The best console spin-offs on iPhone and iPad (2012)

This is how you do it

The best console spin-offs on iPhone and iPad (2012)

As we discovered in our recent feature on the worst console spin-offs on iOS, there's little that raises the hackles of mobile gamers more than a dodgy console conversion.

Seeing a beloved console property taken to bits, teased into an ill-fitting mould, and half-heartedly spat out is a painful experience.

But, not all console developers and publishers mess it up so badly. Some actually understand mobile gaming.

To prove that point, let's take a look through some of the best console spin-offs for iPhone and iPad.

Each of these games does full justice to the console series that spawned it, whether through a faithful conversion or a new game that's sympathetic to the host platform.

Need For Speed: Most Wanted
By FireMonkeys - buy on iPhone and iPad

How on earth did EA manage to squeeze the essence of its fabulous Need For Speed: Most Wanted console game into our iOS devices?

Well, it's actually quite simple. At the same time as EA commissioned console racing specialist Criterion to make the console version, it invited mobile racing specialist FireMonkeys to do the honours on mobile.

The result from the Real Racing team is the finest arcade racer on iOS. Eye-bleedingly fast; beautiful to look at; and as slick and fluid as a console racer, Need For Speed: Most Wanted shows how console racer spin-offs should be done.

Rayman Jungle Run
By Pastagames - buy on iPhone and iPad

Ubisoft's quirky limbless mascot made a triumphant return to console (and Vita) in 2011 with the beautiful 2D platformer Rayman Origins. When it came to developing an iOS spin-off, though, there was one problem - even the best smartphone platformers are compromised, unwieldy experiences.

It's all to do with those darned virtual controls, which invariably suffer in comparison to their console counterparts and their reliable physical controls.

Rayman Jungle Run is the perfect response. It carries forward the stunningly sharp 2D artwork and Disney-esque animation of Origins, while stripping the gameplay back to a simple speedrun platformer that can be played with one thumb.

LostWinds 2: Winter of the Melodias
By Frontier Developments - buy on iPhone and iPad

You know how we just criticised iOS 2D platformers? LostWinds 2 is an iOS 2D platformer. Ah. It works, however, because it's based on gestural commands, which the iPhone and iPad can handle with ease.

LostWinds 2 is unique on this list for being a straight port from the original developer. Like the first LostWinds game for iOS, though, it's every bit the equal of the WiiWare original.

Take some ingenious swipe-based gameplay mechanics, place it in a gorgeous fantasy world, and add a masterful sense of adventure and you have a triple-A game that's worthy of Nintendo itself.

Dead Space
By IronMonkey Studios - buy on iPhone or buy on iPad

Prior to merging with Firemint to work on Need For Speed: Most Wanted, IronMonkey Studios made this unexpectedly stunning addition to the popular Dead Space franchise.

Why 'unexpected'? The console original was a tense, tight third-person action-horror game with some of the best visuals around. Replicating that experience on mobile would be a formidable challenge for any iOS developer.

IronMonkey boldly stuck to the console template, and amazingly it worked like a charm. Dead Space is great to look at, responsive in the hands, and pant-browningly tense - just like its console inspiration.

Street Fighter X Tekken Mobile
By Capcom - buy on iPhone and iPad

If there's one gaming genre that demands as much physical control precision as the 2D platformer, it's the 2D one-on-one beat-'em-up. Capcom understood this with Street Fighter X Tekken Mobile (SFXTM), and produced an inspired workaround for this console spin-off.

Developers of previous iOS Street Fighter conversions opted to replicate the complicated console controls (with their complex half-turn commands, etc.) using virtual buttons. For SFXTM, Capcom wisely ditched that idea and started from scratch, including adding a dedicated button for special moves.

As a result, battles are fluid and intuitive, while the tactical element that both Tekken and Street Fighter are renowned for is retained. Oh, and the game looks an absolute treat, too.

Jon Mundy
Jon Mundy
Jon is a consummate expert in adventure, action, and sports games. Which is just as well, as in real life he's timid, lazy, and unfit. It's amazing how these things even themselves out.