Touchscreen technology on our phones has seen a comeback for seemingly dead and buried genres, submerged under a thick layer of dust since we all stopped stampeding down to video game arcades with a pocket full o' quarters every weekend. Think reflexes, frenetic platforms, and endless runners; those classic fast and frenzied, fail and retry games we all know, love, and have missed real bad.
Extreme difficulty is a genre of its own. We're talking the kind of addictive games that require mental agility and reflexes, are perfect for playing quick rounds when you need to kill time, and above all, letting you go head to head on online leaderboards.
Check out our sweet selection of the 10 most devilishly difficult and impossibly addictive games for iPhone.
We're kicking off with a stylish little number that's sure to send you into a tailspin. Duet by Kumobius is an engaging and addictive reflex puzzle that really puts your mental agility to the test. You've got to think circular to rotate the pair of balls right and left to avoid the obstacles, a hopelessly simple proposition that plays out in ways that are surprising, delightful, and complex.
There are tons of levels and difficulty gradually increases, with the addition of moving obstacles and time limit. The physics of the game are totally realistic, and the background music a real treat. We highly recommend plugging in your headphones for this one.
Duet might be tricky, but Super Hexagon by Terry Cavanah is in a league of its own. If you're a fan of the fail and retry (and fail again) genre, this superb game will not disappoint. The object is simple enough: tap and hold to make the triangle rotate over platforms that are literally embracing you. You must escape through the gaps while avoiding touching the platform's walls, wave after wave. All this at a frantic pace, with a retro MIDI music that will make your head explode.
Take the name at face value. The Impossible Game by FlukeDude is a platformer with an outrageous pace of play. You're a square that needs to jump over triangles; a head-on crash or a tumble over the side will send you straight back to the start again. And that's the whole point. This game will have you failing and retrying literally hundreds of times.
After the unexpected success of Flappy Bird, creator Dong Nguyen (GEAR Studios) decided to try his luck with Swing Copters. While the gameplay might be similar, CS is a much tougher nut to crack. In this endless arcade game, you must guide a little man wearing a propeller copter hat upwards while avoiding touching beams and being pummeled by swinging hammers
You'll need fast reflexes and nerves of steel if you want to take on Hundreds from Last Chance. Easy to understand, but tricky to master, your mission is to make the numbers in the circles add up to 100 points. To do so, you must tap and hold on the circle, which you'll see turn from grey to red as its number rapidly increases. Tap any other item on the screen (other circles or obstacles) while the circle's red and you'll have to start over.
What do you get if you cross classics like Canabalt and SpeedX 3D? Why, Boson X by Ian McLarty of course! In this endless arcader, your aim is to get as far as possible by jumping from platform to platform through a particle accelerator. What's a dude in a suit doing in there? We're stumped. But what we can tell you is that the frantic tempo and the constant jumping will definitely knock you for six.
Hanger is a ragdoll physics swinging game á la Spiderman, in which you must use your rope to swing your way through each level, whilst avoiding losing any limbs along the way! The more intact your doll at the end of the level, the higher the score. You'll also score higher depending on how long your rope is: less is more. The combined difficulty, minimalist graphics, effects, and varied game modes make this one a must for anyone up for a real challenge.
Expander from All Civilized Planets will short-circuit your neural connections. It is a deceptively simple game that requires total concentration, and the kind of quick thinking not everyone is blessed with. In Expander, you must steer an advancing rectangular that can expand or contract as you see fit. Change its color, and you'll change the flight altitude too: red means you're on solid ground, blue means you're floating just above.
The goal is to collect as many stars as possible while avoiding hitting obstacles. That's where the difficulty arises: you can only collect blue stars when your rectangle is blue, ditto for red. Please note, Appszoom cannot be held responsible for Expander-induced headaches.
The name 1001 Attempts tells you everything you need to know about this retro arcade game with slick graphics and music, plus game mechanics that are fully optimized for agile touchscreen gaming. In 1001 Attempts, you are a pixelly gooball avoiding laser beams and heat-seeking missiles, whilst collecting gems that will unlock even more colorful gooballs.
Deceptively addictive, the game becomes more frantic and the hazards more devious the further you progress. All of which means that, even with the best will in the world, you'll be hard-pushed to last longer than a minute - maybe two.
Mr Flap from 1button is a game inspired by the oh-so-popular Flappy Bird. The mechanics are the same, but Mr Flap adds a thick layer of complexity in the form of a broken screen and many moving obstacles to overcome. The counter will only move if you complete a turn, that is, if you bypass four obstacles in a row. How many laps will be able to complete? 5 successful laps will unlock hardcore mode.
Mr Flap is not only more difficult, but also boasts way more attractive, minimalist graphics. It is also integrated with online leaderboards and social networks, so you can brag 'til the birds come home.