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Top 10 best iPhone games for kids to play

Apple and the fruit of your loins
Product: Top 10 iPhone charts | Format: iPhone
Top 10 iPhone charts iPhone, thumbnail 1
There's no denying that most children, given the choice, are more likely to sit in front of a TV than read a book, venture outside, or redecorate the lounge with finger paints.

In our ever-busier lives things like computer games and television can keep your offspring amused when you can't.

Which is not necessarily a bad thing, particularly if you're a houseproud mum or a father who recently had to endure Ikea.

Aside from the entertainment value, lack of mess, and breathing space computer games can bring to the table, the right ones can be educational, too.

But where do you start? The App Store is rife with games for children 4-years-old and up, and many are pretty awful.

With that in mind, Pocket Gamer is here to help you not to waste your hard earned on something the kids will play for ten seconds before wandering off to annoy the cat.

Our list consists of ten games we think would be great for kids 11-years-old and under, roughly separated into suitable age ranges. That isn't to say a fast-learning four year old can't play Rolando 2, but it does take a bit more understanding than say, Talking Carl.


8-11 yrs

Doodle Jump - £0.59/$0.99

Doodle Jump

Doodle Jump is number one on the iPhone games app list, and for good reason. It's highly addictive and a lot of fun.

The gameplay is simple: guide the jumping Doodler up a sheet of graph paper whilst avoiding black holes, UFOs, and negotiating different types of platform on your way to the top.

If you're familiar with Mario, you'll recognise the simple, platform-jumping gameplay instantly. Like many iPhone games, Doodle Jump includes tilt controls for guiding the Doodler left and right - easy as pie for most kids and fairly intuitive.

The visual style of the app carries the same air of simplicity the gameplay thrives on, and as the name suggests the game looks like the doodle scribblings you might find at the back of a school textbook. The presentation is one of those things that both kids and adults can enjoy.

While it may not be educational as such, it's hugely enjoyable and probably good for a child's coordination. Just don't be too upset when your kids beat your score.

Rolando 2: Quest for the Golden Orchid - £2.99/$3.99

Rolando 2

Another massively colourful and unique iPhone experience, Rolando 2: Quest for the Golden Orchid involves trying to lead the Rolandos through ancient ruins, volcanic caverns, dark jungles, and more.

The controls are simple: essentially you tilt, touch, and slide your way through the adventure, with various different puzzles, action moments and physics-inspired gameplay - otherwise known as swimming, flying, and driving - along your merry way.

There are 45 levels to roll over, which should keep the children (and yourself) busy, and with the awesome visuals courtesy of pop illustrator Mikko Walamies, it should prove to be as captivating as it is vibrant for anyone that lays eyes on it.

The puzzles are not as difficult as they were in the first rendition of Rolando, but there's enough of a challenge to get your children using their brains to solve them, which can't be a bad thing.

Sonic The Hedgehog - £3.49/$5.99

Sonic the Hedgehog

Sonic The Hedgehog on Mega Drive was brilliant. Everything from the unique fast-paced platforming to the memorable techno soundtrack: each of the Sonic games was an experience a generation of players will never probably forget, and there's still nothing like it (until Project Needlemouse perhaps?).

For those unfamiliar with the spiky blue mammal, Sonic is a hedgehog with phenomenal acrobatic ability. It's a shame his real life counterparts don't share the same acrobatic ability - car and cattle grid related issues would be a thing of the past.

Completing a level involves running and spinning at insane speeds round loop-the-loops, jumping over spike pits and past baddies while collecting golden rings. Hit a bad guy with rings and you lose them. Hit a bad guy without rings and it's back to the last checkpoint or the start of the level.

It's as simple as hell, but the gameplay feels very rewarding and the difficulty of later levels, particularly the boss characters, means even the younger, more adept gamer will have something to challenge them.

5-8 yrs

Sally's Spa - £1.79/$2.99

Sally's Spa

We're not sure girls really should be pigeonholed into playing girly games. I'm sure many female gamers can enjoy most gaming experiences, but some games are definitely developed with females in mind.

One of these is Sally's Spa, an app that has you helping customers to relax at your spa via manicures, saunas, baths, hot stones and more. As your business thrives, you can enhance the premises to further the success of your spa.

With 50 levels and ten locations there's a fair amount of longevity to be had, and the time management and business aspect of the app is something that children might just benefit from.

If not, it's sure to keep them entertained at the least.

If your kids are specifically interested in hairdressing, developer Games Cafe also makes Sally's Salon which is a pretty similar offering, only with more hair.

Airport Mania: First Flight - £1.79/$2.99

Airport Mania

We've all been there. Most of the previous day or night was spent packing so you're tired, and stress levels are at an annual high. However, it's all okay because once you're buckled-up in the car and you've done the obligatory check for passports the holiday can begin.

Until you find out your plane is delayed, which sends your blood pressure soaring higher in the sky than where your plane would've been. Fortunately, Airport Mania capitalises on the 'fun' of airports, with kids in mind - especially so if they're sat bored in the airport with you.

Your role in Airport Mania is to help avoid delays, land a variety of planes, ensure precious cargo is looked after, and a range of other airport related challenges. It sounds as dull as ditchwater, but it's not.

The planes themselves are whimsical characters, complete with oversized eyes and brightly coloured paint jobs. Then there's airport itself, a colourful and bold affair. It all looks like the sort of thing you might see in a children's book, making it a natural choice to fascinate your kids.

It isn't all cute looks, though. The challenges offer different solutions that get more and more difficult as you progress through the eight amusing airports, so the little ones will have to engage their brains.

Toki Tori - £2.99/$4.99

Toki Tori

Puzzles are brilliant for challenging your grey matter once in a while, which naturally means kids can benefit from them too.

But if the limited appeal of sitting in front of a puzzle book is causing issues, you can always take puzzle gaming to the 21st century with Toki Tori, the challenging platform puzzler from developer Two Tribes.

Armed with different items and weapons like the Slug Sucker and the Telewarp, you must utilise everything to solve a level whilst collecting eggs along the way.

Toki Tori boasts 80 challenging levels over four worlds, but don't think you or your children will be finishing it any time soon. It can get immensely challenging in later levels.

It looks like it should be easy, but it isn't. Fortunately, kids like a challenge, and this app more than delivers.

Zoo Lasso - £0.59/$0.99

Zoo Lasso

Children love animals, so it's safe to say that an app involving the lassoing of zoo animals is bound to be a sure fire winner. Factor in some cute visuals and a very easy lasso control system and captivation is almost certain.

Zoo Lasso involves more than just drawing circles around animals, though. They have to be the same kind to get the points, and turtles can be lassoed to slow down time. It sounds easy, but there's plenty of challenge to be had trying to build up combos, beat hi-scores, and climb through 11 stages of skill.

Because the game is so easy to use, it's almost perfect for children, and the matching animals gameplay isn't too dissimilar from the classic kids card game Snap - another feather in Zoo Lasso's child-friendly cap.


Old MacDonald - £1.19/$1.99

Old Macdonald

A childhood classic, Old MacDonald - not to be confused with 'old McDonalds' - has proved to be a timeless, memorable book for kids learning to read, and this app from developer Duck Duck Moose (best developer name ever?) takes the family favourite into the 21st century.

Strictly speaking it's not a game. It's an animated musical book, containing 12 colourful pages of interactive and unique illustrations. Kids can actually watch ducks waddle, hear the animal noises, and so on.

Unlike the original, the new song has some new friends to enjoy including the philosopher cow and disco dancing sheep. You can even record your kids singing along should you wish.

According to the iTunes page, Old Macdonald should encourage, "cognitive, language, and motor development." Bonus.

Talking Carl - £0.59/$0.99

Talking Carl

Kids like to mimic adults, usually out of sheer defiance or just to wind you up. Whatever the reason, you could employ the use of Talking Carl, the app that repeats everything you say in a hilarious voice.

Carl is basically a big red, square shaped beast with eyes stuck on at the top. This of course sounds ridiculous, which further adds to the hilarity of the app. Kids really will enjoy talking to Carl just to see how he spouts it back. You can also tickle, poke, and pinch him should you desire, but it will be the voice that keeps the kids entertained.

Talking Carl is also polite, so while he'll repeat swear words if you enter them, he at least says goodbye when you close the app. Educationally, this is probably the least useful feature of the game, but it's fun, bold, and a little bit different, which makes it worthy of any kid's time.

Just remember to check your earphones have a mic before purchasing: you need it for voice playback.

Touch Physics - £1.19/$1.99

Touch Physics

It was a tough choice as to which would be my final entrant. There's an abundance of child-friendly games on the App Store, but a decision had to be made, and The Muppets Drummer, Daycare Nightmare, and iColoringBook sadly missed the cut (but are all worth checking out).

Touch Physics is a really cool concept. The ability to draw something and for it to become 'real' is the stuff of dreams and television. Naturally, this makes the app perfect for captivating your children, and it gets them to challenge physics to solve each level - something that can't be bad.

It's quite short for an adult, but for a child it should have enough longevity to make it worthwhile. And at the end of the day, it means you wont see crayon drawings on your nice clean walls.

Reviewer photo
Ben Griffin 27 January 2010
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