Top 12 iPhone and iPad Games of 2012

As more and more games and apps flood the App Store, it’s getting harder to find apps that truly stand out. For 2012, I expanded the list to include 12 notable games.

The following were chosen because they feel like they were made for the iOS mobile device and make good use of its touchscreen (this applies to PC/Xbox/PSN ports, too!), flawlessly designed, and bring something new and/or great to their respective genres. In addition, as a casual gamer, these games are relatively light, fun and quick to play.

In no particular order, appSIZED’s notable games of 2012 are:

fieldrunners 2 HD on appSIZED

Gloriously fun and beautiful to play

(iPad only)

The much awaited sequel to the iOS tower defense (TD) forerunner Fieldrunners does not disappoint. It’s gorgeously designed, flawlessly implemented and fiendishly difficult at times. I love the cheeky humor, too! Despite their notable hiatus from the iOS game development scene, the guys at Subatomic Studios were clearly cooking up this masterpiece. (Read the full review here)


Scrabble meets chess in Letterpress

(Universal for iPhone and iPad)

I am hard put to describe Letterpress – it’s somewhere between Scrabble and chess. You have a board full of letters, and numerous word combinations you can come up with as your territory. The fact that you don’t need tiles to be adjacent to each other in order to form words is refreshing, but the extra challenge of defending and attacking your letters from your Game Center opponent requires a careful and thoughtful strategy reminiscent of chess. Letterpress is a unique word game that is deceptively simple, beautifully designed and incredibly challenging.

angry birds space HD

Space, the final frontier

(iPad only)

Let me first state that I am not an Angry Birds fan. In fact, I only got to play the game because of my friend accidentally downloaded the paid version. It was Angry Birds Space HD that got my attention because of its gorgeous graphics and gravity bending twist that opened up new ways to whack those butt ugly pigs.

Pizza vs Skeletons on appSIZED

This is how we pizzas roll

(Universal for iPhone and iPad)

In a parallel universe, I am a giant pizza wearing an opera mask, mercilessly crushing skeletons and giant skulls in my path. I love the fact that I can dress up any which way I want, for no reason other than to just dress up. Crushing wave after wave of the ridiculous undead (some in Santa hats,too) in a variety of puzzle-like situations, missions and objectives (e.g. rescue the kittens!) keeps the game fun, fresh and interesting. Yes, you should take Pizza vs Skeletons seriously, too.

Toy Defense on appSIZED

Toys are us!

(iPad only)

Toy Defense is a sophisticated tower defense game that took notes from the best games of the genre and wrapped it up in a beautiful, highly polished package. I like the little twists to the gameplay, particularly the automatic upgrade for towers once they have gained experience points and the fact that I can use my best towers in the next round. The in-app purchase was initially controversial but to be honest, you can enjoy the game without spending extra on it.

waking mars on appSIZED

There IS life on Mars!

(iPad only)

The next frontier is here and your mission is takes on the brink of an exciting discovery of the secrets of planet Mars. Exploration does not stop there, as you are tasked to bring the planet Mars to life by searching for and planting alien seeds in a tucked away cave where you last had contact with your science team. Thrilling, flawless and unique, I found myself immersed in this game for hours, endlessly fascinated when a dark and forlorn part of the cave comes to life.

Unstoppable Zorg on appSIZED

This is what you get when you reject an alien princess

(iPad only)

With so many tower defense games on the App Store, you may have missed this one, which is a shame really, because it’s more than just a game, it’s a fun and engaging experience that only a nostalgic retro B-movie theme can provide. More than the gorgeous visuals and story however, is a fresh take on the TD game, amping up the level of difficulty and forcing you to think creatively. Place your towers in orbit and rotate them constantly to fight off wave after wave of alien invaders coming from all corners of the galaxy, rescue your girl from a jealous alien princess (who wants you, by the way) and enjoy this head spinning take on TD.

Extinction Squad on appSIZED

Catch ’em and bounce ’em gorillas and dodos!

(Universal for iPhone and iPad)

In an increasingly busy world, sometimes we only have a few minutes to sneak in a game or two on our iPhones and iPads. Extinction Squad is a delightfully simple game that puts you in charge of catching oddly cute, endangered animals falling from the sky while avoiding bombs that are likewise falling from the sky, too. Thanks to its mission-based goals and arcade game mode, Extinction Squad remains fun, fresh and frantic.

Devil's Attorney on appSIZED

You have the right to an ace defense attorney

(Universal for iPhone and iPad)

Lawyers have a horrible reputation and all those bad lawyer jokes have manifested themselves in you, Max McMann, sleazy defense lawyer extraordinaire – the star of the show. Demolish the prosecution and win your cases by carefully attacking and eliminating witnesses and physical evidence before the prosecution attacks you and use your money to buy a fancy suit and over the top furniture to upgrade your skills and ah, talents. Combining turn based strategy (TBS) with role playing game (RPG) elements in a ridiculously campy and funny package, Devil’s Attorney is so over the top you just can’t stop playing it.

Autumn Dynasty on appSIZED

The art of war

(iPad only)

Few Real time Strategy (RTS) games play like beautiful poetry on a beautiful battlefield – Autumn Dynasty holds the distinction of creating a beautiful war game brought to life by calligraphy like art. At the heart of Autumn Dynasty, however, is a solid RTS game that brings out tactical and strategic challenges much like the historical battle it simulates. Autumn Dynasty also marries the touch-based iOS platform with complex game dynamics and creates a unique and original gaming experience with an engaging storyline. If you’re tired of games that feel like they are still stuck in the PC era with their awkward controls and overly complicated mechanics, Autumn Dynasty is a prime example of an iOS game done right.

Eufloria HD on appSIZED

Flower power

(iPad only)

Looking like something out of a sketch on Paper (beautiful app, btw!), Eufloria is strangely compelling. As the name suggests, it’s a flower war. You grow plants on asteroids, your main resource and army against enemies, and your main goal is to search for and colonize rogue asteroids. Zoom in and you still beautiful plants in bloom, and seedlings in flight. The game is fairly simple to play, but grows more complex in delicate layers. It might be too zen for some, bewildering for others, but it is a joy to behold.

Roads of Rome 2 on appSIZED

If you build it, they will come

(Universal for iPhone and iPad)

Roads of Rome 2 is a wonderful time management/building game that brings to life the troubled life and times of Julius Caesar and the glory of the Roman Empire. Your job is to build roads, excavate caves for jewels, fight off wolves, sea monsters and other enemies, and harness your resources. Combining time management and resource management with just the right dose of excitement, Roads of Rome 2 HD is far from a monotonous, repetitive affair, it is a genuinely thrilling adventure.

H(app)y shopping and I hope you enjoyed the holidays!

Thank you, once again, for supporting appSIZED! Expect new and more exciting things to come in 2013 as once again appSIZED becomes bigger and better for you, dear reader. Have a wonderful 2013 ahead!


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