2010 has been one huge, rocking party in the App Store. Every day saw new arrivals, and several big-name guests were the life of the party. Slide To Play published over 600 reviews in 2010, and we’ve picked the 50 best iPhone games that we think really sum up the year. Every day until 2011, we’ll bring you ten more from our list, starting with #50-41 today.
Thumpies is a music/rhythm game with a sick sense of humor. You have to tap the drums along the bottom of the screen in time with the ghastly bouncing monster heads. These monster heads grunt out percussion, horns, and even harmonize with each other. Unlocking more and more bizarre Thumpies becomes an all-consuming goal, and the great music is just a bonus.
Our Bottom Line: Thumpies is wacky fun that turns the rhythm genre on its creepy head.
#49: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
Millions of virtual skaters made Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 a hit back in the 90s, and Activision brought this all-time console classic to the iPhone back in April of this year. The full console game survived the transition, even if we did have to make do with a control scheme that was basically a Playstation controller grafted to the touchscreen. A nearly endless series of challenging goals will keep you busy with this extreme sports game for a long time.
Our Bottom Line: The sheer quality of the original console game overshadows the slight issues with this iPhone port.
#48: Baseball Superstars 2011
Gamevil’s long-running Baseball Superstars series got even better in 2010. This year’s edition received an improved pitching system and refinements to just about every mode in the game. Plus, this is the only baseball series on the App Store that lets you play as a flying demon or escaped convict.
Our Bottom Line: Baseball Superstars 2011 is a Must Have sports game; it’s as simple as that.
#47: Mushihimesama Bug Panic
This year, Japanese game developer Cave released a series of incredible games: Espgaluda 2, Dodonpachi Resurrection, and Mushihimesama Bug Panic. Mushihimesama, or ‘Insect Princess’, is a twin-stick shooter that overwhelms you with enemies and attacks, but never stops being fun, expansive, and lighthearted. This is also one of the most challenging iPhone games of the year.
Our Bottom Line: Mushihimesama Bug Panic enters a crowded shooter genre on the App Store, then blows them all away with thousands of glowing bullets.
#46: LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
Everyone remembers the awkwardness of their first few years of school, like doing homework, meeting new classmates, and battling the unspeakable evil you’re destined to destroy. Well, Harry Potter’s experiences may not be the same as yours, but they’re wonderful fantasy escapism. This full DS/PSP port is one of the best kid’s games of the year, and it masterfully combines the goofiness of Legos with the high fantasy of the first four Harry Potter books and movies.
Our Bottom Line: Harry Potter’s unabridged adventure on the iPhone is first class.
#45: Gangstar: Miami Vindication
2010 was the year that Grand Theft Auto officially came to the iPhone (look for that game a little higher on this list), but Gameloft’s Gangstar series helped pave the way. This sequel added boats and motorcycles, plus a cast of interesting characters, like a swamp-dwelling Cajun criminal.
Our Bottom Line: It’s not as epic as GTA: Vice City, but we have to respect the ambition that brought Miami Vindication to the iPhone.
#44: ChuChu Rocket
Originally released on the Sega Dreamcast, ChuChu Rocket has found a new life on iDevices. A recent update just gave CCR online multiplayer via Game Center, so you can challenge friends and strangers to see who can shepherd the most mice to their rocket ships. Don’t miss this revitalized classic.
Our Bottom Line: There’s a reason ChuChu Rocket is a classic, and this port shows why.
#43: Zenonia 2
Zenonia was hugely influential on the App Store in 2009, and the sequel set a new standard for iPhone RPGs again in 2010. This time, the Zelda lookalike added online arena matches and four different playable characters. For lengthy, addictive action-RPGs, it’s hard to match Gamevil’s lineup.
Our Bottom Line: The iPhone’s first game-changing RPG is back and yet again setting the bar higher.
Archetype was the first first-person shooter of 2010 that amazed us with the number of players we could battle at once. While a few others came along later to succeed it, like Gameloft’s N.O.V.A. 2 and Modern Combat 2, Archetype is still a fantastic way to get an online deathmatch fix on the go.
Our Bottom Line: Refined in nearly every way, Archetype is one of the best first-person shooters on the platform.
#41: Samurai 2: Vengeance
This iPhone sequel gets an award for “most improved”. The original had an amazing cel-shaded style, but Vengeance added refined controls that let us easily shred our enemies to pieces. The most satisfying part? Ending a vicious combo attack with one final strike that causes your opponent to separate into two halves.
Our Bottom Line: Samurai 2: Vengeance has improved by leaps and bounds over the original, and has evolved into an extremely satisfying action hack and slash game.
Want more great games? Check back tomorrow for part two of our five-part series, The 50 Best iPhone Games of 2010: #40-31.