In what was another fantastic year in the world of iOS apps & games, we are here to bring you the fifty titles that we, the staff of 148Apps, thought were the best of the year. Here are the gaming titles 16 - 25 in our Best Games of 2011:
25. SpellTower: Zach Gage's second iOS release is another smash, as SpellTower proved to be a fun take on the ever-popular word game genre. It comes with some special restrictions to force more creative word usage, and the requirement to make words out of nearby tiles, managing the tile stack as well as trying to form words causes the game to have a deeper dynamic than many word games have.
24. Hard Lines: I did not know it was possible for lines that are only one pixel wide to have character, but these lines shout out constant witticisms while they try to make them crash into each other. A variety of modes are featured throughout this Tron lightcycles and Snake hybrid, along with the ability to compete against friends' high scores. Nothing like a good old high score battle to get the blood pumping, and to develop a little bit of hatred between friends that keeps the relationship strong!
23. Mega Mall Story: Kairosoft put out a ton of their simulation games on iOS this year; any one of them probably deserved to be in this slot, but Mega Mall Story gets the nod by taking elements from tower-building titles, with that signature Kairosoft charm to make it an experience that 148Apps writer Rob Rich is on record as saying that it made him squee. He said he squeed on the inside, but I leave it to our audience to judge the accuracy of the claim themselves.
22. Mission Europa Collector's Edition: iOS games typically shoot for a smaller focus than the other systems do, going for short-term, repeatable experiences. Mission Europa throws that out the window, bringing an original, and expansive first-person shooter with RPG elements to the platform. In the vein of such titles like System Shock (and its more well-known modern spiritual successor BioShock), this iOS original is proud to be big in a small world.
21. Sonic CD - 2 years ago, a Sonic fan named Christian Whitehead pitched Sega on an idea for an iOS port of Sonic CD using a custom engine he designed for bringing retro games to new platforms. Two years later, the results are about as perfect as they could have possibly been, as the game has been redone in perfect fashion, with new tweaks and extras, including the ability to listen to either the American or Japanese soundtrack. It's about as perfect as it could possibly be, and one can only hope that more Sonic games are brought to iOS in similar fashion.
20. The Blocks Cometh: This game really grew on me after a while, once the initial control issues were resolved. The climbing gameplay with action elements really shines through - like Mega Man in the middle of a Tetris stack. The update later in the year adding a new Game Boy-inspired mode, new Arcade and Casual modes, along with a landscape control option helped seal this among one of the best titles of the year.
19. Junk Jack: The most important game of 2011 may be Minecraft; it showed how one indie studio could make a million-seller without any traditional publisher support. Its open-world crafting gameplay was also brought to iOS, but it was alternative interpretations on the platform that may have been stronger overall. Junk Jack brings its own pixel art style to the table with 2D gameplay, but with all the resource harvesting, crafting, and survival intact.
18. Anomaly Warzone Earth: I'm surprised, frankly, that more games like this haven't been made yet, by which I mean tower offense, controlling the invaders among the winding paths and entrenched turrets that are usually the player's job to lay down. The game wisely tweaks the concept enough to let it feel like it has its own strategy and planning that is truly unique to this kind of game. It would be hard to imagine that any other interpretation of tower offense would fare much better.
17. The Last Rocket: Shaun Inman, artist of the number one game in the "Sky is Falling" genre, The Incident, developed this little puzzle-platformer that was downright charming. Controlling an anthropomorphic rocket trying to escape from a factory, the levels were often challenging but required thought to complete properly. The 16-bit-esque design aesthetic only added to the game's charm.
16. Army of Darkness Defense: Here's a dirty little secret: I don't watch a lot of movies. Whenever a friend asks me if I've seen a certain movie, the answer is usually a resounding no. I haven't seen the Evil Dead trilogy at all. That didn't stop me from enjoying this game, which was a castle defense game mixed with side-scrolling action. The simple controls were perfect for mobile, the gameplay laid its hooks into me. I played it for hours on a plane ride in to Chicago, continuing to fight off the Deadite hordes with my boomstick. I was so compelled to write the review for the game that I actually wrote it on my phone while on a commuter train! Is that not motivation?
Come back on Wednesday to see the titles we ranked 15-6.