1. 80 Days ($4.99/£3.99)
In this decidedly steampunk take on 1872, you must get around the world in 80 days, because Phileas Fogg has a big mouth and last night bet a fortune on doing so. Gameplay involves you as the loyal valet, planning routes, managing your inventory, and making decisions as the story plays out, all while Fogg gripes and drinks, the lazy swine.
2. AG Drive ($3.99/£2.99)
We've been after a decent futuristic racer on the iPhone for some time, but none of them really felt right. AG Drive bucks the trend, echoing Wipeout and F-Zero: breakneck speed is married with pitch-perfect tilt controls and suitably shiny graphics. Also, there's absolutely no IAP, so the only way you're going to win is with mastery and skill.
3. ALONE… ($1.99/£1.49)
There are so many endless survival games for iPhone that we tend to gloss over when a new one appears. ALONE… is different, primarily because it's so brutal. It's one of the few games to take Canabalt's lightning-fast pace – and then ramp it up a notch or 10. Every game becomes an exhilarating adrenaline-fuelled rush through deadly canyons and meteor showers, with you urging your tiny ship on an extra few hundred metres.
4. Asphalt 8 (free)
Some time long ago, the gaming gods apparently decreed that racing games should be dull and grey, on grey tracks, with grey controls. Thankfully Gameloft chose to ignore their foolish omniscient notions - along with a large chunk of real-world physics – with Asphalt 8: Airborne. Here, then, you zoom along at ludicrous speeds, drifting for miles through exciting city courses, occasionally being hurled into the air to perform stunts that absolutely aren't acceptable according to the car manufacturer's warranty.
5. Bean Dreams ($2.99/£2.29)
Bean Dreams is a great example of how a platform game can work on iPhone, but it needs the developer to rethink everything for touch. Here, the hatted bean jumps endlessly, making each level about figuring out a route and timing everything perfectly. Only then can you grab all the fruit, get jump bonuses and feel suitably smug.
6. Beat Sneak Bandit (£2.29)
One thumb is plenty when a game's so cleverly designed. Beat Sneak Bandit is part rhythm-action, part platformer and part stealth game, with the titular hero aiming to steal back the world's clocks from the nefarious Duke Clockface. You move on the beat, rebounding off walls, and avoiding guards and alarms. It's clever, charming and brilliant.
7. Bejeweled (free+IAP)
We've lost count of how many gem-swappers exist for iOS, but PopCap's Bejeweled has a long history, its maturity reflected in this iPhone release. Along with a polished standard mode, where you match three or more gems with each swap, there's Diamond Mine (dig into the ground), Butterflies (save insects from spider-ronch doom), and Poker (make 'hands' of gems).
8. Beyond Ynth (£1.99)
This fantastic platform puzzler stars a bug who's oddly averse to flying. Instead, he gets about 2D levels by rolling around in boxes full of platforms. Beyond Ynth hangs on a quest, but each level forms a devious test, where you must figure out precisely how to reach the end via careful use of boxes, switches and even environmental hazards.
9. Blek ($2.99/£2.49)
Blek is akin to shepherding semi-sentient calligraphy through a series of dexterity tests. Each sparse screen has one or more dots that needs collecting, which is achieved by drawing a squiggle that's then set in motion. To say the game can be opaque is putting it lightly, but as a voyage of discovery, there are few touchscreen games that come close.
10. Coolson's Pocket Pack (free)
This word puzzler's all about chaining. You drag tiles from the bottom of the well and make short words; do so without swapping any letters from the well's bottom row or the area you create the words and you start amassing huge points. Coolson's Pocket Pack is then a test of nerve, and your ability to not forget every single short word in the dictionary when under pressure.
11. Crossy Road (free)
This endless take on Frogger finds your cuboid character confronting countless deadly roads, train lines and rivers, before inevitable squashage. It's the characters that make the game, though – a varied roster of people, animals and 'things' won using a one-armed bandit, fed with coins collected en route (you can just buy stuff, too, but Crossy Road also lets you earn by watching videos and bestows regular coin top-ups anyway, making it the least obnoxious free-to-play game with IAP imaginable).
12. Dark Nebula 2 HD ($2.99/£1.99)
One of the first titles to truly make use of the iPhone gyro, Dark Nebula was a beautiful tilt-based steampunk adventure and dexterity test, with you leading a strange craft through maze-like levels. Dark Nebula 2 ramped up the beauty and complexity, and the HD reissue added iPad and Retina support. The title still feels fresh and is perfectly suited to mobile, rewarding speed-runs and careful exploration of each level alike.
13. Device 6 (£2.99)
Device 6 is first and foremost a story — a mystery into which protagonist Anna finds herself propelled. She awakes on an island, but where is she? How did she get there? Why can't she remember anything? The game fuses literature with adventuring, the very words forming corridors you travel along, integrated puzzles being dotted about for you to investigate. It's a truly inspiring experience, an imaginative, ambitious and brilliantly realised creation that showcases how iOS can be the home for something unique and wonderful.
14. Doug dug ($1.99/£1.49)
Doug likes to dig, and he's an even bigger fan of bling. You, therefore, must help him go deep underground in Doug dug, unearthing gems and hacking to death any creatures that fancy a dwarf-shaped snack. Danger also lurks in lava that's dotted about and regular cave-ins – the latter of which are caused mostly by you getting a bit too greedy.
15. Drift'n'Drive ($1.99/£1.49)
This overhead vertically scrolling racer is, for the most part, a mad scramble to the finish line. Tiny cars dart about, smashing each other off the road. Higher placement boosts your grid position next time round, and earns you money for upgrades. Maxing out your car and mastering the top difficulty level in Drift'n'Drive takes only a matter of hours, but you'll have a blast doing so.
16. Drop Wizard ($1.99/£1.99)
Single-screen platformer Drop Wizard is infused with the soul of classics such as Snow Bros. and Bubble Bobble, but it's also part auto-runner. You can only run left or right, and your wizard blasts magic on landing. Strategy, therefore, involves careful timing, to avoid and zap foes, and then kick them into a tumbling combo that will bounce about in a pleasingly destructive manner before turning into fruit. Because that's what vanquished platform-game enemies all did in the 1980s.
17. Drop7 (free)
One of mobile's most perfect puzzlers, Drop7 is all about dropping numbered discs into a tiny well. If a disc's face value matches the number of discs in its row or column, it blows up. But every few moves, a row of grey junk pushes up from the bottom of the well. Survival therefore depends on creating combos – well, that and a smattering of maths.
18. Eliss Infinity (£2.29)
Eliss was the first game to truly take advantage of iOS's multitouch capabilities, with you combining and tearing apart planets to fling into like-coloured and suitably sized wormholes. Eliss Infinity, a semi-sequel, brings the original's levels into glorious Retina and adds a totally bonkers endless mode. Unique, challenging and fun, this is a game that defines the platform.
19. Forget-Me-Not ($1.99/£1.49)
One of the finest arcade games made for any platform, Forget-Me-Not dumps you in procedurally generated mazes. The aim is to eat all the flowers, grab a key and reach the exit without dying. That's easier said than done, given that various critters regularly teleport into the maze, and set about not only attacking you but annihilating each other. Within a minute, the entire screen always erupts into a tiny retro war zone.
20. FOTONICA ($2.99/£2.29)
Evidence that even the most basic concept can wow when injected with some dazzling beauty, FOTONICA takes Canabalt's basic jump-and-survive gameplay and places it in a wireframe 3D world. The fragmented dream-like environments and floaty gravity mesmerise as the soundtrack slowly worms its way into your skull; the entire experience becomes hypnotic as vector platforms whirl in the distance and you enter 'the zone' to survive each stage.
21. Frisbee Forever 2 (free)
We were big fans of the original Frisbee Forever, with its Nintendo-like fling-a-plastic-disc about larks. Frisbee Forever 2's essentially more of the same, but prettier, smoother and with wilder locations in which to fly through hoops and collect stars. It's lovely and costs precisely zero pence, so download it.
22. Gridrunner (Free)
Jeff Minter is a shoot 'em up genius, and his Gridrunner series has a long history, starting out on the VIC-20, at the dawn of home gaming. This update riffs off classic Namco arcade machines but also shoves modern bullet-hell mechanics into a claustrophobic single screen. And in this version's survival mode, you have just one life. Argh!
23. Helix ($2.99/£2.29)
Helix is all about quick thinking within a confined space. Your little craft is fragile and unarmed, but it can eradicate enemies by encircling them. Deft finger work is required to survive even a few waves, and things only get tougher when foes appear that force you to encircle them in a particular direction.
24. Hitman GO (£3.99)
Square Enix would have been on a hiding to nothing converting its free-roaming 3D game to touchscreens, and so it's great to see the company do something entirely different with Hitman GO. Although still echoing the original series, this touchscreen title is presented as a board game of sorts, with turn-based actions against clockwork opposition. You must figure out your way to the prize, without getting knocked off (the board). It's an oddly adorable take on assassination, and one of the best iOS puzzlers.
25. Icycle ($2.99/£2.29)
Cycling into an imaginative world of madness, Dennis's mission in iCycle is to grab blocks of ice and try very hard not to die. The animated, beautifully conceived environments make survival tough, but even as Dennis is impaled yet again, you'll be dazzled by the Gilliam-esque landscapes he's attempting to work his way through.