The 50 Best iOS Games of 2011: #50-1

In case you’ve been busy spending the holidays with friends and family, or just cross-country skiing to the North Pole, here’s our recap of last week’s epic, five-part series on the 50 best iOS games of 2011. How many do you own?

#50: Temple Run

In 2011, independent developers Imangi Studios had their biggest hit yet: The endless running game Temple Run. A cross between Canabalt and Raiders of the Lost Ark, in Temple Run you have to make split-second decisions and quick button presses to try to survive. The combinations of simple swipes and tilt controls, plus Temple Run’s freemium pricing and stylish 3D graphics, made it one of the year’s best high-score survival games.

Our Bottom Line: Now is your chance to be Indiana Jones.

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#49: Tapper World Tour

After nearly 30 years, the Tapper license awoke from a drunken stupor to revel in the App Store. Tapper World Tour is a remake of the 1983 arcade original, where you slide drinks across a bar to slate patrons’ thirst. The new version adds incredible character designs and environments, plus extra minigames and gameplay twists, like specialty cocktails, as a chaser.

Our Bottom Line: With a fresh coat of paint and new touch controls, Tapper is ready for another round in World Tour.

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#48: Crimson: Steam Pirates

Playing Crimson: Steam Pirates is like cracking open a classic adventure novel and getting lost in a tale of swashbuckling on the high seas. While the story is pure pulp, the gameplay is more like chess. You plan out how your fleet of ships is going to get to your objective, and watch as it plays out. Lots of love was put into this game, which should come as no surprise, because it’s made by Bungie, the company responsible for Halo.

Our Bottom Line: Crimson: Steam Pirates is like a good book and a game of chess rolled into one Must Have download.

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#47: The Adventures of Tintin

Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg’s animated tribute to the journalist/detective Tintin is still in theaters, but Gameloft’s movie version offers hours of entertainment, too. Like they did with Avatar a few years ago, Gameloft’s companion game for Tintin extends the movie’s story, with tons of interactive elements like rapidly changing minigames and hunts for hidden puzzle pieces and coins. If you loved the movie, buy this game.

Our Bottom Line: Tintin provides a mesmerizing journey spanning many environments, with enough variety and humor to keep you engaged for hours.

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#46: Edge Extended

As the title suggests, Edge Extended is a game full of corners. You control a cube through a series of boxy mazes suspended over a black void. Your goal is to get to the end as quickly as possible without falling into oblivion, while picking up the scattered prisms for extra points. The game is surprisingly stylish, with flashes of color and thumping techno music creating an appealing backdrop. Even if you played the original game, you don’t want to miss this Extended edition.

Our Bottom Line: The most fun you’ll have with a square.

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#45: iStunt 2

In iStunt 2, you control a suicidal snowboarder dead-set on tackling the most insane obstacle courses imaginable. Each level sends you through huge loops and over wild jumps, and all it asks of you is to make sure your extreme sportsman lands board-side down. As you progress, this becomes more and more of a challenge, because soon the game starts flipping gravity on you, boosting your speed, and tossing giant saw blades in your way. It’s a wild ride that’s well worth taking.

Our Bottom Line: iStunt 2 feels less like a snowboarding game and more like a face-melting interactive roller coaster. That’s not a bad thing.

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#44: Coin Drop!

Years ago, Popcap’s Peggle blew the lid off of physics-based action-puzzle games, and Coin Drop! is its spiritual successor. Instead of shooting balls into a grid, you have to drop them, but you can also shake the device to tilt the playing field in your favor. The 1-3 star scoring system, vibrant graphics, and bonus objectives like rescuing girl coins and destroying blocks mean that Coin Drop offers a whole lot of challenging fun for a low price.

Our Bottom Line: Coin Drop is a gorgeous game that’s a perfect fit on the iPhone.

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#43: League of Evil

If you grew up playing old-school titles like Mega Man and Bionic Commando, the retro-style League of Evil is right up your alley. In it, you control an 8-bit cyborg who must navigate treacherous levels full of spikes, swinging hammers, lasers, and enemies, in a quest to kill the evil scientist waiting at the end. And if you want to try it before you buy it, check out the flash version online.

Our Bottom Line: League of Evil proves that challenging bite-sized levels are where platforming is at its best.

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#42: Poker Pals

Last year we included Sword and Poker 2 on our Top 50, and this year another mind-bending poker puzzle game made the list. Chillingo’s Poker Pals is a combination of Scrabble and poker, as you lay down hands of five cards that you share on the board with your opponent. That ace of spades you just played might give your opponent a royal flush, making every round unpredictable. The best part? You can play against your pals online.

Our Bottom Line: Poker Pals is the next great multiplayer game for iPhone.

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#41: Hot Spring Story

Kairosoft, the developer of Game Dev Story, has already secured its place as one of the top makers of strategy/sim games on iOS. Hot Springs Story showcases some of their best work yet, by handing you the reins of a day spa and asking you to make a financial killing. From the lovingly detailed pixel art to the surprisingly deep strategy mechanics, Hot Springs Story is a wonderful addition to Kairosoft’s library.

Our Bottom Line: Hot Springs Story is the follow-up to Game Dev Story that fans have been clamoring for.

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#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.

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#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.

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#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.”

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#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.

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#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.

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#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.

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#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.

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#33: Machinarium

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.

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#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.

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#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.

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#30: Anomaly Warzone Earth HD

Billed as a “tower defense game turned on its head,” Anomaly Warzone Earth HD has you play as an army advancing through levels filled with enemy defense towers. You’ll choose your route through the levels, and once you start moving, you can’t stop. The game features a ton of different unit types and enemy towers, as well as power-ups and other variables. It all adds up to a strategy game that’s bigger and deeper than just about anything else on iOS.

Our Bottom Line: A great twist on the now-tired tower defense genre, and one of the best games of the year.

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#29: Dream:scape

Few iOS games transport you to another time and place like Dream:scape. You play as a recently deceased man named Wilson, who finds himself transported to the rural land of his childhood. As you explore the gorgeous, lonely environment, you piece together the story of your life, learning hidden secrets along the way. The result is a dreamy, beautiful adventure game that becomes increasingly compelling and sinister as you progress. This is a game that’s not to be missed.

Our Bottom Line: Dream:scape is an immersive and intriguing mystery/ adventure game that will keep you playing to the end.

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#28: Death Rally

Racing games often feel chaotic, but Death Rally adds firepower to the equation. Strapped to your car is a standard machine gun that shoots whenever an opponent is in front of you, plus a limited-use weapon like a missile launcher. Better yet, after each race you can upgrade your car’s speed, handling, and armor. It’s so fun and addictive that you won’t want to stop playing until you’ve maxed out every car in your garage.

Our Bottom Line: What Death Rally lacks in content and features, it makes up for with customization and intensely fun gameplay.

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#27: Gears

In Gears, the little marble you have to roll from one side of the world to another isn’t actually the main character. Instead, the scene is stolen by… the scenery. Each level in Gears is elegantly designed, filled with rollercoaster-like ramps and tricky traps. The controls work especially well for a marble-rolling game, too– you can choose to swipe to roll, or very carefully tilt your device. If you’re dexterous, Gears is the game for you.

Our Bottom Line: Gears is a beautiful, challenging, and epic ball-rolling game. This iPhone genre will never be the same.

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#26: Monsters Ate My Condo

Adult Swim’s fast-paced matching game is one of the funniest– and best– of the year. You have to feed floors of a shaky condominium to monsters on either side. If you feed them a color they like, you’ll score points, but if you feed them a bad color, they’ll get angry and start to wreck the place. The music, character design, and speedy gameplay all help make this one fantastic, mind-bending game.

Our Bottom Line: Monsters Ate My Condo is a satisfying slice of lunacy.

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#25: DJ Rivals

Booyah, makers of the GPS social game MyTown, scored a big hit this year with DJ Rivals. A combination of MyTown and rhythm games like Guitar Hero, in DJ Rivals you have to challenge other players to become the “House DJ” at real-world locations. By beating them in a timing-based music minigame, you can earn more cash and unlock new musical attacks.

Our Bottom Line: DJ Rivals is one of a kind: A well-produced, massively-multiplayer, location-based rhythm game.

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#24: Aquaria

In Aquaria, an iPad port of the indie PC game, you’ll explore an underwater world through the eyes of a mermaid named Naija. As you swim through caverns and coral reefs, singing songs to combat enemies and solve puzzles, you’ll be able to access new areas. Gorgeous environments and a relaxing atmosphere mean Aquaria is the perfect game to unwind with.

Our Bottom Line: Aquaria is a great 2D adventure in the mold of Metroid, perfect for any gamer who loves a hefty dose of exploration with their action.

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#23: Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Shadow Vanguard

Gameloft is known for their superior iOS shooters, and when you play Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Shadow Vanguard, it’s easy to see why. The controls are tight, the campaign is satisfying, and the online multiplayer is fantastic. And in keeping with the series, you’ll find yourself breaching doors and rescuing hostages with a team instead of going solo. If any shooter will keep you coming back for more, it’s this one.

Our Bottom Line: The tactical team-based combat in Shadow Vanguard adds a fresh layer to Gameloft’s terrific FPS formula.

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#22: Contre Jour

Chillingo’s artsy platformer combines many different elements. It’s partially inspired by the children’s book The Little Prince, with its small yet mysterious worlds. It also shares a visual style with the console and PC game Limbo, and adds the simple goals of iOS physics puzzlers like Cut The Rope. By altering the landscape or swinging your tentacle on hooks, Contre Jour will have you navigating a hostile world that is just as deadly as it is inviting.

Our Bottom Line: Contre Jour gets its hooks in you right from the start– and what beautiful hooks they are.

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#21: Disc Drivin’

Disc Drivin’ actually came out at the end of 2010, but it received a major update in early 2011 that made it the Must Have game it is today. The gameplay is kind of like Mario Kart meets shuffleboard. Each match takes place over asynchronous online multiplayer, and you race other players by flicking a disc around various floating, curvy tracks. You can also collect power-ups that grant you special powers, like speed boosts or bombs that blast other players off the sides. In fact, some members of our staff wasted more time with Disc Drivin’ than any other game this year. It’s a total blast.

Our Bottom Line: Disc Drivin’ is an addictive, turn-based multiplayer racer that will keep you flicking day in and day out.

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#20: King of Fighters -i

Fighting games have fallen in popularity over the past decade, but when a game as good as King of Fighters-i comes out, it proves that they’re not dead yet. Previously, Street Fighter IV and Volt were the premier fighting games on iOS, but King of Fighters-i equals them on just about every level. The controls are terrific, the level of polish is amazing, and you can just about feel the bone-cracking attacks. This is a title that should be on every fighting fan’s device.

Our Bottom Line: The King of Fighters-i is a top-notch fighter that’s sure to please any fighting game fan.

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#19: Starfront: Collision

StarFront: Collision is Gameloft’s not-so-subtle take on the real-time strategy juggernaut StarCraft, and like lots of their games, it paid off handsomely. Make no mistake, this is a fully-featured real-time strategy game, with a long single-player campaign and a deep multiplayer mode. One of the most impressive accomplishments here is that they managed to squeeze all of the controls necessary to create, maintain, and direct an entire army onto the iPhone’s screen, and make it accessible to RTS addicts and newcomers alike. Strategy fans, rejoice.

Our Bottom Line: Starfront: Collision is deep enough to appeal to hardcore RTS fans, but also approachable to newcomers.

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#18: Mos Speedrun

Some games have a retro aesthetic, but Mos Speedrun has a retro soul. This 2D platformer looks like it was ripped straight out of the early ’90s, which turns out to be a very good thing. It also has some very tricky level designs, but it delivers the pitch-perfect controls necessary to master them. Each level has several goals, but as at the title implies, speedrunning is the most important. To get the speed achievements, every nanosecond counts, and level memorization is a must. Luckily, the game is fun and addictive enough to make re-playing the levels a pleasure rather than a pain.

Our Bottom Line: Mos Speedrun is a well-made platformer that encourages you to play the game in a way you probably wouldn’t otherwise.

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#17: Kami Retro

Kami Retro is a candy-coated masterpiece from Gamevil that combines two great genres: action-based platformers, and thoughtful physics puzzlers. First, you have to place platforms, fans, and other objects in the environment. Then, you tap to make your little guys carefully jump and cross to the exit. With four characters onscreen at once, and a visual style that’s like a digital sugar rush, Kami Retro is one of the most intense and satisfying platformers on the App Store.

Our Bottom Line: This masterful, retro-themed gem belongs in every iOS gamer’s collection.

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#16: Another World – 20th Anniversary

Even if you never played this cinematic game on old-school consoles and computers, now you can buy the ultimate edition on the App Store. Another World – 20th Anniversary offers cleaned-up graphics, but retains the original game’s groundbreaking animation and storytelling. Throughout this adventure, you’ll cause a flood, pilot a battle tank, and disintegrate more than a few hostile life forms. Another World is a memorable sci-fi game that’s still a classic.

Our Bottom Line: After 20 years, Another World still shines as a singular and creative action-adventure game.

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#15: NBA Jam by EA Sports

EA Sports was on fire when they released a new iOS version of NBA Jam this year. The iPhone version is fast and fun to play, with accessible arcade controls and goofy, big-headed NBA players. We had a blast running up the scoreboard with outrageous dunks and knocking down opponents who got in our face. If we had to pick our iOS sports game of the year, this would be it.

Our Bottom Line: NBA Jam is an arcade classic that’s fully updated for the iPhone– except for the lack of multiplayer.

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#14: Order and Chaos Online

Not many developers are capable of creating an MMO of the magnitude of Order & Chaos Online. Gameloft is the only one to have actually done it, and it turned out even better than we’d hoped. A World of Warcraft clone through and through, Order & Chaos Online is a huge game, with a wide range of environments, quests, and abilities. Considering its scope and execution, it’s also an incredible achievement– one that any MMO fan ought to try.

Our Bottom Line: Order & Chaos Online sets a new bar for Gameloft. It is hands down the best MMO on the platform and will be hard to top, short of Blizzard entering the fray.

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#13: Hanging With Friends

Asynchronous play is something we’re watching in 2012. Even if your friends aren’t online this very second, you should still be able to play a game with them back and forth. Hanging with Friends is one of the year’s most successful asynchronous multiplayer games, letting you send Hangman-style puzzles to your friends and watching them fall into a volcano if they miss too many letters. It’s charming, easy to understand, and very difficult to stop playing.

Our Bottom Line: If you like hangman and Scrabble, you’ll be down with Hanging With Friends.

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#12: Sonic CD

Thanks to Sonic CD being released originally for the Sega CD, not many people played the game when it first came out. That’s a shame, because it’s one of the best Sonic titles ever made. Thankfully, this new version is everything we could ask for in an iOS port. The graphics are bright and gorgeous, the game runs with a silky smooth frame rate, and the controls are flawlessly executed. If you’ve ever enjoyed a Sonic game on any platform, Sonic CD is a Must Have.

Our Bottom Line: Sonic CD is a terrific port of a great, under-appreciated Sonic game.

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#11: Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation

To date, Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation is our pick for best online first-person shooter on iOS. A shameless rip of the Call of Duty Modern Warfare series, Modern Combat 3 contains a lengthy single-player campaign, along with the most robust multiplayer we’ve seen yet. Each kill nets you points that let you level up and unlock new weapons and abilities. With a variety of maps that allow 12-person battles, the fighting is tough and rewarding in equal measure. Pick this one up to get your frag on wherever you go.

Our Bottom Line: Buy Modern Combat 3 for the multiplayer mode, not the by-the-numbers campaign.

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#10: Mage Gauntlet

Mage Gauntlet is Rocketcat Games’ most ambitious title yet, and all that effort paid off magnificently. Infused with the developer’s delightful humor and pixel-perfect 16-bit art, Mage Gauntlet gives you a satisfying array of attacks and puts you up against hordes of enemies. Before long you’ll be performing a dance of death, slaughtering baddies with every step as you make your way through the levels. The game has tons of content and lots of replay value, making it one of the year’s best for anyone with an iOS device.

Our Bottom Line: If you fondly remember the days of 16-bit action RPGs, then it doesn’t get much better than Mage Gauntlet. In fact, gaming doesn’t get much better.

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#9: Spy Mouse

Firemint’s cartoonish sneaking game Spy Mouse is so full of content that it could easily be released for another system for $40 and no one would complain. You play as a hungry mouse who wants nothing more than to grab a cheese dinner without being caught by patrolling cats. The controls are intuitive, the levels are varied, and the boss battles are epic. Best of all, the game appeals to players of all ages, so everyone in your family can enjoy it.

Our Bottom Line: Spy Mouse offers just about everything we look for in an iOS game.

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#8: Tiny Tower

In a year full of freemium iOS games, only a handful broke new ground. Tiny Tower, a sim game from Pocket Frogs developer NimbleBit, was easily the best. One look at this tiny, pixel-art world of coffee shops, restaurants, and Mapple Stores, and we were hooked. Tiny Tower has added even more gameplay features since it launched, making it the most addictive social sandbox since FarmVille.

Our Bottom Line: Tiny Tower represents the next great chapter in freemium games. Call it Farmville 2.0.

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#7: Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP

A perfect storm of indie art cred led three Toronto-based artists (game developers Capy Games, musician Jim Guthrie, and digital artist Superbrothers) to create this iOS masterpiece. Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP is the haunting adventure of a warrior known as the Scythian, who uncovers an ancient book called the Megatome. Even though it’s a short game, Sworcery is memorable for its fantastic art style and minimalist presentation. We’re hoping this is more than just a one-off project, because we can’t wait to revisit the world of Sworcery.

Our Bottom Line: Sword and Sworcery has some of the most amazing visuals and music of any iPad game, but the gameplay leaves something to be desired.

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#6: Tiny Wings

One of the year’s most successful new games was bird-based, but it wasn’t Angry Birds or one of its many spin-offs. Tiny Wings, a timing-based flying game, inspired scores of imitators due to its simple (but instantly understandable) controls. By pressing on the screen, you could send your bird diving into wave-like hills, soaring through the levels if you got into the right groove. But Tiny Wings’ real lasting legacy might be the achievements that unlock score multiplies– a feature we’ve seen in dozens of games since.

Our Bottom Line: Tiny Wings is brilliant in its simplicity, originality, and ability to keep you coming back again and again.

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#5: Epoch

We’re big fans of cover-based shooters, but until Epoch hit the App Store, no truly great ones had come out on iOS. Epoch takes the idea of the cover-based shooter and re-engineers it to work on a touchscreen. The result is an intense, acrobatic, reflex-testing game that’s almost as fun to watch as it is to play. But what gives the game legs is the deep leveling and inventory system you can play with between levels. It doesn’t hurt that the game is eye-poppingly gorgeous, either.

Our Bottom Line: A terrific and amazing-looking action game with perfect slide-based controls and exceptional action.

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#4: Where’s My Water?

Last year, our favorite physics puzzler was Cut The Rope, but Where’s My Water? is just as fun. In this game, you have to connect the alligator Swampy with a supply of clean water so he can take a bath. By dragging your finger on the screen, you can dig trenches for the water to flow through. Start adding explosive and corrosive chemicals, switches, platforms, and steam, and you’ve got an endless amount of potential puzzles. We can’t wait to see what Swampy’s planning for next year.

Our Bottom Line: Where’s My Water? is a highly polished and appealing physics puzzler that nearly everyone can enjoy.

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#3: Dead Space

We didn’t know what to expect when EA announced they were bringing the popular horror franchise Dead Space to iOS. What they delivered was a dark, beautiful, and truly scary shooter that lived up to the game’s console counterparts. Dead Space has everything we look for in a serious shooter, with an incredible atmosphere of darkness and psychological terror layered on top of it. You can’t go wrong with Dead Space. Just be sure to play it in the dark.

Our Bottom Line: Dead Space for iOS is just about everything we’d hoped it would be: action-packed, scary, challenging, and a total blast.

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#2: Grand Theft Auto 3

Rockstar’s iOS port of the 2001 open-world crime game Grand Theft Auto 3 is so good, we considered giving them Game of the Year honors once again (last year, they won it for GTA: Chinatown Wars). It’s hard to match carjacking and rampaging in Liberty City, and all of a sudden, Gameloft’s Gangstar series won’t cut it. While GTA 3 is still a blast, and it looks great on the latest iOS hardware, we’ve played it all before, which is why it took the runner-up spot this year.

Our Bottom Line: Grand Theft Auto III on iPhone is an incredible achievement; it’s a game every serious gamer should play.

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#1: Infinity Blade 2

Like other iOS gamers, we were expecting big things from Chair with Infinity Blade II. Not only did they meet our expectations, but they exceeded them in almost every way by releasing one of the biggest, best-looking, deepest gaming experiences we’ve seen on iOS yet. The environments are more expansive, the fighting has been refined to near perfection, and the graphics look better than anything else on the platform. If you only buy one iOS game this year, make it Infinity Blade II.

Our Bottom Line: Infinity Blade II takes everything that was great about the first game and turns it up a notch.

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