ta_logo_whiteAfter a year and a half, TouchArcade is going to start doing something we've never done before: provide numeric ratings for our game reviews (though with a catch).

The absence of a rating system at TouchArcade has been a point of contention amongst some of our readers, but was not a decision that we had made lightly. A great number of issues arise with any rating system, the least of which is consistency over time. Rating scores can also blind readers to otherwise good games if they didn't get a near perfect score. There are many advantages, however, including the ability for readers to find the "best" games at a glance.

In an effort to bring the best of both worlds, we have decided to start rating games in bulk on a monthly basis and publishing a monthly "Best iPhone Games" column that recaps the best games from the preceding month.

Our rating system adopts a 5 star system like iTunes but also allows for 1/2 star ratings. Any rating of 3 or above is considered a good score. Individual game reviews, however, will not be rated until the end of the month. By rating games in bulk at the end of the month, we can also take into account longer term appeal and playability that can be hard to predict at the initial release.

September's "Best iPhone Games" are highlighted here:

5 Stars


Meteor Blitz - This is the best space shooter we've seen for the iPhone. It delivers 6 unlockable worlds with a good variety of enemies, perfect dual stick controls, and a lot of fun. The art and animation are top notch with all the flourishes you'd expect. (Review, App Store)


geoDefense Swarm - The original geoDefense was one of the most popular tower defense games on the App Store, and for good reason. geoDefense Swarm takes the same deliciously difficult gameplay combined with the familiar vectorized graphics of the original and evolves the game to an open field format. Both games in the series are among the best of what the genre has to offer. (Review, App Store)

4.5 Stars


Dungeon Hunter - a 3D hack and slash RPG. Featuring a ridiculous amount of character customization, loot of all kinds, and loads of quests to complete. While Dungeon Hunter is the perfect game for fans of the Diablo or Dungeon Siege series, the difficulty curve shouldn't be overwhelming for new players either. (Review, App Store)

Baseball Superstars 2010 - Not only a great baseball game, it is also packed with RPG elements that add an amazing amount of depth. Aside from playing standard games of baseball, both super batters and super pitchers can be leveled up in season modes. These characters can be customized in a number of ways, allowing for hours upon hours of gameplay with each character. (Review, App Store)

iBlast Moki - The goal is to get the Mokis from point A to point B through the use of bombs, ropes, balloons, wheels and more as you traverse through the 6 worlds and 70 levels. The overall quality of iBlast Moki as well as the inclusion of a level editor with sharable levels make this game really stand out. (Review, App Store)

Backbreaker Football - While there may be two "full" football games on the App Store, the gameplay found in Backbreaker is much more conducive to the play style of most iPhone gamers. Structured in a series of challenges players must evade defenders to score a touchdown. Single levels can be played in under a minute, and Endurance mode tests your skill in a 50 level non-stop touchdown marathon. (Review, App Store)

The rest of September game ratings can be seen in their respective rating categories (also found in the sidebar navigation): 5 Stars, 4.5 Stars, 4 Stars, 3.5 Stars, 3 Stars, 2.5 Stars, and 2 Stars.

As always, we expect there will be some debate about relative scores, but keep in mind that everyone's personal ratings may vary based on individual tastes.

  • mark

    sounds like a good idea... looking forward to the best games of coming months!

  • Carlos-Sz

    Good approach. I'm sure it'll be helpful.

  • Will

    Out of curiosity, who sets the ratings? Is it collaborative?

    • arn

      it's collaborative.

  • Mark

    I have said before that what reviews here need is a sense of perspective. The "Best Of' threads usually get topped by the latest release (not always but often enough to not be coincidental) and the release frenzy can hype otherwise regular stuff. So this should help there.

    Something else that would be nice would be a 'Best of' for one year ago. Check the releases for the same month last year and see what has stood the test of time there. Get some love for older games that should not be hidden. Someone will say we have the Hidden Gems threads for that which is true, but we also have reviews here. Duplication for good stuff is not a bad thing.

    • Brian

      I'm trilled that toucharcade is finally doing a best of, but I agree with Mark... these titles seem like they were the hyped ones, and not necessarily great games. A couple of these mentioned didn't run too well on my 3G (am I supposed to have a 3GS to enjoy the games?)

  • backtothis

    I like this idea :]

  • WiseWeasel

    Now everyone else name their favorites for September.

    I'm going with Cocoto Kart Online and SkySmash 1918.

  • darchinst

    when i refreshed and saw that icon i thought, 'holy shi* they finally came out with a toucharcade app,' imagine my disappointment.
    but still, thanks for the best of.

  • mrbass

    "By rating games in bulk at the end of the month, we can also take into account longer term appeal and playability that can be hard to predict at the initial release."

    Awesome and admire you arn and staff for waiting till end of month. Most shooters are like dead in one month or so. iDracula is best ever no it's Alive 4 Ever. My own best list I find myself purging many of those types over time as they don't have lasting appeal. Kinda like those rotten movies that are "awesome" if watched upon release but if watched a year later without any hype have people wondering what in the heck were people smoking.

  • Paul

    GREAT! The best and most reliable source for getting game reviews just got better. Awesome!

  • Booch138

    Completely on board with this idea multiplied by a million. My faithful forum banter and TA surfing has dwindled to a near lurker state. Having a good monthly recap of the best games is a fantastic idea for my schedule.

  • SicMX

    How did Modern Combat: Sandstorm only get 4 stars??

    I mean, i can't find a single thing wrong with the game. But that's probably a reason i'm not a reviewer, not critical enough =)

    • Scott30

      I would say the lack of depth more then anything on MC.

  • http://jespersunivers.dk/ Plast2

    I love this! One of the things I found most frustrating when first getting my iPhone, was getting games ppl. had scored insanely high, and after getting them, finding them shallow and boring. I think this is absolutely the right way to do it. Great stuff, and looking forward to the monthly reports. Eventhough, after joining the toucharcade community, I seem to be getting most decent games anyway πŸ˜€

  • JinglesO'Flaherty

    "4.5 stars"? For goodness' sake. If you mean 9/10, say 9/10.

    • Oneiromancer

      Because they want to somewhat match the iTunes star system which only goes up to 5 stars.

  • Dark NRG

    THANK GOD you decided to do this AFTER Enviro Bear 2010!!
    All hell woulda broke loose πŸ˜‰

    • MidianGTX

      Enviro-Bear automatically gets 6 stars.

  • adin

    Would there be any way to implement X-stars 'and up' in the navigation? Especially since half numbers get their own tags...

  • arta

    Monthly reviews to allow for the game's longevity to settle in is a genius idea.

  • http://www.madfingergames.com Mad Finger Games

    Why Samurai: Way of the Warrior is not there ? πŸ™

    We got 4.5/5 from Big Albie


  • http://www.diemonstersdie.com jd

    You should probably change the title to 'Top Reviewed iPhone Games: September 2009' since you can only pick from the games you actually reviewed. A step in the right direction though. It would also be great to have editor's review rating and then user review rating for each game. Let users rate a game once.

  • http://www.buzzabit.com/aaron Aaron Sullivan

    I like this idea as a developer and a gamer. πŸ™‚

    It's much more useful to see these games listed next to each other and there was one or two I missed. This is a great idea, I hope it's sustainable.

  • http://www.buzzabit.com/aaron Aaron Sullivan

    Oh, and iBlast Moki -- I just discovered it because of this article -- is only 99 cents right now. Nice.

    • MidianGTX

      Shoulda paid more attention to the forums, it's one of the most talked about games of the past month.

  • Oneiromancer

    I like the idea, but it would be great to include links to Lite versions in these summaries as well. Maybe none of the current 5 and 4.5 star games have Lite versions, so just a suggestion for the future.

  • http://www.drafternoon.com mek

    what would be amazing, would be to have a script, run on the appshopper.com and or toucharcade.com website, that allows registered users to rate the apps and games, much like the plugin: Jreviews for the joomla platform...

    then we could sort, most popular of all time, of the month, of the day, of the hour...different genres, and more

  • http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=330244611&mt=8 Steve

    A great puzzle game that came out in September is "Pinwheel Puzzler"

    Check out the gameplay video:

    And here's three free promo codes to the first few to check it out!



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