iPhone games have the touch

iPhone and iPod Touch owners can download hundreds of games from Apple's popular App Store (part of iTunes). A good handful are free, such as Tapulous' musical Tap Tap Revenge and Jason Linhart's Enjoy Sudoku Daily Free puzzler. Most games range from $1.99 to $9.99 and take advantage of the iPhone's touch-screen, built-in sensors and online connectivity. Game writer Marc Saltzman offers a few worthy games.

For the racing fan

Cro-Mag Rally

Consider it a cross between The Flintstones and Formula 1. You're a speed-thirsty caveman (or cavewoman) racing prehistoric vehicles through deserts, jungles and snow-covered mountains. Collect power-ups, avoid dangerous obstacles and use primitive weaponry to take out rival riders. Players control the action by simply tilting the iPhone in a given direction. (Pangea, $1.99)

For the flight buff

X-Plane 9

This portable version of the popular flight simulator for PCs lets you take off in one of four commercial aircraft and use the iPhone's built-in accelerometer to steer around stunning mountain views. For added challenge, you can adjust time of day, weather conditions and turbulence. The developers say they've managed to squeeze 95% of the flight-model accuracy into this pocket version. (Laminar, $9.99)

For the card shark

Texas Hold'em

Apple's own Hold'em is a virtual poker tournament that lets you play against intelligent computer-controlled opponents (featuring video clips of real people reacting to their cards) or against real players in the optional online mode. The more money you win, the fancier the locations get and the bigger the stakes become. Use your fingertip to push chips into the center of the table or to flick unwanted cards to fold and turn the iPhone or iPod Touch horizontally to switch to an overhead table view. (Apple, $4.99)

For the action lover

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

Feel the Force in this portable version of the popular console game of the same name. You play as Starkiller, a secret apprentice to Darth Vader, on a quest to destroy the last of the Jedi. Unleash the power of this Sith-in-training by drawing symbols on the screen using your fingertip, which translate to the many Force powers available in the game, such as Push, Lighting, Grip and Jedi Mind Trick. The story is set between Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope as you roam around dozens of beautifully rendered fantasy environments. (THQ Wireless, $9.99)

For the sports nut

Real Soccer 2009

Footy fans in search of a deep, 3-D soccer experience won't be disappointed. Choose among six modes, then take to the field as one of nearly 200 soccer teams from around the world with real players' names and use your thumbs to run, pass, shoot and defend. Stadiums have been accurately modeled, and players can select duration of play, weather, rules and more. (Gameloft, $9.99)

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