So you’ve got your new iPhone 5, you shot your unboxing video, and are looking for something to do while it uploads to YouTube (or Vimeo if it’s an artsy unboxing video). Why not check out some of our previous “Game of the Year" titles? We review tons of games on a daily / weekly basis, but there can only be one Game of the Year. Dialing things back a bit, every month we’ll do a “Best iOS Games" roundup post that bundles up all the best games that we reviewed in a particular month. These articles are the best place to get started if you want a quick glance at all the best games that have come out, accessible via the Best iPhone Games category link in the far right column. (Or by clicking that link I just dropped.)
We’ve also done more substantial “best of" roundups at the end of each year, as well as when new devices are released, much like this post. Here’s a list of those:
- So You Just Got an iPhone 4S… Here’s What You Need to Know!
- So You Just Got a Verizon iPhone… Let’s Get You Up To Speed!
- So You Just Got an iPhone 4 – An App Store Gaming Guide
- Best iOS Games: 2011 Buyer’s Guide
- TouchArcade Game of the Year 2011: ‘Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP’
- 2011 TouchArcade Staff Favorites – Brad
- 2011 TouchArcade Staff Favorites – Jared
- 2011 TouchArcade Staff Favorites – Eric, Nissa, and Troy
- 2011 TouchArcade Staff Favorites – Eli
- 2011 TouchArcade Staff Favorites – Blake
- Best iPod Touch and iPhone Games: 2010 Buyer’s Guide
- 2010: TouchArcade Staff Favorites – Eli
- 2010: TouchArcade Staff Favorites – Blake
- 2010: TouchArcade Staff Favorites – Brad
- 2010: TouchArcade Staff Favorites – Jared
- Best iPod Touch and iPhone Games: 2009 Buyer’s Guide
And now, on to our previous games of the year(s):
2009 Game of the Year
Spider - GameClub, Free - [Lite / iPad] – [Review] – [Forum Thread] – We choose Tiger Style Games’ Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor for our 2009 Game of the Year first and foremost because it’s a great game, but also because it perfectly represented the promise of iPhone gaming. Spider is an original concept built specifically for the iPhone by a small self funded team. It’s this low barrier to entry which provides customers with a huge selection of games including unique and polished gems like Spider. You really should experience this one.
2010 Game of the Year
Space Miner - GameClub, Free - [Lite / iPad] – [Review] – [Forum Thread] – 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.
2010 Runner Up
Carcassonne, $4.99 - [Review] – [Forum Thread] – There are many board games that have made their way to the App Store, but Carcassonne is by far the finest. Online asynchronous multiplayer, Retina Display graphics, universal compatibility, and classic gameplay. It doesn’t get much better than this.
2011 Game of the Year
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, $3.99 - [Review] – [Forum Thread] – Our minds were blown at GDC 2010 when we first got our hands on Sword & Sworcery. The initial experience of playing the game is so powerful that it gave me chills. I really can’t think of any other mobile game that has invoked a similar emotional response that I’ve played in my entire life. Sworcery is an absolute flawless combination of an entirely original soundtrack by Jim Guthrie, pixel art that is easily among the best I’ve ever seen by Craig D. Adams, and the creative genius of Kris Piotrowski along with the proverbial behind-the-scenes glue provided by Capybara Games to bring the whole project together.
2011 Runner Up
Anomaly Warzone Earth HD, $3.99 - [Review] – [Forum Thread] – Tower defense games have always been an App Store staple. It just seems to be a genre that perfectly meshes with both the touch controls of iOS devices, as well as providing an overall gameplay experience that works really well for playing on the go. Unfortunately, it seems there’s only so much you can do in a tower defense game, and even though the past few years have brought some great entries into the genre, they all felt sort of the same. Then, from out of nowhere, comes Anomaly Warzone Earth. In essence, 11 bit studios took the traditional tower defense formula, and flipped it around, offering a whole new take on an otherwise stale section of the App Store.
2011 Honorable Mentions
Infinity Blade II, $6.99 - [Review] – [Forum Thread] – A great sequel to Infinity Blade [$5.99] by Chair Entertainment, Infinity Blade II expands upon the original in every way possible. It’s by far the best looking game on the App Store, and we suspect it will likely serve as the graphical benchmark of what iOS devices are capable of throughout 2012. If you want to stretch the legs of your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch and see what its truly capable of, Infinity Blade II is the game to do it with.
Mage Gauntlet - GameClub, Free - [Review] – [Forum Thread] – Rocketcat Games has had a fabulous track record for releasing phenomenal iOS titles with its Hook series of games, and Mage Gauntlet continues that tradition by being its best game yet. Flawless controls combine with all the retro trimmings to make us warm with nostalgia while feeling modern enough that even people who weren’t around for the great action RPGs of the 16-bit era can appreciate it. Recent updates have improved gameplay even further, and have added universal compatibility. We can’t wait to see what Rocketcat does in 2012.
SpellTower, $2.99 - [Review] – [Forum Thread] – The App Store is home to a plethora of clever puzzle games, and Zach Gage’s SpellTower is our favorite of the year. Gage elegantly combines the simplicity of a word game with the complexity of a strategy game, and its multiple game modes provide something for everyone regardless of whether you like to take your time and hunt for the best words, or be on the clock and racking up points as quickly as possible. We prefer SpellTower on our iPads, but it’s just as much fun on the iPhone and iPod touch as well.