Today we’ve got the penultimate (next-to-last) installment of our five-part Top 50 list. All of our favorite games of the year are somewhere on this list– so enjoy #20-11 today, and the top 10 tomorrow!
#20: Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus
This excellent military-themed FPS was one of the first to bring iPhone online multiplayer into the same arena as console shooters. Five on five matches are now the new gold standard for iPhone gaming. Plus, MC2 has a lengthy single-player campaign that borrows all the best parts of Call of Duty.
Our Bottom Line: Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus provides top notch modern warfare on the go, with a lengthy campaign and a deeply addictive multiplayer mode.
#19: Sword and Poker 2
This irresistible game combines two great loves of ours: poker and RPGs. Once you learn the basics of building poker hands by placing them on a grid, you won’t be able to stop. Sword & Poker 2 also gives you plenty of tough enemies to fight and an enjoyable challenge– go as far as you can before you’re forced to spend a precious healing potion or end the level.
Our Bottom Line: Sword & Poker 2 refines the well-balanced gameplay that made the first game so wonderful and addictive. It’s practically perfect.
The Angry Birds may have caused a lot of destruction in 2010, but the boys from Fragger blew things up the old fashioned way. In this physics puzzler, you have to lob grenades at the bad guys with expert precision. There’s a greater emphasis on aiming than in Angry Birds, and we loved how accessible this game is to just about anyone.
Our Bottom Line: Fragger is a deviously fun game that’s easy to pick up and play, but very difficult to put down.
#17: Solomon’s Keep
One of the best twin-stick shooters of the year, Solomon’s Keep is a dungeon crawler with an action bend. Arcs of lightning will fly from your fingers and burning-hot embers will litter the floor as you leave a trail of broken bones and zombie guts all the way to the top of the tower. Our favorite feature: Randomized skill upgrades that make the game different every time you play.
Our Bottom Line: Solomon’s Keep is a quick-hitting dungeon crawler that delivers solid replay value and retro appeal.
#16: Ninjatown: Trees of Doom!
As soon as we started to tire of Canabalt clones, along came Ninjatown to make endless, high-score platforming fun again. You have to guide the adorable Wee Ninja to the heights of the great Trees of Doom, but clever obstacles (that actually become much more difficult the higher you climb) will try to make you fall. This game nails both the challenge and adorable visual style.
Our Bottom Line: Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Ninjatown: Trees of Doom will absorb your life.
#15: Rimelands: Hammer of Thor
A fantastically original RPG, Rimelands features a turn-based combat system where you roll dice to inflict damage. The stronger you become, the more dice you have at your disposal. Rimelands also has an intriguing story and some great isometric graphics that entertained us for hours.
Our Bottom Line: Rimelands is a highly original RPG that combines dice-rolling chance with player-driven decisions.
#14: Game Dev Story
Game Dev Story is nothing less than an ode to gaming– the developers, the fans, the reviewers, and the industry. In this sim game, you control a startup from the Atari past to the Playstation present, creating blockbuster videogames of your own design. Once you start playing this one, you’ll spontaneously catch fire and never stop.
Our Bottom Line: Game Dev Story is a challenging, interactive overview of our shared gaming experience.
#13: Spider-Man: Total Mayhem
One of the best beat ’em ups of the year, this action game from Gameloft does full justice to the license. Spider-Man moves with incredible fluidity, his world is bright like a comic book panel, and the gameplay variety will keep you springing and slinging.
Our Bottom Line: Your Spidey sense should be tingling, because Spider-Man Total Mayhem is a remarkable game on just about every level.
#12: Fruit Ninja
Fruit Ninja is one of the year’s biggest success stories, catapulting Australian developer Halfbrick onto the world stage and inspiring a slew of Fruit Ninja clones. Like Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja has immediate pick-up-and-play appeal: Just grab an iOS device, start swiping the screen, and make piles of fresh fruit salad.
Our Bottom Line: As far as simple pick-up-and-play games go, Fruit Ninja is among the best.
This haunting, semi-scientific game reminds us of “Powers of 10”, a documentary that shows the scale in which the natural world operates. You play as a sentient mote (a speck, really) that can gobble up smaller motes and be eaten by larger ones. The trick is that you have to expel a little bit of your mote to move around, which makes you smaller. It’s gorgeous and perfectly balanced, an amazing iPhone or iPad download.
Our Bottom Line: Osmos is an elegant physics game perfectly suited for the iPhone’s touchscreen.
We’re almost there! Come back tomorrow for our Top 10 iPhone games of 2010, and our Top 10 iPad games of 2010, too.