What a year 2013 was for the App Store. We saw the five year anniversary, 50 billion app milestone, and tons of major releases. Now, it’s time to take a look back at all of the games released in 2013, and pick the best ones. Our rankings are based on a three person panel focusing on iOS uniqueness, overall enjoyment, and complete experience. It’s now time for the Top 10, with our Game of the Year.
All this week, we will feature the top 50 games of 2013, and we will reveal 10 games at a time. Stay tuned all week for:
Game of the Year:
1.) Oceanhorn ($8.99, Universal) [Review]: The game provides a grand scale adventure akin to Zelda, and it has some essences of a Nintendo style game. There are 16 discoverable islands with some expansive lands to come across complete with forking pathways, numerous enemies, unique puzzle layouts, and some hidden areas. Each island works to progress the storyline, and your characters ability as you unlock magical powers, a new sword, a new shield, bombs, arrows, jumping, and more. There’s such a well designed progression system, and as you gain these new abilities, you can then reach different sections of the islands that were previously blocked. Everything you do contributes to hunting down the mechanical fortress known as Oceanhorn, and there are four major boss battles in the mean time.
2.) Badland ($3.99, Universal) [Review]: An amazing iOS experience that is crafted so well for the platform. The game delivers such an intricate physics driven side scrolling adventure that offers so many nuances as you go. There are dangers in every section of a given level, and you never know what to expect. The silky smooth one touch controls remain to let you focus on managing the difficult adventure that awaits. There’s so many moving parts in the environments, and then there are various power-ups scattered about to change your character’s size, speed, and numbers. All of it is presented through a beautiful design with silhouetted colorful backgrounds against menacing black foregrounds.
3.) DEVICE 6 ($3.99, Universal) [Review]: At the most basic level, it’s a text based adventure that is unlike anything else you have ever experienced on any other platform. Experience is a good word, because DEVICE 6 is more than just a game, more than just an interactive storybook, and it’s really a new interactive medium. It’s completely engrossing in every regard, and it’s just so finely made to truly put you in the shoes of the protagonist, with the complex puzzles, imagery, flow of text, and audio. It’s an all new art form in all honesty that is unlike anything else you have ever experienced, and it’s such a rewarding undertaking that you will remember long after it’s done.
4.) Toughgrind Skate 2 ($4.99, Universal) [Review]: There’s nothing quite like directly manipulating an on screen object on your iOS device as though you’re playing with the real thing. Illusion Labs has done a great job of providing a fingerboard to play with through multi-touch controls to make it feel natural to ride with two fingers, and the game is ultra responsive in recognizing exactly what you want to do with the fingerboard. There are three 3D skate parks with a third person perspective allowing you to pull off a wide assortment of skateboard tricks with your fingertips. You can also play with time sessions, score challenges, and online multiplayer.
5.) Tiny Thief ($2.99, Universal) [Review]: A stealth based puzzle adventure where you guide Tiny Thief to sneak about while using trickery to steal items. You’re given an ornately crafted gaming experience that offers up six main quests with five levels each. Your goal is to figure out how multiple interactive items work together to steal from the rich, and give to the poor, building upon the Robin Hood ideal. The quests include facing a corrupt sheriff, stealing from greedy landowners, thwarting treasure seeking pirates, and saving a princess locked in a castle.
6.) Super Stickman Golf 2 ($0.99, Universal) [Review]: The game is a hole in one by nailing every single aspect, and evolving the original in such a finely crafted way. Whether it’s the ornate course design, brilliant arcade golf style, or new turn based mode in addition to the existing race mode. There’s so much to enjoy, and once you start it’s just so easy to keep smacking the ball around. The sequel takes the original to all new heights with even more outlandish courses where every shot plays such an important role. The best part of the game is the level design with such intricate holes that perfectly balance puzzle, action, and classic golf.
7.) XCOM: Enemy Unknown ($9.99, Universal) [Review]: The game has the potential to change the entire App Store, and that’s because it’s the complete high quality console/PC game, but made specifically for iOS. It’s truly the total package delivering ornate strategy gameplay controlled effortlessly through touch. It might just be the most advanced game on iOS as you lead resistance soldiers against an alien invasion with a great storyline, tactical battles, the ability to research advantages, and simply have such an involved experience. There’s so much that goes into each turn making what is essentially a new age chess board that delivers a level of depth that simply hasn’t been seen on iOS, and was recently updated with online multiplayer. Talk about pushing your brand new iOS device.
8.) Asphalt 8: Airborne ($0.99, Universal) [Review]: The game delivers one of the most exhilarating racing experiences on any platform that takes the lead of iOS racers. The entertainment value provided is simply off the charts making Asphalt 8 an absolute must that you will enjoy every minute of. Asphalt 8 is feature rich to say the least with 180 events in career mode, nine deluxe raceways, 47 unlockable cars, and online multiplayer. Once a race starts, there is never a dull moment with multiple racers flying every which way with the potential for collisions, drifting, and even flight. Each of the nine tracks requires constant attention as there are forking pathways, multiple ramps, and so much potential for mistakes. You’re screaming along the tracks at high speeds so obstacles come at you in an instant, and then there are the various segments that invite extensive drifts, and huge air.
9.) Rymdkapsel ($3.99, Universal) [Review]: Pronounced “rimmed-capsule” has a crazy name that masks an extremely intriguing game. It’s a real time strategy game that is unlike any before, because it combines elements of tower defense, resource management, base building, and even tetromino puzzle. The main game is building out your base to reach floating monoliths in space to uncover new research information. There are six main rooms to build, and each one offers various resources to continually enhance your base, including getting new minions which perform all of the actions on the base. Every few minutes there’s an attack from space snakes, and you need to have your weapon rooms ready to defend your base. There’s an outstanding minimalistic design with 3D stylized elements to round out the package.
10.) Dead Ahead (Free, Universal) [Review]: Once you dive into Dead Ahead, you will be hooked, it’s really as simple as that. So many endless runners have blend together because although they start off strong, they quickly fade away. Not Dead Ahead, as it seems to become more enjoyable as you go with the challenge continuing to amp up, and better rewards on the horizon. The gameplay is unlike any other with obstacles in front of, and behind you, and it’s taken to another level with the replay factor. There’s so much happening on screen at once, and with so many different tactics to balance, it keeps your eyes and fingers glued to the screen. It’s all delivered wonderfully with polished pixel artwork, and deluxe blood splatter animations to round out an amazing package.