2016 sure was miserable in a lot of ways, but fortunately there were some pretty good games that came out to help take the edge off. For mobile in particular, it was actually an astoundingly great year. So many great games came out that it's hard to choose just 10! In fact, Jessica and I couldn't even agree on one top 10 game between the two of us. Check out her list here if you don't believe me. Here are my top mobile game picks for 2016.
Pathfinder Adventures takes the epic feeling of playing a full Dungeons & Dragons campaign and distills it into a strategic deck-building game. It also gotten a lot of support throughout the year with added content, making it a game worth continuing to play for some time to come.
I'm particularly fond of Twin Peaks, and Kathy Rain is a point-and-click adventure game that's very reminiscent of that show in more ways than one. Add to that some great characters and not-too-obscure puzzle design, and you've got one of the best adventure games out there.
Steins;Gate is one of the most memorable games from this year almost purely because so much happens in it. It's a Japanese visual novel that takes about 20 hours to complete. All the while, you make subtle decisions that can completely alter your story. In games that give players the power to make choices, you can usually see the seams pretty clearly, but Steins;Gate masks them very well, all while telling a story that grows on you.
I don't like crafting games too much, but I sure do like Crashlands. It takes a lot of the annoying aspects of the genre (inventory management, roguelike mechanics) and tosses them all out the window to make a game more focused on getting lost in a world than on pure survival. It sounds like it could make for a boring game, but there are more than enough things that the folks at Butterscotch Shennanigans threw into the game to keep it interesting.
Shadow Blade: Reload is a silky smooth platformer that looks great and offers plenty of challenge. Plus, you play as a ninja that can dodge bullets. After you finish the game the first time, the there are plenty of collectibles and time challenges to give you something to do on subsequent playthroughs. It's hard to ask for more than that.
I have said it once and I'll say it again: Riptide GP: Renegade is the best racing game on iOS. The game plays like a mix between Hydro Thunder and SSX, all while looking awesome, running at a smooth framerate, and having a robust single-player campaign. It used to have some trouble with online matchmaking, but that's been fixed. If you like racing games, go play Riptide GP; Renegade!
Peter Panic! might as well be called WarioWare: The Musical. It's a downright silly game about saving the local theater by fighting a demon that is trying to destroy it. Since the game is about the theater, there are plenty of goofy and charming musical numbers throughout too. Also, did I mention it's basically a WarioWare game, and a pretty darn good one at that?
I hate when strategy games put you in control of expert characters who can sometimes muck up simple actions because of a bad dice roll. A large part of the reason Invisible, Inc. is so great is that this cannot happen. Its random elements are things you can react to knowing that your expert team of hackers are so good at what they do they will not make a mistake. That is, unless you make a mistake for them.
Every once in a while, a game comes out of nowhere and completely knocks you out. This year, that game was Gemini - A Journey of Two Stars. It's a beautiful game about companionship that tells its story using its mechanics and some wonderful music. It's also one of the few games all year that I replayed multiple times.
If you told me at the beginning of this year that the sequel to Banner Saga would be one of my favorite games of 2016, I would've thought you were crazy. I didn't love the first Banner Saga enough to get more than an hour or two in, but Banner Saga 2 gripped me so hard from the start and didn't let go until I hit the end credits. It's a great strategy game, but it's also so much more than that. Banner Saga 2 blends gameplay, storytelling, and art in a way that makes it feel so much more than the sum of its parts, making it my personal Game of the Year.
What are your favorite games of the year? Tell us about it in the comments below!