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The Friday Five: This week's best iPhone games

Snuggles, Stories, Gears, Boxes, Chaos
Product: Friday Five | Format: iPhone, iPad
Friday Five Multiformat, thumbnail 1
Welcome back to the Friday Five, a weekly round-up of the best in iPhone gaming. Our crack team of reviewers and writers plunge the murky depths of iTunes to find out what's worth playing so you don't have to.

It's been a tough week for recommending games. While titles like Zenonia and Snuggle Truck were obvious inclusions, there are just so many interesting games that didn't make the cut in our stringent five game list.

You can also look at Capcom's manic shmup Who's That Flying? rock-hard 7th Guest spin-off Infection and Unpleasant Horse, the edgy new game from PopCap's edgy new studio, 4th & Battery. Edgy!

Oh, and if you have the time you might want to turn on the telly and look at some wedding thing. It's not required, mind. We're not North Korea. Yet.

Snuggle Truck
iPhone - £1.19 / iPad - £1.79 - Owlchemy Labs


Apple, it seems, is no fan of controversy. It won't allow seal clubbing games or baby shaking apps, and it'll ditch any submission featuring a boob, bum, or President Obama. This is a lesson that Owlchemy Labs had to learn the hard way.

The App Store gatekeeper denied the daring indie game Smuggle Truck, which had you running illegal immigrants over the Mexican border in a rickety, bouncy pick-up truck. To combat the ban, Owlchemy went back to the drawing board and came up with Snuggle Truck.

This time you're taking fuzzy animals to the zoo. Snuggle is all about physics, as the fluffy critters bounce around the truck's bed and fly out if your driving isn't up to scratch.

If you drop a bunny on a particularly gnarly landing you can always replace him with a bouncing fuzzy, if you can manage to catch it in your vehicle.

It's bonkers, hilarious, and utterly addictive. This clever little game might have lost its satirical snarl in the transition to iOS, but it's every bit as brilliant. A perfect addition to your home screen.

Zenonia 3: The Midgard Story
iPhone - £2.99 - Gamevil


Zenonia 3 might look like it's inspired by Final Fantasy - with its over-sized swords and emo haircuts - or maybe influenced by The Legend of Zelda - with its block-pushing puzzles and gorgeous fantasy land. But really, this game owes much more to MMOs.

The game deals in nerfs and buffs like World of Warcraft, mixes fast-paced hack and slash gameplay with a sophisticated strategy spine, and has a rich bed of customisation. But, while time-sink, loot-lust MMOs are enjoyable, they have some nasty traits too.

The boring, creatively-bankrupt fetch quests and loot runs that dog even the best online RPGs make their way to Zenonia, and by the third quest they're really starting to wear out their welcome.

Nevertheless, it's still utterly moreish and the combat is frantic and exciting - as you swap melee button mashing for massive spells and wail on endless pixel-art beasties - that it's easy to get lost in this new fantasy world. Any RPG fan craving some fresh stat-swapping action should check it out.

Order & Chaos Online
Universal - £3.99 - Gameloft


Gameloft has finally cloned the big dog. The newly released Order & Chaos Online is the iOS studio's take on Blizzard's staggeringly epic, 12 million-subscribed MMO titan World of Warcraft.

The dichotomically-titled app is a subscription RPG with 1,000-player servers, featuring parties, guilds, and quests. As you journey through dark forests, across deserts, and over mountains you'll tackle over 500 quests to earn cash and find loot, and kit your hero out with the best stuff.

You'll get a free three-month subscription when you buy the app, and then you can further pledge your allegiance to the world of Order & Chaos Online for just 59p a month.

iPhone - Free - Autodesk


This brain-twisting puzzle game is like an industrial Incredible Machine, asking players to place down cogs, platforms, pliers, buttons, and balls to get a gear-churning automaton up and running.

Each level asks you to perform some simple task - drop a giant steel ball in a bucket, create a makeshift car, or tap a few red buttons - and you've got to craft the ultimate Rube Goldberg machine to pull it off.

Once you've cleared the game's plentiful stages you can flex your creative muscles and try your hand at making a custom-built stage. Once you're done you can upload it to the web and let pals online have a crack at your masterminded brain teaser.

When Autodesk isn't fiddling around with iPhone puzzlers, it can be found making high-end graphics design software like 3ds Max and Maya. Well, everyone's got to have a break some time, don't they?

Universal - 59p - Crescent Moon Games


The world is dead, humanity's resources have been depleted, and, to be perfectly honest, things are looking a tad bleak. Luckily, there's one final thing we can try to reboot this big blue marble and bring planet Earth back to life: a gorgeous ball-rolling physics puzzler from Crescent Moon Games.

It's your job to roll an energy-collecting sphere around a handful of vibrant and detailed levels, through steam-punk factories, down boiling-hot magma volcanoes, and around the trap-filled labyrinths of the Cavern of Omens. Along the way you'll hopefully roll over enough energy cores to recharge the planet.

Gears looks absolutely jaw-dropping, especially on a fancy Retina-screened smartphone or the brand new iPad 2. The cogs, wooden platforms, and tree-top runways that make up the game's vibrant, rainbow-coloured world are textured beautifully and lit up creatively.

It's also consistently smart and surprising, offering up a rigorous gauntlet of obstacles, puzzles, and new ideas. It's tough - especially if you choose the tilt-based control scheme - but the game's clever levels and responsive controls mean you'll master it in no time.

Reviewer photo
Mark Brown 29 April 2011
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