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This article was published on July 30, 2010

5 Free and Essential iPhone Games

5 Free and Essential iPhone Games
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Candace is a self-proclaimed "game junkie" and writer who does a bi-weekly podcast at The Green Dragon Inn. You can find her on Twitter at C Candace is a self-proclaimed "game junkie" and writer who does a bi-weekly podcast at The Green Dragon Inn. You can find her on Twitter at CandaceVO.

I have to admit that I don’t have an iPhone, but I’m addicted to my iPod Touch. In fact, I’m pretty sure that it’s the adult version of a DS or PSP. So here are 5 games that I absolutely love, and love them even more because they’re free.

1 – Ancient War

Similar to the popular Cartoon Wars game, Ancient War is part strategy and part tower defense. Send your tribe members towards the coveted totem of the other tribe, fight off the tribe and take out their totem pole.

As you move on through the game, flying units and heavy attack ground units are thrown into the mix. Different tribes to fight come unlocked when you complete each stage. Each stage offers you gold for completion where you upgrade your tribe.

There is one problem with Ancient War. The game is a blatant rip off of Blizzard’s World of Warcraft game. Every tribe you fight are names of the Troll tribes from the fictional world of Azeroth. A lot of reviews on Ancient War are giving the game low ratings based on this fact alone.

Ancient War is an addicting game that takes as much or as little time as you want. You can sit through hours of game time, or just play a stage while you’re waiting for an appointment.

2 – Glass Tower 2

One of the most popular puzzle games on the app store right now. Glass Tower 2 is an addicting game that is similar to Jenga with some twists. Blue and red glass blocks are carefully stacked in different shapes and sizes. Your mission is to break each blue block without breaking a red block. Real physics are simulated in the game, making it a little more challenging.

Each stage gives a different degree of difficulty. New blocks that stand stationary or blocks that uncover a random red or blue block are added at later stages.

Glass Tower 2 isn’t an easy game, but it is fun. You are given a certain amount of “lives” and each red block broken takes a life. When you’re out of lives, it’s game over.

The game is only free for the first 15 levels. Once you pass those levels, you have to pay for extra level packs. The free 15 levels will keep you occupied for a long time if you enjoy puzzle games.

3 – Haypi Kingdom

A strategy, defense and city builder all in one. Haypi Kingdom has been popular on the app store for months and there’s a reason why. The game does start slow while you learn to build your kingdom, train troops and overtake resource areas outside of your kingdom.

The game gets moving along quickly once things are upgraded and you get the hang of the game. Then, it’s time to fight. Other players can attack your kingdom and take resources with their troops. If your defenses and troops are enough, you’ll thwart the attack.

Haypi Kingdom also allows a little social interaction during game play. There is a world chat option where you can talk to other players or you can join a clan. Clans let players group together and help each other during attacks, fights and wars with other clans.

The only problem with Haypi Kingdom is the lag. When the game has a lot of players logged in during peak times, the server is slow to load and notifications are delayed. The app is also prone to crash during heavy load times. It is a great game for anyone who enjoys real time strategy or tower defense style games.

4 – Pocket Legends

An MMORPG for the iPhone. Pocket Legends is a miniature grind fest in a fantasy setting. Players can choose and create characters of different races and classes then enter a realm of their choice.

Characters level up, learn new spells and join with other players through dungeon crawls that scale with level. Players can “rest” in common areas where they can talk to other players and enter more dungeons.

The interface is easy to use and the tutorial helps you get through the beginning areas of the game. As you level up, you gain new spells and new abilities that you can upgrade to fit your class and playstyle.

Beware of your battery! This game seems to suck the battery life out of an iPhone and iPod Touch quickly. It’s best to play it in small bursts or while the iPhone is charging. Pocket Legends is an endless dungeon crawl grind that will suck away hours of your time before you know it.

5 – I Say Free

I Say Free is a spin-off of the classic game “Simon”. Game play is straightforward. Follow the sequence of buttons to move to the next level.

If you’re not familiar with a game like this, it starts with one button push. You have to repeat the action. Then, it moves to 2, 3 and so on. Each time you remember the previous colored buttons and have to press them in sequence.

It’s a bit of a brain flex and a chance to exercise your memory a little bit as well. There isn’t too much to I Say Free except that it’s fun and a great way to kill the time.

So there you go. 5 free games that I play almost every day. Have any suggestions for me? What’s on your must-have list?