The Best Indie iOS Games You’ve Never Played

written by JMatula on October 25, 2012 in Game Reviews and Mac Hardware and Special Feature

Apple announced the launch of many new products on Tuesday, including the hotly-anticipated iPad Mini and a newer, faster version of it’s full-size iPad. With all the buzz about new iOS devices, it seemed like a perfect time to reflect on some of the best iOS games you might not have played. GameAgent rounds up a couple of great iOS games that come from indie studios. That means no corporate funding or copious advertising dollars to get their name out to you. Many of these are just a couple of guys with a passion for programming and gaming! With the avalanche of games available on the App Store, finding one that’s truly worth your time is like searching for a needle in a haystack. So, while a few of the games listed here are technically a little older, they will be brand new to many of you. The games in this list deserve recognition for their great gameplay and taking full advantage of the benefits of iOS, bringing an excellent gaming experience into the palm of your hand. 

Crazy Hedgy

It seems like quality adventure-platformer games are hard to come by on iOS. Fortunately, Crazy Hedgy delivers in spades. The game uses motion controls, as players tilt their iDevice to and fro to navigate the balled-up hedgehog across levels, defeating enemies and collecting coins. Hedgy performs attacks and other actions by tapping the left and right sides of the screen. The tilt-actions and physics of the game are intuitive easy to adapt to. Think Sonic the Hedgehog meets Super Monkey Ball. The game is a sufficient length with plenty of replay value as you dive back into earlier levels searching for more gold coins to unlock levels. The graphics deliver in a big way: they are colorful and especially gorgeous on the retina display iPad.

Lightning Fighter

 Remember the days of scrolling shooters, where hordes of enemies planes and aliens came at you as you made your way through level after level to bring peace to the galaxy? You know, games like R-Type and Gradius? Even if you don’t rejoice iGeneration, Lighting Fighter gives you the chance to experience this classic type of game in a new, yet familiar way. Instead of side-scrolling, the game takes advantage of the tall iPhone screen and scrolls vertically. It’s also sensitive to how you’re holding your device, with tilt motion controls or touch controls that seamlessly switch back and forth. Armed with a great guitar and synth-heavy soundtrack, it will even sound like a frenzied space shooter of the late 80s/early 90s. And yes, that’s meant as a compliment. It’s kind of a bummer to pay $0.99 to upgrade your plane, but considering the game’s on sale for only $0.99 right now, $2 is a small investment for saving the galaxy in style.

Get Outta My Galaxy! HD

Admit it, the first time you saw the physics puzzles and intergalactic fun Super Mario Galaxy, you were wowed. Running around planetoids, defeating enemies, collecting items and solving puzzle directly linked to environment was a thrill. Finally, a similar experience with responsive touch controls has arrived for your iOS device. Get Outta My Galaxy puts you in the shoes of a multi-limbed blob, rolling around planets, slapping baddies out of existence solving brain-teaser puzzles to progress to the next area. Think about Legend of Zelda puzzles where switches have to be hit in a right order based on clues around the level and you’ll get an idea of what this game wants. It was created by a very small studio of only THREE guys in Finland, so it’s quite impressive considering that. Plus, it’s HD, so the graphics are absolutely jaw-dropping on the retina screen iPad.

Tiny Wings

This game is about as indie as you can get! It was created by one man, Andreas Illiger. That’s right, he did the programming, the beautiful cartoony graphics and even composed the music! Now that you’re impressed, here’s the rundown on the game: think Angry Birds with less destruction and more focus on the flying. You take on the role of a bird with very tiny wings, who wants to fly, and thanks to the very hilly world he lives in, he can fly for short periods of time. Use physics of the land to make your bird soar higher and longer, racking up more points in the process. It’s fun and addicting in the best way possible.

Cthulhu Saves the World

Ok, so this one isn’t an iOS exclusive, not by a long shot. Still, anybody that’s a fan of classic RPGs or H.P. Lovecraft’s mthyos of strange elder gods owes it to themselves to play this instant classic. Cthulhu is robbed of his god-like powers so must battle evil and become a true hero to regain his former might. He breaks the 4th wall talking to the player all of the time, like Marvel Comics’ wise-cracking Deadpool. Even the menu commands are humorous and tongue-in-cheek. It succeeds on so many levels, existing as a commentary on RPGs as well as being a love letter to their past. Lovecraft fans will also pick up on all of the subtle and not-s0-subtle references to characters and locations from his stories that populate the world of the game. If you only play one iOS RPG this year, this should be it.

That’s it for our indie iOS game recommendations today. These are enough to get your new iPad Mini revved-up with a variety of great gaming action! Have you played these games? If so, let us know what you think. Any games worth mentioning that you think we forgot? Let us know in the comments!