Yes, this one has been out for a while, but it's worth revisiting simply because it was one of the first games that offered a glimpse into the true potential of the iPhone and iPod touch as gaming devices. The opening cinematic is beautiful, and the gameplay is engaging -- I have to admit I've had my doubts about using touch screen controls, rather than a physical gamepad, but they work quite well in Hero of Sparta.
The reliability of the controls is key here, because Hero of Sparta is a hack-and-slash fest similar to God of War and its ilk. You play the fictional Spartan hero King Argos (there is a Greek city named Argos), who's ready to defy the gods and kick butt along the way to Mount Olympus. The bombastic, over-the-top story is inconsequential since the overall goal of the game is to destroy the monsters in your path. You have a variety of moves at your disposal, along with five weapons you can upgrade and various items that grant bonus powers. As with most games of this type, there are bosses to defeat along the way -- they're all drawn from mythology.
You vs. Cerberus
Hero of Sparta is your basic button-masher, but it's still a lot of fun to play, especially when you're faced with multiple enemies and you're trying to whirl in all directions while using your special moves. Completing the game unlocks Heroic mode, which is really hard but lets you start with all the weapons you previously collected. You can also upgrade your weapons further in Heroic mode, letting you master all of them. It's repetitive, but given this game's low price point, you should feel like you got your money's worth.
Better mash those buttons
Like I said, the story is silly, although the cut scenes are worthy of the Playstation 2 era. That's really impressive for a little handheld. As developers continue to become comfortable with iPhone game development, and particularly as they take advantage of the more advanced hardware in the iPhone 3GS and the new 32GB and 64GB iPod touch (the 8GB has the second-generation chipset), those little handhelds will become gaming powerhouses. Nintendo and Sony are already looking over their shoulders, wondering how they were caught so flat-footed with their suddenly-antiquated content delivery models.