games - buy on iPhone and iPad
We rarely write about apps from Donut Games. These little throwaway time-wasters rarely fall within Pocket Gamer's snooty wheelhouse. Which is why we were practically blindsided by this brilliant Metroidvania.
Traps n' Gemstones is an adorable adventure game, set within the maze-like belly of a pyramid. And with a focus on puzzle solving (and treasure hunting) instead of combat or platforming, it works wonderfully with touch controls.
Previously... June 2014 - May 2014 - April 2014