2012 was the first full year of reviewing Apps that I experienced since working at AppSpy, and as a year of gaming in general it was quite impressive. We had a number of developers successfully port their games over by adapting their control schemes (like The World Ends With You: Solo Remix and Bastion), and on the complete other side of the spectrum we had engaging quick to play Indie titles like Super Hexagon, and Catch-22.
The game to copy and clone this last year was definitely Temple Run with a glut of 3D imitators. Meanwhile the 2D endless runner genre continued on strong with many titles trying to be the next Jetpack Joyride. We saw sequels and follow-ups from studios that released their debut titles years ago (and for the most part, both categories had success with these releases).
The playing field is becoming a lot more crowded, but there are still plenty of interesting and enjoyable titles coming out every month. 2012 was a fantastic year for gaming, and I am very optimistic that 2013 might be even better.
Let's find out what AppSpy Dave's 'Top 5 iOS Games for 2012' has in store!
Mikey Shorts by BeaverTap Games
I came to Mikey Shorts a little late, but I am glad I did. I started playing video games in the 80s and my two favorite genres have always been adventure games and platformers. The thing about platformers is that after you've started with Super Mario Bros, you won't accept a platformer that doesn't feel right when you're playing it. Mikey Shorts feels right... which is a difficult task on a touch screen, especially with virtual buttons. There's a flow to the game, where you can slide through, leap to a high platform and then hop with a feather touch across the heads of a series of bots, and the only break is when you mistime a leap or reach the end of a level.
Rayman Jungle Run by Ubisoft
Rayman Origins is an extremely beautiful and engaging game. When an iOS game was announced, I'll admit I was skeptical. Rayman Jungle Run absolutely nails the look and feel of its console counterparts while adapting its control scheme to benefit the touch screen, and with its short levels and trails of Lums to follow, it may be a linear guided experience, but an incredibly fun one, and that's what matters.
Run Roo Run by 5TH Cell
When you want to discuss bite-sized levels and one touch gameplay, Run Roo Run could be considered a template. Each world introduces a new game element, and then all the levels revolve around that element (sometimes incorporating previous elements) that help to create a game that you can't put down, and due to that is over before you know it. Luckily they were clever enough to release some weekly challenge packs after the game's release. I think a lot of people forgot about this title because it was released in January but you shouldn't, and that's part of the reason why it's here.
Score! Classic Goals by First Touch
This one surprised me. I'm not really a fan of soccer (exhibit A, I call it soccer, not football), but there was just something about nailing down the exact lines and curves of the ball passes in order to achieve a goal that actually happened in the real game. Having a look at the play mapped out with lines and markers, and then translating that to a 3D environment where the opposing team actually react to your execution of the play, be it good or bad, and well... I was hooked.
And my Pick of the Year - Catch-22 by Mango Down!
One of the constants when putting together my games of the year list is how long I kept the title on my phone after either reviewing it myself, or watching the review on AppSpy before purchase. Catch-22 is my go-to App. Yes, it's simple and elegant, but its real magic is how quickly you can lose yourself with those two orbs, and the random decisions that are sometimes made to play either risky or conservative this time around. With all the high end graphics, 3D worlds and narratives out there, sometimes we forget how beautiful a pure gaming experience can be (Super Hexagon for instance), and that is Catch-22 in a jumping, weaving, colored orb of a nutshell.