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Favorite Fifty: 148Apps Best Games of 2011: 16 - 25

Posted by Carter Dotson on December 26th, 2011

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.

FrEEday Vol 49

Posted by Chris Nitz on June 17th, 2011

Army of Darkness Defense:
A kick-ass deal has arrived just in time for the weekend. Army of Darkness Defense is FREE for a very limited time, and this means anyone debating if this is worth picking up no longer has an excuse for not snagging this game. This is a casual defense game set in the classic Army of Darkness world. Players take on the role of Ash as he defends Lord Arthur's castle from the mass of evil undead. Packed with quotes from the movie, leaderboards, and endless deployability, there is a lot here for a hefty price of nothing. Grab those boomsticks, it is time to put down some undead baddies.

3D MMO Celtic Heroes:
iOS is proving to be a worthy platform for MMOs, and that goodness passes on to this free game. Players can expect plenty of questing, lots of dungeons to conquer, and a bounty of tests for groups of adventurers. Choose from classes like the warrior, mage, or rogue and head out into this medieval Celtic world packed with magic and mythology. This one is sure to suck away plenty of hours of free time!

Ghost Harvest:
Forget veggies and cows, this farm game is all about cultivating a sweet cemetery. Players will grow their cemeteries by fending off reporters along with those irritating ghost hunters, all while spending hard earned money on landscaping and tombstones. Just usher the souls to the afterlife and build the best cemetery the world has ever known.

Virtual Table Tennis Pro:
It is time to grab those virtual paddles and practice those table tennis skills. Players will be graced with various modes of play like practice, arcade, and tournament modes, all which will be enhanced with the animated tutorials teaching newcomers the nuances of this popular game. The game boasts a great AI system that takes on various behaviors like reaction timing and speed, endurance, and defensive capabilities. Ping-Pong in the office is now be a reality!

Pocket City:
Gamers who want to build their own marvelous city, but do not want to deal with all the hassles of running for mayor or establishing their own village now have another option. Pocket City puts players at the helm of creation and lets them build a city exactly how they want. Increase population by building homes and providing new citizens work by building factories, business centers, and community centers. The game is bright and colorful, along with coming to life thanks to wonderful animations of people walking the streets and vehicles driving around. Being a mayor can be so hard at times!

Army of Darkness Defense Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Carter Dotson on May 18th, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: GROOVY
Army of Darkness Defense is a castle defense game based on the Bruce Campbell movie that puts players in charge of defending a castle from hordes of the undead.
Read The Full Review »

Backflip Reveals "Army of Darkness: Defense"

Posted by Carter Dotson on April 28th, 2011

Hail to the king, baby! Backflip Studios are bringing the cult Evil Dead franchise's 3rd installment Army of Darkness and Bruce Campbell's famous protagonist Ash to the App Store with Army of Darkness: Defense. This castle defense game puts you in control of Ash as he tries to defend a medieval castle from the armies of the undead, known as the Deadites.

The game, created in partnership with MGM Studios, and based upon the movie of the same name, features over 150 lines of dialogue from the movie. The camera focuses on Ash as you play, but features otherwise traditional castle defense gameplay, as you have to summon and upgrade troops like peasants, swordsmen, spearmen, archers, and even Arthur to help you protect this castle. Ash can be upgraded to help dispatch the undead using gold you collect or pay for with in-app purchases. Backflip insists that these in-app purchases are purely optional, and just there for users who want a quick boost. You can upgrade your health, damage, chainsaw, broomstick, iron glove, and various spells with the gold you collect. Oh, and you can upgrade your castle with the Necronomicon itself to help protect you from the Deadites, including evil Ash.

The game will release on May 12th, and will cost $0.99 for the iPhone/iPod touch version, and $2.99 for the iPad version. Backflip promises that the game will be perfectly accessible even to those who aren't familiar with the franchise at all, although there is plenty of fanservice for those who are familiar with the franchise. As Backflip CEO Julian Farrior puts it, “We’re excited to be partnering with MGM on this project and to say that our studio is a fan of the Army of Darkness film would be a gross understatement. This has truly been a labor of love where we have had the joy of working with some of the best movie dialogue and characters out there. Our goal was to create a truly compelling mobile castle defense game and layer it with this rich and whimsical IP that already had a mass following. We think this game will be fun for the AOD fanboy and newbie alike.” Backflip has a tradition of addictive games, with 95 million downloads of their titles across iOS and Android, and this shows promise to be part of that tradition. As well as this game, Backflip is launching several new free games in May and June, and Ragdoll Blaster 3 is currently in development. Check out some screens and a trailer of Army of Darkness: Defense below.

Army of Darkness: Defense (Backflip Studios / MGM) from Backflip Studios on Vimeo.