Best expensive iPhone games and apps?
January 7, 2014 5:30 PM   Subscribe

Every year my boss gives me an iTunes gift card for Christmas, and I just got around to actually redeeming a few of them. Now I have $50 and need some suggestions for how to spend it. I like to play games on my phone, but definitely stick to the free almost free varieties. I figure this is a good opportunity to sample something a little more... upscale? So, give me your recommendations for games and apps costing more than, say, $3.99, that are worth spending big money on.

I tend to like puzzle games, I guess, especially spacial and physics-based ones. I am a sucker for the evil addictive blockbusters like candy crush and plants versus zombies. I would be very interested in a game that would introduce me to a whole category I didn't know I would like. I don't do in-app purchases and don't intend to start. I like games where the sound is not essential because I like listening to podcasts while I play.

posted by juliapangolin to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (32 answers total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Bloons TD 5 is great if you enjoy tower defense type games.
posted by Quack at 5:34 PM on January 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Have you played The Room? I am not sure what it costs right now but I am sure you will love it.
posted by sevensnowflakes at 5:34 PM on January 7, 2014 [4 favorites]

Best answer: The Room and The Room Two are both excellent.
posted by mhoye at 5:38 PM on January 7, 2014

Best answer: Machinarium is $2.99 and very good.
posted by Cuke at 5:42 PM on January 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

Room, Drawn, and Jack Pocket. (Surely Jack Pocket exists on iTunes??)
posted by DarlingBri at 5:43 PM on January 7, 2014

On new categories ... Shadowrun Returns (RPG) is much praised, and quite expensive. X-Com (turn-based strategy) is a very solid port of the remake of the Microprose classic, and will eat $19.99 of your voucher. And I think Lords of Midnight is $4.99, from memory, and is a great, very faithful remake of the 1980s 8-bit strategy/adventure game.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:49 PM on January 7, 2014

Best answer: Slay is a fantastic strategy/puzzle game. Completely addictive. If you like board games the app versions of Catan, Ticket to Ride, and Agricola are all REALLY good.
posted by arcticwoman at 5:56 PM on January 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

Every year I get a couple of these and use them to buy season passes for TV shows I otherwise wouldn't get to watch because I don't have cable.

iTunes also offers movie "rentals" and has a pretty decent selection. Most are in the $2-3 range.
posted by Sara C. at 6:06 PM on January 7, 2014 [3 favorites]

868-Hack (TouchArcade's review).
posted by Gary at 6:07 PM on January 7, 2014

Much as I love X-COM (shredder rockets FTW!) it's so detailed and graphics-intensive I don't think it'd be fun on a phone. I tried it on my 4S and deleted it. (Plus it's MASSIVE, so if you like being able to keep any other data on your phone, well…)

Non-free games I've enjoyed: Quell+ and Quell Reflect+; Type:Rider; Waking Mars; Helsing's Fire.

And you know about QuizUp, right? It's free, so it doesn't meet your criteria, but dang is it addictive.
posted by Lexica at 6:43 PM on January 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Room is fun; haven't tried The Room 2 yet.
I just played Republique on ipad, it was fun. I think it would be still good on smaller screen? check reviews. it was 5 or 6 bucks.
Do you like movie trivia? And cats? My niece recently introduced me to MovieCat: all of the visual cues have the actors portrayed as cats, and in quotes adult language is replaced with "meow". It is entertaining.
posted by maryrussell at 7:21 PM on January 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City has consumed at least fifteen hours of my life.
posted by oceanjesse at 7:24 PM on January 7, 2014

XCOM IS iPad only, but pretty wonderful.
posted by Artw at 8:07 PM on January 7, 2014

If you have a Mac too, Paprika Is a great recipe manager. I have it for iPad and IPhone, but do most of my inserting on the Mac.
posted by backwards guitar at 8:07 PM on January 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

Sword and Sworcery.
posted by O9scar at 8:58 PM on January 7, 2014 [3 favorites]

Why not expand on the whole puzzle thing? You can get the Geocaching app for $10 and use it to start finding caches. You can take time just to do geocaching, you can just find one nearby if you're on a lunch break, you can go out geocaching on vacation as a way to get a tour of the area. It's fun and worth the $10 IMO.
posted by azpenguin at 10:03 PM on January 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

Osmos, which is at $10 these days. Don't need the sound, but it's great and atmospheric over headphones, so you may want to tune into that.

Consider, too, using this to bankroll some good reference apps, e.g. a real good dictionary and/or thesaurus, e.g. $15 Oxford American Dictionary and Thesaurus, or, for the same money, New Oxford American Dictionary with Audio, or $20 for Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Also at some point you may be glad you bought a serious all-around cooking tutorial app. The Professional Chef's a steep $50, and overkill unless you're really into it. How To Cook Everything for iphone is just $4.99
posted by Quisp Lover at 10:08 PM on January 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

A year's subscription to Evernote.
posted by egypturnash at 10:22 PM on January 7, 2014

Best answer: Euro-style board game apps are often $5+ each and well worth it: Agricola; Ticket to Ride; Lost Cities; Carcassonne; Samurai; Small World.... you can pass and play, play against AI, or play against friends online.
posted by Pomo at 10:28 PM on January 7, 2014

Badland is a beautiful and fun physics-y puzzlish side-scroller.

There have been some great 'best mobile games of 2013' lists lately at places like RockPaperShotgun.

And, you know, in-app purchases aren't all evil, I feebly protest, a single tear tracing a mournful path down my f2p developer cheek.

Anyway, the Badland suggestion is yours for free; additional recommendations only 5 gems each!
posted by kprincehouse at 12:19 AM on January 8, 2014

Since you said games and apps, I'll chime in here to say that Bjork's Biophilia app and the Moog Animoog synth are expensive but totally worth every penny.
posted by umbĂș at 4:53 AM on January 8, 2014

Fairway Solitaire! The music and the sound design (particularly the voice talent) are superb, and the game itself is beyond addicting.
posted by jbickers at 5:11 AM on January 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

I haven't really played enough of it to feel comfortable fully endorsing it, but Device 6 is looking pretty intriguing to me. It seems pretty innovative in the way that it makes use of some of the functions and features of the tablet platform.

The only catch is that sound is needed.

I'll also second an Evernote subscription.
posted by Gev at 5:19 AM on January 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you like Tower Defense type games, Kingdom Rush and its sequel are pretty great.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:31 AM on January 8, 2014 [3 favorites]

JHarris posted a great list of iOS games in a recent thread. He's a man who knows his games.
posted by SpiffyRob at 6:00 AM on January 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Don't forget that you can also use that $50 to purchase movies. They can be quite expensive and you don't need to put them on your phone; they can go on whatever computer you use to backup your phone via iTunes.
posted by BearClaw6 at 6:09 AM on January 8, 2014

Why not have a trawl through your favourite free apps and see if there is a paid-for version?

Chances are that converting a couple of those won't break the bank, you get some of your favourite apps without adverts and it'll encourage the developers to continue working on it.
posted by mr_silver at 6:43 AM on January 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

What games did you play as a kid? Get iPhone versions of them.
posted by Rob Rockets at 8:28 AM on January 8, 2014

Oceanhorn is a much-hyped Zelda clone for iOS
posted by Clustercuss at 8:57 AM on January 8, 2014

If I had iTunes money to spend. I would get one of the bird identification apps. I don't have one yet because they're about $20 but I'm still thinking about it.
posted by carolr at 9:04 AM on January 8, 2014

Wait, like an app which listens to bird calls and identifies them?

That is so cool.
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:52 AM on January 13, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks for all the great suggestions! I marked the ones I ended up buying as "best answer," but the VERY best answer turned out to be the recommendation for euro board games, which we play a lot at our house. My husband and I now lounge on the couch and play Ticket to Ride every night instead of reading so much metafilter.
posted by juliapangolin at 12:15 PM on January 28, 2014

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