Five great iPhone app games for under 5 bucks

We’re getting deeper into December, and if your month has gone anything like mine, you would be fine with never shopping again. Not to come off as too much of a curmudgeon, but the holiday experience can drain you mentally, physically and financially. Are there any iPhone apps for recharging your batteries?

Fortunately, I have a cure for those with the holiday blues: grab your iPhone, set aside some alone time and recharge your batteries with these five great iPhone app games for less than $5. You’re feeling better already, aren’t you?

1. Backbreaker Football

It’s no surprise that Backbreaker Football has been one of the top paid iPhone apps since its release this summer. The 99-cent download has a fun control scheme that makes use of the iPhone’s accelerometer and some of the best graphics you will find for any game on the device.

Unlike Madden NFL 10 or NFL 2010, Backbreaker is not a simulator, or even a full football game. You are placed in a kick returner-like role and given the challenge of juking and spinning away from defenders. That may sound easy, and though it is at first, the more advanced levels of the game can become quite difficult.

Those yearning for a full game experience can turn to one of the others, but Backbreaker remains the best value in the genre.

2. Crush the Castle

Merely calling Crush the Castle addictive doesn’t do it justice. The $1.99 release from Armor Games only has average graphics and your goal on every level is the same – using a trebuchet, you attempt to destroy a castle and its inhabitants – but it excels in the fun department.

The free demo of the game allows you play through two levels, while the full version has 50 castles, eight types of ammo and a castle editor. Fans of physics-based games will instantly fall in love with Crush the Castle, and the inclusion of a medals system greatly enhance its replay value.

3. Baseball Superstars

Gamevil brought back the Baseball Superstars franchise this year, and while fans of last year’s game will notice many similarities, they will also find it’s an all-around more polished game.

Baseball Superstars 2010 is probably the deepest baseball game in the iTunes App Store. It boasts six game modes, the most prominent of which a single-player superstar mode called My League that mixes in RPG elements and allows you to guide a player though multiple seasons.

Its cartoonish graphics and fake teams and players may turn off some, but this is a baseball game that will have you coming back for more, something its competitors can’t say. That and the fact that it’s on sale for $2.99 during the holidays make this the baseball download to get you through the long off-season.


I AM NINJA! puts you in a world of pirates, zombie and ‘evilized’ ninjas, with the mission of killing them all with a blowgun and various other weapons. The game is a goofy as it sounds, possibly more so.

The $2.99 download includes a standard level-based game and three mini-games. The graphics and game play are nothing to write home about, but the app has an undeniably quirky charm to it.

I AM NINJA! also provides videos from and allows you to submit questions to the site. Again, it’s as goofy as it sounds.

5. TapWord

Those who don’t want to break, hit or kill something may be more interested in TapWord. The game is very much a knockoff of Boggle, but unlike the officially licensed game this one from TapJoy is free.

For those unfamiliar with the premise, you are given a 3×3 or 4×4 board of random letters and given a set amount of time to make as many words out of adjacent letters as you can. It’s a simple idea, yes, but also the kind of game you will play over and over again.

If words aren’t your thing, TapJoy also has a free Sudoku iPhone app entitled Tap Sudoku. The game includes five difficulty levels and an option to create your own puzzles along with many other features.

See, I only promised you five iPhone apps and I gave you six. Even a curmudgeon like me can get into the spirit of the season.

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