Gaming on a budget? Check out these wallet-friendly iPhone games

Feb 22, 2011
Games

While your hunger for iPhone games may be insatiable, it’s also likely a hunger that is expensive to quench. Assuming you have enough time in the day, even given the wonderfully low prices of many iOS games avid gamers surely have discovered how easy it can be to drop a large chunk of change in […]

While your hunger for iPhone games may be insatiable, it’s also likely a hunger that is expensive to quench. Assuming you have enough time in the day, even given the wonderfully low prices of many iOS games avid gamers surely have discovered how easy it can be to drop a large chunk of change in the App Store.

Though this list doesn’t contain the secret to accumulating endless wealth, it does have a few ideas on how to get your game on with very little money. So with that in mind, here are five games that offer plenty of fun for a low price.

Capcom Arcade

Retro arcade fans can put away the quarters and instead check out Capcom Arcade, a free app from the video game company that gives iPhone users access to full Capcom arcade titles such as Street Fighter II, 1942 and Commando. The app gives you three free plays per day (they don’t roll over, so you have to use them that day), and if you get hooked you can either buy 10 tokens for 99 cents or buy the “arcade machine” for $2.99. Capcom has also promised to add a game to the app every month, with Ghouls N’ Ghosts the latest addition to the lineup.

Obviously a big part of the game’s success will lie in the monthly choices, but as is, there are a decent number of options (six games as of this writing, though there are two versions of Street Fighter II included in that total) and multiple control options. While the extra content coming at an extra cost may be a bummer for you budget-conscious folks, there’s still plenty of free content here.

Tap Tap Revenge 4

While similar games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero will cost you a hefty $4.99 and $2.99 respectively, the latest in Tapulous’ Tap Tap Revenge series can be had for the always-welcome price of free. If there’s a downside to this it’s that the initial track offerings in Tap Tap Revenge 4 can only be described as paltry, though that’s a stark contrast to an otherwise complete rhythm game.

Fortunately for the budget-minded gamer every Thursday free full songs are offered for download (GWAR and Bad Religion were the downloads this week, a nice contrast to the Linkin Park already included), and there are plenty of roughly 30-second samples for you to try out before you buy. You can also earn credit to use toward song packs by downloading specific apps, so while it takes some work, a diligent penny-pincher can have plenty of fun with Tap Tap Revenge for no cost.

Related: Big iPhone games from small developers

Skee-Ball Free

Freeverse’s Skee-Ball is by no means a newcomer to the App Store, but the free version of the 99-cent game Skee-Ball Free is, and a welcome addition. The game aims to bring the whole skee-ball experience to you, as you make a flicking motion to throw the ball – and more importantly for some – earn tickets to buy goodies ranging from new balls to a hatchet.

The presentation and gameplay here are pretty standard, but effective and addictive. Like Tap Tap Revenge, additional tickets can be earned by downloading certain apps for those of you who just can’t wait to get that rare sweater. Once you’ve got all the loot there is to get you can also buy prize expansion packs for 99 cents. But back to the actual game, which is a casual gamers delight and, now with Skee-Ball Free, a fiscally-wise download.

Traffic Panic

Neon Play’s Traffic Panic may be about as simple as gaming gets, but it’s exactly the kind of game that has proven to be a hit with iOS gamers. The free app puts you in charge of a traffic light at a (sometime ridiculously) busy intersection, and well-timed taps of the screen are all that separate traffic synergy from a traffic mess.

The app’s overhead city street view is undeniably charming, as is the soundtrack that will help you get lost in this game. There are six levels in all, though only the first one is unlocked at the beginning. To unlock the others, you have to earn coins (or buy them as an in-app purchase). There’s also a leaderboard, but that’s about it for this very basic game. Of course, sometimes less is more, and Traffic Panic is certainly worth your time.

The Hungry Shark series

To celebrate the latest release in the series, the appropriately titled Hungry Shark – Part 3, Future Games of London has made the first game in the Hungry Shark series (Part 1) free for a limited time, while Part 2 still remains a budget-friendly 99 cents. Not only is that enough shark bait to feed the hungriest shark, but enough action gaming to feed the hungriest action gamer.

For those who haven’t tried it out yet, the game’s title just about says it all. Users guide a shark with tilt controls and a boost button, eating everything in sight (except for jelly fish and various not-so-tasty fish) and earning points along the way. You get extra points for chomping on tasty swimmers, dining on large groups of fish at once and finding rare objects, and while the game can get a little redundant it’s got nice graphics and achievements to keep you interested. Even if you miss out on the free trial, the games are only 99 cents each, and recommended for any action fans.

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