On the iPhone or iPad, precise tilt controls make it a perfect device for steering a car in Need for Speed or Real Racing. It’s even more thrilling when you take your virtual controls into the air. Although there have been a number of great flying games, the most successful flight combat series on iOS is easily Sky Gamblers, since each of these great games has earned a Must Have rating from our reviewers.
Sky Gamblers: Rise of Glory
The first Sky Gamblers game, published by Namco, is a detailed and thrilling flight sim. You play as a pilot during World War I, the first major combat operations involving an air force. The complex controls use a combination of onscreen buttons and tilt controls, which might make it a bit challenging for inexperienced pilots. But once you log a few hours and master the controls, you’ll be able to play hundreds of missions and even take the fight online against other players.
Key Quote: “It’s a truly complete package, with extensive multiplayer options, a great presentation, intense action, and options for hundreds of single-player missions. The game certainly isn’t for everyone, largely thanks to the steep learning curve, but for players who are up to the challenge, it’s a worthy recommendation.”
Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy
Jumping from the early 20th century to the early 21st makes a huge difference. Instead of flimsy propeller planes, in Air Supremacy you get can control high-tech jets and bombers. This time, there are novice controls to help newcomers adjust to the feeling of flight, and a more pronounced storyline with comic-book cutscenes. More importantly, the variety of single-player modes and extensive online options make Air Supremacy a great value.
Key Quote: “Air Supremacy works well, with a variety of control settings to accommodate both the novice and more air-experienced pilot. The tutorial helps lessen the learning curve, but it can take a few tries to really get the hang of high-speed combat. Once learned, combat is fast, furious, and surprisingly fun.”
Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders
For Storm Raiders, developer Atypical Games split from publisher Namco. We barely noticed a change, though, because Storm Raiders is an excellent World War II-era flight combat game. With the complex flight controls becoming more refined in each new iteration, and a novel new setting for the series, Storm Raiders is a perfect showcase game for iOS. It also uses many Apple-exclusive features, like Game Center, AirPlay, and iCloud. If you’ve ever wanted to defend Pearl Harbor or bomb the Axis armies in Europe, Storm Raiders is the game to download.
Key Quote: “Storm Raiders offers all the classic missions types players expect from this sort of game. Dog fighting and protecting targets is the focal point, and the European landscape is full of Axis threats from the land, sea, and air. Combat over familiar cities is especially thrilling, and the variety of planes to fly and fight is impressive.”
Sky Gamblers: Cold War
One impressive aspect of the Sky Gamblers series is that they haven’t revisited the same time period twice. Cold War takes place between Storm Raiders (WWII) and Air Supremacy (modern era). You have to fight communism from your aircraft by participating in spy missions, escort missions, and good old dogfighting. The graphical details are taken to a new level in Cold War, with bullet holes appearing in your fuselage and parts of your aircraft barely hanging on during intense battles. Our main complaint is that the missions can be a little long, which is a rare problem for a game designed for mobile devices.
Key Quote: “Sky Gamblers: Cold War continues the Sky Gamblers tradition of being awesome. The graphics and sound effects are spectacular, the multiplayer is a ridiculous amount of fun to play, and while I had some issues with the single player, I still had a whole lot of fun with it.”
Next week, our 50 Best Game Series on iOS continues with the best hidden object adventures from G5 Entertainment.
This article is part of a series about the best games on iOS, 2008-2013. You can read the rest here.