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Best iPhone Game Updates: 'Shadowverse', 'Exiled Kingdoms', 'Nimian Legends', 'Disco Ducks', and More

Hello everyone, and welcome to the year! It's time once again for our look back at the noteworthy updates of the last seven days. As you might have expected, the week betweeen Christmas and New Year's Day wasn't exactly a hot-bed of updates. Still, there were a couple of really great ones, so here we are. Of course, you can keep an eye out for updates yourself using AppShopper or by participating in the TouchArcade forums. This weekly summary is just here to fill you in on the things you might have missed. Let's dig in!..

TouchArcade Game of the Year 2017: 'Death Road to Canada'

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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TouchArcade Game of the Week: 'Cinco Paus'

The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn't necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable "best" thing. Instead, it's more just us picking out the single game out of the week's releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one...

Jared's 10 Best Games of 2017 - Some of the Biggest Releases of the Year and a Few Hidden Gems

Well, 2017 has been yet another incredible year of mobile game releases, and just like always when I sit down to pick out my own personal favorites of the year I had a really hard time keeping it to just ten. For this list I focused mostly on the games that made the biggest impact on me this year as well as the ones I spent the most time playing. That said, this list could easily be ten times the size and there are a lot of fantastic games that I enjoyed in 2017 that I had to make the tough decision to omit. Heck, our 100 Best Games of the Year list actually IS ten times this size, and there's dozens of games that I wish we could have included on it still. I think we just have to get used to the fact that there's an overwhelming amount of great content on mobile, truly something for everybody if you're willing to search through all the crap to find it. That's really why TouchArcade exists in the first place, and we busted our collective butts this year to bring you as many great games as possible, and we plan on working even harder in 2018 to continue that tradition...

Eli's 10 Best Games of 2017 - These Games Need to Be Listed SOMEWHERE

The thing that sucks about putting together a top 100 best games list is that even though it seems like a ton of games, all sorts of awesome stuff inevitably gets left out. Mobile is a totally unique platform where 100 games can be released in a single week, so doing this end of year coverage often feels like trying to fill a shot glass with a fire hose. This year I'm dedicating my list to great games that I feel like should be somewhere in our "best of" year-end coverage...

Cresht Joins the North American 'Arena of Valor' Hero Roster

December 29th, 2017 10:27 AM EST by Eli Hodapp in News
Free Buy Now

Tencent's Arena of Valor [Free] launched late this month, and I really just can't get enough of this game. I posted a launch day review, and I still completely stand behind all five of those stars. Arena of Valor is a ton of fun. The one strange thing about the game, however, is the way they're dealing with releasing heroes across regions is ... a bit odd. Each region the game is operated in has a different content release cycle, so the "newest" hero in North America is old news in every other region. Presumably we'll eventually get caught up, but right now the discrepancies between which heroes are available in which region is real weird. For example, other regions have DC Superheroes like Batman and Superman, but those are still "coming soon" in North America. Whatever rhyme or reason is powering all this decided that this week NA is getting Cresht the Mermidon...

RPG Reload Glossary: The "Death" of the JRPG, or JRPGs in the 2010s

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the regular feature where all good things must come to an end. To be specific, welcome to the RPG Reload Glossary, where we sift through the piles of historical debris and messy semantics to try to make some sense of it all. This time around, we're finishing our look at the history of the JRPG sub-genre. In the last part, we looked at a decade which could charitably be referred to as a hangover from the massive success of the genre in the 1990s. Square, the biggest name in JRPGs, over-extended itself in spectacular fashion and ended up merging with their rival, Enix. The Japanese market lost its taste for home consoles, focusing instead on the convenience that handheld consoles brought to the table. Development on two of the three most popular JRPG series had slowed down considerably, and as the first decade of the new millennium came to a close, you didn't have to look far to find people proclaiming the death of the JRPG genre had come...

Mikhail's 10 Best Games of 2017 - Best iOS Gaming Year Ever

2017 has been the best and busiest year in gaming for me in a long time. While the Nintendo Switch is the focus for most people for 2017, I’ve been consistently blown away by how much fantastic stuff we have seen on iOS this year. In fact the last few weeks have probably been the best in iOS gaming history with fantastic ports and big name releases dropping on the App Store out of nowhere really. 2017 is also a year that has seen loads of great releases on each platform and picking just 10 has been super hard. I’m just glad I always get the highest capacity iPhone and iPad for times like this where I want to keep loads of new games installed at all times. The games below are my favourite and are in no particular order. ..

Absurd Competitive Sports Game 'Unicycle Hero' Launching on iOS January 31st

Back in August I had my mind blown–literally blown!–when I laid my eyes on the animated .gif splendor of Unicycle Hero from developer Unept, creator of one of my favorite mobile games Level With Me [Free], among others. The idea in Unicycle Hero is that you're competing in traditional track and field events like javelin and shot put, and some not-so-traditional events like competitive table flipping and hitting a giant 8-ball with a giant pool cue, but you're doing these things while traveling on a unicycle. I mean… do I really need to go on? This is obviously the future of competitive sports. Maybe the trailer for Unicycle Hero will get you as excited as I am...

If you play a lot of free to play games, the golden goose of getting the biggest bang for your buck when you're buying things in these games is deals on Amazon coins. Basically, if you don't follow the Android and Amazon app world, Amazon Coins are basically the iTunes credit equivalent of the Amazon App Store. While it's pretty rare to get much more than 10% off iTunes gift cards, Amazon often runs promotion offering steep discounts on Amazon coins. Today, you can get 35% off Amazon Coins, or, $100 worth of Amazon Coins for $65...

Shaun's 10 Best Games of 2017 - A Year Full of Truly Unique Mobile Games

Well, that's another year just about in the books. This was a strange year all around, and it wasn't until we all started to deliberate on the end-of-year stuff that I truly realized how many awesome, fun, and unique games hit iOS in 2017. Sure, there were some amazing ports, and I think those have commanded a lot of attention as the year has come to a close. But there were also a lot of cool mobile originals, many of which came from developers new to the scene. I had a hard time carving this list down to just ten games, with the last couple of cuts taking an awful lot of deliberation. As usual, I'm not going to rank these in any order beyond the alphabetical. All of them are equally worthy of consideration...

HQ Trivia [Free], the popular live quiz game that got a lot of attention in 2017 and whose prizes continue to grow daily, is now in Android limited Beta, and the developers are hoping that by New Year's day they'll manage to make the game available to all Android players. If you're an Android player, you can head here to pre-register for the game and get notified when the game finally goes live. If you're lucky, you might even get to play the beta before the game releases (the selection appears to be random). So, if all goes well, 2018 will see both iOS and Android players joining the HQ Trivia party...

Rob's 10 Best Games of 2017 - A Purrfect Year for Mobile Gaming

2017 has been a year of competing extremes in almost every aspect, whether personal, public or within the world of iOS gaming. While so much of it was dominated by the demise of many of my favourite childhood classics with iOS 11 and the 32-bit Appocalypse (being unable to play Dungeon Raid anymore has been a particularly bitter pill to swallow), the release of an unprecedented barrage of high-quality games have made 2017’s struggles slightly easier to take. While phenomenal ports of complete console titles have been fantastic to Witness (no pun intended), and the typically strong showing of innovative indie classics have only further emphasised iOS’s strengths as a serious gaming platform, it has been you - the iOS community - that has been the highlight of my 2017. Whether it’s developers revealing insights into the hottest upcoming games, people sharing their experiences with recent and classic mobile releases, or even heated debate over Taylor Swift and Brawl Stars, the TouchArcade Forums and especially the Discord community have been particularly fantastic points of refuge for not only passionate mobile gamers, but also for a lovely group of friendly people. From both a personal and professional level, my thanks go to everyone who has been actively supporting our community and helping it go from strength to strength over the past twelve months. Alright, enough rambling - here are the top ten iOS games that were particularly memorable for me in 2017, in no particular order:..

Minecraft's [$6.99] empty oceans are about to get much more populated once the upcoming Update Aquatic hits in 2018. The developers decided to give us an early present by teasing us about a new water mob, turtles. Turtles will make their nests on shorelines across various biomes, and their young ones will scamper down to the water, according to the official description. The turtle textures in the screenshot below will likely be temporary and might change before they are added to the game. That's pretty much all the info we have on the turtles. I wonder if we'll get any uses for turtle shells (guitars?), although I'd hate to have to kill those cute creatures...

'Ninja Attack! is Frosty Pop Corp's Trippy Homage to the 'Shinobi' Ninja Star Throwing Bonus Level, Coming in February

One of the funny side effects of being a broke little kid growing up during the heyday of arcades is that I probably spent more time watching video games than actually playing them. I mean, once you run out of quarters that's kind of it, you know? So how would I spend that extra time at the arcade before mom said she'd pick me up? I'd just watch. Sometimes I'd be able to watch an actual live human being playing a game, but more often than not I'd just check out each game's attract mode. Video games, and especially arcade games with their superior (at the time) visuals, were mesmerizing to me, so I found great satisfaction just watching them in motion even if it was just a short demo mode. I have a great fondness for attract modes due to that, and even as my gaming turned more to increasingly powerful home consoles, I'd still just sometimes kick back and watch an attract mode just because it entertained me. Heck, even as a nearly forty year old a game's attract mode can still make some great background noise while working. Maybe I'm just weird. ..

'Kero Blaster'-Inspired Action Platformer 'Help! I'm Haunted' Looking for More Beta Testers

Studio Pixel's Kero Blaster [$5.99] is without a doubt one of my favorite games of all time on any platform. The mixture of well-designed action platforming and copious amounts of charm, all in a virtual control scheme that was tailor-made for touchscreens, has been one of the best gaming experiences I've ever had. So when two-man indie developer Sky Pirate Studios announced their own Kero Blaster-inspired game called Help! I'm Haunted back in May of 2016, it was instantly on my radar. Mixing elements of Studio Pixel's aforementioned game as well as Castlevania and Ghostbusters, Sky Pirate wanted to put their own stamp on the genre with similar levels of action, fantastic pixel art, and charm. The only problem is that all that was taking much longer than they expected. ..

'Cinco Paus' Review - A Rosa By Any Other Name

One of the things that makes games from developer Michael Brough so great is in how much there is to discover in each one. They're densely-packed pouches full of Eureka moments, constantly dripping out new tricks, traps, and techniques for those who are patient and observant enough to notice them. His games don't just trust the player to figure them out; they challenge the player to do so. You really won't make much progress at all in his games if you're not willing to play along with this philosophy. It's a school of design I happen to enjoy, but I do so knowing that it's just as much of a turn-off for some as it is a joy for others. After all, there's a fine line between being obtuse in order to teach and being obtuse just to be obtuse. Where that line falls tends to come down to the player...

We pushed off recording of last week's episode to today because we were working so late into the day to publish our top 100 games list. So, we got back after the holiday weekend to randomly discuss some of our favorites from the list. iOS game releases over the year are only getting better, and I feel like we say this every year, but it was super difficult to trim this down to only 100 games. Wilder yet, is the list is only games released this year, we could've easily thrown together another 100 of games that came out in the past and have been flawlessly maintained with updates since.

Don't forget to shoot us emails with any questions, feedback, or anything else relevant or irrelevant to podcast@toucharcade.com. We read 'em all, and love decoding messages written entirely in emoji. As always, you can listen to us with the links below... And if you like what you hear, please subscribe and/or drop us a review in iTunes. Much appreciated!

As a companion to this audio podcast, we also do a video version of the same show that is exclusive to Patreon which allows you to see us playing the games we're talking about. Backers can view the most recent video episodes of the TouchArcade show by clicking here. Be sure you're logged in to see the latest content. For everyone else who is curious, you can check out our public patreon posts to see older episodes of the video podcast. If you like what you see, consider becoming a TouchArcade Patreon backer.

 

iTunes Link: The TouchArcade Show
Stitcher: The TouchArcade Show via Stitcher Radio for Podcasts [Free]
RSS Feed: The TouchArcade Show
Direct Link: TouchArcadeShow-335.mp3, 68MB

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Tasos' 10 Best Games of 2017 - 'Arena of Valor', 'Gorogoa', and More Made the List

When I was putting my Best of 2016 list together last December, I remember having a hard time picking 10 games out of the many strong ones that came out during the year. Well, 2017 has made it even harder because it brought us a ton of amazing games—some ports, some originals—including some great games right at the end of the year. My criteria for picking a game for this list was whether I spent a lot of time playing a game or whether I thought a game did something original and clever that made me rethink what's possible on the platform. My list, as is always the case with any Best of list, is highly subjective, so I don't expect you to agree with me. I do hope, though, that you'll use it as a way to pick up games you might have overlooked for one reason or another. So, without further ado, let's see which games made my Top 10 Best Games of 2017. And please feel free to tell me what you thought of the list in the comments below...

'Subway Surfers' Animated Series Teaser Released

December 26th, 2017 5:00 PM EST by Tasos Lazarides in Games, News
Free Buy Now

Subway Surfers [Free], one of the most popular games in the history of mobile gaming and one of the most downloaded games even today, is on its way to becoming an animated series, and now we have the first teaser. The teaser shows off the locations where the story will take place and, of course, the infamous trains, which are such a big part of the game's identity. We even get a glimpse of the series' protagonist, Jake, who everyone who's played the game (or even looked at the game's icon) is familiar with. I like the art of the series, and I think it will be fun to watch, especially for the many fans of the mobile game...

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