The best sports game for iPhone and iPad: Super Stickman Golf 3
Super Stickman Golf 3’s ancestor is the same Apple II Artillery game Angry Birds has at its core, but Noodlecake’s title is a lot more fun than catapulting birds around.
It’s a larger-than-life side-on mini-golf extravaganza, with you thwacking balls about giant forests, space stations distinctly lacking in gravity, and strange fortresses with a suspiciously high deadly laser count.
The single-player game’s fun, but SSMG 3 comes into its own in multiplayer, whether you’re taking the more sedate turn-by-turn route or ball-smacking at speed in the frenetic race mode. Note that the free version has some restrictions (limited courses; fewer simultaneous turn-based games), but there’s still plenty of genuinely crazy golf here to take a swing at.
Touchgrind Skate 2
This one takes a rather literal stance regarding controlling a sports game with your fingers. The board appears on the screen and your fingers become tiny legs, enabling you to perform gnarly and rad tricks, man! Irksome lingo aside, this is a fantastic title that’s initially demanding but hugely rewarding once mastered.
You can also upload videos of your best moves and show off to your friends, and there’s fortunately no way you can skin your knees, unless you trip over while obsessively performing ollies, powerslides and heelflips while walking down the street.
If you’re the kind of person who gets off on using cushions to pot the odd ball in pool, you’ll love Magnetic Billiards. A sort-of physics puzzler take on the popular pub game, it dispenses with pockets entirely — you instead clear the table by building clusters of connected balls that then vanish.
Emptying a table’s the easy part, though — the real skill is in figuring out insanely complex trick shots to get to that point, ‘buzzing’ balls of different colours, and creating a pleasing magnetic shape before it vanishes into the ether. For free, you get 20 tables; £1.49 nets you a ‘skeleton’ key that unlocks the rest of the game.
Active Soccer 2 DX
Forget your FIFAs and Pro Evos – on mobile, they either desperately miss a gamepad, or get stripped back to the point the game’s almost playing itself. Active Soccer 2 DX, though, skirts right on the edge of controllable, with high-octane footie that marries the beautiful game with an absurdist pinball.
There are echoes of the wonderful Sensible Soccer, and although Active doesn’t quite hit the dizzy heights of that Amiga classic, it comes close. And beyond the arcade smarts, there’s loads to dig into – over 1000 teams, several camera views, and various competitions.
Just expect a few 5-nil drubbings while you figure out how to control that ball the with your sausage thumbs swiping on glass.