Our year-end lineup of the best iPhone and iPad games continues! These ten games will have you racing fast and reckless, gathering armies, and solving mysteries. Click ahead for your reviews, buy links, and more.
#40: Hard Lines
Snake is the classic cellphone game, but these days smartphone gamers are looking for something a little more advanced. In Hard Lines, you have to control a line and keep it from bumping into the walls or other lines. As you play, the lines will make snide comments and taunt the other lines, giving a simple shape a lot of extra personality. Plus, Hard Lines has multiple game modes to continually keep the gameplay varied.
Our Bottom Line: You will believe…that lines have feelings, too.
#39: Fast Five the Movie: The Game
2011 was a good year for Gameloft movie games. Like Tintin, we found Fast Five to be an incredible companion app to the film. Fast Five takes Gameloft’s aging Asphalt engine and adds movie-like special effects and stunts. For example, buildings will explode as you pass them by, and you can use Burnout-style rewinds to replay the seconds before an epic crash.
Our Bottom Line: Fast Five is both an amazing licensed movie game and one of the best action-racing games on the App Store.
#38: Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer
Magic: The Gathering hasn’t made its way to iOS, but Ascension: Chronicles of the Godslayer helps fill the fantasy card game void. The great thing about Ascension is that although there’s lots of room for strategy, the game’s mechanics are easy to learn for beginners. Add some eye-catching card artwork and online multiplayer through Game Center, and you’ve got an ideal app for card game aficionados.
Our Bottom Line: More fun than naked “Go Fish.”
#37: Legendary Wars
Legendary Wars is a castle defense game with a colorful art style and a goofy sense of humor. It’s also a serious strategy game with loads of stat boosts, weapon upgrades, level variety, and enough content to keep you coming back for a weeks. It’s so big that you’d hardly know you were playing it on your phone, unless one of your friends texts you in the middle of it. And if they do, you’ll probably ignore it and keep on playing. Legendary Wars is just that good.
Our Bottom Line: Legendary Wars has enough content and variety to keep you playing for a long time to come.
#36: Snuggle Truck
Snuggle Truck caused a bit of a controversy this year. When it was first announced as “Smuggle Truck”, a satire of the illegal immigration issue in America, it made the national news and caused a bit of a stir. In the game, you have to race a car across a rocky landscape while keeping your precious cargo intact. Now, with the game’s immigrants replaced by stuffed animals, Snuggle Truck is a lot more family-friendly and noncontroversial, but just as fun.
Our Bottom Line: Whether you call it Snuggle Truck or Smuggle Truck, this game is an absolute blast.
#35: Angry Birds Rio
When combining the App Store behemoth that is Angry Birds with a blockbuster kids’ movie, developer Rovio could have tossed together a sloppy mess of a game and it still would’ve sold like bonkers. Thankfully, they put the same amount of creativity and care into Angry Birds Rio as they did in the original, and it turned out to be a great game in its own right. As a bonus, they’ve steadily added levels to the game through updates, so there’s plenty of content to play and re-play.
Our Bottom Line: Angry Birds Rio doesn’t change the formula, but it doesn’t need to. Angry Birds Rio is a blast.
#34: Reckless Getaway
From the makers of last year’s Reckless Racing comes a fantastically-designed action-driving game. You play as a getaway driver with the law on your rear bumper. You have to weave through traffic and perform crazy stunts to get away with your stolen loot. Simple controls, excellent graphics, and well-designed levels make Reckless Getaway a fantastic addition to the App Store this year.
Our Bottom Line: Reckless Getaway is top-down driving mayhem at its finest.
Machinarium is proof that there’s still a lot of life left in the classic point-and-click adventure game formula. Adapted from a PC game of the same name, Machinarium puts you in the shoes of Josef, a small robot who’s been tossed in a dumpster at the start of the game. Rescuing Josef’s robot girlfriend from a distant tower requires a lot of brain power, because a heap of clever puzzles stand in your way. With its superior music and graphics, Machinarium is sure to charm just about everyone.
Our Bottom Line: An absolutely brilliant take on the classic point and click adventure plot, with enchanting visuals and sounds, and a plethora of unique challenges that are sure to bend your mind.
#32: Puzzle Agent 2
Agent Tethers’ first foray into Scoggins, a snow-covered, sleepy town with a mischievous gnome problem, left us wanting more. This year, Puzzle Agent 2 took us back to Scoggins and expanded on the original’s story, especially the townsfolk’s fascination with the “wee folk”. With a great mystery to uncover and dozens of devious puzzles, Puzzle Agent 2 was one of Telltale’s best iOS games this year.
Our Bottom Line: When it comes to well-planned zaniness, Puzzle Agent 2 delivers in spades.
#31: The Heist
Puzzle games are a dime a dozen on the App Store, but almost none of them have the style and variety of The Heist. The game is set up like a thriller movie, and your job is to bust open a vault. To do that, you must solve a number of puzzles that come in four different varieties. Each puzzle type is fun to play, and you get closer to opening the vault with each puzzle you solve. It’s a brilliant set-up and a top-notch game that any puzzle fan will enjoy.
Our Bottom Line: The Heist will own you from start to finish.
You can read the first part of our 50 Best iOS Games of 2011 series here.