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A few iPhone apps worth buying

By: 27 January 2011 2 Comments

'Plants vs. Zombies.'

One of the great things about the iPhone is that users can find thousands of applications for it and a large percentage of them are free.

There are some apps out there, however, that are so good that they are more than worth the low asking price for them.

Besides, there are certain strings attached with “free” apps that are annoying. Some of them flash ads at the user while a good number of games berate the iPhone owner into buying upgrades to progress faster. That’s just life with free apps, but those annoyances vanish when it comes to apps that the user buys and installs.

The following is a list of apps that have entertained me for hours. Are they the best iPhone apps on the market? I wouldn’t go that far, but I would rank them very highly. Yes, they’re all casual games, but what’s wrong with that?

Plants vs. Zombies

This is title by PopCap that’s proven popular with both Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows owners. There’s even a version of it for the Xbox 360 — a budget title, yes, but a fun one. Frankly, my favorite version of this game is available for the meager sum of $2.99 and it’s for the iPhone.

Plants vs. Zombies is a tower defense game. There are a ton of tower defense games on the market, of course, but Plants vs. Zombies is unique. For one thing, the concept is more than a bit unusual — zombies are out to enter your home and eat your brains. The only things standing between you and the zombies are plants that, oddly enough, are very good at blasting the undead to bits. The game features a lot of levels, different types of zombies with various abilities and plants that destroy them through by shooting them, freezing them, blocking their progress, smashing them, etc.

The iPhone’s touch screen is very well suited to this game and anyone who has played it with a mouse and the moved to the mobile version is probably aware of that. The PC version requires the user to click, click, click and click some more all over the screen. Placing plants, collecting the “suns” that give you the power to grow new plants, etc. are all actions that are much easier with a touchscreen than a mouse.

Unfortunately, there is one complaint against this version — a major feature is missing. That would be the “endless mode” which just sends wave after wave of zombies against the player. I sure miss that one in this version.

Still, this is a great iPhone game. Pick up a copy for $2.99 here.

Airport Mania: First Flight

Here’s another PC game that made a great transition to the iPhone. It’s a time management game, but don’t let that discourage you — it’s one of the better ones from that genre on the market.

The concept here is pretty simple — land planes, unload passengers, repair or fuel the planes if necessary, board passengers and then guide the planes to the runway for takeoff. You get eight different airports, 50 levels and various types of planes.

The goal here is to get planes in and out of the airport as quickly as possible so as to not make them “angry” and, thus, cost you points. The game is brimming with humor and has likely led to an obsession or two as developing strategies to make sure plane’s don’t visit your airport for long is half the fun of the game.

Along the way, the player earns money to buy some great gadgets to help players better run their airports. Larger terminals that allow for quicker unloading and unloading, efficient repair shops that take care of problems in a hurry, in-flight films to keep passengers happy when they’re circling the airport and other touches make for a very enjoyable gaming experience.

The iPhone version is $2.99 and you’ll find it here. If you’d like to go the “try before you buy” route, the “lite” version allows players to go through two airports and a couple of levels for free. You’ll find that version here.


If there’s a “best buy” reward for iPhone apps, Chicks ought to win it. Remember the Lemmings title that was first made popular during the MS-DOS days? Chicks is a great successor to that title and it’s available for a paltry 99 cents.

Chicks puts the player in charge of a bunch of baby chickens who wander through various mazes in an attempt to complete them without getting killed. There are plenty of obstacles along the way for the chicks to overcome and tools are provided to help them do just that — chicks will dig holes, cut through walls, use parachutes to fall great distances safely, wear flotation devices to swim across bodies of water, etc.

Helping lead those chicks to safety is oddly relaxing even if the game is a puzzler. It takes some time to figure out how to overcome some obstacles, but the feeling of accomplishment when you solve the tougher problems is very gratifying. In spite of the sometimes aggravating aspects of the game, the title is oddly relaxing — that may be due to the fact that the player can run through each level again and again until it is solved. There’s not much of a penalty for failing, thus taking some of the stress out of the game.

Click here to grab your very own copy. The game is ridiculously fun and priced right.

About: Ethan C. Nobles:
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email =


  • Shelli said:

    My lovely 7-year-old daughter very much enjoys Pee Monkey Grow Bloom. The title is the description of the game and when she plays it, I’m always panicked at the lifelike sound effects, since it give me the image of monkey dribbles on my phone!

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