So I was asked if I could try to compile a list of what I thought were the best games of 2013. To be perfectly honest, that’s a pretty hard thing for me to do, especially given the fact that I rarely get the chance to finish most of the games I play. Instead, I’m going to present to you a list of games that are definitely top notch and that I think I worth investing your time in. They may not necessarily be the best of their breed, but they are ones that stick out in my mind for one reason or another. And be warned right now, there will probably be some that you’d expect to see on this list that won’t show up, in large part because I probably have not even played them yet. Now that we have the ground work laid, let’s get on to the games…
Some people don’t consider iOS devices real gaming platforms, but since I started writing reviews for my iPod Touch and iPad I barely look back at all the other electronics sitting in my house. The adventure game category is covered when you get first rate releases like The Cave from Ron Gilbert and Double Fine Productions. The master of Monkey Island brings his wit to spelunking with a cast of crazy characters and plenty of oddball puzzles to solve. If you prefer your humor a bit drier and tied to the zombie apocalypse then you might want to give Zombie Apocalift a try. There are still quirky characters, but in this game you have to deal with hordes of undead while trapped in an elevator. If you just want to indulge in a lighthearted puzzle game you should give Happy Hills 2: Bombs Away! a try. This sequel has 160 levels, some new ways to get rid of the blocks and an endless arcade mode for when you want to relax your brain a little.
This week’s selection of games was full of fun little surprises, including a movie tie-in that I actually really enjoy. First up, though, is a rogue-like game called Quadropus Rampage, which I almost picture what it would be like if they made an action version of Squids. The game has lots of redeeming qualities, but it’s almost worth it just for the goofy names of all the weapons. If you’re looking for something completely different you might want to try Rescue Me – The Adventures. As the name implies the game involves rescuing people, but the mechanics are clever and it can be quite humorous at times. Now about that movie tie-in: the game is Despicable Me: Minion Rush. Instead of trying to recreate the movie in a game this is simply an infinite runner that takes place in the Despicable Me universe, but there are enough movie references to satisfy fans and it’s just loads of fun.
So many new games, so little time to play them all. This was an big week for tower defense fans as there were at least 4 sizeable releases in the genre. One of my all time favorite TD games was Kingdom Rush, and now we have the sequel in Kingdom Rush Frontiers. With more than 18 tower abilities, 40+ monster types and 9 heroes to select and cultivate, this game promises to be bigger and better than its predecessor in every way. Speaking of sequels, the cubes are back in Cubemen2. In addition to everything else this installment might bring to the table, the game already offers a mind blowing 1500 user designed levels to play. Com2Us has stepped into the fray with Defense Technica. One standout feature of this offering is the use of tower cards which can be combined to create some unique defense structures.
Well, I broke my “report on the little guys” mantra this week by bringing you the low down on what was probably the two biggest releases of the week, but it couldn’t be helped. Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic has been around for a while, and from what I gather it’s not only a top notch RPG, but it’s one of the best outings the Star Wars IP has to offer in terms of video games. You start as an agent of the republic, but where you end up is full dependent on what you want to get out of the game. If you prefer fantasy to sci-fi I hear that Warhammer Quest is a pretty cool option. It looks like a beefed up board game, has the advantages of an electronic game system, and you’ll never loose any pieces. Finally, one I didn’t mention elsewhere in this article was World War Z. Sure it could be just another zombie shooter, but given Phosphor Games’ track record I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt. Besides, I’m eager to see how the handle their first free roaming first person game.
I’m surprised at how many weeks in a row the App Store has had a strong release list, especially since most of the games aren’t coming from the “big” publishers. One of my favorite games this week was Something Has Changed, a minimalist game in terms of aesthetics and instructions. What it does really well is challenge you to quickly adapt to ever-changing rules, no matter how slight those changes might be. Dead Ahead is a fun new infinite runner zombie game from Chillingo. It has some stylish visuals and lets you run over zombies with a motorcycle. Strategy fans might want to check out Pirates vs Corsairs: Davey Jones’ Gold. This game provides the goals of Risk in a slightly more lighthearted atmosphere, and you get to dodge sharks and Krakens to boot.
This was another week where there were a lot more options than I had slots available to talk about. I didn’t want to upset the delicate balance of the list by including two infinite runners, but another one that caught my attention was Blade Journey. Combat, some interesting terrain design and a health and mana system make this much more than a simple Temple Run clone. On the surface Evilot looks much like a Plants vs. Zombies spin-off. Be careful, though, because some Triple Town style mechanics could mean you suddenly don’t have defenses where you thought you did, providing for an interesting layer of strategy. Turbo Racing League is a joint effort between PikPok and Dreamworks Interactive to promote the new animated film Turbo. More importantly, playing between now and the middle of June will give you a chance to enter a contest with a million dollars worth of prizes!
Wow, what a crazy week! There were a lot of interesting looking releases, and it was hard choosing just 10. Honey Tribe Studios released a new puzzle game called Yam Yam: Puzzle Guardians. Whereas their last release was quite cerebral and somewhat dark in tone, Yam Yam is action oriented and good for the whole family. Crescent Moon Games released their latest offering in the form of Dig!, a Qix clone involving a washed up archeologist and a mummy named Nigel. Cool graphics, a good sense of humor and magical hats makes this a variant worth digging into. If you’re not completely sick of infinite running games yet, you’ll definitely want to give Running with Friends a try. No bull about it, this competitive runner could breathe new life into the genre for those that have given up on such games.
Once again I’ve tried to bring you a nice variety of games to consider this week, and you’ll be happy to know that there are no infinite runners on my list this time around. There is a rather addictive strategy game called Tower Zoo, however. The mechanics are simple, there are plenty of levels to challenge you, and when you get done whopping – or getting whopped – by the computer AI you can take on your neighbor in pass and play mode. If you’re more of a “poker with an edge” sort of player you should consider taking Alice of Hearts for a spin. This game has puts an interesting twist on the Wonderland fable, it has a pretty slick presentation, and it does a good job of using poker hands for combat that feels different than other games of its style. If you’re just looking for some visceral action then Fisticuffs: An Arcade Boxing Game might fit the bill. It’s a simple boxing game with a small but diverse roster of fighters that’s fun and could be something great if people play it and encourage the developers to add more to it.
As always I’ve tried to bring you a diverse list of games this week, though looking back through the titles it seems a decent portion of them have some sort of RPG elements in them. For those looking for a basic brawler with some attitude, you might give WWE Presents: Rockpocalypse a try. The premise is silly and the dialog does get repetitive before long, but the fact that the game doesn’t take itself seriously actually makes it palatable to play. If you prefer your action with a little more of a western tilt then Gamevil has Lost Memory for your perusal. The game offers both sword slashing and gun slinging combat action, as well as a “am I the good guy or bad guy” storyline. Maybe you want your combat to be a little more tribal instead? Tribe Survival is an interesting alternative that’s not quite like anything else I’ve played on the App Store.