One year after another, everyone always gets consumed with the latest and greatest games. People are usually focused on what’s next, and that was the case for me as well in most situations. However, after not giving much appreciation to shmups on iOS, my mind was changed after reviewing Danmaku Unlimited 2 earlier this year. All of a sudden I didn’t mind the idea of using my finger to play shmups rather than my previously preferred method of a console controller. This year, being focused on the present also reminded me of previously-released games and making a journey into familiar addictions; but this time on iOS.

One of the best things about shooters is that they usually come with a good scoring system for the leaderboards. I love shooters, so I am greatly addicted to high score runs and placing myself near the top of the rankings. So naturally with my new found love for shooters on iOS came an even bigger addiction to placing as high of a score as possible on Game Center leaderboards. All of a sudden I wasn’t just reviewing games like Danmaku Unlimited 2, Plasma Sky, and Liberation Maiden; I was learning to master them by earning a respectable placement on the leaderboards and then sharing that with friends.

I pretty much did my best to put up a quality time or score on all games I reviewed this year that came with a leaderboard. 2013 was also a year of Game Center addiction.

This new found love of shooters and the Game Center leaderboards also led me to playing games that ended up being favorites: Bug Princess 2: Black Label, Espgaluda II, and Raiden Legacy. In fact, I got so pulled in to Raiden Legacy with Raiden Fighters Jet that I ended up putting a top 25 score on those leaderboards at the time. I also enjoyed Dodonpachi, Rayforce, Raystorm, and most shooters that made their way on the platform - though I’ve come across plenty of rather dull ones as well.

Raiden Legacy was quite the surprise as I couldn’t put down Raiden Fighter Aces on the Xbox 360. This became an all-new familiar addiction on a platform that I didn’t expect to enjoy it on quite as much. I even prefer the iOS version over the console version.

I also stumbled across Mutant Storm, which is another favorite of mine on the 360. It’s quite an enjoyable experience on iOS and I had a great time working my way up its leaderboard. Even though I did enjoy the game on the iPad, the need for a controller is just too important when it comes to playing twin-stick shooters.

Another review I did this year took me back to a series that I was familiar with on another platform, but found true love on iOS. DJ Max Portable was my first love on the PlayStation Portable, and actually ended up being one of my all-time favorite games. When I saw DJ Max Ray on the App Store, I knew immediately that I had to get my hands on it. Of course I fell in love and actually enjoyed the touchscreen gameplay far more than the button gameplay on the PSP. With a few good songs that are free and plenty of classic content, this easily became a favorite of mine this year.

The DJ Max experience on the iPad led me to a beat-matching gaming obsession on iOS where I found games like ReRave, Pulse, Cytus, and even Groove Coaster to fall in love with. ReRave became a real winner with one of my favorite songs, Chica bomb, which even after getting a great score I can’t seem to stay away from. That’s the important thing about these games: each one of them has at least one song that makes them worth playing.

iOS is a fantastic platform for beat-matching titles where tapping the screen at the right moment is ideal for groove setting, rather than tapping A, B, X, Y at the right moment. This year I was able to discover how games like DJ Max Ray and ReRave are great for beat-matching music games on iOS. Those two really set the tone for the genre on iOS, and I can’t wait to see more games in the future with the same quality tunes and addicting gameplay to groove along to.

With so many games releasing week after week, it’s sometimes difficult to see all the quality that gets put out there each year - and that can lead to missing out some truly special moments. 2013 became a year of finding familiar titles to fall in love with all over again on an entirely different platform. It also led to the discovery of additional great games in genre’s that take advantage of the touch screen in ways that consoles can’t. While 2013 saw a lot of excellent releases, I’m more thankful for the discovery - or rediscovery - of games that never caught my eye or I didn’t give much attention to a year or two ago.

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