TouchMyApps’ Staff picks for 2010 – Top of the top, cream of the crop!

It’s New Year’s eve and a lonely editor at TMA headquarters has been shackled to his desk, the key hidden away in a contraption worthy of the famous Leonardo Da Vinci. The only way of getting out is to finally finish his post on the best of the best of 2010. And since, as you guessed it, that editor is me and I really want to get home to my wife, here we go.

2010 has been an amazingly fruitful year for all things Apple. First we got hit over our heads with the iPad, which has revolutionized the tablet market and against all odds is selling like hot cakes all around the world. Then the whole Gizmodo-iPhone-leak story, culminating in final release of the completely revolutionary iPhone 4. Then the brand new iPod lineup along with the long awaited re-release of the Apple TV as an iOS device. The releases of RAGE HD and Infinity Blade (TMA Review) set a new bar for graphics on the iDevice and have reasserted the iPhone as the leading mobile gaming platform. And these are only the high-high level announcements, with lots more going on in the Apple arena.

For TMA the year has been fertile as well, with the opening of the forums and several new faces in the editorial crowd. Speaking of which, to give our dues to 2010, we’ve banded together and brainstormed out our favorite games and apps of the year. Whether you’ve had an iDevice for a long time or just got your shiny new iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad for Christmas/ New Year, these are some of the titles you must check out! So, without further ado, presenting TMA’s Staff picks for 2010.

ChiffaN: That’s me, crazy for all things iPhone, especially known for my prowess in adventure and RPG games. Trying to balance TMA and crazy amounts of work as a project manager for a large telecommunications equipment and services company, I’ve gone under a few times this year but each time as the phoenix was reborn in the blaze of writing glory.

Name, iTunes and review links What makes us tick
1112 episode 02 1112 episode 02 The Lost of iDevice adventure games, 1112 combines gorgeous hand-drawn graphics, cunning puzzles and intriguing storyline to create the best originnal adventure on the AppStore.
Broken Sword: Director's Cut Broken Sword: Director’s Cut One the best PC adventure games of all time by the legendary Charles Cecil this year set the bar of how a game should be ported to the Appstore.
Warpgate Warpgate War, espionage, treachery, deceipt, trading and exploration – a universe in the palm of your hand.
Infinity Blade Infinity Blade Simple but ingeniously addictive gameplay wrapped in the best graphics ever seen on a mobile device.
Cut the Rope Cut the Rope They very first game I was able to get my wife hooked on – that’s how good it is!
Naturespace: Relax Meditate Escape Sleep Naturespace: Relax Meditate Escape Sleep Just close your eyes, put on your headphones and be instantly transported to a beautiful desert island.
VLC Media Player VLC Media Player It only took 3 years to finally get all media files playing on the iDevice.
Air Video - Watch your videos anywhere! Air Video – Watch your videos anywhere! Your whole video library right in the palm of your hand – streaming with live conversion anywhere in the world (just remember to leave your PC on!)

Eric Pankoke: Eric’s been gaming since the days that video game consoles weren’t even 8 bit and computers ran on 64K of memory. When he’s not busy playing and rating games, he programs for his day job, and hopes to some day use those talents to create the next big game on whatever device is actually popular when he finally gets ’round to it.

Name, iTunes and review links What makes us tick
Kung Fu Santa Kung Fu Santa I’ve been addicted ever since I loaded it on my machine.  It’s simple, fun, and the whole idea of a Fu Manchu Santa and martial arts elves is just really amusing.
mScribble: make music with your finger! mScribble: make music with your finger! Because there is no score or achievements to earn, this “game” is really about relaxing and just having fun.  Plus, I love the fact that it allows non-musical types to make cool songs.
Thumpies Thumpies Thumpies made me believe it was actually okay to play rhythm based action games.  It’s the only rhythm game I’ve completed, and one of the few iPhone games as a whole that I’ve taken the time to beat.
Monster Dash Monster Dash As I get older I find that my desire tends to gravitate towards quick, simple games, and running games certainly meet those criteria.  There have been plenty this year, but the fact that Monster Dash added monster hunting into the mix pretty much sealed it for me.
AirAttack AirAttack Air Attack is the best scrolling shooter I’ve played on the iDevice to date.  Its old school play mechanics combined with great 3D visuals and the fact that you get to attack a castle put this game squarely on top of its genre for me.

Ray Gans: Ray’s an appaholic who lives in the SF Bay Area. Besides researching and writing about productivity apps on his Apple devices, his passions are wine, audiobooks and boardgames. If you missed it earlier, be sure to check out his helpful Taking Notes on an iPad article.

Name, iTunes and review links What makes us tick
Nonograms Nonograms A great set of challenging (but do-able) puzzles that can be chosen for whatever time is available
Tesla Wars Tesla Wars Shows what you can do with a touch screen interface; zap the invader hordes with powerful blasts from your tower
Roll Through the Ages Roll Through the Ages Good solitary dice-rolling game for city-building lovers with plenty of strategies,risks and rewards
RAGE HD RAGE HD Graphics and action are just awesome — I was blown away within the first few seconds
Reiner Knizia Reiner Knizia Any Reiner Knizia boardgame port – the developers have generally done a great job making these fun games come to life digitally
OmniFocus OmniFocus, OF for iPad When paired with its Mac counterpart, this app helps me get things done better than anything else out there
WhiteNote WhiteNote Of all the 30+ note taking apps I’ve tried, this one is still the most fully featured (and usable) one I’ve found
Word Lens Word Lens Translate Spanish words from camera view on screen in real time; the best jaw dropping iPhone demo available — plus it actually works

Enuh Iglesias: Certainly the most beautiful member of TMA’s staff, Enuh loves walks on the beach with her iDevice in hand, enjoying a bit of time management or a good session of Tower Defence. Founder, editor-in-chief and Girl-Friday of AppSIZED, Enuh still finds the time and a place in heart for us poor sods at TMA, for which we will be eternally grateful.

Name, iTunes and review links What makes us tick
iPad Games
Plants vs. Zombies HD Plants vs. Zombies HD The very first app I installed on my iPad and for good reason, too – this hilarious and addictive tower defense game is a must-have across platforms and the one game your iPad can’t live without.
Midnight Mysteries: Salem Witch Trials Midnight Mysteries: Salem Witch Trials Gorgeous, eerie, and memorable, this hidden object/point-and-click adventure game is the standard to which similar games must aspire to.
Heroes of Kalevala HD Heroes of Kalevala HD By far my favorite match three game with a nice sim building element thrown in, with an amazing musical soundtrack and unique gameplay spanning more than a hundred levels.
Ranch Rush 2 HD Ranch Rush 2 HD As a huge fan of time management games, it was difficult to choose just one. With its gorgeous graphics, sounds and iPad-optimized gameplay Ranch Rush 2 HD is polished to time management perfection.
Say What You See: The Collection HD Say What You See: The Collection HD A unique trivia and puzzle game that features a gorgeous digital canvas teeming with visual puns and clever wordplay, this is a game that offers an engaging and cerebral experience.
iPhone Games
Super Fly Super Fly You play a cute fly fighting bugs and other nasties to stay alive, while poop transforms you into a badass super hero. With an upbeat soundtrack and a constantly evolving store that offers gear, weapons and power ups, ranging from a luxurious ‘do to some fierce shurikens, this is a hidden gem that everyone should know about.
Pik’s Revenge (Currently not available on iTunes) Oddly compelling RPG that sci-fi geeks will surely love, this game boasts of a compelling storyline, quests and mysteries to keep you occupied.
Battle of Puppets Battle of Puppets A beautifully drawn castle defense game that makes opera cool, challenging and exciting, do not underestimate the strategy required to beat this game.
The Horrible Vikings The Horrible Vikings Long before Angry Birds came along, this gorgeous physics-based catapult puzzler plays like Doodle Jump and oozes with humor.
Leave Devil alone Leave Devil alone If you’re looking for an alternative to PvZ, you’ve come to the right place. This endearing PvZ-inspired tower defense game with a twist offers spell-casting, ramped up difficulty levels and a more nuanced strategic gameplay.
SYSTEM Manager for iPad SYSTEM Manager for iPad Manages your RAM by allowing you to free up memory with just a single tap, helps you maintain your battery life and gives you valuable insight into what makes your iPad tick, this is an absolute iPad app essential.
Pocket Informant HD (Calendar & Tasks) Pocket Informant HD A gorgeous app that turns your iPad into a Filofax on steroids, this digital organizer and task manager is the most comprehensive and most powerful one out there.
GoodReader for iPad GoodReader for iPad Offers seamless file management and sharing, this PDF reader is a powerful app that makes work on the iPad a relatively painless and fun experience.

Steve Nakashima: Also known as SteveNaka here at TMA, this proud Canadian loves his iPhone 4 and iPad nearly as much as he does his wife (or is it the other way around?). Steve also released his very first app recently for the iDevice - Your140 -  a twitter client that makes sending tweets a breeze.

Name, iTunes and review links What makes us tick
2K Sports NHL 2K11 2K Sports NHL 2K11 The annual update of 2k’s NHL game now on iPhone. This version came packed with enhancements like better gameplay, improved graphics and updated rosters. Being Canadian of course this game is a must on my top list.
Master of Alchemy HD Master of Alchemy HD An insanely addictive and visually jawdropping game for the iPad. Crystal clear graphics and amazing color depth.
Tilt to Live HD Tilt to Live HD iPad version of the hugely popular iPhone game. Full of bright colors and a truely perfect “pick up and play” title. If you know me, that’s my kind of game…
ReaddleDocs for iPad (PDF viewer/attachments saver/file manager) ReaddleDocs for iPad Amazing for documents, PDFs, and more on your iPad. Can even access FTP storage and email attachments.
FileMaker Go FileMaker Go A great utility for managing your data adds on the go. With both iPhone/ipt AND iPad releases there is a flavor for everyone.
HiFutureSelf ~ Send quick messages & reminders to your future self HiFutureSelf Never forget any tasks again. This app will remind you with a handy little push message. Can run once or repeatedly (ie daily/weekly/etc)
Skyfire Web Browser Skyfire Web Browser An off device solution to access many of the webs popular flash video sites that are still not iOS friendly.
Air Display Air Display One of the first iPad apps I used. Allows you to extend your desktop onto your iPad, creating more available workspace.

Paul Close: A recent recruit and part-time TMA contributor, Paul hails from Minneapolis (aka the Mini-apple) and works as in Enterprise software design. He also loves boardgames and is rarely seen without his trusty iPhone 4.

Name, iTunes and review links What makes us tick
LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4

Charming gameplay, great use of the touch screen, and top-notch graphics and music. A real value giving 10-20 hours of gameplay. Bravo!
Plants vs. Zombies Plants vs. Zombies Perfect game for a mobile touch device, great production values and a nicely ramped difficulty curve.  Can’t stop playing!
Heroes of Kalevala Heroes of Kalevala The best match-3 out there! Great graphics and music plus lots of diversions including city building and heroes. What’s not to like?
Solomon's Keep Solomon’s Keep Wonderful controls for a two-stick shooter, nice addition of RPG elements.  Love the special effects!
Piczle Lines Piczle Lines Addictive puzzle gameplay with a lot of content for free.  Nice shareware approach from a small developer.
Pocket Informant (Calendar & Tasks) Pocket Informant Finally, a calendar program to rival DateBk+ on Palm!  Monthly calendar plus icons for the win!
HanDBase Database Manager HanDBase Database Manager Great app for tracking all kinds of list data.  Nice flexible database app with good cross-platform support including Mac and PC desktop applications.
Use Your Handwriting Use Your Handwriting Great program for jotting quick notes by just drawing on the screen.  Why didn’t Apple think of this?

Louis Wong: Founder of TouchMyApps, Louis somehow finds the time to run TMA while moonlighting as a flight attendant for the world’s best airline, Air Canada (sarcasm?). To juggle both jobs, he relies heavily on the Omnifocus apps to help keep his life in order. On a side note, he still hasn’t found the cure yet for his addition to Drop7.

Name, iTunes and review links What makes us tick
Real Racing 2 Real Racing 2 Plenty of quality racers were released in 2010, but RR2 takes the crown with stunning visuals, a massive career mode and online multiplayer. A must have for any racing fan.
Angry Birds Angry Birds What “best of 2010” roundup would be complete without the infamous Angry Birds? Heck, even my grandma’s played this mindlessly addictive bird slinger. And hands up please if you’ve never heard of the game…
Dark Nebula - Episode Two Dark Nebula – Ep Two Dark Nebula – Episode 2 builds upon the hit first chapter with brand new levels, better visuals and more rolling goodness. This is certainly one of the most addictive and fun accelerometer based “action” games on the iPhone.
Infinity Blade Infinity Blade Easily the most visually impressive title on the platform. And most surprising of all, the gameplay is actually fun and leveling up both your character and weapons should keep you busy for a while.
HECTOR: Badge of Carnage Ep1 HECTOR: Badge of Carnage Ep1 Sure, the game’s short and Inspector Hector’s mouth is filthy like an ashtray, but this point and click adventure is simply hilarious and well worth the money. It was also some of the best 3 hours I spent on my iPhone in 2010
iBooks iBooks Probably the app I spent most time using on my iDevices. iBooks has become my favorite ebook reader thanks to its ability to sync bookmarks and current page between both my iPhone and iPad.
Reeder for iPad Reeder Having tried most of the RSS apps out there for Google Reader, this is the only one I rely on daily. The beautiful and simplistic design makes it fun to follow up on your favorite blogs and websites.
Evernote Evernote An indispensable app on my iPhone/iPad, Evernote keeps ALL my mental stuff (like audio, image and text notes) close at hand, even when I’m far away from my desktop.


Happy New Year Everyone!

A project manager in a major telecommunications supplier, an iPhone junkie and lately - a TMA editor. Love long walks on the beach and my wife, who is the most beautiful girl on the face of this planet. You can also follow me on twitter for all things iPhone and project management (and some personal stuff as well):

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