Apple's App Store has gone from strength to strength in 2011, thanks to its ever-increasing mix of fun, innovative, unique, and console-quality games.
Some may play down the iPhone's role as a gaming device due to its lack of physical buttons, but - as proven below - the device's purported handicap hasn't stopped developers pumping out some top titles across a range of different genres.
This year's ten best iPhone titles include racers, platformers, shooters, hack 'n' slash-'em-ups, puzzle games, and even word games.
Let's dive in...Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing
By Sumo Digital, buy on iPhone and iPad
doesn't hand out prestigious Platinum Awards willy-nilly, so if a title earns our top accolade, it's definitely worth paying attention to. Take Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing
, for example.
This celebrity-packed racer features ten of Sega's most iconic characters, a range of wacky tracks, even wackier power-ups, and the ability to challenge your friends over both Bluetooth and wi-fi.
What more could you want?DrawRace 2
By RedLynx, buy on iPhone
might be the second racing title to make it onto our list, but we assure you that it's a completely different beast from Sonic
For starters, instead of controlling your vehicle directly, you draw its path on your device's screen with your finger, and dictate its velocity by adjusting the speed at which you drag your digit.
Add in some gorgeous 3D tracks - each littered with ramps and slopes - more than 180 fast-paced challenges, and some multiplayer options, and you've got a worthy Pocket Gamer Gold Award winner.Jetpack Joyride
By Halfbrick, buy on iPhone and iPad
Australian developer Halfbrick has produced a range of addictive App Store titles, most noteworthily Fruit Ninja
, but none is quite as addictive as Jetpack Joyride
Barry Steakfries's return to iOS bolted through Apple's approval process and rocketed straight into our game of the year poll.
In this action-platformer, you take control of the foul-mouthed hero as he steals a prototype machine gun jetpack and attempts to make his escape. Your job is to help him avoid obstacles and hazards, collect coins, and survive for as long as humanly possible.Shadowgun
By Madfinger Games, buy on iPhone and iPad
Although there are tons of great iPhone games in the App Store, only a few can be classed as AAA or console-quality. Shadowgun
is one such title.
This Gears of War
-esque cover shooter employs the Unity engine to pump out some of the iPhone's best graphics to date.
It's gameplay is good, too. You're tasked with hot-footing it around a dark research facility on the hunt for a mad scientist, and gunning down the seemingly endless gang of minions that get in your way.Infinity Blade II
By Chair Entertainment, buy on iPhone and iPad
When it comes to selecting an iPhone title with the most impressive graphics, it's hard to look past Chair Entertainment's Unreal Engine 3-powered Infinity Blade
The series is also the perfect example of a game designed specifically with a format's best attributes in mind.
This Silver Award-winning sequel builds upon its predecessor's foundations and introduces several new features, namely the ability to take on enemies using one of three different fighting styles. If the classic sword and shield combo isn't doing it for you, you can now pummel your foe with two weapons at a time.League of Evil
By Ravenous Games, buy on iPhone and iPad
League of Evil
is probably the finest example on the platform of how to absolutely nail touchscreen controls.
Ravenous Games's on-screen buttons allow you to perform precise jumps, acrobatic flips, deadly attacks, and more. Basically, it's your own fault if you repeatedly fall to your death.
Should you be unfamiliar with this rather excellent pixel-art title, it charges you with collecting briefcases and eradicating evil scientists over more than 160 bite-sized levels.Quarrel Deluxe
By Indiagames, buy on iPhone and iPad
has more than just a Pocket Gamer Gold trinket in its virtual trophy cabinet.
This unique word game managed to bag a Game of the Year award at 2011's Scottish BAFTA ceremony.
The aim of the game is to crush your opponents and take their territory. This is done, naturally, by constructing the highest-scoring word from a selection of random letters. You can share your greatest intellectual victories on both Facebook and Twitter.Where’s My Water?
By Disney, buy on iPhone and iPad
Disney's Where's My Water?
blends a quirky storyline and colourful graphics with genuinely fun puzzle play, making it one of the best examples of its genre.
The Pocket Gamer Silver Award winner sees you guide a clean stream of water into Swampy the Alligator's bathtub.
It's not as easy as that description would suggest, though, of course. Your mission is hindered by various puzzles, chemicals, and strange plants.Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint
By Zee 3, buy on iPhone and iPad
You've played pool, right?Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint
is just like that game you play down the pub after you've had one too many lagers, except none of the game's tables has any pockets.
To score, then, you have to match balls of a similar colour in as many moves as possible, by repeatedly bouncing off the table's cushions. Believe us when we tell you that it's a lot harder than it sounds.Dead Space
By EA, buy on iPhone
We didn't think it was possible to replicate the dark corridors, frightening Necromorphs, and numerous scares of console hit Dead Space
in a mobile title, but EA proved us wrong.
Graphics-wise, the iPhone edition of Dead Space
is simply stunning: the deeply atmospheric visuals help drag you headlong into the horror title.
If you're au fait
with the franchise's PlayStation versions, you'll feel right at home slicing and dicing countless enemy limbs.