With all the recent news concerning native iPhone games headed for debut at the launch of the iTunes App Store in June, let's not forget that web-based games written for the iPhone can be great fun, as well.  And what's more, they're here right now.  Two such titles, recently released by Balazs Vagvolgyi of Maryland, exemplify this point perfectly.

Rubik\'s CubeThe first is Rubik's Cube.  (You remember the Rubik's Cube, right?)  The game presents you with a 3D rendered, on-screen cube with rotational control arrows arrayed about it.  Once you click the randomize button, your goal is to rotate portions of the cube such that each side is a solid color (in case you actually don't remember the Rubik's Cube).  The interface is intuitive and it's a fun, new way to fiddle with your iPhone or iPod touch.

As the author reports on his blog,

I've finished the Rubik's Cube game for the iPhone and the iPod Touch. It runs pretty fast in Safari. There will be updates coming later. Any feedbacks are welcome. This is the first JavaScript application I've ever written but I still could finish it in about 10 nights.

I'm particulary proud of the 3D engine built on JavaScript and HTML CANVAS that features ambient+directional lighting and backface culling. This version is specialized for the Rubik's Cube here but I have a more generic version as well.

Tap-a-Brick 3DThe second title is Tap-a-Brick 3D.  It's basically a remake of California Dreams' Blockout (1989), which is a top-down, 3D slant on Tetris.  As I've enjoyed Blockout on a variety of platforms over the years, this title comes as a particular treat.  Like Rubik's Cube, the interface is great and doesn't get in the way -- a well done iPhone game.

Vagvolgyi comments,

No compromises! It's the full 3D experience in your iPhone's web browser. Smooth animations and an interface fine tuned for the touch screen. Apparently it is possible to build quality games without Flash or the native iPhone SDK.

Rotate the block using the arrows and move it by tapping on the 3D pit. I added all the goodies: the mandatory collision detection, valid path detection, automatic computation of the shortest path. If it's not possible to move to the position where you tapped, the game even finds the closest valid location. (It's fun to try how a block moves around an obstacle if it has enough free space.)

These titles feel less "restrained" by nature of being Web 2.0-based titles rather than native iPhone apps than many such games out there.  Hats off to Balazs Vagvolgyi for his strong work.  We're anxious to see what's next on his list.