appthumbWe're turning over the first page of our Angry Birds 2014 Calendar (I actually had the 2013 iteration of this!) to the month of February, which means it's time to round up all the reviews we posted in January. Again, these are not necessarily games that were released in January, but rather, merely the best games we reviewed in January. Also, our scoring system isn't representative of any traditional measure like graphics, sound, fun-factor, replayability, or anything like that. Rather, we just rate games based on how much we recommend you download them.

Despite being a relatively slow month for both game releases and news, January was home to some incredible iOS games that everyone should have on their devices.

5 Stars

Bardbarian, $0.99 [Review] - We first discovered this game on our Twitch stream, and our incredible first impressions turned out to continue throughout the entire game. Bardbarian mixes elements that are straight out of castle battle games, with an almost Snake-like control method where your band of merry men follow you around killing monsters. Practically everything in the game is upgradable, leading to so many "OK, just one more time"-s that it's impossible to put down.

Castle Doombad, $2.99 [Review] - Adult Swim's triumphant return to paid "premium" games came with a massive splash as Castle Doombad hit the App Store. It plays a little like Plants vs Zombies in that you're defending your castle from swaths of invaders and leans heavily on Dungeon Keeper style traps that you set up for your defenses. If you were disappointed by the free to play actual release of Dungeon Keeper, this is more than a worthy alternative for some similar feeling gameplay.

Hoplite, $1.99 [Review] - Folks on our forums have describe this game as "Roguelikes meet Chess" which seems like an incredibly apt comparison. It has all the permadeath elements of your favorite roguelikes with the remarkably strategic turn-based nature of Chess. You have a limited set of character abilities to deal with threats, and enemies are largely predictable. Putting this all into play to get to the bottom of the dungeon and making it out alive is remarkably difficult, which plays perfectly into what fans of this genre of game are often looking for.

Jet Car Stunts 2, Free [Review] - The original Jet Car Stunts was an incredible game that blurred the lines between racing and puzzle platforming. Jet Car Stunts 2 basically takes everything about the original and makes it bigger and better. Additionally, it's now totally free to try, and you'll get more than a big enough taste of the game without paying to decide if you want to unlock additional content. If you do, spring for the pack that unlocks everything as I can't imagine just being satisfied with a single level pack without wanting to go back for more.

The Room Two, $2.99 [Review] - The Room blew our collective minds when it was released, with the only drawback being how badly we wish there was more. The first game felt very short, and was over just when you found yourself totally absorbed by it. The Room Two is similarly fantastic, and manages to remedy this problem with significantly more involved puzzles that make the game feel much more substantial. If you've never heard of The Room, stop what you're doing and play both games. Right now.

4.5 Stars

Battle Supremacy, $4.99 [Review] - If you love tank combat, this is about as must-have as it gets. While Battle Supremacy isn't as complicated as the developer's other series, Sky Gamblers (Yet, anyway!) it's a highly approachable World War II era combat sim that features both an impressive singleplayer campaign as well as a full online multiplayer mode. If you do play online, be sure to change your name in game, as it defaults to the name of your device in game. Getting killed by "Eli's iPad" is a little silly.

MovieCat 2 - The Movie Trivia Game Sequel!, $1.99 [Review] - Movie trivia buffs need to download this game right meow. While the sequel offers the exact same gameplay format as the original, we still had just as much fun plowing through a seemingly endless supply of cat-themed movie trivia. If nothing else, the sequel is worth picking up solely for the updated library of questions which cover much more recent film releases.

RHYTHM THIEF & the Paris Caper, $9.99 [Review] - What's a rhythm game without a ridiculous premise? Rhythm Thief & The Paris Caper is about as crazy as it gets, with beat-centric gameplay revolving around unraveling a mystery that not only involves your dog but also the resurrection of Napoleon Bonaparte. Originally released for the 3DS, if you're into music games, this is a must have. Just keep in mind, there's a ultra-crazy online requirement, so if you're not around WiFi on the reg', this might be one to skip, unfortunately.

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, Free [Review] - Continuing this month's trend of "Hey the original was great and the sequel is even better" is Sega's Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. It's another cart racer, with everything that a sequel should have including controls that feel a bit better. It has some IAP, although it seems entirely optional, especially given the fact that earning said currency is super easy while you're just going through races for fun anyway.

Super Splatform, $0.99 [Review] - It's always interesting to see developers solve the problems of controls on iOS devices in an interesting way. Also done before by Bean's Quest and other games, Super Splatform is a platformer that removes the jump button, and instead just has you continually bouncing. While it might sound like this is stripping an important gameplay element, clearing levels and doing well actually involves doing it in the least amount of b ounces, introducing an oddly unexpected puzzle element to what otherwise might initially seem like a pretty simple platformer.

Additionally, we reviewed a bunch of other games last month. As always, you can dig into all of our reviews by clicking here. Alternatively, you can hit up specific scores by using these links:

  • Louis Ace

    Hoplite was a good surprise.

    • mishapenin

      Agreed. I love it.

  • Louis Ace

    Also, for Hoplite is it supposed to say "largely unpredictable?" It currently says "largely predictable."

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      The monsters in Hoplite have largely predictable behavior which is what makes the strategy of the whole game work. If you move inside of their attack squares, they'll shoot you, if not they'll predictably move within range, or back up if you get close. Learning these behaviors is vital to doing well.

    • xx99

      The predictability makes the game almost entirely skill-based. There's a high skill ceiling and you'll feel yourself getting better the more you play. I can "beat" the game almost every time I play, but you can boost your score by going even deeper than the end of the story and there are plenty of tough achievements (with attached unlockable skills) to pursue.

  • rich_952000

    Nice round-up. Thanks for sharing.

  • worldcitizen1919

    This segment isn't really all that appropriate. I think 3 monthly would be better. I don't see that many games being that good to win a monthly award or placed in a best of class. Normally I only come across a really excellent game that I really love about once every few months. Most games I have bought end up on the deleted scrap pile. Many of these are not keepers or classics or worthy of any mention apart from a review.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      These are the best games we reviewed in January.

      • dariusjr98

        Lol

  • ImJPaul

    Seeing this list makes me realize how slow January's are. Im ready for some AAA games and indie suprises to play on my iPhone. My PC has taken up all my gaming time excluding all my time with Flappy Bird. Sigh.

    • Ultima12

      Nooooo!!! Not Flappy Bird.

    • Jake7905

      You should never admit to playing Flappy Bird, and liking it. Especially after complaining about the lack of AAA games this month.

  • H4nd0fg0d

    Certainly not the list I'd envisioned, but okay.

  • flippednormal

    You guys missed SuperPro Snowboarding!!! That game is SICK!! OK, I guess it just BAIRLY came out in January, but still...give it a look!

    • rich_952000

      Yep, I certainly agree with you on this! Only game I've played to full completion this month and I still continue to play!

  • funny_man_vanya

    Idk if this is just me, but I feel that they should just choose from their best reviews, not simply just feature all of them. Choose whichever one they think is the most game-changing or impressive, or fun, or replayable. They could even categorize them as such. This on the other hand just feels like I simply opened the "top reviews" section.

  • Pete Osborne

    Well, I appreciate the article as I'm sure the less vocal majority do. Always nice to see what you've forgotten was released and it makes a nice archive visit later in the year. Any new content is fine by me anyway and bonus points for Hoplite! :D

  • Ultima12

    I have to check out Battle Supremacy.

  • jweber4

    If you're not recommending we download these games based on graphics, sound, fun-factor, replayability, or anything like that, what are you basing it on?

  • Geertyy

    A game I'd recommend for this month is Detective Grimoire. I'm not really into that kind of games, but DG is a game accessible for anyone. It has an interesting story and will keep you busy for a few hours. Sadly it has apparently not been reviewed by TA.

    • Geertyy

      Oh nvm, that game came out in November last year, still worth it though ;)

    • Pivi

      Detective Grimoire is one of the best murder mystery adventure games on the app store, I highly recommend it to any adventure fan.

      Also, it deserves a review from TA.