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

Merry X-mas, X-mas people! Today our gift to you is part two of our five-part round-up of the best iOS games of 2012. It’s been an outstanding year for iPhone and iPad gaming, and these next ten games are some of the best. Whether you’re ripping the wrapping off a new iOS device, cashing in iTunes gift card stocking stuffers, or are just looking for something fun to show off to your family and friends, any of these games should be perfect. Part one is here, and check back the next three days for the rest.

#40: Max Payne Mobile

April Game of the Month runner-up!

Max Payne’s life is full of pain– there’s the emotional pain of losing his family to violent junkies, and the physical pain of being shot at hundreds of times over the course of his investigation. Rockstar’s dark tale of a rogue cop who uncovers a massive pharmaceutical conspiracy is full of action, intrigue, and slow-motion shootouts. If you never played this masterful game on consoles or PC, the iOS version is an ideal place to start.

Our Bottom Line: Max Payne has one of gaming’s grittiest, most noir-ish stories, and it’s worth buying for that reason alone. The slow-motion gunplay is a big bonus.

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#39: Shark Dash

Gameloft is probably best known for its console-style games like N.O.V.A. 3 and Heroes of Order & Chaos. Shark Dash is their take on the physics puzzle genre, and it’s a heck of a lot of fun. You control a shark on a quest to rescue his wife from the clutches of evil rubber duckies. To that end, you must maneuver the shark through all kind of bathtubs to gobble up all the duckies you find. The gameplay is easy to pick up for players of all ages, and there’s enough content to keep you coming back for a long time.

Our Bottom Line: Shark Dash proves two things: Gameloft can create an amazing physics puzzler, and rubber duckies are mean.

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#38: Epic Astro Story

Kairosoft is best known for their “Story” series of insanely addictive time managemnt sims. Epic Astro Story takes what all the previous installments did so well, and adds several new ideas that freshen the experience. Here, you’re responsible for colonizing an alien planet by mining resources, building factories and homes, exploring nearby terrain, and defending your citizens from any boistrous aliens you come across. It’s a magnificently deep game that you can easily lose yourself in for hours at a time.

Our Bottom Line: Epic Astro City mixes in fresh new ideas with the familiar gameplay that Kairosoft does better than virtually anyone else, to make a lively and enjoyable experience.

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#37: Bad Piggies

Rovio demonstrated it was more than a one-trick piggy with Bad Piggies, a complex (and often hilarious) puzzle game. While the Birds solve their problems by flinging themselves bodily at them, the Pigs take a subtler, slower approach by building vehicles that propel them to their end goals. Problem is, planes made out of boxes, roller skates, and bottles of pop aren’t good for long, stable flights. Good thing the Pigs have no limbs to break. Bad Piggies is a clever puzzle game with thought-provoking mechanics that serve as a perfect compliment to the furious, fast-paced exploits of the Angry Birds.

Our Bottom Line: The pigs are all right.

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#36: Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

February Game of the Month runner-up!

Not many games start out with your character dying, but that’s the premise of Ghost Trick, where you play as a spirit who has to solve the mystery of his own demise. You’ll have to possess background items to move through the environments, and try to alter the fates of other still-living characters. Ghost Trick is a full port of the Nintendo DS game, so it’s a quality adventure for a very low price. Plus, it’s the only game with a talking Pomeranian who saves the day.

Our Bottom Line: Ghost Trick was one of the best games on the DS, and now it’s one of the best on iOS as well. You must play this game.

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#35: Frederic: Resurrection of Music

Rock Band and Guitar Hero may teach you about classic rock, but not classical music. For that, you’ll need to download Frederic: Resurrection of Music, a music/rhythm game starring the reanimated Frederic Chopin, a 19th century master composer and pianist. You’ll have to battle wacky opponents, who each put a different spin on Chopin’s best-known sonatas. Not only does this game teach you about Chopin’s music, but it’s highly entertaining on its own with beautifully animated and highly creative cutscenes.

Our Bottom Line: Chopin probably never thought he’d star in a video game, but he does, and it’s good.

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#34: Heroes of Order & Chaos

Heroes of Order & Chaos is the first complete MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) for iOS, and Gameloft did a great job of balancing the maps and characters. Every week, six new heroes are available for you to choose from, but you can pay extra to use your favorites anytime. When you start a round of 3 vs 3 or 5 vs 5 in the online multiplayer mode, you’ll have to level up your character by killing enemies until you’ve got an overpowered, unstoppable champion. Then, you have to take down the enemy base. Heroes of Order & Chaos is a highly-replayable real-time strategy game, and best of all, it’s free to download and play.

Our Bottom Line: Gameloft’s free-to-play strategy game feels epic and endless, even if it only gives you two maps to play with.

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#33: Beat Sneak Bandit

In this clever rhythmic platformer from Simogo, you control a thief who has to steal clocks. However, you’ll only be able to move on the beat, which means that timing is everything. In addition to timing your taps on the screen, you’ll also have to pause to avoid guards and security cameras, and rush through automatic doors. Beat Sneak Bandit is one of a kind; nobody else has attempted a mobile platformer with this level of sophistication and style.

Our Bottom Line: Beat Sneak Bandit is quite unlike any other rhythm game on the market.

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#32: Triple Town

At first, Triple Town might seem like a standard Match-3 game. But once you start playing, you’ll find an unusual amount of depth. And before you know it, you might look up to discover that the sun has set, your stomach is growling, and you’re late for an appointment. The gameplay consists of strategically laying down cartoony pieces on a grid to achieve a high score, but the more you play, the more strategy you uncover. Pick up Triple Town for free, brain-busting fun.

Our Bottom Line: Triple Town is an original strategy game that’s easy to fall into and hard to put down.

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#31: LostWinds2: Winter of the Melodias

May Game of the Month runner-up!

Many iOS games serve up single-screen puzzles or nonstop running action, so it’s nice to come across a calm, sprawling, beautiful title like LostWinds 2: Winter of the Melodias. You play as Toku, a young boy on a big quest to thaw out a world that’s under an icy curse. Good thing the wind is on your side. When the breezes blow, they can lift you up, put the hurt on enemies, and more. LostWinds 2 is innovative and gorgeous, and the touchscreen controls actually work well for the game rather than against it.

Our Bottom Line: LostWinds 2: Winter of the Melodias should find its way to your iOS device and stay there.

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