5 Great Desktop Games Also on the iOS

Some of the best games on the iOS gained first found popularity on the PC—with at least two existing way before Steve Jobs announced the original iPhone. Here are five of them:

Canabalt - $2.99 on the iTunes Store

A banner app for the indie games movement, Adam Atomic and Danny B's creation makes a strong case for ultra-simple game mechanics. Your journey as a generic action hero begins with an emphatic lunge through glass.

From there it's a progressively faster test of your reflexes: jump at the right time to clear obstacles, the random bomb, and gaps between buildings. Though Canabalt only allows the player one action, you'll find that surviving as long as you can is quite a challenge.

Robot Unicorn Attack - $2.99

What started as one of the most popular Flash games ever on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim website is now a popular meme. Robot Unicorn Attack has single-handedly resurrected demand for Erasure's hit single Always, while showing that unicorns trailing rainbows can be cool.

Again, this game also requires good reflexes, testing your ability to see how long you can survive through the timely application of sparkly jumps and the unicorn's super special dash attack.

Plants vs. Zombies - $9.99

If Bejeweled made PopCap Games, and Zuma solidified the company's reputation as a quality casual games publisher, Plants vs. Zombies was PopCap's first transcendent hit. Even hardcore gamers like yours truly found themselves flocking towards the tower-defense game, charmed by its presentation of garden-variety plants holding off relentless waves of zombies.

Plants vs. Zombies shows that unique art direction can breath new life into old game mechanics. PopCap first made a free, limited functionality Flash game available online to advertise their desktop best-seller. It was only a matter of time before they sought to profit from iOS app ecosystem.

Tower Bloxx - Free!

Like most of the games on this list, Tower Bloxx is easy to pick up. You're a builder constructing a city piece by piece, directing a swinging crane to release blocks at the right time to stack up buildings. Build better buildings by releasing pieces at the right time to attract more people to city, with the ultimate goal of attaining the highest population possible.

Tower Bloxx has a long history—even on other mobile platforms—but the rush you get from stacking each piece perfectly is easily the most addicting you'll ever experience. The iOS version polishes things up a bit with 3D graphics, while retaining the same front-facing perspective of the Flash game.

Civilization - $6.99

A disclaimer: the version of Civilization on the iOS is a port of Civilization Revolution, a console-friendly variant with less depth than its classic desktop counterpart. Still, the same addicting "one more turn" gameplay is still there, making Civ Rev for the iOS the perfect companion for those long waits or sleepless nights.

Nothing makes the hours pass like the feeling you're in control of a turn-based empire, seeking military, economic, diplomatic, or technological dominance. Like the original games, the "best" way to win involves successfully sending a colony ship to Alpha Centauri.

Got any good desktop games also on the iOS you'd like to share? Hit the comments below.

  • gpace
    I'm not getting pop ups, but then I do have ad blocking extensions/addons.

    As for these flash games, three are available for free, Canabalt Robot Unicorn Attack, and Tower Bloxx. And since they are flash, I'm guessing they should be playable on Android for free when 2.2 comes. As for the other two, Plants VS Zombies is available for free online (though not as deep) at Popcap but civilization is not available yet for android. Someone might be able to port FreeCiv over though.

    You want a good game, how about Quake 1 for the Pocket PC? Came out in 2005, two years before the iPhone.
  • long2know
    Plants vs Zombies for $10??? I got it for at least half that through Steam.
  • Maziar
    I have played "Plants vs zombies" on iOS and its kinda fun and interesting game,haven't tried others yet
  • lol no prine of persia / rayman 2
  • tinnerdxp
    To Excalibur1814 - sorry mate... It's THG you know - they probably get PAID from Apple for this shit... alternative explanations:
    1. they all own iphones
    2. they all use macs
    3. they don't give a f... about their audience...
  • rebus_forever
    does anyone remember a game called rampart? i want this now : (
  • donovands
    I would hesitate to call these desktop games. More like browser games.
  • rohitbaran
    Very old cliched comment but I still like to repeat: Can Crysis be played on iOS? :P
  • @tinnerdxp: You twat, the article is called '5 Great Desktop Games Also on the iOS'. Not great mobile games for all platforms. Don't read the article if you don't want to know about '5 Great Desktop Games Also on the iOS'. Bloody idiot.
  • MxM
    There is a demo version of Civilization port - it is free, so you can try it before buy (great game by the way, if you like civilization type of games). It is nearly full game, it just does not allow you to save.
    Plants vs zombies is another good game, though I did not play it on iPhone, however, I can see how it can be easily translated to touch interface.

    And for those who are bitching about android games - there are more iPhone users than android users, so it is natural to have more iPhone related stories. Plus, while it is gain for iPhone users to have an iPhone related story, it is not a loss for android users - just do not read the story or stop bitching about it if you did. Grow up.