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Top 10 iOS Games of 2010 - AppSpy Edition

By , on January 13, 2011

Hi everyone! With the holiday period having come to a close we've finally made some time to let our readers know what we consider to be the best releases of 2010. As with almost any 'top list' it should be taken with a grain of salt, but to clarify things further this is more of a personal expression of what rocked my world and what I believe is important in terms of the growth of the iPhone as a serious handheld gaming device.

SPOILER NOTE: I've placed a text transcript of the audio below the video. If you'd prefer not to spoil things, don't scroll down too far ;)

2010 was, for iOS device users, a crazy year packed with highlights that ranged from incredible highs to disturbing lows. The usual range of clones littered each passing week with enough re-runs to keep even the most dedicated of gamers busy, but when it came down to it there was just so much to love about this year's major (and even minor) releases.

So without further delay, presents its 'Top 10 iOS Games of 2010'.

#10 Aralon: Sword and Shadow HD

The lead up to this semi-open world RPG wasn't spectacularly huge, however with a pedigree that includes titles like Ravensword and Rimelands for developer Crescent Moon Games, it was a title to keep your eyes on. Those who took the plunge when it was released were rewarded with a large, complex title that managed to remain engaging despite its initial flaws. Great community support and consistent updates despite only having been recently released only makes this game better over time.

#9 Fruit Ninja

Fruit Ninja by tongue-in-cheek specialists Halfbrick Studios was their first exclusive release for iOS devices and in only a short time its popularity exploded wildly. This may be, in part, thanks to its gameplay and design that feeds the inner-child in all of us. Watching fruit splatter messily while causing wanton destruction only got better over time as multiplayer and Arcade updates were added in to the mix, giving players another round of addictive gameplay.

#8 Cut the Rope

After the success of casual physics puzzlers like Angry Birds it was hard to work out what could possibly knock off this oft-repeated style, but in October of 2010 we finally had our answer as Cut the Rope dropped on to the App Store. Featuring perhaps one of the cutest incidental characters ever and gameplay that rewards clever, lateral thinking, Cut the Rope is a delight to play.

#7 Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus

No matter your feelings for some of Gameloft's releases, when they get things right it pushes the envelope and with the release of Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus players were finally treated to a multiplayer system that felt just as rewarding as the title that inspired it. While the campaign and graphical advancements were solid, they paled to the creation of a community that still thrives with competitive play - all on a hand-held gaming device.

#6 Plants vs. Zombies

While not strictly a new release for those who plunged in to the title on their PCs the previous year, Plants vs. Zombies was still just as addictive and charming as ever. Feeling completely at home on iOS devices, this challenging and unique variant of the tower defense formula capture the minds and hearts of gamers around the world.

#5 Helsing's Fire

What do you get when you mix wise-cracking Victorian era monster hunters and a vampire lord that seems to be built out of pure, solidified hubris? Other than an amusing time, you also get Helsing's Fire - a puzzler that constantly changes things up with unique enemies and boss fights that add an unexpected action element to the mix.

#4 Real Racing 2

After the huge success of Firemint's prior release of Real Racing gamers were left waiting to see how the sequel would stack up. At the end of 2010 Real Racing 2 was launched and the improvements in the visual design were clear, even compared to the already amazing original and the addition of a mind-boggling 16 player online mode helped this racer to keep its top dog status.

#3 Infinity Blade

There was almost no arguing that Infinity Blade was going to be a pretty game, but even after loading it up for the first time it was hard to take in just how breathtaking it truly was. Pairing this with a simple RPG system that, almost cheekily, made a mockery of 'repetitious' gameplay and a responsive, engaging battle system added flesh and bones to match its pretty exterior.

#2 GTA: Chinatown Wars

GTA: Chinatown Wars was, perhaps, one of the most underrated releases of 2009, bringing the series back to its roots while introducing a unique economy system that could be exploited and clever missions that mimicked its console cousins. The fact that iOS gamers got to experience the best of both the DS and PSP versions made this the penultimate version for fans of the series.

#1 Chaos Rings

With a powerhouse like Square Enix backing a solid developer like Media.Vision, great things are bound to happen. The fact that iOS device owners could exclusively experience a full-featured and unique JRPG of this caliber was mind bending all by itself, let alone being able to play a unique turn-based system that's perfectly designed for portable gaming. The combination of fast-paced combat, challenging puzzles and an intertwining storyline that highlights almost all of the game's characters made it a rare treat for fans and newcomers alike.

And that's it for's best of 2010 - it seems almost unfair given the sheer volume of excellent releases to have to leave it here, but feel free to comment with your favorite game of the year and don't forget to subscribe to get your daily dose of high-quality App Store reviews.


surintum 7 years, 2 months ago

i want to so much

dieselville 7 years, 3 months ago

Love the site, and your reviews. Just found it, and am extremely satisfied with your work. Keep it up!!!!

uchihasharingan 7 years, 4 months ago

This is great!!!
I agree with the list completely!
Although I don't have some of those games, they look like they belong in their place

bdiddle3 7 years, 4 months ago

Not an RPG fan myself but still a solid list I would agree with.  Please keep the reviews coming your team is the best for Iphone and Ipod reviews.  One of my favorites of the year would have to be Axe in Face with its simple yet satisfying gameplay.  Probably spent some good time with this title and enjoy the new update.

psycho666 7 years, 4 months ago

Chaos Rings is very overrated on this top 10.  The engine and gameplay are great, but it's incredibly simplistic and way to easy (and also too short).  I completed the game by almost exclusively doing repetitive pair attacks and there's no challenge at all. The spells are mostly useless, even when the ennemies are weak to them there's no real advantage to using them instead of physical attacks. At the end I was killing ennemies 10-20 levels over me, which seems completely stupid.

rekz 7 years, 4 months ago

Here's my list of fav iOS games (I don't know their release dates so I can't say if they're 2010 or not):
GameDevStory, Stack & Deploy, Dungeon Solitaire, Solomon's Keep, Defender Chronicles, Catan, NeuroShima Hex, Wesnoth, Angry Birds, Words with Friends, Protector: The Planes.
Fun but flawed - SoulCard Master, Urban Rivals (great looking, not so fun), Orions, Solomon's Boneyard, Pirate's Code, Knight Defense, Monster Mayhem.
I bought Chaos Rings when it was on sale.  **DISAPPOINTING!** I didn't find this to be a good game at all.  The fact that it made your #1 makes me wonder *WHAT* are you thinking?!?!  Chaos Rings is dull, repetitive, the combat is a yawn-fest with tons of grinding, there is little tension in this game, the 'incredible story' is not very incredible IMO.  (I don't have any of the other games you listed so I can't comment.)
Heck, while I'm at it, I'll toss out the iOS apps I think are great: Shazam, Tap Forms, Sleep Cycle, NetFlix, AppShopper, DropBox, EverNote, Filer, TuneIn Radio, TouchOSC, RandGrid, AmpKit, CraigsPro+, Skype (a functional facetime replacement), RedFin,, & Epicurious.
Whew.  Ok, I've done justice to some sweet apps.

JoelTGM 7 years, 4 months ago

great job.  I pretty much only buy games after seeing your reviews.  keep it up!

vbrother 7 years, 4 months ago

Got an Iphone 4 since a month or so and I've already fell in love with your reviews. Andy, Dave, keep up the great work, that's solid gaming journalism here! Any hint for a newcomer shooter/puzzle/RPG loving?! Replay value is a must for me. And totally agree on Cut the Rope, so nice! V

FalloutNewVegas 7 years, 4 months ago

I loosely agree with all of those except for Infinity blade...Anyway I personally think tilt-to-live should have been on this list. 4 game modes, stunning tilt controls, 5 addictive modes, 8 epic weapons, loads of Acheivements, constant updates and notices and an epic loading screen...Why is it not on the list, WHYYYY!!!!

mrmyco 7 years, 4 months ago

solomon's boneyard and tilt to live should have been on this list......two both underrated games

Speetania 7 years, 4 months ago

love ur reviews.
it's pretty hard to choose 10 best games amongst so many good games!

GiHubb 7 years, 4 months ago

Great list Andrew, keep those reviews coming! Although I'm not into RPGs at all so Chaos Rings is not for me. I also missed what's so hot about Infinity Blade: flashy graphics but repetative and dull action in my opinion. My favorite pick for 2010 has to be Solomon's Keep just for the sheer amount of time I spent on it.

signaltyler 7 years, 4 months ago

Andrew all i have to say it keep up the great work and "Papa Sangre" is the best game in the history of time and space thanks for the input.

andrew 7 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, it's almost disappointing there were so many great releases this year - many games I truly love didn't get a chance to be pimped out here. Still, 2011 should be interesting and maybe we'll start expanding things even more ;)