Best of 2011 (Top 5):
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery is, in one sentence, a gorgeous piece of playable, explorable art with a phenomenal soundtrack and overall design that begs to be experienced. We'll call it a point-and-click adventure (a touch and touch again adventure?), but really Sword & Sworcery is all about satisfying your curiosity in a visually striking world and doing one-on-one battles with a few discontented beings. It's a game so stepped in atmosphere and setting you'll feel like it's as epic as The Lord of the Rings, all compactified into your mobile device.
Mage Gauntlet, from Hook Champ
and Super QuickHook
creator Rocketcat Games, is the modern 16-bit action role playing game you've been waiting for. Everything about it is retro, from the level design to the pixel art, only instead of having to dust off your SNES, you just fire up your iOS device. In a decidedly awesome twist, this RPG doesn't take hours of playing before you can get into it, opening it up for shorter mobile sessions and casual gamers alike!
One part strategy, one part text-driven choose your own story adventure, King of Dragon Pass is exactly the game you want on your mobile device. Ported to iOS from the original PC/Mac release of 1999, this storytelling experience is rich in its own history and affords you a vast amount of control over what happens within. Wage war, explore the land, trade with your neighbors, manage your tribe, and read pages upon pages of text explicating the world you're actively participating in. It's great to see a title like this brought back for a new wave of gamers to play, and it works quite well on the iPhone platform.
As intriguing stories go, The Secret of Chateau de Moreau certainly scores high on the Intrigue-o-Meter. The game plays like a visual novel crossed with Phoenix Wright, with a few compelling differences. You play as Antoine, stepson of Count Moreau who has just died under mysterious circumstances. You must investigate the crime while you solve puzzles to prove your own innocence. A few mis-steps and you have to start the chapter over again, which puts a damper on the story progression, but it does encourage you to pay rapt attention and absorb every little detail, of which this game features many! It's an active, text-heavy drama mystery with plenty of gaming elements to keep you engaged. Definitely one to check out if you're a fan of mysteries or the written word. A free version, The Secret of Chateau de Moreau Lite, is also available.
Another impressively-built game that looks like it belongs on a big gaming-centric platform. Dungeon Defenders is an action RPG with a strong leaning towards tower defense. Choose one of the four hero classes and battle enemies by building towers, setting traps, and marching onto the scene yourself, fisticuffs at the ready. You'll find a full battery of loot, upgrades, equipment, and customization for your character, and best of all, online co-op multiplayer is supported, allowing you to fight with your friends anywhere in the world! Big features from a small game, showing you just how serious some development studios are about creating interesting content for the Android Marketplace. Unfortunately, this game also requires a hefty pre-play download (600MB), so make sure you're at home with wi-fi at the ready.