The 50 Best iOS Games of 2012: #20-11

We’re approaching the end of our epic, annual Top 50 list of the Best iOS Games. As the list continues, the games just keep getting better and better. Read on for our picks, and let us know what you think is in the Top 10 via Twitter, Facebook, or the comments below!

#20: Jazz: Trump’s Journey

January Game of the Month winner!

Jazz: Trump’s Journey is a unique game on several levels. It’s a fairly typical side-scrolling platformer, but it takes place in the Jazz Age in New Orleans. You play as Trump, a trumpet player looking to start a band. You make your way through the city, collecting band members as you progress. Each time you pick up a new player, their instrument is added to the jazzy soundtrack. And to top it all off, it has great touchscreen controls. Come for the platforming fun, and stay for the unique atmosphere.

Our Bottom Line: Jazz has style, class, and excellent controls, making it one of the best platformers we’ve played lately.

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#19: Swordigo

March Game of the Month winner!

If you grew up playing Mario and Zelda, then you’ll feel right at home with Swordigo. It’s a mix between a platformer and an RPG, and it works great on the touchscreen. The goal is to gather pieces of a shattered sword, but to do that you’ll need to solve puzzles and navigate all kinds of colorful environments. Throw in experience points, stat boosts, and giant bosses, and you’ve got a lasting experience.

Our Bottom Line: Swordigo is a love letter to platforming/adventure games, giving iOS gamers another detailed world of fantasy to explore.

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#18: Star Marine: Infinite Ammo

January Game of the Month runner-up!

Another throwback to classic NES games is Star Marine: Infinite Ammo, a shooter that will appeal to anyone who grew up blasting bad guys in Contra. You play as a human who’s had the unfortunate luck to crash land on a planet inhabited by battle robots. These guys come at you without mercy, so you must pelt them with a delightful arsenal of high-powered weaponry. It’s a killer game with an addictive upgrade system. If you like shooters, don’t miss out on Star Marine.

Our Bottom Line: Star Marine: Infinite Ammo isn’t perfect, but it’s such a gorgeous, amazing retro shooter that you’d be doing yourself a disservice by passing it up.

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#17. N.O.V.A. 3: Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance

Like they did with Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour, Gameloft proved this year that iOS can keep up with consoles when it comes to cutting-edge first-person shooters. N.O.V.A. 3 is their most ambitious sci-fi shooter to date, with giant vehicles like mechs and a 12-player multiplayer mode. The graphics also pushed new boundaries, with stunning environments like a shattered San Francisco, or drifting spaceship that’s orbiting a deadly sun. For both its single and multiplayer modes, N.O.V.A. 3 is easily one of the year’s best.

Our Bottom Line: N.O.V.A. 3 delivers a substantial, console-like first-person shooter complete with full story and multiplayer modes, just like the first two N.O.V.A. games.

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#16: Blast-A-Way

Illusion Labs has already made their mark on the App Store with successful games like Labyrinth 2 and Touchgrind, but Blast-A-Way feels like an even bigger step forward for the iOS developer. You play as a tiny, blocky robot who can demolish parts of each level to free his companions. With each bomb toss, you can clear out obstacles, or accidentally blow yourself off the platform. Blast-A-Way has remarkably crisp 3D graphics, with realistic textures that actually look like the real-world materials they’re supposed to represent.

Our Bottom Line: If you’ve been looking for a game that will impress your friends, look no further. Blast-A-Way is a fun, casual game that looks fantastic.

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#15: Magic 2013 (GOTM)

June Game of the Month winner!

Magic is one of those games that never goes out of style, and this year’s iPad edition does justice to the classic card battler. You and your opponent play as powerful wizards, with decks of cards representing the spells you can cast. Whether you’re waging battle or choosing which cards to put in your deck, there’s a whole lot of strategy going on. The best thing about Magic 2013 is that it’s equally welcoming to newbies and pros alike. This is a game to pick up whether you’re a lapsed wizard or a grizzled old pro.

Our Bottom Line: Get out your gaming tokens…it’s time to delve back into the world of the Planeswalkers yet again!

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#14: Walking Dead: The Game

This powerful episodic adventure series from Telltale Games actually won Game of the Year from the Spike Video Game Awards, and we think it easily deserves a spot in the Top 50 on iOS. As you try to survive a post-apocalyptic zombie epidemic, you have to band with survivors to gather supplies and build up your defenses. You’re accompanied by a young girl who sees you as her protector, and the decisions you make in the heat of the moment about who lives and who dies will affect the way she responds to the crisis. Walking Dead: The Game is videogame storytelling at its finest, and on top of that, it looks like the comic book brought to life.

Our Bottom Line: Walking Dead: The Game is Telltale’s best adventure game debut on iOS. It blurs the lines between a game and a movie more effectively than any other series.

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#13: Punch Quest

October Game of the Month winner!

Madgarden Games and RocketCat Games teamed up to produce this year’s wildest auto-runner, Punch Quest. Your sprint through a monster-filled castle is on auto-pilot, but you can punch and jump to avoid traps and rack up insane combos. Punch a skull off a skeleton’s head, use it to knock out a bat, the juggle it into an orc– with enough skill, you can put this game’s fun physics to the test. Plus, Punch Quest offers multiple abilities and challenges so that each run-through feels a little different.

Our Bottom Line: Whether you prefer old-school platformers or the new genre of auto-running games, Punch Quest is a magical, endlessly fun combination of the two.

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#12: Lili (GOTM runner-up)

September Game of the Month runner-up!

In Lili, you play as a student who’s trying to complete her thesis on the island of Geos. The thing is, Geos isn’t a typical island. On it, Spirits control wooden servants, and the servants are starting to demand their freedom. Caught between the two factions, you find yourself battling the Spirits by hopping on their backs and yanking out flowers. Lily isn’t a complicated game, so it’s welcoming to the casual crowd. But even if you’re a hardcore gamer, don’t let that put you off this gorgeous, unique adventure.

Our Bottom Line: Lili is an excellent and creative game that takes a casual approach to open world role-playing.

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#11: Devil’s Attorney

October Game of the Month runner-up!

We’re always glad to see a game with a sense of humor, and Devil’s Attorney is downright hilarious. You play as Max McMann, a sleazy defense attorney who gets his clients off scot-free by lying, tampering with evidence, and manipulating the jury. The action plays out in Final Fantasy-style turn-based battles, where you can destroy the credibility of evidence by using fancy rhetoric. Devil’s Attorney really shines in the game’s cutscenes, where McMann engages in a little smack-talk with his fellow attorneys.

Our Bottom Line: Devil’s Attorney is a hilarious spoof of courtroom dramas, with a roguish hero who wins every case by being unscrupulous.

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The 50 Best iOS Games of 2012: #50-41

The 50 Best iOS Games of 2012: #40-31

The 50 Best iOS Games of 2012: #30-21