iPhone Life magazine

The iPhone/iPod Touch Multiplayer Gaming Bible

 

UPDATE (11/22/2009): the article below has officially been deprecated. Please read http://www.iphonelife.com/node/1370/ instead. This thread remains only as an update catch-up thread as is also explained in Chapter 6 of the new article.

 

Original article follows:

 


Some of you may know I’m the author of the Windows Mobile Multiplayer Gaming Bible. This is why I decided to publish one for the iPhone/iPod Touch too, particularly because:

1.) to my knowledge, there isn’t any REAL comparison (or even listing) of as many multiplayer games as possible. The biggest ones I know of (see for example THIS) consist of 27 titles. Other lists (e.g., THIS) are even shorter. There aren’t many titles discussed in the dedicated TouchArcade threads either; nevertheless, these are still worth checking out. (More online multiplayer games this year! – pretty good list; Best Online Multiplayer Game? - F.A.S.T. 1st, Star Hogs 2nd, UniWar 3rd – no votes for Fast and Furious or Tap Tap Revenge 2; Best online game?)

2.) I also wanted to elaborate on the 3G S compliance of these titles. (I have some good news in this regard. In the 100+ titles I’ve tested, I’ve only found, if I recall correctly, two titles not compatible with the 3G S – at least not in multiplayer mode.)

The comparison chart is HERE (click the link!). Most of the columns don’t require much explanation (if you, however, do need an explanation of the different networking models, check out my old WinMo guide. Note that, on the iPhone, one’s life is much easier – there aren’t different Bluetooth stacks, there isn’t a distinction between BT PAN and native BT access etc. That is, iPhone gamers have a much easier life than WinMo ones.). Note that I’ve added a column on the number of players in online lounges for lounge-based games so that you can see how many other players can you reliably expect to play when choosing a given title, if you don’t want to go the always-available buddy route. I’ve also noted the date and time of the testing so that the results are more comparable. (There may be peak times when e.g. American people traditionally play on their handsets.) The timezone I used is CET.

I recommend checking out the last two columns for my recommendations and direct comparisons. You can find all the Itunes links in the second (or, in cases, first) column. I’ve also listed the version number of all titles so that you know, should I fail to update a given game’s record in the future, whether these records are still up-to-date.

Note that not all MP titles are in the chart. I’ve left out some purposefully till I get an answer from their developers regarding some problems / bugs. As usual (see my other, past full roundups and bibles – the IM one, the Web browser roundup or the radio client one), I’ll try to keep this list / chart as updated as possible. I will also post a lot of additional info when I have the time. I will too greatly enhance this introduction / text when I have some more free time (now I don’t as I have to work a lot this week; however, you may still like the contents of the chart).

Note that I didn’t bother with reviewing (or even listing) Storm8’s and PlayMesh’ (numerous) titles. They are considered very bad by many (including me); see for example THIS, THIS and THIS.

The developers of the following games promise wireless multiplayer functionality (I’ve also added the version number where this promise was (or is still) readable in the AppStore. In the meantime, new versions may have been released – iPhone gaming articles / roundups age VERY fast):

Warfare Incorporated by Spiffcode, Inc. 1.5
Battle Dot by DKM Labs 1.0 (BT MP in 2.0)
Uncross It by Schiau Studios SRL 1.1 (MP in 2.0)
Sparta by Pocket Monkey Games 1.3
Big2 Poker by Hug Life Inc 1.0
The Plateau by SpoonJuice 1.1
Tux Rider World Challenge by Barlow Software 1.0
Armageddon Squadron by Polarbit 1.0.2
Rows 3D by Pixeltin 1.7 (currently hotseat)
Top Trumps by der.heckser 1.0
Real Shuffleboard by Trapp Media, Inc 1.0.3
Snake XT by Sookie Solutions, LLC 1.3
Serpents by IMAK Creations 1.0
Jass by Yminds 1.2.1 (hotseat already supported)
Orbo by Chiedozi Acholonu & Paul Thurlow 1.0
Big 2 by GoGoalSoft Limited 1.1
memory + by Pearl Fisher Games 1.0
Mummys Revenge by Apptastic Apps 1.1
Castle Conflict by Broken Kings 1.05
Arcade SpinBall by MegaNudge Entertainment 2.3
Dead Man's Dungeon by collabtools 1.3
War 3100 by Gamer Outfit (turn-based strategy)
NFL 2010 by Gameloft 1.0.3 (will receive MP in the next update) $8
iPongo by Keith Domenicucci 1.2
Blocks2 by Florian Zitzelsberger 1.1
StickWars by John E. Hartzog 1.6
Squared by Fravic Fernando 1.01
Tank Wars by T-bone (Tank Wars 2 will support BT MP)
Anytime Pool by Electronic Arts 1.1.0 (only supports Facebook MP; no plans for true MP)
Archon by React Games 1.1
Quantum Collapse (RTS) by Javier Davalos 1.1 (MP version with voice chat will really soon be released) – also see reviews HERE
Ballz! by PurpleZoo Productions 1.0
iMobsters by Jeff Witt 1.1
Ace Tennis Online by Eurocenter 1.3

Many of these games have on-device hotseat or two-player modes. So do the following titles:

Pictoplay+ by Digital Chocolate, Inc 1.0.0 ($1, pretty funny and addictive)
Classic Tic Tac Toe by Lima Sky 1.3.2
Killer Pool by Sauce Digital 1.1 : hotseat only
Deluxeware Darts by Handmark, Inc. : hotseat only
Nukeball by Lubos Kulisek 1.0: hotseat only
Wurdle by Semi Secret Software 2.0
Playman Track & Field by RealArcade 1.1.1 (a C64 Summer Games-alike; not bad)
Guinness World Records by Warner Bros. 1.0
Pocket Mini Golf 2 by Chillingo Ltd 1.02 $3
Kamikaze Robots by Digital Chocolate, Inc. 1.0.0
Tap Memory by Cory Kilger 1.1.1
Vertigo by Underworld Entertainment Limited 1.0 - $1 ($2 otherwise)
Sound Match by spokko 1.16 ($1, very simple sound matching game, not very interesting)
Zen Pinball: Inferno by Publisher X 1.0
Brain Exercise with Dr. Kawashima by Namco Networks America Inc. 1.0.0
Miss Trivia by Iron Square 1.2
Plong by Daniel Schroth 1.0 (also with online scores)
War of the Dragon Lords by A.C.R.O.N.Y.M. Games 1.0
Johnny Crash by Digital Chocolate, Inc. 1.0
LD50 by Prehiti Labs LLC 1.2.1
MicroFight by Hart Woolery 1.0
Pub Darts by Vivid Reflection 1.0
iNetMania by TechPad Productions 1.0
iBacteria by Rob Evans 1.0.1
Lumina by CrossComm, Inc. 1.3
Neverputt ME by Lazrhog Games 1.4.0.2
Time Bomb by Stormy Productions 1.1
Trivial Memory by Trivial Technology 1.0.3
Deluxeware Bowling by Handmark, Inc. 1.00
Catapult by HiB 2.1.1
Spot It!: Animals by National Geographic Society 1.0
Fritz Chess by Gammick Entertainment 1.1


The devs of the latter titles, however, don’t promise any kind of wireless multiplayer, as opposed to the games in the previous group.

 

 




UPDATE (08/13/2009 01:46):
1. I’ve added the following titles to the chart:

Virtual Pool Online by Celeris Inc. 1.97 (a definitely recommended pool game costing $3. When it comes to the number of average other online players, it's by far the best. In addition, according to some pool buffs, it has an excellent pool engine – much better than anything else on the market.)

NanoMechs by Theorian 1.0 (a 2D Platform shooter costing $1. IMHO, WiFi Warfare by Jesse Starks is better in that it also supports remote play (and a lot of online players all the time). However, I like the graphs of this title better and the, IMHO, much superior control.)

Armageddon Squadron by Polarbit 1.0.2 (a dogfighting combat costing $4 (3 euros). IMHO, F.A.S.T. Fleet Air Superiority Training! by SGN is a better choice, particularly if you want to play others (not your buddies) online. It has, generally, far more online players. Also, (now), it's way cheaper.)

Ace Tennis Online by Eurocenter 1.3 (a tennis title costing $4 (3 euros). Recommended, if you do like tennis and/or want to play remote players (Real Tennis 2009 by Gameloft, my personal favorite, can only play local games)). Note that, in the original article, I’ve listed this (along with Armageddon Squadron by Polarbit) as a hotseat-only game.

I’ve also added a video for “Attack PRO – Wireless Bluetooth Spaceship Battle by Poulet Maison 1.0.1” showing the communication problems between the iPhone 3G and 3G S.

I’m continuing adding titles to the chart; for example, I’ll add Reign of Swords (both Episode I and II).

2. I also plan to write a more thorough elaboration on the different networking models of multiplayer games. (Just like the one in my Windows Mobile multiplayer bible.) For the time, suffice it to state the following:

- Bluetooth (BT for short) is the cleanest solution if you’re next (in the same room) to your friend. Then, you won’t need to be connected to the same Wi-Fi access point. (Which is a must with the pre-OS3 form of Wi-Fi only, local multiplayer.) Note that Wi-Fi access doesn’t work over cellular connections either, which entirely rules out playing e.g. while commuting and you have cellular data connections only (or nothing at all). This is especially useful in vehicles, schools without a public Wi-Fi network where the two of you can connect to at the same time etc.

The disadvantages of this solution are as follows:

a. It doesn’t work on 1st generation iPhones or iPod Touches (it does between the iPhone 3G, the 3G S and the 2nd-generation iPod Touch)

b. At times, you may have to disable Wi-Fi for Bluetooth to work better (and vice versa, particularly on the 3G S, where disabling Bluetooth altogether may result in significant Wi-Fi connection speed increase.) This requires a lot of additional tapping (unless you install / use Cydia-only [requiring a jailbreak] shortcuts like SBSettings).

c. BT gaming has only been introduced in OS 3. That is, if you don’t want to upgrade your 3G or iPod Touch 2G to OS3, you won’t be able to make use of it at all.

- Wi-Fi local connections requires the two (or more) of you to be connected to the same Wi-Fi access point. As opposed to the BT approach explained in the previous bullet, it works on even OS 2.x and on the first-generation iPhones and iPod Touches as well. However, it’s way more restricted than BT; for example, if you don’t have a Wi-Fi access point to connect to, you won’t be able to play. This completely rules out playing your friends / buddies in, say, a vehicle, a bus, a train etc. It won’t work even if you have cellular data connection.

- Lounge-based remote play allows you to play anyone from anywhere in the world. The advantages are as follows:

a. If you don’t have a buddy around to play but / or would like to play a stranger (instead), you may want to go for this option. If you use a more popular game with more online players (e.g., Galcon and a lot more), you have a big chance to run into someone to play you.

b. Note that you can play your local buddies too, even if both of you are connected to the same Wi-Fi access point. This needs to be kept in mind when playing a game only offering remote (lounge)-based play but not local Wi-Fi (or Bluetooth) one.

(Incidentally, note that, should you want to play your buddy, I’ve elaborated on whether you can select your buddies to play in the lounge of the games. With most titles, manual opponent selection is possible. With the rest [that is, games not offering manual opponent selection but using automatic matching instead], you can still make sure the both of you join the multiplayer server at about the same time to maximize the chances of the server matching the two of you.

The inherent disadvantages of this approach are as follows:

a. When the lounge server is down, you won’t be able to play. Upon testing, I haven’t ever run into problems like that. This, however, doesn’t mean the case will definitely be the case after three or five years. Developers may exit developing and even supporting their existing games, including running their proprietary servers. That is, don’t take being able to play forever for granted. (This also means you should ask / force game developers adding some kind of local games – preferably BT-based so that it can be played anywhere – to their games.)

b. As the connection is generally routed through a lounge server (some games do try to build up a direct, much faster and more reliable connection between the two devices but it’s only a minority of the titles), the lag will be considerably more than with local games. This is why few for example first person shooters or racing games support internet (lounge-based) play – most of them are Wi-Fi (or, lately, BT) only – with them, even 300-400 ms lag can result in a totally unplayable game. No such problems exist with less demanding game genres like board games (chess and the like).

- Direct IP entering. The three approaches explained so far also involve auto-discovery. That is, the two (or more) phones (iDevices) magically and automatically find each other. (Physically, this is done by for example using broadcast discovery protocols over Wi-Fi and the inherent discovery mechanisms built into Bluetooth.) Some (VERY few) games, however, also allow you to enter the direct IP of your buddy. (And one of them, namely, Quartz 2, mandates you to do so.) This can be particularly useful in situations like being connected to the network via cellular data only and the given game doesn’t have a lounge doing the automatic discovery. In these cases, you just enter the IP address (which is always displayed on the other party’s device) of your buddy and off you go. Note that this only works if your buddy isn’t behind a firewall.
 

I've posted the following to the existing TouchArcade threads discussing MP games. It has a lot of additional info you may find useful.


Guys and gals,

don't forget to check out my bible of multiplayer games.

It's still a work-in-progress but already has a great deal of nice info and, what is more,

- thorough (!) iPhone 3G S compliance reports
- with lounge-based (online) games, the number of opponents you can realistically hope for
- comparisons between titles of the same genre (e.g., bomberman etc.) - you'll hardly find anything similar in anyone else's comparable multiplayer game roundup

etc.

Don't forget that

1. it's the chart ( http://winmobiletech.com/sekalaiset/iPhoneMPchart.html ) that has most the game-specific info, NOT the main article. Use Ctrl-F to quickly find your favorite game genre or title if you find the deal of information overwhelming (which it is, as I've included more than 100 games in the chart).

2. it's a work-in-progress and I'm still adding titles, both old and new. Nevertheless, if you think a very important title is missing, let me know and I'll devote some extra time and effort to evaluate it, compare it to the alternatives (e.g., quantitive measures like the number of online players; iPhone 3G / 3G S compliance etc.) include it in the chart as soon as possible.
 


UPDATE (08/16/2009 0:19 CET):

1.) iFPS is currently available for free. Go get it if you’re into multiplayer first person shooters. While I don’t recommend it at its regular price point, it’s still nice to have for free. You might also want to check out the user comments HERE.



2.) Let me also elaborate on the most advanced multiplayer feature: inviting buddies via the new Push feature of iPhone OS3.

If you read my Instant Messaging (IM) bible, you become aware of the brand new and revolutionary feature of the new iPhone OS: Push. It lets you notified of certain events even when the phone is suspended (by, for example, pressing the Power button – this will only work via cellular connections, not Wi-Fi ones; that is, iPod Touch devices won’t work in this state). With IM apps, these can be, among other things, new messages sent to you by your buddies.

Some (unfortunately, not all) multiplayer games also incorporate Push notification. This lets the players send out game requests in real time that will surely be received as soon as you issue them. This also means you don’t need to use the traditional, manual ways (email, IM, giving them a call etc.) of notifying your buddies of your invitation. Much cleaner, it involves much less effort on both (but, particularly, on the person that invites the other – no need to fire up an IM / mail client and enter your invitation etc.) sides and, as opposed to e-mail, it surely gets read by the invited buddy at once. That is, the person sending out the invitation can safely stay in the game: if his (her) buddy does want to play, he (she) will see him (her) joining the game in 1-2 minutes at most. The situation on the invited buddy’s side is equally easy: when an invitation arrives, he’ll be notified right away. Then, he (she) only needs to tap “Play” and will be immediately taken to the game. (Unfortunately, for example UNO doesn’t take you to the game started by your buddy – you must search it yourself. Nevertheless, this doesn’t really ruin the easiness and simplicity of the concept.)

Currently, very few games support Push invitation: currently, of the tested games (this doesn’t necessarily mean I haven’t missed one or some!) UNO by Gameloft, the excellent musical instrument game Leaf Trombone: World Stage by Smule, the excellent and free poker app “Live Poker” and, finally, Storm8’s titles (which I don’t really like – but, again, your mileage may vary):


(Here, “Racing” and “Vampires” are Storm8 titles.)

Hope that, currently now that I’m recommending this for game developers, more of them follow suit and implement this functionality.

Let me show you some examples of how this works. First, let’s create a game and tap “Invite”:



There, tap the buddies (here: Menne2) to invite. An invitation will be sent out to him; at the same time, on the inviter’s screen, “Waiting for Menne.” will be displayed:


Your buddy’s iPhone (assuming it’s not switched entirely off [by pressing and holding the Power button and slide the “Power off?” slider], has cellular coverage and Push isn’t disabled), a new dialog will be shown telling you you’ve been invited for a game:



(Note that, here, “Menne2” should be the inviter instead. I didn’t want to swap iPhones on the sync cable and collect screenshots from two of them – instead of one -; this is why I show you a screenshot of an invitation coming from another iPhone and not the state of it)

Just tap Play and, then, navigate to online play (again, UNO doesn’t automatically take you to the game created by your buddy – you need to find it manually) and select the game created:



Finally, note that, in order to make a certain UNO instance know of another player, you will be required to send a Friend request to your buddy and approve it from inside the “mailbox” at “Gameloft Live” (accessible from the main menu). These mails aren’t delivered to your regular e-mail address but will only be accessible here. (I don’t think this is the best [read: most newbie-friendly] solution: a regular e-mail with an online activation / “make friends” link would have been much easier.):



UPDATE (08/17/2009):

a. A brand new Scorched earth / Worms clone, KIL.A.TON, has just been released. It has lounge-based multiplayer (albeit, at the time of writing, it’s still empty, which may change in the future). A decent alternative to, for example, Star Hogs by IUGO and Iron Sight by Polarbit; particularly if you take into account that, in KIL.A.TON, you can have up to six players (while in Star Hogs “only” up to four, and, in Iron Sight, only two) . See THIS for more info.

b. iFPS is free now. Nevertheless, it’s not really that good.

c. I’ve played a lot with Reign of Swords Episode 2. Frankly, I didn’t find the graphics of the first part any good and, consequently, passed it. The second part seems to be a lot cooler. I’m still in the process of learning to play the game and playing through “A Timely Resuce” in the Sabbi Amar. Currently, at least in single player mode, it (EP 2) seems to be a keeper. I can’t really comment on the multiplayer functionality as yet; that is, how it compares to e.g. that of UniWar, which uses an excellent asynchronous approach. Some people stated it’s really nice in multiplayer – far better than the first episode. That is, it seems you can safely purchase this game if you’re bored with UniWar and want some challenge. I’ll later comment on whether EP2 can be mastered without playing EP1 first.

d. Unfortunately, it seems the excellent card-based strategy game Orions won’t receive any update

e. A new version of Galcon (one of the best multiplayer games) has been released:



UPDATE (08/20/2009):

The following multiplayer-enabled games have been released in the meantime:

Office Tanks by ET NETERA 1.0 (highly recommended for local Wi-Fi players)

Bust-A-Move by TAITO Corporation 1.0.0 (kinda like it but I think it’s overpriced and it isn’t really multiplayer [only a competitive / parallel one])

Along with evaluating an quickly reviewing these titles, I’ve also reviewed a recently released title, Tank War - Bluetooth Battle by 6tags.com 1.0.
Please see the last four rows of the chart for more info.

Also, in the meantime, the following titles have been updated:

NanoMechs by Theorian to version 1.1 (now, it’s playable on all devices)

Attack PRO – Wireless Bluetooth Spaceship Battle by Poulet Maison to version 1.0.2. (two new levels). Unfortunately, it is still suffering from the same bug when playing between an iPhone 3G and a iPhone 3G S.





UPDATE (8/21/2009):

ShapeShape by inXile Entertainment 3.0 is on a 66% sale: now, it costs $1 only. For this price, it seems to be a pretty good choice. In multiplayer, you need to collect the starts as quickly as possible (instead of your opponent) and, then, exit the map. Then, your opponent will have 3 seconds to exit the field. I’ve added the dedicated row in the chart.

10 Pin Shuffle™ (Bowling) by Digital Smoke LLC 1.20: a pretty cool bowling game with (of course) parallel gameplay and pretty flexible (local) play supporting both Wi-Fi and BT.

I’ve also tested AlloWin Pool by Eurocenter 1.1: it, unlike all? most? the other Eurocenter titles, doesn’t offer remote (lounge) multiplayer, only hotseat one. As it isn't very cheap ($3), I'd go right for another MP-enabled title like Virtual Pool Mobile - or Adrenaline Pool Online 2, which still only costs $3 – quite a bargain if you ask me, particularly because of the voice chat features



UPDATE (08/22 19:52 CET): iMech released!

I've quickly made a video demoing it in multiplayer on both the 3G and the 3G S at the same time. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eCjCIFIKJI (3G S on the top, 3G on the bottom).

As you can see, it isn't the best on the 3G – it can be around 15-16 fps. On the 3G S, however, it's working flawlessly.

Given that there're so few FPS games and iFPS, while it's free, is pretty lousy and the only similar multiplayer game I know of, RoboFighters by Team4000 Software LLC, is way worse (while it costs exactly the same), I can recommend this title. Unless, of course, you plan to wait for a price drop

It uses lounge-based (remote) play. On the West/East-American coast, I've seen two players some two hours ago.

Also see http://toucharcade.com/2009/08/22/imech-flying-dinos-online-deathmatch-3rd-person-shooter/ for more info.



(UPDATE 08/23 12:14 CET): Reign of Swords Episode II: an excellent multiplayer turn-based strategy

If you like(d) UniWar’s multiplayer (in which UniWar is exceptionally good), you’ll love Reign of Swords Episode 2 (AppStore link) too. Why? It’s simple: it’s a great strategy game with particular emphasis on multiplayer. That is, something painfully (still?) missing from titles like the otherwise excellent Mecho Wars – and, of course, Orions.

Note that, in this quick review, I only discuss the recently released second episode (Ep II for short), not the first one. The reason for this is that Ep I has a vastly inferior multiplayer mode – something more of a joke but definitely not belonging to a decent strategy game. (Please consult the reviews in the last section for more info on the weaknesses of the multiplayer.) That is, if you do want to play multiplayer, go for Ep II (otherwise, the much cheaper ($2 as opposed to $5) Ep I (AppStore link) may do). You will NOT need to play through Ep I either – it won’t teach you any tricks (similar tutorials can be found in Ep II.) The only advantage of playing Ep I through is that you will be able to import the army you create / build / collect in it into Ep II. I, however, didn’t find this essential at all: you can safely build up a decent army without having to play Ep I through at all. Just play through “The Wizard’s Palace” historical battle at least three times (in addition to playing through the other offline games at least once) and you already have a nice, decent army you can already send to even online games. (Other historical battles have considerably fewer spoils of war and, after some practicing, “The Wizard’s Palace” is impossible to lose; that is, it’s probably the quickest way to build up your army.)

Playing the game is far from trivial for a newbie. I too took at least a day (!) to read through the built-in help (which doesn’t seem to have any info on how the multiplayer works and has only vague remarks on what missions need to be completed for multiplayer to become available), replay the tutorials and the intro missions at least three times, until I understood how it needs to be played and how multiplayer should be used. (In addition, due to the bug (?) on the iPhone 3G S, I tended to continuously lose a lot of my progress. It was only later than I found a fix for this.) Both UniWar and Mecho Wars are far-far better in this respect – they have a much more logical single (and, with UniWar, multi-) player interface and tutorials. (Just as a comparison: I’ve played through the entire (!) original [that is, before it receiving a completely new, second part of campaign] Mecho Wars in 4-5 hours after purchasing it and most of the campaign missions of UniWar, particularly on a 3G S where the slowdown of the AI isn’t an issue on large maps with more than, say, 20-30 units used by the computer.) In this title, you are told vague remarks about your “army”, but the game doesn’t really make an attempt of actively trying to explain you how you can systematically build up your army; what the advantage is in re-playing at least twice some of the historical battles (most importantly, “The Wizard’s Palace”) in order to gain as many different, powerful spoils of war as possible. (Of course, you’ll also get some spoils when playing multiplayer games.)

Basically, multiplayer looks like that of UniWar. After, in War Plans, you’ve played through the tutorials (Combat Training) and the raids (Fields of Vuldyne and Palace Assault), a new group (Online Battles) will be displayed. Here, click any of the records:




Then, you create a game (by selecting “Issue new Challenge”), to which you can accept anyone (or your rivals or pre-added friends only):

(After deploying your troops, you can select the type of the game challenge / announcement)

(Creating an open game)

(Creating a game only for a specific buddy)

(The challenge has been registered by the server; now, depending on the settings you’ve used, your buddy or everybody will see it.)

When your would-be opponent (or friend) notices he’s been challenged (instead of “-“, he’ll see “Challenged” in the “Online battles” section of “War plans”), he or she can accept the invitation by selecting Accept challenge:


A welcome dialog of the battle:


If he or she does this, the game starts.

In a pseudo-realtime multiplayer game, basically, currently, there’s not any kind of announcement telling the other gamer you’ve finished making your steps. In this regard, UniWar is far better: in there, “Switch to next game” or “Next turn” becomes immediately available when (any of) your opponent(s) finish(es) his (their) turn. Also, there isn’t any kind of advanced notification features either. While UniWar supports sending out traditional e-mails for notifying your opponents (or you) about their (your) turn, there aren’t such features here. There isn’t Push notification either – unlike in Live Poker or UNO. (Please see bullet 2 in the “UPDATE (08/16/2009 0:19 CET)” section HERE for more info on how it’s working.) Currently, the only way of get notified of your opponents’ finishing their turn is starting up the game, logging in and check the state of your games in either the “Online Battles” section in War plans. If you see a “Your turn, as in the following screenshot, you’ll know it’s your turn:



Also, pressing the sword icon in the upper right corner takes you to a list of current games:



This dialog conveys more information than the “Online Battles” section above; therefore, you may want to prefer it to the former one.

I really hope the developers do introduce some kind of advanced notification scheme (e-mail, OS3 Push etc.) some time.

Currently, if you don’t exit a game you’re playing (because you know your opponent will make his/her turn as quickly as possible; that is, in almost realtime), you need to keep tapping the “Refresh” icon in the upper left corner of the screen:


(after having ended your turn)

(here, you can see the Refresh button in the upper left corner)

Unfortunately, there’s not any kind of in-game or in-lounge chatting. (UniWar is capable of this.) The in-game multiplayer menu:



And, finally, the stats after finishing a battle:


Verdict

This is an excellent game, particularly in multiplayer, assuming you are ready to actively devote some time to learning the physics of the game. Remember: if you are completely lost, you can freely ask for help from me in a public comment (but NOT in a private message).

3G S networking problems

I’ve found the game to continuously become unable to access the net (to synchronize mission data – that is, your new war spoils and the like) on my iPhone 3G S. (OS version 3.0, jailbroken, official, non-pirated copy of the latest (version 1.2) Reign of Swords Episode II, connection via either both 3G and Wi-Fi or via 3G only.) Interestingly, I haven’t run into any problems like this on my iPhone 3G (OS 3.0.1, jailbroken, official copy, Wi-Fi connection only). Then, after finishing a game, when the phone tries to synchronize the new army / inventory state with the server, it fails. Continuous retries (tapping Retry after the timeout) won’t work.

Fortunately, I’ve been able to come up with a decent solution – at least for jailbroken devices only with Backgrounder also installed. Just send ROS Ep II into background (by long-pressing Home until you see “Backgrounding enabled”; if you do it too late, Voice control is activated. Just cancel it and, when you’re automatically returned to the game, just press Home once.) Then, start Sfari or any other Web browser (I’ve also tested this with iCab Mobile) and load any page. When the connection is restarted, you can safely kill the Web browser and go back to the game (by tapping its icon). Then, just select “Retry” in the “no connection” dialog and voilá – the new stuff will be synchronized.

Other reviews of the series

pocketgamer.co.uk

Older reviews (of Ep I)
pocketgamer.co.uk
App Advice
Game FAQ’s (it’s a user review; note that the multiplayer in Ep II has been hugely improved from Ep I)
Side to Play (they also elaborate on the weaknesses of the multiplayer mode of Ep I)
IGN Mobile
TA's announcement
 



(Multiplayer) gaming news (09/23/2009):

There have been several multiplayer game releases in the last month (that is, since I’ve published my last major update to the iPhone Multiplayer gaming bible)

In THE MAIN CHART of the roundup, starting with “Aera by iChromo 1.0”, I’ve listed all the new, wireless multiplayer-enabled games released lately. There are some 13 of them.

In addition to the new releases, Attack Pro has received a fix to the 3G vs. 3G S Bluetooth problems; that is, now, it’s working perfectly between these two types of iPhone.
 

UPDATE (09/24/2009): UniWar, the, in my opinion, multiplayer-wise (along with Reign of Swords Ep II – see review above, in the update posted at 08/23 12:14 CET) best enabled turn-based strategy game has just received Push notification for much quicker opponent notification. Note that, of the new games recently reviewed, Real Soccer 2010 by Gameloft (even as of the initial, 1.0 version) also supports Push notification. See the second bullet of the update posted at 08/16/2009 0:19 CET for more information on how it should be used.

There are some other goodies the new version, 1.0.5, offers:



Also note that, now, this game only costs $1. It’s an absolute steal for the price.
 

UPDATE (09/24/2009 10:28PM CET): there’s another, new, multiplayer-enabled game worth mentioning: Adrenaline Golf Online by Eurocenter.



It’s quite a steal for the introductory price of $1. I don’t think you want to miss it at the current price point.

I’ll post a video of it tomorrow, showing how it looks on the 3G S and the 3G – it has 3G S-specific, additional 3D animations and effects.

Please see the last row in the chart I’ve just added.

UPDATE (09/24/2009 23:42 CET): I’ve highly recommended the zombie shooter “Alive 4 Ever” in yesterday’s update of the chart. \\\



Today’s news is that version 1.1 will soon be released with a lot of new goodies. Please see THIS for more info.

Also note that the intro price ($1) will soon be increased to $3 – I think the game is well worth purchasing, particularly if you plan to play it in multiplayer mode.
 



UPDATE (09/27/2009):
1.) The new version of the best racing game for the iDevice (iPhone + iPod touch), Real Racing, is out. Now, it supports two-player games over Bluetooth, which is great news for anyone having at least a second-generation iPhone or iPod touch and not having access to a Wi-Fi access point.



2.) There are several new multiplayer games:
Snake DOS by Andy Lin 1.0 (it hs received very good user reviews in the AppStore)
Hip Hop All Star by I-play
Piecehunters Premium by GibsonTang.com 1.3
Haunted 3D Rollercoaster Rush by Digital Chocolate, Inc. 1.0.1

Expect the according, thorough info and recommendation to be entered in the chart tomorrow or the day after.
 3.) The online version of NanoMechs will soon be released. You can join the beta program HERE, if you’re absolutely sure you do want to test it.
 
  If you don’t want to look the title up from the chart, a quick explanation: the only comparable title, WiFi Warfare by Jesse Starks, is, in my opinion, weaker than this title. I like the graphics of this title better and the, IMHO, much superior control. Now that it receives online multiplayer (in addition to the local Wi-Fi one), the only disadvantage of NanoMechs also disappears.



UPDATE (09/30/2009): Robocalypse on sale!

I deemed it necessary to post a separate update on this: Robocalypse (iTunes link), which is a very nice RTS (real-time strategy) with decent multiplayer, is on sale for $3 only. Pretty nice a deal, I’d say.

Also see a review HERE.



UPDATE (10/03/2009): Multiplayer gaming news: great Kart out and major Chess Elite rebate – both at $1 only!

While, in general, I publish / post all the news pertaining to an already-reviewed game genre or application type (multiplayer games / radio apps / Web browsers / remote desktop controllers / instant messaging apps etc.), this time I’m dedicating a separate article to the current news as I consider it pretty important and urgent, particularly because the two major rebates will quickly end. Note that my main multiplayer gaming article / bible is HERE, listing and thoroughly(!) comparing all(!) multiplayer games ever released for the iPhone and iPod touch.

1.) The biggest news of these days is that Eurocenter has just released Cocoto Kart Online, a really decent online multiplayer kart racer title.

So far, the only Kart title to offer multiplayer was Krazy Kart Racers (US) by Konami Digital Entertainment, which many considered pretty lousy. Not so with the new title, it’s pretty nice – and the (introductory) price just can’t be beaten.

It runs great on my iPhone 3G S and, with (by default) disabled music OK on my 3G. On the latter, with enabled music, the animation becomes pretty stuttering; that is, you’ll want to keep the music disabled on the 3G.



As with the games of Eurocenter in general, there’s no local (Wi-Fi / Bluetooth) play. (I hope they consider adding it some day – it’d help a lot in minimizing in-game lag and stuttering if you “only” want to play your mate next to you.) Fortunately, being a Eurocenter title also means there are quite a lot online players to choose from, should you not have a mate to play.

TouchArcade news item & comments HERE; dedicated thread HERE and the iTunes link HERE.

Highly recommended at the price!

2.) there is a huge rebate for Chess Elite for three days (that is, until Monday evening, US time), a chess client. It supports Push notifications for both challenging others and notifying them of new moves. In this regard, it’s pretty unique – unfortunately, still very few games support this kind of instant notifications. These worked just fine on my 3G S; on my 3G, for some reason, they didn’t. (It must have been a problem with my 3G.)



Note that it uses its own chess server; that is, it’s not a FICS / ICC client. (If you do need FICS support, go for iChess by myMobileApps instead.) While this means way less players than on FICS / ICC, there are still quite a few ones online and, of course, you can elect to play your friends / buddies only. Particularly taken into account the Push capabilities, at the current price tag, it’s is quite a steal.

There’s a thread HERE on the rebate itself; iTunes link HERE.

3.) The 1.1 update to Alive 4-ever by Meridian has just hit AppStore. It offers all the goodies previously promised (see the UPDATE dated 09/24/2009 23:42 CET in my original iPhone/iPod Touch Multiplayer Gaming Bible):



Note that I'll post a video of the three titles very soon. (Unfortunately, uploading 300...500 Mbyte AVCHD HD video files is pretty slow from home so it takes some time...)
 

UPDATE (10/03/2009 23.43 CET): as promised, I’ve added videos demonstrating the multiplayer mode of Cocoto Kart Online and Alive 4-ever. The links to the YouTube videos are in the also-updated chart (currently the rows discussing these two games are at the bottom of the chart).

Also note that I’ve added some other demo videos too; currently, for the following titles. As with the above titles, the links to these videos are in the “Remark?” column of the chart.

Fifa 10
Catch-a-mouse 3
Blades of fury
Attack Pro
Ar3na
Adrenaline Golf Online
Robocalypse



UPDATE (10/06/2009 23.08CET):

1.Several new videos have been uploaded (links in the main chart, in the “Remark” (last) column):

321 Jump by MASQ Interactive Limited
BOMBERMAN TOUCH 2 Volcano Party by Hudson (not bad at all. However, for some reason, it kept disconnecting when taking the video. Dunno why – back in August it worked OK.)
Flight Control by Firemint (this should be the first Bluetooth game you purchase (if you haven’t already done so))
F.A.S.T. Fleet Air Superiority Training by SGN (another excellent title)
Attack from the Dead by CDE (very lame title, not recommended at all)
Chess Elite (a steal for $1)
Sprint Addict (one of the worst titles ever released, avoid it at any rate)
Real Racing (excellent title!)
Hyperpuck (not bad)
Hiphop Allstar
Snake DOS (excellent if you like the retro feeling)

2. Updated some records; for example, Pong - iPhone Edition by Jonah Grant and 3-D Vector Ball by Gyrocade records with the latest news (no 3G vs. 3G S speed problems any more and BT support, respectively)

3. Added some games; for example, the just-released Bluetooth Wireless Tennis with Agnieszka Radwanska by FUN and MOBILE
 




UPDATE (10/8/2009 9:17 CET):

1. I’ve continued making and uploading videos (again, see the last column in the chart for YouTube links):

Baaahlast by Big Nerd Ranch (IMHO, very poor and vastly overpriced at $3)

3D Vector Ball by Gyrocade (great – particularly now that it’s received BT support)

BT Wireless Tennis with Agnieszka Radwanska (pretty nice tennis app – definitely easier to control than the alternatives)

iSamurai Bluetooth (a fun accelerometer-based game; offers definitely more than other “simple” accelerator-based multiplayer "games" like Quick Draw Cowboy Gunfight by ACME Mobile Products - here, the accelerometer is not only used to track the quick change from being in a vertical position to horizontal, but also other positions, movements, strikes and blockings.)

SG Mahjong by GameFront Singapore

TRIVIA WARS by Zephyr Creative (IMHO, Gameloft’s TV Show King is much better a choice. Note that the video only shows version 1.1; 2.0, according to the AppStore reviews, has become much faster to play)

Galcon Labs by Phil Hassey (great!)

Combat On Palm (a complete failure, no worth installing even for free)

Pong iPhone Edition by Jonah Grant (not bad)

Pollys Popping Parrots Reloaded by p13development (color matching – if you like the genre…)

Touch Hockey FS5 by FlipSide5 (very nice and even has a free, ad-supported but, otherwise, not dumbed-down version – as with all FlipSide5 titles)

Touch4 FS5 by FlipSide5 (see above)

Sea Battle Classic by A Kurulenko (for free, pretty nice Battleship-implementation)

2. In my previous Chess Elite quick review, I’ve mentioned the push mode has some quirks. Among other things, these are promised to have been fixed by the just-released update:



3. Adrenaline Golf Online by Eurocenter (the price of which, in the meantime, has, unfortunately, been increased to $5) has also been updated (to version 1.1), fixing the bugs pointed out by some TouchArcade users (see THIS and THIS):


 



UPDATE (10/09/2009):

1. New videos added:

Bust A Move by TAITO (Well, you might like it; I, nevertheless, find it a bit pricey for a simple color matcher game which doesn't have any kind of non-parallel [!] multiplayer)
iFPS Online by Pick Up And Play (IMHO, pretty poor – no wonder it was even offered as free)
Tank War - Bluetooth Battle by 6tags.com (IMHO, Office Tanks by ET NETERA of the same genre certainly has much more up-to-date graphics, faster and more challenging gameplay and involves more strategy, particularly on bigger maps. That is, I'd prefer getting it first. Nevertheless, you may want to give this title a try too, particularly if you need / prefer BT over local Wi-Fi. Multiplayer only.)
Office Tanks by ET NETERA (definitely better than Tank War. Multiplayer only.)
ShapeShape by inXile Entertainment (IMHO, well worth the $1)
Armageddon Squadron by Polarbit 1.0.2 (IMHO, F.A.S.T. Fleet Air Superiority Training! by SGN is a better choice, particularly if you want to play others [not your buddies] online. It has, generally, far more online players. Also, it's way cheaper [$1 only].]
Asphalt 4 Elite Racing by Gameloft (while a lot of people dislike this title, I don’t – it’s big fun, particularly in multiplayer. A must buy at this price point [$1] – argh, I’ve purchased it for $10…)

NOTE: I’ve further refined the way I make videos. Now, in order to maximize screen estate use, I take videos of games operating not only in Portrait, but also in Landscape mode in Portrait orientation. This means you’ll need to watch YouTube videos of landscape games in Portrait mode on your computer or phone. If you don’t do this on a platform where watching videos in Portrait mode is possible, you can still do the following:

- Save the YouTube video in a format that can be played back in, say, the free VLC player. If you don’t want to use third-party YouTube clip saver methods but know where the cache of your Web browser is, you’ll find these videos there after you let the browser fully cache the video (which, in general, happens without having to watch the entire thing). For example, in Opera, you’ll find it at \Users (or. under pre-Vista OS'es, Documents and Settings) \username\AppData\Local\Opera\Opera versionnumber\cache. Search for big (5+ Mbyte and, if you let the system save HD videos, much bigger) files recently created. Rename them to have the extension FLV and pass them to the player.

- In VLC, go to Tools / Preferences. At the bottom left, make sure you select the “All” radio button instead of “Simple” under “Show settings”. In “All” mode, open the Video tree (the last record in the list on the left); under that, the Filters tree. Then, scroll down (still in the left pane) and select Rotate. Overwrite the default 30 degrees with either 90 or 270. Then, just click Filters above (the one where you’ve previously opened the tree) and check in the “Rotate video filter” checkbox (the sixth from above).

Note that, particularly when playing back originally HD videos on slower desktop PC’s, this may result in heavily slowed-down playback. In these cases, try using this method for playing back non-HD content only.

2. I’ve, in addition, added a quick review of LightBike Online by Pankaku Inc., a Tron clone. (A demo video will quickly follow.)
 



UPDATE (10/11/2009 22:46 CET):

1. As is announced in the official TouchArcade thread, at last, the (on the Windows Mobile and Palm OS platform, great and very popular) Warfare Incorporated will very soon get multiplayer capabilities. The version with four-player remote (lounge-based) multiplayer has already been submitted for approval; hopefully it will soon get approved. I can only hope the multiplayer is compatible with Windows Mobile and Palm OS clients. (Not that there would be that many players using these platforms to play games anymore, though… :( ).

2. Another major RTS (Real Time Strategy) news is that Command & Conquer Red Alert is being ported to the Apple platforms. Unfortunately, it won’t have multiplayer capabilities. Hope they will be added some time – as has been done to the above-mentioned Warfare Incorporated.

3. Archon, as has been promised for a while, will also receive multiplayer support.

4. I’ve added the following high-quality, HD videos to the chart:

Star Hogs by IUGO (Excellent artillery title; much better than some of the alternatives; for example, Baaahlast by Big Nerd Ranch, Inc.)

Iron Sight by Polarbit (another excellent artillery title – this in 3D)

Siberian Strike by Gameloft (a decent 1941 – vertical scroller shooter - clone with cooperative multiplayer)

Real Tennis 2009 by Gameloft (a decent tennis game)

Mino by Xio (a Tetris clone – somewhat better than the multiplayer alternatives; e.g., Crazy Drops by Colombiamug)

GTS World Racing by Handmark (a decent racing game. However, I find it a bit overpriced, particularly now that the, technically, much-much superior Real Racing is $7 “only”).

Fuzzball by Avolans (excellent!)

Ferrari GT: Evolution by Gameloft (another racing game. Technically, compared to Real Racing, it isn’t the best; however, it’s cheap and is, therefore, recommended.)

Fast & Furious by i-play (see my remark with Ferrari GT: Evolution: not the best racing title, but, at least, cheap)

Cube by fernLightning (this free but, on the pre-3GS / iPod touch 3G, uselessly slow first person shooter still hasn’t received server-side support and is, therefore, useless for multiplayer. BTW, in the demo video, I show exactly this: the current servers are incompatible and there isn’t any other way of connecting two Cube players together)

Arcade Pool Online by Lucky Clan : a pool game. I think you’ll want to prefer Adrenaline Pool Online 2 by Eurocenter to it, particularly because the excellent in-game speaking / talking capabilities.

Raging Thunder by Polarbit: Nice, particularly if you want to play buddies far away. (Nevertheless, don’t expect many online players. However, Real Racing may still be a better choice.

KIL.A.TON (this artillery shooter is not bad. Nevertheless, I think both Star Hogs by IUGO and Iron Sight by Polarbit are better.)

5. I’ve also modified a lot of details in the chart, making it even more up-to-date.
 



UPDATE (10/13/2009 2:00CET): I’ve added the following high-quality HD videos to the chart:

Shrek Kart by Gameloft: a brand new, just-released kart game with (strictly) local Bluetooth and Wi-Fi multiplayer capabilities. Knowing that Gameloft, despite their promises, still haven’t delivered true Internet (remote lounge) multiplayer for any of their games having strictly local multiplayer. Also see THIS and THIS for more info.

As you can see in the video, the game is certainly more jittery on the iPhone 3G than Cocoto Kart Online by Eurocenter.

StarPagga by Funsuma Games: a 3D space shooter. If you like games like F.A.S.T. Fleet Air Superiority Training! by SGN, you might like this one too.

Marble Blast Mobile by GarageGames: a very nice 3D game – assuming you have an iPhone 3G S. If you “only” have an iPhone 3G, don’t even bother, it’s way too slow.

DrawRace by RedLynx Ltd: wowz, this is a very nice game! Too bad you can’t explicitly play your mates in the game – you’re assigned random opponents.

DinoSmash Online by Eurocenter: without doubt the best platformer shooter – much better than both WiFi Warfare by Jesse Starks and the brand new and, now, lounge / Internet-enabled NanoMechs by Theorian. That is, if you like the genre and don’t want to play local (e.g., Bluetooth) games, his should be the first game you check out.

Crazy Drops by Colombiamug: a Tetris clone. Nothing to write home about.

Astraware Board Games by Handmark Inc: contains several mini-games. Unfortunately, now, it costs $3 (originally, for quite a long time, it was $1 only) and I’ve never seen anyone playing any games online. Therefore, if you do want to play strangers over the Internet, go for something else – particularly if you plan to play chess. (There’re both FICS clients and Chess Elite for the iPhone.)



UPDATE (10/14/2009 13:10 CET):

1. I’ve uploaded the videos (again, check the last column of the chart for the YouTube links!) of the following games:

ATV Offroad by 2XL Games: just released, brand new (see the TouchArcade thread HERE, frontpage news HERE), pretty nice racing

Topple 2 by ngmoco: very nice game – for the price, a must buy

Adrenaline Pool Online 2 by Eurocenter: it’s particularly the voice chat that makes this title probably the most recommended one

LightBike Online by Pankaku Inc: a Tron clone. Useless when played against a mate using the same Wi-Fi router to connect directly or via the Net. Otherwise, nice.

Quick Draw by Swipe Interactive: this is a must – another excellent game

WiFi Warfare by Jesse Starks: wellwell – go for Dinosmash instead, unless you’re a retro fan...

2. There are two other, brand new releases already entered in the chart (demo videos will follow – I’ve already made them but uploading from my home ADSL is very slow):

The Reactor by Facet Studios LLC 1.1: another color matching / Tetris clone. In my opinion, it isn't better than the comparable titles (e.g., Mino) - apart from being able to be played offline, via BT.

Ancient War by Triniti Interactive Limited 1.2: It's pretty much like the mobile (heavily dumbed-down) version of Civilization 4.



UPDATE (10/15/2009 12:09 CET):

1.)
I’ve posted the videos of the following titles:

Pool Star Online with Earl Strickland: a pool game. The game isn’t bad at all (particularly at this price point) – I particularly like displaying the trajectories or showing the player the wrong targets). I, however, would still prefer Adrenaline Pool Online 2 by Eurocenter to it, which even has voice support and is only slightly more expensive ($3 vs. $2).
XPilot by 7b5 labs: an XPilot port: check out if you’re a fan of the genre. If you aren’t, there are definitely better multiplayer games.
Ronnie O'Sullivan's Snooker by I-play: If you’re only a casual snooker player, Pool Star Feat. Earl Strickland from the same developer may be a better (and much cheaper – this one costs $5) choice. It’s very similar to this one. I’d also prefer Adrenaline Pool Online 2 by Eurocenter to it.
SCRABBLE by Electronic Arts: a scrabble game. As with most Electronic Arts titles, it’s pretty expensive ($5).

2.) There is also a major update of Quantum Collapse (it has received Bluetooth support and will receive both local Wi-Fi and also remote lounge, along with chat), an RTS, by Javier Davalos 1.2. It is certainly not the best RTS, but, given that there're not many RTS'es for the platform, you may still want to give it a try:



I’ll post a video of it very soon, along with Play Marbles by Darkside Entertainment (a decent Marbles game), which, with version 1.2, has also recently gained wireless (Bluetooth) multiplayer support.

3.) Let me emphasize that the multiplayer demo videos I post have almost all been made by only one person (me). This means you will NOT see the full potential of the non-turn-based (for example, racing - as opposed to for example chess or other board titles) games in these videos. Please do not complain about this - I do my best when shooting these videos (if you do compare them to the other game demos on YouTube, you'll see that, technically, my videos are far superior - HD, much better exposure, truly 30 progressive fps [as opposed to the sometimes even less than 25 fps videos posted by some other people], no focus / exposure problems, fixed camera and iPhones, the use of the available screen estate as good as possible, stereo sound etc.) but cannot "emulate" two full-time human players playing at the same time. Nevertheless, as I shoot these videos showing both an iPhone 3G and 3G S, you will also see the speed difference between the two models. (See e.g. the Ancient War by Triniti Interactive Limited video on how the 3G slows down when animating more than 10-15 sprites at the same time – which I also mentioned in my yesterday’s post.)

Again, this only refers to action games like racing titles. Videos taken of turn-based titles like chess or other board games or turn-based strategy games like UniWar don't suffer from this problem.

UPDATE (10/17/2009 23:59 CET):

1.) I’ve posted the multiplayer demo videos of the following titles:

The Reactor by Facet Studios LLC 1.1: another color matching / Tetris clone. In my opinion, it isn't better than the comparable titles (e.g., Mino) - apart from being able to be played offline, via BT.

Ancient War by Triniti Interactive Limited 1.2: It's pretty much like the mobile (heavily dumbed-down) version of Civilization 4.

Quantum Collapse (RTS) by Javier Davalos : Not the best, but, given that there're not many RTS'es for the platform, you may still want to give it a try

Guitar Rock Tour 2 by Gameloft: Mostly for music lovers

Heroes Battle Online by Vincent Bellet: Don’t expect anything traditional RPG – it’s an asynchronous (see UniWar’s approach) spellcasting on other player(s).

iBot Sumo by Beorn Software: You might like the idea – check out the lite version. You need to knock out each of the bots of the arena.

Play Marbles by Darkside Entertainment: very nice title

Pocket Jockey by Muse: not compatible with 3.1.2 3G vs. 3G S phones, it seems.

Galcon by galcon.com: a real must

Warfare incorporated by Spiffcode Inc.: a decent RTS receiving multiplayer support – at last.

Ancient Legion by DigitalFun: Web browser-based RPG. If you don’t like the genre, you may still want to watch the built-in trailer video (of which I also show most of in the demo YouTube video)

iFishing by Egerter Software: if you need a fishing “simulator”…

liar’s by Hey Buddy Software: a board game. Note that the video doesn’t show how the game itself is played as there were only two players (and the game needs at least 3).

Rising Blocks by Michael Le: Very simple – I’d go for e.g. Aurora Feint II: Arena instead

SevenSwords Prologue by Asobimo: a 3D hack’n’slash; pretty slow even on the 3GS

TV Show King by Gameloft: another quiz game

UniWar by Xpressed: another VERY strong TBS game. A must try – particularly at the current price tag ($1). Also see my dedicated strategy guides.

UNO by Gameloft: a card game

WordFu by ngmoco: a word game

X-Plane by Laminar Research: a flight simulator. Note that, for real shooters, look elsewhere – for example, F.A.S.T. Fleet Air Superiority Training! by SGN. It’s also 10 times cheaper.

Zoot by tranquo: a game with a pretty new concept

SlotZ Racer by Freeverse: this is a one-device MP title only. Nevertheless, as it’s big fun, I’ve included it here.

2.) There is also a major update of Mecho Wars: it has received pretty good remote lounge support.



Basically, the gameplay, switching between games etc. are pretty similar to that of UniWar. Nevertheless, I consider the latter a bit more polished and thought-out in this respect; particularly because it supports Push notifications (which Mecho Wars doesn’t).

And I’ve already mentioned Warfare Incorporated by Spiffcode Inc., a decent RTS, has also received decent multiplayer support – at last.

 



UPDATE (10/19/2009): I’ve added three new columns to the chart to make your choice even easier: they reflect the user / purchaser voting for each game.

The first column, All version avg rating, shows the rating all the versions (including the current one) received. The number of voters in the third column, Nr. of voters for all versions.

The second column, ‘Current version avg rating’, is a bit different: it only lists the average of votes for the current version. This, in cases (for example, with UniWar, which has become great with the changes in the new version), may be vastly different than the average with gradually (or quickly) improved titles. Leaving this info out would have resulted in titles that have become excellent lately ignored by some readers. Note that I don’t provide the number of voters here. Also note that “n/a” stands for “game is still at 1.0; that is, there hasn’t been a previous version.”

Finally, note that n/e means “not enough votes”.
 



UPDATE (10/19/2009 16:32 CET): 1. I’ve posted the videos of the following games:

Air Sail by Readdle: Pretty funny game: by default, you need to blow into the mike of the phone for your ship to advance. As it’s free, highly recommended!
Atari Football by Atari: Only check out if you like the top-down, 2D rendering (as opposed to the 3D rendering fo some other baseball games) of this retro title.
Catcha Mouse 2 by Odasoft: IMHO, you may want to prefer Catcha Mouse 3 instead. In my opinion, it’s a great (while cheap) puzzle game well worth checking out.
CurveBallz Deluxe by Mehboob Charania: a 3D Pong title. As opposed to 3-D Vector Ball by Gyrocade, free, but a bit less capable (e.g., no accelerometer support). It’s free; however, I still think you want to prefer 3-D Vector Ball instead.
slotCar Mania by feelThere: Pretty nice – if you need real wireless multiplayer (which SlotZ still deosn’t support), go for it. Otherwise, if a one-device MP is sufficient, SlotZ Racing should be the one to prefer.
Smackarooni by Spinapse: I don’t really see the point in this game. (Neither do other reviewers – it got 2.5 points.)
Trivial Pursuit by Electronic Arts: a trivia game. I think TV Show King by Gameloft is better worth the price ($1), particularly because it’s much faster-paced and allows both players to answer simultaneously.

2. Rock Band has been released by EA. TouchArcade preferred it to the other available rhythm games http://toucharcade.com/2009/10/08/rock-band-hands-on-preview-with-video/ . I’ve also posted the demo video HERE.

3. Krazy Kart Racing has been updated; the changes are as follows:
- Updated title to Krazy Kart Racing
- Bugfixes
- Improved Multiplayer function and menu, including guidance and help
- Tweaked grand prix flow
- Removed "Bomb Chaser" from Krazy GP

4. another brand new release: Air Force Online by CDE. In my opinion, it has nothing to write home about – if you want a 2D top-down collaborative shooter, go for Siberian Strike (by Gameloft) instead - and it too is $1 only (note that $1 seems to be only the intro price of this game).
 



UPDATE (10/20/2009 12:43 CET): 1. I’ve posted the videos of the following games:

Crossbones by New Insect Overlords LLC : a puzzle game. You might like it – I myself haven’t bothered with learning the rules so I can’t really comment on the quality and the addictiveness of the game. Unfortunately, there don’t seem to be any online players at all and it costs $3 (while some other, in my opinion, very decent puzzle games like Catcha Mouse 3 by Odasoft only cost $1).

Bomber Online by Eurocenter : I’d prefer this Bomberman clone over BOMBERMAN TOUCH 2 –Volcano Party by Hudson 1.5 because of the much better controls and the much more versatile lounge-based game (with online players always around). Sure, it’s a bit pricey but, IMHO, well worth the $4.

Board@Work by Spigot Games : another puzzle game.

AirFight by Ocko AB : a pretty poor fighter pilot game.

Air Force Online by CDE : IMHO, it isn’t worth bothering either - there are way better 3D shooters around.

Ace Tennis Online by Eurocenter: as with all Eurocenter titles, it’s well worth checking out.

2. There is a considerable sale: “Foosball World Cup” by Better Day Wireless, now, costs only $1 (instead of the regular $3). If you do want a wireless foosball (table soccer) game, go get it as soon as possible.



3. (Still) speaking of foosball games, the commercial version of Pocket Football by Rashid Nasibulin (another foosball title with wireless multiplayer) seems to be removed from AppStore. I don’t know whether this has happened because of the absolutely unreliable and useless wireless multiplay support (at least between the 3G and the 3G S under both 3.0 and 3.1.2). Nevertheless, the free versions (both single-player only) remained in the AppStore.

 



UPDATE (10/21/2009): I’ve added the following videos:

KarmaStar by Majesco Entertainment: a puzzle game. Note that I didn’t really bother learning all the rules; that is, the MP demo isn’t a true representative of how the game should be played.

iNinja by Geppetto Inc.: a very decent title, particularly in single player. In multiplayer, there aren’t AI enemies or obstacles; still, it’s great fun against a human opponent, just like the comparable Hyper Puck by Kieffer Bros.

Wave Blazer by Polarbit : an, in my opinion, pretty average boat racer

Tower Bloxx Deluxe 3D by Digital Chocolate : while this game doesn’t support wireless, it’s big fun when played on the same iPhone.

Pocket Football by Rashid Nasibulin : as has been stated in yesterday’s update, this game has major problems in multiplayer rendering it completely useless – at least when played between an iPhone 3G and 3G S. This is demoed in this demo video. Probably this is why the title seems to be removed from the US AppStore.

Wopiti Words by Wopiti : another word game

Wi-Fi Battle Boats by Inner Four : I’d go for Sea Battle Classic by A. Kurulenko 1.1 instead: it looks cleaner, also supports BT and allows you to play the CPU too – for the same price.

Quartz 2 Deluxe Crystal Drop by Chillingo Ltd : this game is pretty unique in that it doesn’t support automatic Wi-Fi local network discovery. This means you must manually enter the host’s IP address into the client (which is also demoed in the demo video). However, this also means you will be able to play even remote opponents (not only local ones) if they have a direct IP – even without a lounge.

Krazy Kart Racers by Konami : Konami’s kart title. Not as good as that of Gameloft or Eurocenter, in my opinion.

Headsup Poker 3G by Haolan Qin : a poker game without any visual goodies.

Foosball World Cup by Better Day Wireless : as has been stated in yesterday’s update, this game has some glitches in multiplayer – at least when played between an iPhone 3G and 3G S. This can also be seen in this demo video. (Not only the initial disconnects, but also the desynchronized in-game animation.) Keep this in mind when purchasing it and you have this particular set-up (I don’t know whether there’re similar problems between similar models; say, two 3G’s or 3G S’es). Nevertheless, it’s on sale now (as has also been announced yesterday) and is still far better suited for wireless multiplayer than the only other alternative, Pocket Football by Rashid Nasibulin .

Aera by iChromo : I don't think you want to prefer it to F.A.S.T. Fleet Air Superiority Training! by SGN - the latter seems to be far better (and even cheaper). Note that, as I didn’t want to learn all the different accelerometer-based tricks for control (which I quickly show – by showing the built-in help – in the beginning of the video), I don’t show a real one-on-one fight in the demo video, much more just a demo on how fast the game is on the two iPhone models (3G and 3G S), how reliable the communication is etc.

BattleAtSea by Pelted Software : Sea Battle Classic by A. Kurulenko seems to be a much better choice.

Light Riders 3D by DS Media Labs: note that this game is completely useless in single player mode – the AI is very-very weak and dies very quickly. That is, this game should only be used in multiplayer.
 

UPDATE (10/22/2009): I've posted the multiplayer demo video of the just-released Sniper Vs Sniper: Online by Com2uS Corp. to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuUKOw_760E showing most aspects of multiplayer gaming.

As usual, it's a HD video with stereo sound also showing the speed difference between the iPhone 3G and the 3G S. The game is perfectly playable on the former (of course, the loading times are far higher).

UPDATE (10/22/2009 13:25 CET): Catcha Mouse 3 by Odasoft, which I consider one of the best multiplayer puzzle games, has just been updated to version 1.2.

The new version allows to listen to iPod music while playing the game.
 




UPDATE (10/23/2009 23:00 CET):

First of all, I’ve converted the so far static main game chart (direct link HERE) to be dynamic. This means you can just select, for example,

- “No Bluetooth” in the “Connection type:” drop-down list to disable displaying games that don’t support local Bluetooth games;

- “Head-to-head” in the “Multiplayer game type:” drop-down list to hide games where you need to play against someone. (The two other game categories are “Parallel”, where you only indirectly play against someone – because you both play against the time (examples are most Tetris clones and other color matching titles); and ”Collaborative”, where you need to join forces with another player (a well-known example is Siberian Strike)). Note that, here, selecting “No team play” hides all games where teaming up with a buddy against other people is not possible.

- “Only 2 players” in the “Number of players” list, should be there more than two of you and you wanted to quickly find a game that supports more than two players at the same time. A well-known example is Real Racing (when not operating over Bluetooth).

- “More than $1” in the “Price” menu to quickly hide titles costing more than $1.

- Finally, you can quickly hide titles that received a given rating (for both the current and all versions) from the US AppStore users. The same stands for my ratings; selecting a rating in “My rating for the multiplayer play” and “My rating for the play in the same category” quickly gets rid of games I’ve given the same rating.

This is a quick way of hiding games that received too low a rating from me or the AppStore users.

This feature has long been asked for; now that I had some spare time, I implemented it. (For the programmers / geeks around: I’ve also published the automated script that creates the “class” attribute for the “tr” tag. It’s HERE. It uses a MySQL database table as a data source. Dumping the original HTML chart to the database is really simple (basically, can be achieved through some search/replace operations in a simple text editor; these search/replace operations, using the Word syntax, are also listed in the script file, right after the table creation script); nevertheless, I also provide you with that script. It’s HERE, should you be interested in it. Finally, you can find the purely JavaScript runtime code doing the visibility toggle right in the beginning of the chart file. The original, fully static chart is HERE.)

Note that

- If you re-select something, it’ll be enabled (shown) again (that is, menu items have a “toggle” functionality)

- In order to make re-selecting (toggling) work, you must select some other menu item in the same list. Should you want to avoid hiding anything else, just select the (by default, when (re)loading the page, active) “Select!” menu item and, then, you can select the to-be-toggled menu item again. It’ll work.

- The conversion to the new, dynamic form has been done entirely from a program and, after that, I haven’t fixed the inconsistencies resulted from my, so far, not keeping in mind that, some time, I would indeed switch to a dynamic chart. That is, before the switch, I didn’t pay attention to using exactly the same expressions or notations. I’ve tried to handle the most widely used forms of my past entry in the Java converter program above; however, it, of course, wasn’t able to convert each and every record. Sorry for these. (Nevertheless, the vast majority – about 97-98% – of the records are converted without problems.) When I have some more time, I’ll fix them all. (Not now: I’ll leave for some two hours of swimming in about ten hours and I really want to take some long sleep before that.)

Second, I’ve added three new columns, all reflecting my opinion on the given game. (Incidentally, I’ve also referred to these new columns above – see my explanation of hiding titles having received a given rating.) Currently, all my ratings are integer numbers, unlike those of the AppStore folks; that is, 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5. As with AppStore, 1 is the worst and 5 is the best.

“My rating: MP” stands for how much I liked the title as a general multiplayer title. Note that my ratings may be, in cases, pretty different from those of the AppStore users (which you can find in the also recently-added – see my previous article updates – “All version avg rating” and “Current version avg rating” columns).

The following column, “Single Player”, explains how a given game behaves when playing in single player. Now that, currently, I’ve rated few games in this column (as opposed to the two other, new columns); in the future, I’ll also try to fill these columns. Basically, the point of this column is conveying information on whether a given title is worth playing in single player (against the iPhone) at all – if there’s a single player mode and whether the artificial intelligence is worthy enough. As has already been stated in a previous update, for example Light Riders 3D by DS Media Labs has a very weak AI you won’t ever want to play against.

Finally, “My rating for the play in the same category” directly compares to games in exactly the same category or genre. The rating here may be different from the multiplayer rating. For example, I’ve given a general rating of 3 (average) to Foosball World Cup by Better Day Wireless. However, comparing it to the other foosball (table soccer) games, I’ve given it a four, taking into the account that very few foosball games support wireless multiplayer and the ones that do are even less reliable than this title. The same is true with iFPS Online by Pick Up And Play. I’ve given it a general rating of “2” (meaning it’s better to avoid it altogether). However, given that there’re so few first person shooters on the iPhone, I’ve given it a 3 in its category, basically telling FPS fans to check it out if they really need a FPS game.

I’ve added two new games to the main chart, the excellent Sniper Vs Sniper: Online by Com2uS Corp (see the TouchArcade review / thread links in the last, “Remark” column) and the, in my opinion, pretty mediocre Harbor Master by Imangi Studios (a Flight Control clone, which has just received Bluetooth support).

Finally, note that I’ve uploaded multiplayer video demos for most of the games. These are exceptionally high-quality videos made with quality gear and well-controlled settings, not just some blurred, low-fps, stuttering cr@p made with a lousy mobile phone. Note that, as usual, I operate the two iPhones myself alone; that is, in non-turn based games, you can’t have as quick reactions and play as in the ideal case of two individual players operating both phones individually. Do not complain about this – I’ve done my best. Rest assured that, technically, my videos are far better than most other videos out there.



UPDATE (10/24/2009 14:00 CET):

1. I’ve further enhanced the chart and made it even more user-friendly. Now, you can disable any of the columns (except for the title) if you find some of them uninteresting. Just un-tick the checkboxes of the columns (at the top) you don’t want to clutter the view.

2. There’s a new version of Play Marbles, which is a pretty nice game:



UPDATE (10/28/2009):

1. DOOM, with local Wi-Fi multiplayer support, will very soon be released. See THIS and THIS for more info.

2. Ronnie O'Sullivan's Snooker by I-play (iTunes link) has a super-sale – it only costs $1. A must buy at the price!



Also see THIS for my multiplayer demo video – and, of course, the comments in the chart.

3. There is a new demo video of the forthcoming online multiplayer deathmatch game Eliminate HERE. Additional info HERE.

4. Pollys Popping Parrots Reloaded by p13development has been updated:



5. Two new major releases: Catan (info HERE; hotseat multiplayer only) and Fish Labs' Rally Master Pro 3D (a rally racer; more info HERE; online top scores only).



UPDATE (10/28/2009 16:40 CET):

Some additional news:

1. Metallica Revenge by Tapulous has been released. See THIS for more info. ITUNES link; YouTube multiplayer demo video HERE.

2. I’ve added Breakspin by Walt Disney to the chart. ITUNES; TouchArcade threads HERE (review) and HERE (regular discussion). THIS thread compares it to other Brick Breaker games. YouTube multiplayer demo video HERE.

3. There is a new, bugfix version of Ancient War by Triniti Interactive Limited. As far as the iPhone multiplayer 3G bug is concerned (see the earlier video), I havent’ had the time to test it; will do it some time.

4. There are some new, downloadable songs for Rock Band by EA (see my earlier quick review & video). Select “Music Store” from the main menu to access. Currently, two of them are free. A screenshot:



5. I’ve also tested PANDORUM by Artificial Life, Inc. Unfortunately, all it supports is sharing add-on features or game progress with friends via Bluetooth and comparing scores and best times on the global leaderboard and compete with friends using Facebook Connect

6. Finally, last but not least, frontpage at iPhoneMVP.com. The associated image:



I don’t think this image needs to be commented on ;-)
 



UPDATE (10/30/2009):

1.
Real Racing, probably the best racing game on the mobile Apple platforms, has been updated, receiving the cars available in the free and, unless you want multiplayer or the advanced features of the commercial version, highly recommended, recently released Real Racing GTI.

.jpg

Note that, as the original was of pretty bad quality, I’ve posted a video of the brand new version HERE. This time, as opposed to the former case (when I used Bluetooth), I used Wi-Fi for connection.

2. The great Cocoto Kart Online has been updated to version 1.1:



3. Sprint Addict Online has also received an update; it’s just a bugfix release:



I’ve tested the new version on both my iPhone 3G and 3G S and found it equally useless as the initial one. It’s absolutely unplayable on the 3G (stutters very bad) in exactly the same networking environment as the 3G S, where it’s much-much smoother. Nevertheless, the game still lacks real textures and, which is even more important, online players.

Note that, as the original was of pretty bad quality, I’ve posted a video of the brand new version HERE.

4. Star Hogs (a great and highly recommended space artillery game) has received MASSIVE updates:



5. Apple still haven’t approved the next “big thing”, iD’s Doom into AppStore. BTW, speaking of iD, while I know it isn’t exactly a multiplayer title, let me mention that Wolfeinstein 3D Classic I’ve quickly reviewed HERE, has been updated to Platinum Edition, receiving a LOT of great goodies. It sports great controls (unlike the majority of games) and it still costs $2 only – a must! (an update-centric TouchArcade thread HERE)


 



UPDATE (10/31/2009):

1. DOOM has been approved! I’ve created two demo videos:

Cooperative
Deathmatch

The multiplayer mode (local Wi-Fi) seems to be working great. It supports 2…4 players.

The game inherits the excellent controls of Wolf 3D. Note that, by default accelerometer-based (tilt) sliding isn’t supported; it must be manually enabled in Options.

Also see THIS TouchArcade quick review.

2. There are lot of other news; for example, the realtime strategy title Robocalypse – Mobile Mayhem is on sale for $1 only, which is a steal for such a high-quality game:



Rock Band is also on sale ($7 instead of $10) and a lot of other titles too; see THIS.

3. Eliminate has entered beta and is available via the Canadian AppStore for free (it supports in-app purchasing). This also means you can still access it by registering a Canadian account (by, say, providing Apple a physical Canadian e.g. mailing address quickly looked up in Google.) See THIS and THIS for more feedback / user opinions.

4. I've posted three demo videos for the Windows Mobile version of the C64 emulator (iPhone version HERE). Please see today's update HERE.
 



UPDATE (11/01/2009):

1. Alive 4 ever, a decent top-down cooperative shooter, has received (in addition to Bluetooth) local Wi-Fi support; now, you’ll be able to play it on first-generation iPhones and iPod touches.



2. The Push notification problems has been fixed with Mecho Wars, one of the best, multiplayer-enabled turn-based strategy title. In addition, it has received other goodies too:



Finally, note that it’s on a $1 sale now. A MUST buy at this price, unless you absolutely dislike the genre.

3. I’ve tested the newly released World Series of Poker Hold'em Legend by Glu, which has both local Bluetooth and remote lounge support. The latter is pretty basic; for example, it doesn’t allow users to select their opponents (as opposed to most of the remote poker titles). What is more, never ever was I able to find enough online players to play. The best I saw was other 3 players besides me – while, most of the case, there weren’t any. In this regard, competing poker titles (Texas Hold'em by Apple Inc. and Live Poker by Zynga) are waaaaay better. Keep this in mind before paying for this title.

I’ve made a demo video of it running in multiplayer Bluetooth mode. The second half of the video shows that at the time of making the videos (around 13:00 CET today) there weren’t anyone to play online.

4. I've also tested Solitaire: Deck of Cods by Namco Networks America Inc., which is also a new release. It has a "connect to peer" button in Options. Nevertheless, if you do connect to another iDevice (via Bluetooth), the game doesn’t seem to be altered – it seems to stay strictly single-player and not even a parallel one. That is, I haven’t seen it, for example, announcing when the other player manages to catch a fish or finish a round.

5. There’s a new cnet article on five iPhone multiplayer games HERE. (Note that my chart has extensive info & videos for some 150 – or even more? - titles.)

6. Finally, Archon, while still not having multiplayer support (if you do need multiplayer and you have two Windows Mobile phones / PDA’s around, use version 3.0 of Pocket Commodore 64 – I’ve recently posted a demo video of Archon II’s running great in multiplayer mode), has received some other, remarkable goodies:


 



UPDATE (11/03/2009): wowz, there is quite a lot to report on! :) iDevice users can’t really complain about the lack of multiplayer (as opposed to competing smartphone platforms: Windows Mobile, Symbian or, even worse, the Blackberry)…

1. Eliminate by ngmoco has been made available for the entire world.

You may well remember how I warned you against getting iFPS, so far, the only remote (lounge-based) first person shooter title (bad controls, very few - if any - online players etc.). Fortunately, Eliminate is way-way better and should be your first choice when looking for an online free-for-all game - parictularly at the current price point (free; nevertheless, note that in-game-purchased powerup packs do cost money if you do want to buy some).

YouTube demo video HERE, TA quick review & further links & discussion HERE. It also shows

- in-lounge chatting
- inviting friends for friendly matches
- playing regular (non-invite) games

2. Asphalt5 by Gameloft has also just been released is also highly recommended. While it does have speed problems even on the 3G S (let alone the definitely worse 3G), it's way better than the previous title in almost every respect. Note that it also has remote (lounge-based) multiplayer with, it seem, quite a few human players lurking around.

TouchArcade review HERE, YouTube video HERE.

NOTE: by default, the game requires Wi-Fi to operate in lounge-based mode. Therefore, if you do want to play it over 3G (or other cellular connections), you must jailbreak your phone, install 3G Unrestrictor (or something similar) and allow the game to use 3G in it. I've posted a full tutorial on this HERE.

3. Monster Ball by Full Control ApS (official homepage) is also a worthwhile puzzle / table game to check out - much more interesting than, say, "traditional" table games. Dedicated thread HERE (I especially recommend THIS post); YouTube video HERE. Make sure you check out the lite version!

NOTE: as you can see on the video, there aren't many online players around - and, as of now, there isn't any non-random opponent selection either.

4. Cliffed by IUGO is a quick action game. Dedicated thread HERE (I especially recommend THIS post); YouTube video HERE. Note that I, having to control to iPhones at the same time, very quickly lost the multiplayer game; therefore, to see how the game is played (e.g., in single player), also see other demo videos. Also note that, in general, there are quite a few online players and there isn't any way to create private / separate games only meant for your buddies; that is, the lounge code could be a bit more polished.

5. Command & Conquer Red Alert by EA has also been released. As of now, it doesn't have any kind of multiplayer support; nevertheless, it's promised for future versions. Please see THIS for a review.

 

 

 

UPDATE (11/03/2009 23:20 CET): as has been promised some time ago, I’ve added two videos of two 3D Rollercoaster games by Digital Chocolate, Inc., Haunted 3D Rollercoaster (video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbW7BGrIRu4 ) and Jurassic 3D Rollercoaster (video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDg_owwCeGg  ).

 

If you like Slot Racer-type of games, you’ll definitely like these too. While, in single player, I didn’t really found the titles interesting, in multiplayer, this has substantially changed – go give it a try, particularly now that Jurassic 3D Rollercoaster only costs $1. Note that Jurassic 3D Rollercoaster (still?) costs $5, which is a bit steep given that it’s basically the same game as Haunted – with different artwork.

 

Also see http://forums.toucharcade.com/showthread.php?t=26964



 

 



UPDATE (11/04/2009 10:20 CET):

1. KIL-A-TON (a recommended artillery game) has been updated to version 1.2; new features / fixes include:

- 6 new weapons: Light Auto-Cannon, Auto-Cannon, Grenade, Swarm Shell, Nova Shell, Volcano
- Practice Mode added as a Custom Game option
- 1 New environment
- Awards: earn achievements by playing the various game modes
- Gameplay tuning
- Small bug fixes

2. It seems all of the X-Plane games (great simulators – note that it’s not a shooting game. If you want a decent, simple-to-use shooter, go for F.A.S.T. Fleet Air Superiority Training! instead) have been updated to 9.40, including some multiplayer enhancements. The following screenshot shows the new features of the “plain” X-Plane; the other games have similar features / fixes:



3. StarPagga (a space shooter) game has also been greatly enhanced:



4. TouchArcade has published a great review & tutorial on the recently-released (see yesterday’s first update) great FPS title Eliminate. Please see THIS.

 



UPDATE (11/05/2009):

SevenSword Prologue, a free, 3D slashing game boasting a lot of online players, has received a serious update:



Note that the game is a bit slow, even on the 3G S. That is, if you want an online game not necessarily following the medieval style of SevenSword Prologue (but, for example, a modern one), first, check out the much better optimized Eliminate instead.

UPDATE (11/05/2009 17:19 CET): Chess with Friends (including the free, ad-supported version) has just received a major update including the all-important Push notifications:



Note:

1. starting with version 2.0 of the free version, many of the users started complaining about it being considerably inferior to what it used to be during version 1.x. Keep this in mind. I’ve quite thoroughly tested the free version and have found it indeed very hard to play: after ALL moves, you’re presented a full-screen ad / poll like the following one:



All in all, unless you can put up with these ads, you will want to switch to another chess client or purchase the commercial, ad-free version (costing you $3).

Note that you can also see a lot of ads in action in my demo video so you can quickly decide if it’s too annoying for you without even installing the free version.

2. It uses its own game server (read: waay less players than over, say, FICS. Nevertheless, when I tested the game, I always found several, human random opponents to play). There’s no list of other users / their strength; all you can do is either ask for a random player or invite one you know (I’ve demoed both cases in the video.)

3. It uses Push notification. As you can see in the video, in general (at least today, some two hours ago), it takes 1…3 minutes for the push requests to arrive.

As usual, I’ve made a demo video demonstrating the ads, inviting people, chatting, the push delay etc. It’s HERE.
 



UPDATE (11/06/2009):

1. Cocoto Kart Online (one of the best kart racers) has received a pretty considerable upgrade:



2. BOMBERMAN TOUCH 2 –Volcano Party by Hudson received a very minor upgrade:



What does this mean? Nothing related to actual gameplay: in the main menu, the “Option” menu item has been moved upwards and an ad surface has been inserted below it:



3. smackBOTS by LeftRight Studios has received remote multiplayer capabilities (and a 50% sale):



If you like a very-very simple (don’t even think of anything like Blades of Fury by Gameloft!) fighter title, you might want to give it a try. I’ve uploaded a demo video HERE. (By the way, speaking of Blades of Fury, its price has further been reduced to $5.)

4. Storm8 has been sued for stealing wireless numbers with all their games. See THIS. Fortunately, I’ve always hated their (cr@ppy) titles and haven’t ever recommended them. Actually, I haven’t even put them in the chart – fortunately...

5. The developers of Chess with Friends (see my last update) have a, when it comes to using the game / inviting people / in-game chatting and the like, very similar title Words with Friends. Please see THIS for more info. Note that I haven’t made a video of this title because it’s so similar, menu / invitation / game management-wise, to the already-reviewed Chess with Friends.



UPDATE (11/9/2009):

1. I’ve uploaded two new videos:

iTressette X4 by doclouisjones.com: a brand new card game. YouTube video HERE.

Clarie’s Bar by CDE: a typical bar serving game with cooperative multiplayer (one of the players need to play the role of the bartender, which isn’t the case with the non-multiplayer version). Note that the game has been removed from the AppStore. YouTube video HERE.

2. Does anyone know how I could programmatically get the official categories of each and every app? I plan to rework the category-related column(s) in the chart and I really need this info. Unfortunately, it seems only the $400+ AppStore API’s / SDK’s allow getting such info. Not even the manual way (just getting the given AppStore page) works as it doesn’t list the game category; that is, currently, it seems to be impossible to get (via the human iTunes interface or a free app / Web service) the category tags of a game.

3. There have been some updates; for example,

a. iFishing has been updated to incorporate social features.

b. the price of Real Racing (probably the best racing simulator) has been (further) reduced to $5. It has also received a (now, minor) update.
 



UPDATE (11/12/2009 3:13 CET): I’ve reworked the chart. Now, it has two additional columns (both can be dynamically hidden as usual):

- Official genre (the genre(s) officially given by Apple). Note that the engine will be able to filter content based on the contents of this field too. Also note that I’ve renamed the old “Genre” column to “Genre given by me”.

- “Demo screenshots” (last column), which has long been asked for. Now, you can see all the five demo screenshots for (almost) all the titles. Just remember to click the left/right arrows! Note: by default, nothing is visible for you to avoid excess data use.

This week, I’ll try to spend more time on enhancing the chat further and, at last, write a decent writeup instead of the long-outdated introduction. Stay tuned :)
 



UPDATE (11/14/2009 11:40 CET):

1. I’ve added three FICS-compatible chess clients (one of them, Cyber Chess - FICS & ICC by clickgamer.com - being also compatible with ICC; the other two are Magnus' Super Online Chess by Magnus Lidman and Handy Chess Online (FICS) by Anton Zemlyanov) to the very bottom of the chart and have also updated the iChess-related entry. I’ve also posted the accompanying videos for all the new / modified entries.

2. As has already been announced, I’m working on a complete rewrite of the entire article. I have some good news for you: about half of the final article is already ready. It’ll kick some serious butts, I promise :)
 



UPDATE (11/15/2009 20:42 CET): I’ve posted a video (it’s HERE) of the just-released SteamPong. (Also see the last row in the chart.)

As you can see, it’s a pretty nice Pong clone in multiplayer mode. Single player isn’t bad either.



UPDATE (11/16/2009):

1. Two new videos posted: Call of Duty: World At War: Zombies (video HERE) (a brand new FPS title with very versatile multiplayer capabilities, supporting all the three most important connection types: BT, local Wi-Fi and online lounge) and Spot-O-Mania (see THIS) (a simple “where’s the difference” game with collaborative multiplayer over Bluetooth). They’re both brand new titles.

TouchArcade news item (with comments) of the former title HERE; dedicated thread HERE.

In the Call of Duty: World At War: Zombies video, first, I show local Bluetooth. Then, at 3:20, I quickly switch Wi-Fi on and return to the game to show you creating local, private Wi-Fi games (which involves having to enter a code on the client; this needs to be set in Profiles inside the game). Unfortunately, I exit this mode by mistake right at the beginning (couldn’t lay down the phones as, then, the pause is displayed right away) – nevertheless, at least you saw how password-protected games are joined. After this, I show online (lounge-based) gameplay. As you can see, online play is even slower on the 3G (it’s on the right) than local play – it’s pretty close to unplayable. The 3GS has absolutely no speed problems with online play, though. Also note that there are several online players; in this regard, you don’t need to be afraid of the same fate as with (the not recommended) iFPS, where you can meet hardly any human opponents.

Also see the just-added two bottom-most rows in the chart.

2. I’ve almost finished the (huuuuuge) chapter on the recommended games in my forthcoming, complete rewrite of the Multiplayer bible. I really hope to be able to get the entire thing ready tomorrow – I still need to explain the chart, the different game types (head to head vs. collaborative vs. parallel etc.) etc.
 



UPDATE (11/19/2009 12:55AM CET):

1. MiniSquadron – a 2D flight shooter has just been released. YouTube MP video HERE.

Probably the only comparable title is Air Force Online by CDE. MiniSquadron is FAR better than Air Force.

Unfortunately, it only supports two-player local Wi-Fi connections (no BT, no remote lounge, no more than two players.)

See THIS TouchArcade news item and THIS thread.

2. I’ve created a video (see THIS) for Flipside by Igloo Games, released in late September. Dedicated TouchArcade thread HERE.

3. There is another puzzle game, bitFLIP by Hands-On Mobile, which seems to be very popular. Dedicated TouchArcade thread HERE. It doesn’t work between a 3G and a 3G S. I've tried with both Wi-Fi and BT (with the other disabled); neither worked - I coulnd't even create connections.
 



UPDATE (11/19/2009 8:45AM CET):

1. There is an excellent MiniSquadron (see the update from earlier today) review HERE.

2. As I’ve pointed out (see THIS) in the bitFLIP thread, you need to actively start a game on the client machine - waiting for the client to automatically join the server won’t work. You can see all this in the YouTube MP demo video I’ve just posted.
 



UPDATE (11/21/2009):

1. Harry Potter: Spells by Warner Bros has been released. If you're a HP fan, you might like it. If, on the other hand, you aren't, you may want to look elsewhere – there are far more interesting titles.

Note that, at first, the gestures won’t be easy (actually, this is why this title has received so many one (worst) stars in AppStore); also see THIS demo video showing using them. Also note that in my demo video I also show these – hence the bigger-than-usual distance between the camera and the two iPhones. TouchArcade thread HERE.

2. Now that EA has completely abandoned (and removed it from the AppStore) its previous (special edition – non-regular) monopoly title, MONOPOLY Here & Now: The World Edition, they have come out with a better-looking and, at last, regular one simply called “MONOPOLY”. Dedicated TA thread HERE; frontpage news item HERE. YouTube demo video HERE.

3. I’ve posted to videos and other info (to the chart) of two other, new puzzle titles, EXtreme Puzzle Mania: Rock Paper Scissors by EXintricity (YouTube demo video HERE) and NoyZyoN Online by GFG (YouTube demo video HERE)

4. There are some bugfixes / updates; probably the two most important are that of Robocalypse (added saving during game) and Play Marbles (major bugfixes).



UPDATE (11/27/2009):

1. I’ve added a video of Line Racer by inXile Entertainment, a line racer game, which received Wi-Fi / BT local multiplayer support some days ago. TouchArcade discussion HERE; I especially recommend THIS mini-review .

2. As far as multiplayer game sales are concerned, Warfare Incorporated (the excellent RTS) is at a $1 sale – go get it! So is SlotZ Racer, which, along with Orions, I’ve found the only one title to be included in the (otherwise, wireless-only) Multiplayer Bible.

3. My full, recently-released, brand new multiplayer guide has been considered worthy enough to be included in the “User Reviews” section of TouchArcade (see THIS).

4. Speaking of new TA reviews, there’s a nice user review of Battle for Wesnoth (see previous update) HERE. THIS frontpaged, official Rogue Planet (an excellent TBS also highly recommended in my Multiplayer bible) review is also worth reading.

5. You may want to urgently (some of the sales end today) check out THIS TouchArcade list of the games currently in sale. In this (and previous) post, I’ve already listed the multiplayer titles on sale; however, the full list (which has single-player titles as well) contains some other, nice stuff; most importantly, C64 (review HERE) for $3 (as opposed to the regular $5). (I’m still happy I purchased it right after being released in September because I can still play hacked games under version 1.0. With version 1.1, as far as I know, no one has managed to find out how hacked games can be added.)
 



UPDATE (11/27/2009, somewhat later):

1. MiniSquadron (iTunes link), one of the best multiplayer retro 2D flight shooters, is also at a $1 sale. Don’t forget to get it if you’re into the genre – you’ll like it. (Also see my video HERE and TouchArcade’s article HERE; dedicated thread HERE)

2. The Line Racer (inXile Entertainment) video (see previous post) is HERE.
 

UPDATE (12/20/2009): there is a LOT to report on - with Christmas approaching, a lot of decent titles have been released or updated to support wireless multiplayer.

1.) The following major titles have received true wireless support: Worms by Team17 and COMMAND & CONQUER™ RED ALERT™ by Electronic Arts; both excellent titles.

2.) Need for Speed Shift by Electronic Arts has been released; a very nice racing game with local multiplayer. Not very fast on the iPhone 3G, though.

Other notable releases:

3.) Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. by Gameloft: a really cool dogfighting title of about the same (or even better?) quality than the previous king of the genre, F.A.S.T.

4.) N.O.V.A. – Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance by Gameloft: an excellent first person shooter. I myself consider it better than Eliminate Pro (opinions surely differ).

5.) Modern Combat: Sandstorm by Gameloft is also a brand new release – as with N.O.V.A., with support to all the three major connection types (Lounge, Wi-Fi, BT). It’s too an FPS; however, on previous-generation hardware, it isn’t as nice as, say, the brand new N.O.V.A. – Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance by the same company.

6.) Red Conquest! by John Kooistra: an excellent real-time strategy. I haven’t really had the time to thoroughly learn its philosophy so I cannot comment on whether it’s indeed better than, say, COMMAND & CONQUER™ RED ALERT™ by Electronic Arts. Some say so.

7.) Super Monkey Ball 2 by SEGA: if you liked the first part and don’t mind the high price tag, you may like this one too.

8.) Two excellent golf games have received wireless multiplayer support: Let's Golf! by Gameloft and Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® by EA SPORTS. Of the two, I much prefer the latter (commentary etc.). If you come from Windows Mobile, you may even have read my article on golf games for the platform published four years ago in the paper-based Pocket PC Magazine. On that platform, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR was also superior to all (non-minigolf) titles. On the iPhone, this advantage seem to have remained – at least for serious players. (For girls, I recommend Let's Golf! Instead – they may find it “cuter”.)

9.) If you’ve used IBM PC’s in the late eighties / early nineties, you may remember the (for multiplayer) excellent game Arcade Volleyball:



Now, a decent wireless clone has arrived: Slime Ball by Pinger, Inc.

10.) Some other classic game genres have also received some very strong contenders; for example, there is an excellent Battleship title released by EA (named Battleship), which I consider to be at least as good as the previous “best buy” of the genre, Sea Battle Classic by A. Kurulenko. They’ve also released a Connect 4 implementation – while some state it crashes a lot (and it did in my BT tests!), it’s pretty much better than some of the previous Connect 4 titles. Finally, if you loved International Karate on the Commodore 64, you’ll certainly welcome ZANSHIN by e4c Solutions, LLC. Its only drawbacks are the somewhat clumsy default control (you may want to change it to, say, swipes in Options) and the lack of in-game music / the lack of iPod background playback support. Unfortunately, you can’t run any kind of music player in the background to play, say, the original SID tune of International Karate.

11.) Lovers of rhythm games may welcome AeroGuitar Samurai Rock by Five Any Inc. I’m not a fan of the genre so I don’t want to decide whether it’s better than the previous titles; for example, Tap Tap Revenge 3 by Tapulous, which even supports remote (lounge-based) multiplay and always has a LOT of people to play.

And there still are some other, newly released or updated (to support wireless multiplayer) titles – I’ve added no less than 28(!) brand new or just-updated-with-wireless games to the chart, most with demo videos. Please scroll down to the bottom of it (again, it’s HERE) to see all the new titles with links to my YouTube demo videos, TouchArcade discussion threads and a thorough elaboration of other features of each and every title.

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Werner Ruotsalainen is an iOS and Java programming lecturer who is well-versed in programming, hacking, operating systems, and programming languages. Werner tries to generate unique articles on subjects not widely discussed. Some of his articles are highly technical and are intended for other programmers and coders.

Werner also is interested in photography and videography. He is a frequent contributor to not only mobile and computing publications, but also photo and video forums. He loves swimming, skiing, going to the gym, and using his iPads. English is one of several languages he speaks.