2015 was a great year for iOS gaming, and that’s clear as we tried to nail down the 50 best iOS games of 2015. We have completed our countdown, and reached the top 10 including our pick for game of the year. We hope you enjoyed our countdown, and let us know your thoughts on any of our picks.
Game of the Year:
Pac-Man 256 (Free, Universal) [Review]: An all new form of Pac-Man with an endless set-up. Rather than fixed mazes, and number of ghosts, the maze stretches upwards endlessly, and there are a ton of ghosts that keep on coming. You don’t have forever to chomp dots, as you need to stay ahead of the glitch that is eating up the maze down below. To further spice things up, Pac-Man 256 gives you all new power-ups beyond just the power pellet. Now, you can activate a laser, giant mode, freeze, and more to turn the tables on the ghosts. The game gets its name from the ability to chain together 256 consecutive eaten dots without a break to earn a bonus and temporarily clear the board.
Runner Up #1
Does Not Commute (Free, Universal) [Review]: A unique and excellently crafted iOS experience. The game is all about guiding cars from point a to point b, but the twist is that you need to keep guiding cards in the same area. The first car has wide open streets, but later cars need to avoid all of the previous cars that you have driven. The main challenge is that you have to drive past all of your own previous driving efforts, so your earlier driving performance will have an impact later on. It’s a fun mechanic for fresh chaos management that is presented with an outstanding physics engine, and great looking 3D design. There are also witty storylines for each of the drivers to add extra flair to the game.
Runner Up #2
Lifeline… ($0.99, Universal) [Review]: A choose your adventure style narrative that is developed in real time, so it’s almost like you’re getting text messages from the character in the story. The character is Taylor, who has crash landed on a strange planet, and your job is to guide Taylor around. What really makes Lifeline stand out is the writing, which establishes the scenario, and makes you care about Taylor. There’s a ton of personality involved as Taylor reacts as you would expect in trying to survive a crash landing on a distant moon. The game is made with the Apple Watch in mind, but is fully playable without one. Lifeline is all about time as though Taylor’s life is playing out in real time. It makes for a compelling adventure that is a must have experience with such a great story that is provided through an all new form that fits your daily lifestyle.
4.) Alto’s Adventure ($2.99, Universal) [Review]: An endless snowboarding challenge where your goal is to round up the llamas that have escaped while traveling through quiet mountain towns, desolate woodlands, and even ancient ruins. Alto’s Adventure focuses on replicating the essence of a wintery scene on the hillsides to let the player be immersed in snowboarding through the picturesque environment. Alto’s Adventure delivers a dichotomy of emotion as you have the familiar challenging tension, and yet there’s a relaxing air to the fluid motion and tranquil scene. You can get lost just going down the hillside, and appreciating every rise and fall of the hillside, while leaping over any rocks in the way.
5.) Her Story ($4.99, Universal) [Review]: An interactive crime drama with an aesthetic designed around a mid-90s computer that shows archived cassette tape style footage. In Her Story, your job is to comb through all of the archived footage by typing out specific words to find matching clips. Every video clip delivers live action content that is well performed as the actress really embraces the role, and the setting. A lot of time went into recording the over 250 videos, and the game makes it an extremely compelling way to discover them as you watch the videos based on search, and not chronological order. Her Story is a completely unique experience that is more than an interactive movie as you guide the flow of the narrative. It’s great to watch this intricate character develop one minute at a time with no particular order to the findings you come across.
6.) Badland 2 ($4.99, Universal) [Review]: The sequel maintains the flying action adventure style jam packed with chaotic action set against gorgeous colorful backdrops which are silhouetted through black foreground. The sequel takes the essence of Badland, and simplifies it beginning with the ability to move in all directions. The new system allows for all new level layouts that span greater distances as the path forward moves all around. It feels like a brand new game that is still familiar. It’s hard to believe that the action could become more chaotic than the original Badland, but the developers have definitely delivered that in the sequel.
7.) The Room Three ($4.99, Universal) [Review]: The series known for superb 3D craftsmanship and tactile touch interaction returns for a third time. The biggest new addition in The Room Three is the continuous experience across a greatly expanded location. There’s a logical structure to every single part of the game so that the puzzles, unlockable boxes, and interactive items all connect. The best part is reaching a box, and proceeding to unearth a dozen different panels and clues with beautiful rendering of each shift in the box.
8.) Lumino City ($4.99, Universal) [Review]: An adventure game that provides a big city to explore with multiple different regions to make your way through. There is an eccentric cast of characters that reside in unique buildings that call for equally odd solutions to their problems. It’s a rewarding experience to see a puzzle solution in piecing everything together, and then watching the world in motion. Lumino City is a beautiful game that is created with real world objects including paper, cardboard, miniature items, and more. It’s a handmade world that is beautifully rendered digitally to be an absolute joy to interact with.
9.) Shadowmatic ($2.99, Universal) [Review]: An iOS game that relies on the core concept of shadow puppets, but evolves it into a challenging puzzle experience. Rather than using your hands to cast shadows, you’re given intricate 3D objects that you can spin around 360 degrees to cast varying shadows. Each of the over 70 levels has one mysterious shadow to form, and you have to discover it by rotating the pieces given to you. It’s always a fresh challenge, since you don’t know the objective until you start manipulating the pieces.
10.) Prune ($3.99, Universal) [Review]: A zen like game that is all about guiding the growth of trees so that they can reach the sunlight to sprout flowers. The trees will automatically branch outwards, and you want to cut off certain extensions to help one main branch grow towards the sunlight to reach the ultimate goal. Each tree has a fixed amount of energy, and pruning a branch allows for that energy to be repurposed in the other branches of the tree. Prune begins by just challenging you to reach the sunlight, and then introduces poisonous red circles to avoid, wind that pushes the tree growth, underground caves to grow in, miracle grow style blue circles to reach, sun discs that you can drag around to guide the tree’s growth, and much more. Every level delivers a unique challenge on to itself as well as the iOS platform as a whole.