The end of 2014 is almost here, which can only mean one thing.
Okay it can mean a lot of things, but in this specific context it means Game of the Year lists!
Which is why the 148Apps staff have all picked their favorites from the past year. And why we've put them all into one handy list for you all to enjoy. It's a nice list, too. Lots of variety and even a few free downloads that are worth checking out. So give it a look, and if you agree (or even if you disagree) please chime in below!
Puzzle to the Center of the Earth feels like a breath of fresh air compared to most everything else I played this year. It's a fair free-to-play puzzle game that encourages and rewards patience in all of the best ways and none of the bad. It's also a platformer that requires forethought and strategy rather than reflexes.
Unlike other mobile games like it, Puzzle to the Center of the Earth is not pushing players to make huge combos or speed-run through levels. Instead they can take their time planning out the best courses through a cave, much like an actual spelunker might (albeit with the power to carve out paths by magically matching blocks). It's a super well made game that isn't scared to have players get lost in its levels for a good while, which makes it unique as a puzzle game. For a mobile title, it strikes a fantastic balance of being engrossing, replayable, rewarding, and light enough for playing on the go, all of which lend to it being my favorite mobile game of 2014. - [Campbell Bird]
When I heard that an original Hitman game would be coming to iOS, like plenty of other people I couldn't wait to cheese wire a guy to death while disguised as a security guard before popping another target in the face with my silenced pistol, all while waiting for a bus. When Hitman GO was released, many were initially disappointed to find that wasn't the case. However, after playing what is a deceptively simple and infectious game of strategy for a short time, many (including myself) were hooked.
Hitman GO looks like the board game you wish your family would play at Christmas (put away the Cluedo box, grandma) with its sheen and minimalistic graphics that just ooze class akin to the suit Agent 47 is known for. Combine that with accessible gameplay that calls for multiple play-throughs thanks to the variety of challenges available, forcing players to tackle levels in different ways, and you have a winner in Hitman GO. It's a game that should be on everyone's hit list - [Lee Hamelet]
As a fan of Formula One and management games, Motorsport ManagerXCOM: Enemy Within are more well known for.
In the meta-game, players need to manage their team to improve driving talent, young driver program, engineers, and team facilities, all with the end goal of coming out with a faster, most reliable vehicle whilst not putting their finances into the red by spending wisely. Meanwhile the Grand Prix themselves serve as the micro, with swift experimentation needed to succeed in qualifying and even swifter decision making needed to judge the correct pit-stop and tire strategy for the race itself. - [Ellis Spice]
What can I say about Hearthstone that hasn't already been said? It's frighteningly addictive. It's easy to pick up, yet hard to master. And while microtransactions are totally available, in the close to a year that I've been playing it (since it started in beta on PC), I haven't once been tempted to drop actual, real-world money on it. But above all that, did I mention that it's just a heck of a lot of fun? Because that's what matters, right? If I want to spend all evening grinding away at ranked play, or if I'd rather just casually sling cards around while being distracted by television on the couch, Hearthstone is there for me.
Wizards of the Coast may still be the 800 pound gorilla of the industry with Magic: The Gathering, but their digital adaptations still suffer from the same denseness and learning curve their tabletop versions suffer from, and that may be off-putting to newcomers. If somebody was going to make a collectable card game that was going to break through into the mainstream and rope in the newbies in droves, it was Blizzard. We knew it all along. - [Rob Thomas]
Threes! looks so, so simple, you think it'd become boring after a time. It doesn't, though. Simply swiping numbers together attempting to create the biggest selection of numbers possible is truly wonderful. It can take seconds or minutes to play, depending on your play style, but you can achieve a lot in that time.
I'm consistently mediocre at it, never challenging anyone's high scores, but it's still fun. There's a surprising amount of depth to such a simple experience with plenty of strategies to discuss. I've had many discussions on Twitter over the best way to get those high scores up. Accessible to all, Threes! is a great example of what works so well on the mobile format. - [Jen Allen]
When I first read our five-star review of Threes!, I admit I was a little skeptical. It just seemed like yet another casual puzzle game on a platform that's already overflowing with them. But after spending countless hours learning the intricacies of the numerical gameplay, introducing it to my friends, desperately competing for high scores, and watching as the depth of the mechanics slowly revealed itself to me, it's safe to say I've been convinced.
Threes! does what all brilliant, nearly perfect portable puzzle games do: it colonizes your brain, shifts your thought processes, and demolishes your battery life. It's inspired robots, pornography blogs, and cosplay outfits. And on top of all that, its music and pastel art style are way more pleasant and adorable than a game about numbers and blocks has any right to be. Threes! is phenomenal. Accept no substitutes. - Jordan Minor
When Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi announced his jump to mobile free-to-play, those of us that grew up with his 8 and 16-bit masterpieces died a little inside. We all expected some hastily slapped-together freemium cash grab devoid of spirit and life. What we actually got - a unique strategy game called Terra Battle - proves that free mobile games can still be highly-polished, good-looking, and most importantly, fun.
Terra Battle takes the stronger elements from Puzzle & Dragons, and moulds it into a final product that's uniquely Sakaguchi. The character designs are interesting, the story is worth following, and the soundtrack, composed by game music master Nobuo Uematsu, is sublime. - [Nadia Oxford]
My love of X-Com runs deep. Once upon a time I used to spend I couldn't even tell you how many hours playing that thing. My proudest moment was making it far enough in the game that all my soldiers had flying armor and plasma rifles, were assaulting alien bases, and I hadn't suffered a single casualty along the way. Apparently I'm still quite proud of that.
Anyway, XCOM: Enemy Within takes the classic X-Com formula, refines and distills it, and leaves us with a game I might even consider more of a favorite than the PC classic it's based on. Not only can I now have an elite squad of specialized soldiers, but I can command cybernetic death machines that can punch badguys through walls. Punch them through walls. To call it my favorite iOS game from 2014 would be a bit of an understatement. - [Rob Rich]