Holiday Buyer’s Guide: How to Get All the Best Under $75

Now before I begin this post, I just want to apologize for the silence here at NoDPad; the holiday season has been quite hectic for all our writers.  We all hope you had a Merry Christmas, and I can assure you I had one of the best just yesterday while watching Sherlock Holmes.  Either way, hope you had a great Christmas and we hope you have a great upcoming year.

And now to the point: we know you had to receive some sort of iTunes giftcard or cash for your Christmas present as iPhone games don’t grow on trees.  And the more modest amount for an iTunes giftcard would have been around $25-$50.  But people don’t seem to know what to buy with this large amount of iTunes credit; what to get?  Well we at NoDPad are here to help, compiling a list of some of the biggest deals on the App Store.


Now Need for Speed: Shift is one of the best racing sims on the App Store, but it comes at a hefty price of $6.99.  Of course, there are some alternatives to it, including Firemint’s Real Racing, weighing in at about $4.99.  Along with Real Racing, it’s best to grab 2XL ATV Offroad, at a sale price of $0.99 through the holiday season.

Total: $5.98


Puzzles are also quite plenty on the App Store, but you can’t get enough of it when buying iBlast Moki from Godzilab Games.  It’s one of the most complete games on the App Store and costs a meager $1.99.  You’re pocket won’t seem lighter at all, and the price more than justifiable.  And as for more, there’s Zen Bound, one of the most beautiful puzzlers you will ever lay your eyes on.  And that my friends, will only cost another $1.99 out of your pocket.  Quite reasonable if you ask me; both games would have cost a total of more than $40 on any other platform.

Total: $3.98


Surprisingly, this is an area where the iPhone exceeds beyond the norm; bringing us titles such as Rolando 2 and Castle of Magic.  There are many wonderful games in this genre, but the most expensive seems to be the best in this category.  I would have to say pick up ngmoco’s Rolando 2 for $4.99 along with Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor for $2.99.  That will total to around $7.98, but hey, they’re one of the best on the platform.  If you’re looking for some alternatives, Sway from Illusion Labs and Castle of Magic from Gameloft will be a nice, cheap combination.

Total: $7.98


And finally, the App Store classics.  With little over a year behind the App Store scheme, I’m quite surprised that there are classics at all.  But fortunately, there are, and these are games you must have on your iPod Touch or iPhone.  You won’t understand what any App Store geek would be talking about if you didn’t buy these titles.  Among the best include Firemint’s Flight Control and Bolt Creative’s Pocket God. Lima Sky’s Doodle Jump is also another quite classic title, although I didn’t quite enjoy it myself.  All three cost a meager $0.99 each, putting you down only $2.99.

Total: $2.97

Tower Defense

Among the best include ngmoco’s Star Defense, quite a steal at the asking price of $0.99.  It also includes the Plus+ network, a social platform similar to that of Xbox Live with friends, achievements, and online leaderboards.  And if you’re really looking for the best out there, Chillingo’s Defender Chronicles destroys them all, while it is quite pricy at $4.99.

Total: $5.98

First-Person Shooters

This doesn’t seem to be out of the question, with Gameloft’s NOVA: Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance being a solid Halo clone for only $6.99, with the inclusion of online multiplayer against thousands of other NOVA players.  While it is quite expensive, it’s more than worth the asking price as it would have cost around $20 on the DS or PSP.  If you’re more of a Call of Duty: Modern Warfare type of guy, Gameloft’s Modern Combat: Sandstorm should be a good alternative at $4.99.

Total: $6.99

Futuristic Racers

There are a lot on the App Store, but only some succeed.  Among the best is Speed Forge Extreme, and while not perfect, it’s still extremely well done.  It only costs $2.99, and those who have an iPhone 3GS will be able to boast of their OpenGLES 2.0 capabilities.  The music is also extremely well done, and you shouldn’t be unhappy with your purchase.

Total: $2.99

Classic Ports

For those looking for an NES or SEGA Genesis experience on the iPhone, I first suggest you to STAY CLEAR from SEGA’s own release of classics such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Streets of Rage.  They’re one of the sloppiest ports ever made, and I suggest you not even to look at those games.  As for good ports or solid upgrades, I would have to go with Taito’s Space Invaders Infinity Gene, one of the best retro experiences on the iPhone.  $4.99 is a lot, but what the heck, it’s worth it.

Total: $4.99


Com2us’s Homerun Battle 3D is really good, but quite costly at $4.99.  I think you should just wait on that one to go on sale as it is a little hard to recommend at that price.  Rather, I would be snooping around Gameloft’s sports offerings, including the cheap, NFL licensed NFL 2010, pricing in at $2.99.  While not as realistic as I would have liked, it’s not too bad on a mobile device.  Other sports fans like baseball should find great joy in Gamevil’s Baseball Superstars 2010, currently on sale for $2.99.  As for basketball, you can try out NBA Live 2010 from EA Mobile, but it’s quite pricey and not too great at $4.99.  NaturalMotion’s Backbreaker Football is also a solid casual title; quite a steal at $0.99.

Total: $3.98

Dual-Stick Shooters

This is an area that has taken off quite mightily, but the best I must say would be Alley Lab’s Meteor Blitz, quite cheap at $1.99.  Others include Chillingo’s iDracula and Chillingo’s Minigore, both also weighing in at $0.99 each.  If you’re looking for quality, go with Meteor Blitz.  If you’re going with quantity, I suggest the Chillingo dual-stick shooter package

Total: $1.99

Role-Playing Games

Now this is an area that the iPhone excels, and while most titles aren’t absolutely phenomenal, it’s quite surprising for a mobile phone.  Coming in at the top of the charts would have to be Gamevil’s Zenonia, priced competitively at $2.99.  While Com2us’s Inotia: Wanderer of Luone is one of the best on the iPhone, it is a little pricey at $7.99, a cost most aren’t willing to take the plunge.  Following Zenonia would have to be Gamevil’s Hybrid: Eternal Whisper, and while it isn’t the best, you’ll get a kick out of it for only $0.99.  Chillingo’s Ravensword: The Fallen King is also a wonderful role-playing game, but it will cost you at $6.99.

Total: $10.97


As for freebies, the cost will be $0 of course.  Most are very well made, and I suggest you check out ngmoco’s selection of free games, including Dr. Awesome, Topple 2, and Star Defense Prelude.  Eliminate and Touch Pet Dogs are also great offerings on the App Store, both for the price of free.  While I didn’t exactly like the nickel and dime method, they’re worth a download.  Other nickel and dime games, or more commonly known as “freemium games”, include SGN’s Skies of Glory and SGN’s F.A.S.T.  Both are solid dogfighter: one being a World War II setting and the other a more modern setting.

Total: $0.00

While this may look like quite a large and expensive list, each game is well worth it.  For those veterans who already have most of these games, comment below and suggest some others I have missed.  While this list is more budgeted than all over the place, people who have received $100 iTunes credit should have some money left over; whether it be for songs or movies.  Either way, good bye 2009 and hello 2010.

About Daniel

I have been an iPhone game addict ever since the NES emulator came out on the 1.1.4 iPhone 2G. After 2.0 and the App Store came out, my iPhone homescreen has never been the same. Other than writing reviews for App Store games, I play soccer/football, American football, volleyball, and golf. I love going to the beach and fishing on the pier. Some games not available on iPhone/iPod Touch that I truly love are the Call of Duty series, Guitar Hero III, Madden NFL 09, and PGR: Gotham Racing.

2 thoughts on “Holiday Buyer’s Guide: How to Get All the Best Under $75

  1. Wow! Great post. I’m sure any new iPod or iPhone owners (and there must be lots) will looking for a list like this to get them started.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *