This has been a truly incredible year for iOS gaming. We started with a list of hundreds of fantastic titles, whittled that down to a Top 100 Best Games list, and then started the day off with a short list of eight games in consideration for TouchArcade Game of the Year: Splitter Critters [$2.99], Data Wing [Free], Gorogoa [$4.99], GRID Autosport [$9.99], Cat Quest [$4.99], Reigns: Her Majesty [$2.99], Death Road to Canada [$11.99], and Arena of Valor [Free]. On this week's episode of the podcast, we walk through all of these games and what made them so special before eventually hashing out what was going to win what. Normally, we reserve the video version of the podcast for TouchArcade Patreon backers, but since this is a special event that only comes around once a year, we figured that we'd just put the video up for everyone to see. If you're at all curious about these additional titles, or the reasoning that went into what games won and why, definitely check this out or listen to our Podcast on iTunes:

 

GAME OF THE YEAR: DEATH ROAD TO CANADA


I'm not sure what kind of witchcraft is enchanting both Rocketcat Games and Madgarden, but it seems like the monkey's paw wish they made years ago is still paying off with their ability to flawlessly release game that push every single one of our buttons. Back in 2014 we awarded Rocketcat Game of the Year for Wayward Souls [$6.99], and this year we are happy to announce that our 2017 Game of the Year is Death Road to Canada.

We absolutely loved the game in our review back when it was released earlier this year. It was the game to beat, and while many games came close, nothing dethroned Death Road to Canada. The roguelike gameplay of completely random games and the absurd events that would transpire made trading tells from your time on the Death Road just as fun as playing the game itself. Additionally, a barrage of updates has pulled us right back into Death Road to Canada multiple times throughout the year. The game was among the most popular titles on our forums as well.

 

RUNNER UP: CAT QUEST


One thing we really loved about our 2016 Game of the Year, Crashlands [$6.99], is how it took a fairly complicated genre and made it unbelievably approachable. The Gentlebros' Cat Quest [$4.99] is dripping with similar magic, and is both a super lightweight RPG you can just play for a few minutes at a time which also features loads of depth if you're looking to explore it. Great touch controls, a ultra cute art style, and perfectly paired music all come together in one of the top must-play experiences of the year. (And our forums also agree!)

 

HONORABLE MENTION: SPLITTER CRITTERS


With our top two picks being pretty deep in the gamer-y games category, we also wanted to give a special nod to the best iOS puzzler of the year, Splitter Critters [$2.99]. When we first saw this at PAX it was obvious that Splitter Critters was either going to win tons of awards or it'd just be totally under the radar. Thankfully, they ended up winning all sorts of things including an Apple Design Award. As we explain in our review, gameplay involves making tears (or splitting) in the game world to then rearrange those pieces of the level into a way that allows your Lemming-like little blue aliens to reach their space ship. The base game was amazing, and then they updated it to support ARKit, turning one of the best puzzlers of the year into the best AR experience we've seen yet. Folks on our forums also really dig it.


For more end of the year coverage of the best games of 2017, be sure to check out our top 100 best iOS games list, as well as these personal top tens that we've been drizzling out over the week:

Also, if you'd prefer to listen to our Game of the Year discussion in the form of an audio podcast, here's all the links to do that:

 

iTunes Link: The TouchArcade Show
Stitcher: The TouchArcade Show via Stitcher Radio for Podcasts [Free]
RSS Feed: The TouchArcade Show
Direct Link: TouchArcadeShow-336.mp3, 83MB

Thanks a ton for sticking with us all through 2017. It's been a wild year filled with amazing games, and we really can't wait to see what 2018 has in store for us. Something tells me 2018 is going to be filled with lots of mobile games, but that's just a hunch.

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  • DanCJ

    Hmm....

    1st - a game I don’t have much interest in.

    Runner up - a game I just bought and haven’t played yet.

    Honourable mention - a game I found to be passable.

    Not sure how I feel about all of that.

    • Mr. Mayhem

      Not sure why you think anyone cares.

      • r10k

        Not sure why you posted.

      • dudewelcome

        LOL

      • dudewelcome

        (Lolling with Mr. Mayhem, other guy's just being pissy)

      • DanCJ

        Not sure why you’re being so rude.

    • The Common Man

      Hmmf,
      Dude, the topic is called Toucharcades game of the year. Not DanCJ game of the year. This is their choice

      • r10k

        I like how comment sections are reserved for people who agree with TA.

      • The Common Man

        Obviously you have nothing better to do than to disagree with a comment you clearly misunderstood.

      • r10k

        I like how you changed what you wrote to me.

        I’m not sure why saying, “Not sure how I feel about all of that.” is showing disrespect. If you think that’s disrespectful then you should probably spend more time on the internet to find out what proper disrespect looks like.

      • The Common Man

        What I changed is not much different than before, I just got straight to the point. I don’t want to waste your time.

        I have been moderating forums for 6 years. I know enough.
        Out of the hundreds of sentence combinations possible he could of just said my games of the year is blank, blank, blank.
        Why make it personal?

      • r10k

        If that’s the case, you’d know one of the key parts to being a good mod is not being triggered by word combinations because no one gets everything right when commenting on things. Life is too short to get annoyed by everything that’s written on the ‘net.

        The guy just shared his opinion. He wasn’t attacking anyone. Let him have his say, and enjoy the back and fourth of conversation. You’ll live longer 😊

      • DanCJ

        Cheers.

        I didn’t think I’d said anything that bad.

      • baconcow

        You didn't.

      • DanCJ

        I could have, but generally the games I buy in a year didn’t actually come out in that year so it would have been an odd list.

        I had a whale of a time with Machinarium the other day.

    • Saveria

      OK, are you blaming yourself for being a little late to Cat Quest? Your point you seem to be making is that the lack of interestingness is TA's fault but it clearly isn't then, right? You should get going on Cat Quest. Very cute and engagingly fun game.

      • DanCJ

        No point really. Just joining in the discussion with my own experiences (or lack of) with the games in question.

        Not sure what “lack of interestingness” you’re talking about.

      • Sobriquet

        Good job guys. You let one comment turn this whole comments section into an argument. 👏👏

      • Saveria

        sry my bad, I read into your comment something you weren't really saying. 🤦🏼‍♀️

    • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

      I dunno why everyone is jumping on you. I like hearing what people think about our picks. I agree with the person below though that you need to get on Cat Quest asap.

      • DanCJ

        Appreciated. I have Cat Quest. I just haven’t tried it yet.

      • baconcow

        +1 to Cat Quest. When I first saw the video, I thought it would be a lower-end indie game. After watching reviews and some gameplay, I quickly realized it was similar to Crashlands and had quite a bit of polish. I wanted to wait for MFI support, but was tempted by the recent sale. I tried it out and the polish of the game is far better than I had expected.

  • Bootsy

    I somehow missed Death Road to Canada, but it looks really fun!

    • Frédéric Lormois

      Boring Game; easily the worst of Rocketcat Games

  • Sobriquet

    TouchArcade has been in love with DRtC since forever. To me it was obvious. 😉

  • syntheticvoid

    Ha, I really thought Cat Quest was going to win after seeing it on just about everyone's list. =P
    Anywho, DRtC is awesome.
    Great picks. =D
    Woot woot!!
    Happy New Year gamers!!!

  • curtneedsaride

    I highly recommend both DRtC and Cat Quest. Solid games, and great picks!

  • Milotorou

    Looking at Cat Quest it doesnt look like my type of game, but it doesnt look bad either, I think it might not be my own cup of tea, nothing wrong with that.

    I did enjoy DRTC a lot, even if its not on my personal top 10, I can understand why it would be GOTY here. Its truly great, the devs are also a prime example of what devs should do on mobile, very strong pick.

  • Dailon Huskey

    Good choices especially the no 1 game 🙂

  • CurtisLeow

    I could never get into DRtC, it's the one Rocketcat game that's rubbed me the wrong way. The world is too dark, and the controls don't work as well as Wayward Souls.

    • Saveria

      I normally stay away from zombie-centric games of any kind as that has never been my thing. But I did buy and enjoy death road, not as much as wayward, but for others who enjoy it's motif and rogue like genre I imagine it being a top teir experience. So I can't criticize it being goty.

  • dudewelcome

    DRtC well above earned GOTY. That game immensely rules. Rocketcat is a brilliant studio IMO and Death Road even best out Wayward Souls (Another absolute gem) in my book

  • RedPanda87

    Thought there might be more love for Civ 6. To me a proper Civ game has been what iOS has been crying out for since the App Store launched. I’d also be surprised if any of these are better than Inside, Life is Strange or Gorogoa. Does the fact that some of these are ports count against them? Definitely going to grab Death Road to Canada now though.

    • Milotorou

      I agree, Civ VI drfinitely goty for me.

      Its not the most accessible game out there though, more of a loveletter for purists of strategy games

    • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

      Regarding ports… sort of. We go into that a lot in the podcast, mostly in regards to GRID. But with Civ 6 in particular that is just not my type of game at all, but I totally respect its quality and how it’s pushing the boundaries of full premium games and pricing on mobile.

      • Milotorou

        That was mostly my point 🙂

        Civilization isnt really much of a broad audiance game

  • Petr Dvořák

    Civilization is way better than anything released this year.

  • MARl0

    I tried to like Death Road to Canada, but it ended up being one of my most regretful gaming purchases of the year. It just feels clunky and boring when I play it.

    • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

      It took a few tries after being initially turned off, but once things clicked it became an obsession. Might be worth giving a second (or third) look. Or just might not be for you!

    • Milotorou

      It kind of did the same for me initially... but In the end my mind changed.

      I think its important to know and understand that the "clunkiness" is 100% intentional, its part of the game's design

    • Tom

      Agree with this, I went with the hype and bought it but just didn't enjoy it at all even after a couple of attempts. Each to their own!

  • Mael Paul

    Not sure why you’re being so rude.

  • sonof90s

    I think it would be better to distinguish game vs port of the year. Grid is hands down the best game, but it was not developed specifically for iOS. There is no way death road to Canada is a better game then Grid

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      Watch or listen to the podcast.

      • sonof90s

        I just don't have time, it's too long at 1.5 hours

    • Milotorou

      Death Road to Canada was a port too... lol.

      The staff can decide what they liked the most, their opinion is as good as yours.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        Listen to the podcast.

      • Milotorou

        Ill actually do so when I have some time to do that ! 😊

      • sonof90s

        ops...sorry I didn't know

    • boydstr

      drtC is their game of the Year you don’t have to agree with them.

  • #Bonk3rZ

    I tried drtc, and got bored to death within minutes. After running through three or four of those houses, the mere thought of having to go into even one more made me instantly delete the game lol.

    Thanks god people are different. Happy new year everybody!

  • Peyman

    I could never get into DRtC, it's the one Rocketcat game that's rubbed me the wrong way. The world is too dark, and the controls don't work as well as Wayward Souls.

    • boydstr

      I could have writing this review I bought the game but it was not my type of game I tried more than once to get in the game but after some time I quit playing mabey it is the type of game that you need to play for some hours so it can suck you in the story but it is
      good that there are gamers all with their own game preferences.

  • boydstr

    To all the great people at TouchArcade that bringing us day in and out great game reviews and game streams and all the visitors with some funny sarcastic but always friendly comments a fantastic and great New Year let’s hope that 2018 bring us a great gaming year.
    Greetzz to all,Boyd https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/64dfc021ae6733e7dd2ad4252a5364320126222e655d15753357fe78febb717a.gif

  • Anthony Taylor

    I like how you changed what you wrote to me.I’m not sure why saying, “Not sure how I feel about all of that.” is showing disrespect. If you think that’s disrespectful then you should probably spend more time on the internet to find out what proper disrespect looks like.

  • hitmantb

    Terrible pick on a pixel graphic/indie game that nobody plays/cares about.

    You could have picked something like Civilization 6 or Grid Auto Sport if you had to pick a prepaid game over freemium.

    But seriously, a game like this has no business winning game of the year from ANY respectable media outlet. Maybe indie / low budget game of the year that is about it.

    Until Touch Arcade stop give attention to games like this, it will continue to struggle financially.

    • Dawn Stung atoms

      TouchArcade may struggle financially compared to other sites, but they still are the most respected mobile game site bar-none. They don't want sell out their integrity to major publishers just to gain some bucks.

      Also, they have always awarded GOTY to indie devs. Still, it doesn't mean they don't like the games you mentioned. They just don't like them enough to be GOTY.

      Here's the thing--- if you think you need to award a "bigger-scale" game a Best Game Award just to have your site recognized as a "respectable media outlet", it's fine. Just be aware that not all sites share the same opinion as yours.

      You may think DRTC as an "indie game that nobody plays," but your perspective is limited--- it's a game that has a decent Twitch audience on PC and it's Rocketcat's most financially successful game to date. Do I think it's a perfect game? Not at all. I've played it for 150 hours and stopped. I can see the limitations the game has to keep me interested for much longer, but it doesn't mean I didn't have a blast playing it for so long that I can definitely say it's still a great gaming experience.

      • Frédéric Lormois

        Iron Marines, Inside, Gorogoa or The Witness are better, a LOT better than DRTC. Non sense; one more time

    • brianj22

      Touch Arcade will continue to struggle financially until they pick the game you like for Goty?

  • Stan de Boer

    ops...sorry I didn't know

  • Valentin

    I could have writing this review I bought the game but it was not my type of game I tried more than once to get in the game but after some time I quit playing mabey it is the type of game that you need to play for some hours so it can suck you in the story but it isgood that there are gamers all with their own game preferences

  • GiHubb

    My personal GOTY is Iron Marines and a little surprised it wasn't one of the top 8 finalists. It's a premium game, not a port, made for touchscreen and heck of a lot of fun. Still, DRTC is a solid choice just not my personal choice.

  • Malachai Hough

    well judging by the runners up it’s more of a narrowing it down to best of the bottom of the barrel which in 2017 is a sorry way to round up the year given we have the most powerful advanced mobiles and tablets ever yet games which wouldn’t have even made the runners up 10 years ago on mobile . Mobile gaming really isn’t going anywhere and In my opinion has been dead since the rise and fall of micro consoles such as OUYA and shield , These consoles provided a glimmer of hope for new premium indie stores , Devs were interested just scared to commit early on but alas likely the powers that be killed any hype or momentum . I would love to see another OUYA uprising stage 2 , I think more than ever mobile is crying out for an indie box not Endorsed by the greediest companies in the industry .

  • Jinxtah

    Objectively a terrible choice for goty. I'd elaborate but you'll just remove my comment without comment as always.

    Honestly, show some integrity. This choice is laughable considering the competition for the year.

  • YankeeBlue000

    Cat Quest is one of my fav’s. Splitter Critters is just 👌, imo & I haven’t played D.R.T.C. yet. I’m still on the fence with the back & forth reviews, the price and the pixel art and I love pixel artwork. I’m waiting to catch it on a sale hopefully. Anyway, congrats to all

  • Patjelol

    DRtC is a lovely game. But my fave of the year is Through The Ages, followed closely by Race for the Galaxy.