Angry Birds Space: 8 Brilliant Alternative iPhone Games

Addictive, varied, and innovative, iOS games have it all right now. Here are eight of the very best.
Publish date:
Updated on


Whether you own an iPhone or not, it is hard to deny that Apple’s clever little device is leading the pack when it comes to smartphones becoming a viable gaming platform. Almost every major developer has an iPhone presence, whether it is a remake of a classic title or a piece of original IP.

First off it let it be stated that the list that follows will not include an Angry Birds game, Tiny Wings, Whale Trail, DoodleJump, Flight Control or Cut the Rope.

This is in no way intended to diminish the significance of those titles, but statistically speaking, if you are an avid iPhone gamer, you already own them.

Instead, this list will hopefully shine a light on a few gaming gems on the iPhone and iPod Touch. Be they obscure or that they have simply fallen by the side of the road during the years, any self-proclaimed mobile gamer should own the following titles.


Despite having received multiple awards over the years, many of you may have missed Edge first time around due to a series of trademark disputes between developer Mobigame and Tim Langdell, who has claimed ownership of the word ‘edge’, and it was removed from the App Store

Nevertheless, as of mid-2010 the game is back on the iTunes and as great as it was back in 2008 when the game was first released.

The simple puzzle game involves dragging a cube across a series of platforms suspended in a dark void, meeting certain requirements along the way, such as passing over certain switches and picking up collectable items.

The game utilises a beautiful 3D, geometric look, and contrasts the stalk environments and emptiness with occasional bursts of colour. It is simple, straightforward, and potentially one of the single best puzzle games on a portable device.


Canabalt epitomises the entire genre of the simple side-scrolling platformer. Monsters are attacking the city and you have to run from roof top to roof top to escape the destruction.

Featuring a clean, crisp monotone look the atmosphere is bolstered by an eerie yet thoroughly enjoyable techno music backing. The gameplay plays similar to others on this list, such as Jetpack Joyride, automatically accelerating the player through a series of obstacles.

The game is simple and entirely uncluttered. Much like many of the games on this list it is ideal for three minutes of entertainment while on the tube train, although those who are hoping to achieve a top score can easily spend significantly longer trying to make it that little bit further.

While battling to the top of the all-time best runs may be a pipe dream for many, the constantly reset best of the week and best of the day leader boards provide fresh opportunities to best everyone else.

At least for a short time.

Between solid gameplay, superb use of the tilt function, and a colourful and unique aesthetic, it is a game which constantly pulls you back in to top that personal best.

Tilt To Live

Tilt To Live remains one of the single best games to utilise the tilt functionality of the iPhone.  Adopting a common theme among successful mobile titles, the game places the player in a situation where death in inevitable, battling an endless waves of marauding red dots.

Cutting across the screen in various patterns of attack, before eventually following you wherever you flee too, the only defence the player has against the enemy dots (besides some quick thinking and smooth tilting) are the three random weapons which are always on screen.

Ranging from explosions, to missiles, to later weapons such as black holes and spiked shields, these weapons are essential to reach the higher scores and climb the leader board. Limited at first to only a handful, more become unlocked as you attain the in-game achievements.

Between solid gameplay, superb use of the tilt function, and a colourful and unique aesthetic, it is a game which constantly pulls you back in to top that personal best.

Jetpack Joyride

While Canabalt takes a simplistic, clean approach to the popular genre of platformer which forces the player to navigate under ever increasing speeds, Jetpack Joyride is the other side of that brilliant coin.

The pursuit of the ever elusive high score remains an ever present goal to accomplish, but around this exists a dense network of mini-achievements, collectable coins and a plethora of unlockable clothing and jetpack options.

The minute-to-minute action of avoiding missiles and electrified barriers is broke up with collectable vehicles which include a giant mechanical dragon to a motorcycle which vary the nature of the games controls. One moment pressing the screen propels the jetpack towards the ceiling and the next directs a teleporter to a different section of the screen.

The game is bright, colourful, silly, and superb. While its time spent in the top ten free apps over Christmas perhaps means it deserves a place alongside Whale Trail and Flight Control, the game is still new enough (and brilliant enough) to earn it a spot here.

Words With Friends

Words With Friends requires very little in the way of explanation, because the premise is uncompromisingly simple.

The game is Scrabble. You make your move, send it to your opponent (most likely a friend playing on their iPhone or via Facebook), and wait for their response.

With the option to have multiple games going at once, all too soon you become someone who not only checks their phone for new texts or e-mails, but also to see if you can get that next triple word score.

There is little else to say. It really is just Scrabble.


With a retro sci-fi look somewhere between Tron and Geometry Wars, geoDefense does not need to stray far from the classic tower defence genre to be a success.

Limited by how many defensive structures you can build initially, the more enemy Creeps you destroy the more units you can build to fend off the waves of attacking units.

You are limited at first to simple units which fire at the approaching forces, however, as you progress new towers become available ranging from missile launchers to electrical units which slow down the enemies progression along the pre-set path.

As you progress further into the game, the strategy element becomes more significant, and positioning units in the ideal spot can make all the difference between success and the creeps knocking off your last few lives.

It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it doesn’t have to.

Zen Bound

Call it pretentious if you so choose, but Zen Bound is a pleasant experience hidden within a game.

From the front-end level selection through to the gameplay, everything about the game focuses on the artistic theme which runs through the game.

Each level presents the player with a wooden three-dimensional object and a length of rope attached to it. It is up to the player to manipulate the position of the wooden object such that the length of rope covers as much of the surface as possible, painting it a different colour. Once you have successfully painted enough of the surface, you pass on to the next level.

Later sections of the game introduce new aspects to the gameplay, such as paint bombs which allow you to cover a larger section of the object. It may not instantly appear like a highly addictive game, but it won’t take long before you are frantically unravelling your rope to trying and find the most efficient paint coverage.

It is a thoroughly rewarding game which makes you feel successful even when you are terrible at it.

Game Dev Story

A game based on making computer games. While it sounds fairly straightforward, it is hardly a concept which immediately captures the imagination.

As manager of a small start-up games firm, it is your role to direct your minions to develop a successful computer game. As you advance and earn more money, you can hire new staff to improve graphics and sound, and buy development kits for more popular consoles.

Each second of gameplay manipulates the player into feeling like they have achieved something, be it the impressive sales figures your new Ninja Racing game has made, or that you had more people attend your stand at the game show than during the previous year.

It is a thoroughly rewarding game which makes you feel successful even when you are terrible at it. It pulls you back in with the thought that you have time to develop just one more game, and before you know it you have lost hours of your life to the little simulator.

Thoroughly evil. 100% enjoyable.

Other related stories you might like:

The Top 5 Bizarre Games That Time Forgot

iPhone Telephoto Lens and Tripod

Click here for more stories about Hardware

Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Twitter

Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Facebook