In 2009, our game of the year was Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor [99¢ / HD], a title that perfectly embodied what we loved about iPhone gaming. After weeks of deliberation, lists, email chains, and IM conversations we've settled on the official TouchArcade iPhone game of the year for 2010: Venan Entertainment's Space Miner: Space Ore Bust [$1.99 / Lite / HD].

In our review we called it "one of the best games [we've] played since the App Store went live over a year and a half ago." Looking back on the game releases of 2010 trying to pick what we thought was the best lead to us continually coming back to Space Miner. We loved the classic Asteroids-style gameplay, the clever storytelling, and the degree of customization that kept us coming back for more through multiple play throughs. Depending on how you load your ship out, the game plays much differently. For instance, you can be a glass cannon prioritizing asteroid-pulverizing guns, or take a more slow and steady approach prioritizing shields and cargo space for huge hauls of ore.

Space Miner HD is great on the iPad, and we also really enjoyed Space Miner Blast [Free], a game based on Space Miner with much of the depth of the original game stripped out to instead focus on quick arcade-style gameplay. Also, the original Space Miner has been updated to include some really great looking Retina Display graphics. If you played through the game when it was originally released earlier this year, we hope this serves as a good reminder to reinstall this game and enjoy it again. If this is the first you've heard of Space Miner, it is a game that simply must be part of your game library.

Runner Up: Carcassonne

The Coding Monkeys have two Apple Design Awards under their belt for their two Mac programs, SubEthaEdit and BoinxTV. Taking this in to account, it's no surprise at all that the overall design and presentation of Carcassonne [$9.99] could not possibly be better. Based on the classic board game of the same name, Carcassonne is without a doubt the best adaptation of any board game that we've seen on the App Store. Instead of implementing unnecessary 3D graphics like EA has with their Hasbro classics, The Coding Monkeys focused on how the game plays.

Carcassonne starts with a fantastic completely voiced over tutorial to guide new players in to the game, and game modes that allow you to either play in massive single player games with many types of AI players or a number of different multiplayer modes. These modes include single device hot seat multiplayer, local Bluetooth or WiFi, and even online asynchronous play utilizing push alerts. Honestly, the only thing we could even ask for is that they eventually implement the various Carcassonne expansions as in-app purchase. We've be all over that.

If you've had Carcassonne on your device since it was released, be sure to swing by the thread where people are still looking for others to play with. Otherwise, it recently saw an update which added universal compatibility, making this game a must-have for both iPhone and iPad owners.

  • -L

    uh-huh

    • DeadClown

      If you've actually played Space Miner, you would have added an exclamation point to your otherwise eloquent little dissertation.

      Uh-huh!

      • -L

        I own Space Miner and still play it a lot but I can easily name ten better contenders for the "iPhone Game Of The Year". It's very good but doesn't have enough specialty. Carcassonne was a good shout though.

      • DeadClown

        What would be the ten? I can't think of more than 3-4 MAYBE that are really that exceptional.

      • Nigra

        The problem is not how many, the problem is that everybody can think of at least one better game...

  • Nigra

    oh my God...

  • Vedergrpw

    Wow, I just lost complete faith in TouchArcade for these picks. Good game but not this, not even close.

    • DeadClown

      Where's the 'Dislike' button?

      Or, better yet: the "Your Opinion Is Just That" button..?

      • Golddik

        Where's the 'Dislike' button?

        Or, better yet: the "Your Opinion Is Just That" button..?

      • DeadClown

        Haha. Copy+paste win!

  • http://twitter.com/NoSuperMan ImNoSuperMan

    Cant really argue with either of the choices here. Both of them have been my favorite ever since I got them. But its the ipad GOTY which is THE iOS game of the year IMO. World of goo is fan-frigging-damn-tastic game and I'm more than glad that I waited till the ipad version to give it a try!

    • Vedergrpw

      So says a Toucharcade employee. Weak sauce.

      • Swishinj

        It's Ok to complain about the choice, but remember its an OPINION of Sir Hodapp, and its NEVER ok to diss IMNS!!

      • http://toucharcade.com blakespot

        It's our collective opinion, here at TA, actually -- not just Eli's pick.

      • Epic Fail

        IMNS is not a Touch Arcade employee. Weak sauce.

      • The O Show

        What is IMNS an acronym for? I mean, it can't be ImNoSuperMan because that would be INSM. There you go.

      • Noman

        I'M No Superman

      • http://twitter.com/NoSuperMan ImNoSuperMan

        I chose IMNS instead of the obvious choice INSM coz IMNS explains me quite a lot better. Read out IMNS slowly. One letter at a time and you'll find out the true meaning of life, universe and everything is... IMNS ;)

      • Fletch12

        hyprocrite

      • http://twitter.com/NoSuperMan ImNoSuperMan

        /facepalm

  • Theorioles33

    Is it me or has no one else ever heard of the game of the year mentioned above?

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      It's you.

    • Anonymous

      I've never heard of it, and I own at least 100+ iPhone games.

      ::shrug::

      • Noman

        Then I strongly suggest you buy it.

    • The O Show

      Just you.

    • Dominus

      It's a masterpiece of fun and it's gotten plenty of press.

  • Will

    Great choice! This is a game I have consistently come back to, which is not common for me with iPhone games.

  • Eugekava

    Space Miner is a great choice for GOTY.
    Very few games got so many things right. This game draws you in and doesn't let go until you have completed it. Congrats to Venan!

  • EastsideStompers

    Nice choices. Just a couple of adjustments needed but otherwise I'd say it was pretty spot on; )

  • Cask

    Really???!?! Of all great game releases in 2010, you pick......this???

    • Bub

      Shut up

    • Anonymous

      I've paid for dozens of iOS games and this is one of the few I've played all the way through to the end.

      At the time it came out I really thought to myself for the first time, this competes with any experience you can get on the PSP or DS and it cost a fraction of the price.

      Game of the Year is well deserved.

  • Adams Immersive

    Good choice... I have little interest in Asteroids or Asteroids derivations, but the details of the action and controls and upgrades, plus the tractor-bean mechanic and easy braking, made this surprisingly addictive for me. I played it through to completion over the course of several days, and then in the same sitting where I won, I immediately started over! I’ve completed it twice now... and will probably make it three someday on iPad!

  • wilbair

    I totaly agree space miner is the best game in 2010 for me

  • BRAMSEY89

    I thought this HAD to be a joke.

  • Zman2100

    OmG I cAn'T bElIeVe ToUcHaRcAdE cOuLd Be So DuMb!!!!!!

    Give me a break people. It's a great game and the reactions are a joke. The dialogue is hilarious, the gameplay is great, and the RPG elements with the upgrades really help push you forward in the game.

  • Boballo

    YES!!!YES!!! TOUCHARCADE, HODAPP, I LOVE YOU <3
    Thank you for having the balls to choose an indie game, and a definite underdog, as GOTY. This was my favorite game of this year as well.
    Thank you for your unbiased and brilliant decision. You've just earned a lot of respect

  • http://twitter.com/JasonFlook Jason Flor Flook

    Great pick, I think people complaining need to remember how amazing this was, when it came out. Pretty much flawless, with great controls, rpg elements, and witty dialog, I have kept this on my iphone since I got it.

    • Poedonk

      Exactly. It was just about perfect at the time of release and venan kept up with updates for things like retina, etc. Good choice.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_N3ZZDGYS2FW2DOFMPXV3SGSGY4 k88dad

    Excellent choices for GOTY and runner up. Tons of replay value with both.

  • Oxynidus

    Good choice.

    Now I expect an avalanche of negative ratings on iTunes to express disagreement with this choice.

  • Gravitywave

    I would have to agree, I haven't played the second choice but dam, I keep going back to Bust over and over again. JUST ONE MORE WAVE!!!

  • HipHopTouch

    FANTASTIC CHOICE!!!!! Great choice, really impressed with these two, the only one that would compete with these two is GameDev Story, which is my personal favourite of the year, but you can't beat the charm of Space Miner and Carcassonne is so well developed and produced that it's a great app to play, especially now that it's universal for the iPad too.

    • Defcubusal

      Game dev story could not be goty, ten+ year old port that's not even optimised for iPod? Good game though.

      • HipHopTouch

        Yeah, I get that it's an old game, but a port is still a game and it's a new game for the iOS, so I don't see why this couldn't be included. That said, I'm very pleased with Space Miner being chosen, it's a fantastic app and one that I'm sure will have brought them their pool table as discussed in an earlier interview with Venon.

  • Gravitywave

    Opps, I was talking about Bust, you were talking about Blast, my bad, peace.

  • Gravitywave

    Again, wrong way around, anyway its new years, Im trashed.

  • Anonymous

    Yeeeahh! Good Choice for GoTY (and runner up). As much as I like Infinity Blade, I'd vote for the little guy, too.

  • MisterDrgn

    Excellent games. Thanks for not going with the ove-rhyped, over-graphics'd ones.

    • MisterDrgn

      :p over-hyped

  • Noman

    Good Job TA! I am glad you had the guts to not pick infinity blade or real racing 2 (good as they may be) and went with a game that I feel is as close to perfect for ios as any game out there.

  • Simon

    Remember enjoying the arcade spin-off but never looked into the game it was derived from. Only £1.19 so giving it a try.

    Appreciate this site choosing the game they enjoyed the most rather than going for the safe, more popular option. Don't understand the people taking this as some sort of insult to their favourite game. Not surprised though :)

    • DeadClown

      The original game is MUCH better, imo. Well, not better. More interesting.

  • armanski

    Bravo - the right decision!

  • robman84

    I think we'd all pick a different game, but Space Miner really did suck me in. Not sure why, but I ended up putting in a silly amount of hours just to complete it. Glad I did :o)

  • Mike

    BEST CHOICE! Congratz Touch Arcade - this website is so awesome! Thank you for all the reviews and the youtube gameplay videos!

    SPACE MINER was the best game of 2010 for me too, and I've tried them all, nothing comes close!

  • Anonymous

    I would have never considering Space Miner. It's a decent game, but game of the year? Of course this is just a matter of opinion, so it's fine, but I'd have picked Carcassonne for sure.

  • Anonymous

    Both well deserved; I know most younger gamers are like "wtf" - but that's expected.

  • Stee1232

    this game is good but, goty? there are so many better options...I think touch arcade likes small developers, first secret of bryce manor and now this but i must admit i loved bryce manor

  • Anonymous

    Felt like reading an April Fools joke to be honest.

  • iJayCee

    Really.... So many better games this year. Even if you pulled the big names from the table I could still find plenty of games to beat this one. It was fine at the time of it's release but nothing more than that. It wasn't really anything groundbreaking to me.

  • A reader

    Love the choices - totally spot on. Great work as usual TA!

  • Kingbob52525

    Absolutely the right call. Congrats to Venan!

  • Backtothis

    An excellent choice and an excellent runner-up. A big hand to the mods of TA for their efforts in 2010, and may 2011 be equally awesome here at TA.

  • Anonymous

    I think TA made the right choice. I have myself made the exact same observations. Despite a ton of absolutely great titles being released, especially recently, one of the few games of 2010 that I kept going back to time and again was Space Miner. It is deceptively deep and thoroughly enjoyable even after multiple play-throughs; the ability roll alien tech over to new games really increases the replay value because you get extra bonuses to start out with that help you get even further on each successive run, so you're repeatedly trying to best yourself.

    I think if most people who disagree now look back on this decision in a month or two after the novelty and hype of the latest, technically and visually impressive games has had time to fade, it'll be easier to see why this was chosen as GoTY.

  • Evan

    Excellent choice! I love Space Miner and would have chosen as GOTY, too.

  • Jwcasser

    Totally agree with this choice as it the only game I've gone through three or more times. (Solomon's Keep was my second most completed game)

  • AnHonestConman

    Thank god at least one IOS game review site has a memory span longer than 3 weeks.

  • http://twitter.com/MindJuiceMedia Ken Carpenter

    Huh...bought Space Miner on the advice of a friend a while back. I played it for 10 minutes and didn't like it at all. Found it boring and didn't like the controls.

    Maybe it gets better after a while? Guess I'll give it another try to see if I missed something.

  • Eric Cartman

    I agree. It's the only game I'm beaten more than once on my iPhone. In fact, I've beaten it three times. An awesome choice.

  • crex

    Should've been Plants vs Zombies!

  • Anton Soccer

    The people who agree with this obviously have played hardly games... I bought this to see what it won 4 and i am shocked... It is so repetitive and lacks any replay value... It's completely average. I feel like they were paid to give it goty...

    • Anonymous

      I agree with this, and I've been playing video games since 1981. I've even written a few in my day. Care to rephrase? It isn't a game that absolutely everyone is going to like. You don't. You're entitled not to, as are everyone else who disagree. The rest of us will cradle our chins between our thumb and forefinger and sagely nod our heads in agreement even as we chuckle at your disproportionate outrage.

      • Stee1232

        I kind of over reacted but what i mean is that if this game had lost no one would have argued in favor of it b/c it was not one of the games people thought of when they pictured GOTY... i feel that TA tries to go too far out of their way to surprise us, if it was really a great game it should have been more well known...

      • Stee1232

        I kind of over reacted but what i mean is that if this game had lost no one would have argued in favor of it b/c it was not one of the games people thought of when they pictured GOTY... i feel that TA tries to go too far out of their way to surprise us, if it was really a great game it should have been more well known...

      • http://twitter.com/ScottColbert Scott Colbert

        Simply because you were unaware of it, doesn't mean it was unknown. Unknown to you maybe. To the rest of us who don't live under a rock, it's very known.

      • stee1232

        i knew about this game for quite sometime but for most of the people who dnt blog on an app website this isnt a very popular game...since i have been visitin toucharcade i kno just about every app that has been mentioned on here haha

      • Anonymous

        Um ... the thread for it in the main gaming forum has close to 2,000 posts, and it was mentioned several times (by me as well) in the discussion threads about GoTY nominations in the general gaming discussion forum. This game is very well known already, has been since it came out last February. I don't believe as many people were surprised by this as you seem think. This wasn't a completely-out-of-left-field thing for lots of us. It's a bit of an underdog, sure, if you consider the more recent competition it was up against, but to see it win was more confirmation of what many of us already felt, not shock.

      • stee1232

        well you have your opinion as well i have mine, i just felt it was a good game but it brought nothin new to the platform...and with this years fierce competition i would not have chosen it

      • http://twitter.com/NoSuperMan ImNoSuperMan

        Its not that unknown. And even if it isnt as well known as the likes of IB, that shouldnt be the criteria for deciding the GOTY.

        Check out the forum thread. I dare you to find any other game with so much positive reaction here. I wont blame you if you start thinking that everyone on the forums is shilling for the game. Even I was surprised when every single damn post in that thread turned out to be nothing but +ve only. It didnt look like my kind of game so I didnt want to shell out 5 bucks for it and was actively looking for someone, atleast someone who'd say the game is not worth it. Never happened :(

        Had to give in in the end and bought it. Took me a while to get into it but once I did, it sucked me in like nothing else. Couldnt stop before finishing the game.

        http://forums.toucharcade.com/showthread.php?t=44050

        Maybe its not for you, but it definitely is one game which not too many on the forums didnt like.

      • stee1232

        Its not that i was unaware of the game i just had not been interested in the game enough to pay 5 dollars for it so when it won goty and went on sale i gave it a shot...what i mean by not well known is that it wasnt a stand out game... anyway i have been playin it for a while and i think it a good game it just wouldnt b a top pick for me

      • http://twitter.com/NoSuperMan ImNoSuperMan

        Its not that unknown. And even if it isnt as well known as the likes of IB, that shouldnt be the criteria for deciding the GOTY.

        Check out the forum thread. I dare you to find any other game with so much positive reaction here. I wont blame you if you start thinking that everyone on the forums is shilling for the game. Even I was surprised when every single damn post in that thread turned out to be nothing but +ve only. It didnt look like my kind of game so I didnt want to shell out 5 bucks for it and was actively looking for someone, atleast someone who'd say the game is not worth it. Never happened :(

        Had to give in in the end and bought it. Took me a while to get into it but once I did, it sucked me in like nothing else. Couldnt stop before finishing the game.

        http://forums.toucharcade.com/showthread.php?t=44050

        Maybe its not for you, but it definitely is one game which not too many on the forums didnt like.

  • Touchfail

    april fools early????

  • Dfnj123

    I thought I would hate this game after playing Blast several weeks ago... but I downloaded the lite version and it was actually quite appealing... playing through the full game right now...

  • Jaroidx3

    totally game of the year, and funniest game in the history of homosapiens

  • PyroDecimo

    Played the game after reading the article, and while it IS a great game, not quite my personal game of the year. Personally I think an iPhone/iTouch GOTY should be something that demonstrates great use of iPhone controls and this particular game doesn't quite do that for me. That being said, I still think it's a great game...though not quite in my top favourites list!

  • Legaity

    I suggest to people complaining here that they post their so-called GotY or "best games list".

    Space Miner imo deserves the award because, aside from the other reasons and whatnot found above, it is playable across all of the iOS devices.

    Maybe TA should also include a GotY for 4th gen devices (and for those who have 3-week or 3-month memory spans)? ;)

  • Mr rational

    It's TA's GOTY. If it's not your GOTY, that's cool too. This is why, when you are out walking around, not everyone is wearing the same clothes.

  • TheTheory

    I had picked Space Miner back when the original reviews were coming out and kind of had a "meh" reaction. When this article was posted I went back and started the game over and see more of the appeal (example: when Uncle Jeb asks you to help him, click no...). Anyway, seems like a solid enough pick, though definitely not my favorite 2010 title (which would come down to some sumo wrestling match between Ozone, Trucker's Delight, Hector Badge of Courage, and Reverse Maze)... worst case scenario this pick highlighted a title on my iOS device that really should have been played more.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting, these two games are #34 and #33 on STP's top 50 list. Opinions are opinions but, my tastes agree much more with STP's top choices.

    • Anonymous

      I agree, they seem to have articulated a little more with the top 50 rather than choosing just one or two favorites.

  • ePOX

    lol seriously. i honestly did not hear of this game, or probably did but never looked at it. I know some great indie games, but really?????? Lol

    • HelperMonkey

      paraphrase:
      "ha ha! I'm ignorant regarding this game, therefore TA are stupid."

  • HungDung

    How much did Space Miner pay for this!?

  • 2cool4school

    When I was young, I refused to listen to music that was considered cool...guess TA is the same way about games. Hard to hate it; harder to love it.

  • dmarcoot

    I bought space miner base on this sites preview, and it frankly sucks. the controls are horrible, the cuts scenes annoying and the game play and RPG aspects unoriginal. And im a retro fan.

  • Dmarcoot

    By the way, Space miner wishes it was on 100th as fun as Sinistar (and im old enough i played it as a kid). With RPG elements. But is is not.

  • EastsideStompers

    I would swap Space Miner with Galaxy on Fire 2 and Carcassonne with Reiner Knizia's Samurai. All four are great games, but GoF2 and Samurai sucked up significantly more of my time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/franklin.amorim Franklin Amorim

    Is this a joke?

  • Pearapps

    What a shitty pick. What a freaking shitty pick.

  • pep

    Space miner? :')

  • Lol123

    ALRIGHT TOUCHARCADE, WE WANT A NEW ARTICLE

  • Je3us

    How much were you guys paid to suck it up and put THIS as game of the year? Total fraud. You guys are discredited. This is NOT game of the year - not even in the top 10. Delusional parasites clamoring for the cash. You sicken me.

  • TheTheory

    hahahahaha. You guys act as if small developers actually have money to pay off a website. Don't be ridiculous.

  • Nipapageorge

    Most fun I have had in a game, ANY game, in a long time!!

    Dumped over 8 hours in the first play through and cannot wait to do it again. Never do I feel glad I paid full price for a game, but in this... I'm actually happy that I did in hopes it is a few extra bucks in the devs keeps them making top shelf games like this.

    I am thrilled I just picked this up.

    I HATE asteroids, just didn't enjoy the controls, but this makes it amazing. The controls are just spot on and really WORK.

    Love it. Seriously. I have played a truckload of iOS games this year, and out of all of them, this was one of the ones that really stuck out.

    Kudos to the devs. And kudos to TA for helping recognize it.

    To all those against it... Whatever. Your loss.

  • Nigra

    So... are you guys going to make any new post this year? Not intending to be a troll, but what is going on?

  • Freebo

    How much stock in Venan Entertainment do you c*ck suckers own? Game of the year? Get a real job and fap off!

  • http://www.n00balert.com CopTop1

    again, a little late to the game as I just started playing it.  I really like it and all, but I wouldnt call it the game of the year, especially back in 2010...