Best of 2012!
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Best of 2012 Nominations...

Beat Sneak BanditNo one ever said being a bandit was easy. Especially not a righteous Beat Sneak Bandit! This impressively creative game from Simogo (Bumpy Road, Kosmo Spin) combines the most basic musical elements with a visually sparse but stunning art style. The gameplay is different from just about every other iOS game out there, and you'll absolutely fall in love with it from the very first level!

CytusWith the success of music games on every platform, it was inevitable that iOS devices would see a few as well. While the range in quality is as variable as ever, Cytus from Rayark is on the high end of the scale. With clear, fantasy-futuristic graphics the game catches attention from the title screen simply by looking different, and gameplay doesn't disappoint either!

Dolphin UpHave you been going through Dolphin Olympics withdrawal over the last few years? Don't worry! Series creator Alan Rawkins has been hard at work on a tasty little surprise: Dolphin Up, a mobile version of the water-based stunt/physics game, now prepped and ready for your iOS enjoyment! It's all the splashes, all the high scoring, high flying acrobatics of the browser games squished into the palms of your hands. Plus, there's plenty of that squeaky, jittery, uh, clicking and whistling... sound... whatever you call that noise dolphins make. It's got that!

Dragon FlightThe number of "just one more round" games on mobile devices has increased dramatically since Jetpack Joyride gained its popularity (see the browser release Chuck the Sheep for another fine example). Each one features short stages, upgradeable abilities, in-game currency that can either be collected while you play or boosted with in-app purchases, and simple gameplay that grabs you within seconds of starting. Dragon Flight is one such game, though instead of going the route of sidescrolling arcade game, developer NextFloor plops you on a dragon for a vertical shooter that even casual fans can enjoy and (eventually) master!

Granny SmithGranny Smith is lounging about with apples in her eyes when suddenly a whippersnapper of a thief skates by and robs her trees bare. Naturally, granny immediately heads out to get her fruit back! This would be a rather boring game idea until you consider the following: the apples are strewn from country to city and beyond, and both granny and the kid are on rollerskates! Granny Smith, from Sprinkle creator Mediocre AB, is kind of a stunt game, kind of a physics game, and most definitely a racing game. But where it really scores big is in simple playability and that magic formula that makes you want to keep playing no matter how many times you die.

GridBlockYou might've seen one of those tabletop games where you turn the two knobs to tilt a platform and guide a marble through a maze. Odds are, you've never attempted to spice up the game with TNT and catapults. Gridblock is a challenging mobile game that intends to do just that. Tilt your device to slide the blocks to their targets in this action-filled puzzler that takes a steady hand and a sharp mind.

LostWinds2: Winter of the MelodiasGently wafting down from the world of Wii Ware games, LostWinds2: Winter of the Melodias is an iOS port of the 2009 sequel to LostWinds, a game that also recently made its way from console to mobile marketplace. Frontier Development has created a fantastic sequel to an adorable and easily lovable game, translating the same sense of awe and wonder that made the original such a pleasure while adding new elements (literally) to toy around with. It's a platform adventure ("metroidvania") like few others, and once you get a taste of the richly animated world LostWinds2 has to offer, you'll sit down and absorb the entire game without hesitation.

MANOS - The Hands of FateBased on the B-movie of the same name, the one famously riffed by the Mystery Science Theater 3000 crew so many glorious years ago, MANOS - The Hands of Fate is a retro-styled platform game from FreakZone that may very well be as punishing as the film itself. In a different sort of way. Armed with a few guns and an impending sense of "doom", work your way through the game's enemy-infested levels in an attempt to best your own speedruns. The Master would be pleased if you got a high score.

Micro MinersStay on your toes (or in this case, your fingertips) in this fast-paced game of Lemmings-style mining arcade action for your iOS. Draw paths for relentlessly cheery little squads of miners deep into the earth, guiding them around peril to plunder. As stages advance, the challenge ramps up as more and more new elements come into play, but a stellar retro style and some seriously quirky humour will keep you coming back for more.

OscuraOscura is a dark and shadowy mobile platform game created by Chocolate LIberation Front. The silhouette-based visuals might remind you of games like Limbo, but Oscura is much more grounded in action, preferring exaggerated leaps over more limited, realistic physics. Some of the levels feature horribly frightening phantasms, not all of which come in the form of moving enemies. But the visual design is one of Oscura's strong points, and you'll find it's both a graphical treat as well as a platform player's dream.

Project: MayhemPoor, helpless little... what are those again? Squished hippopotamus faces? Circle-blobs? Yeah, those. Poor helpless those. Actually, at least one of those circle-blobs has a name: Mayhem. And as you play this little genetically engineered experiment in OneSmartBunny's action/platform game Project: Mayhem, you'll begin to pity these critters more and more. But then you'll realize how tough this game is and start focusing on what really matters: landing jumps that require almost pixel-perfect execution, all without slowing down to see what you're doing. Good luck with that!

Retro RacingIt's a serious trip on Nostalgia Lane when you pick up Retro Racing, an arcade-style racer from the creator of QWAK. True to its roots, you focus on pure skill and coming in first place rather than crazy jumps or tweaking your car. Look for the most efficient path through each course, and pick up power-ups to increase your car's speed, acceleration, or tire stickiness to keep you in the game. Mistakes must be kept at a minimum, as this game doesn't coddle you just so you feel like a winner. Earn your rank and you will be rewarded! A neat local two player mode is also available.

SwordigoExplore deeply layered fantasy landscapes, encounter boss battles and intriguing characters, discover treasure chests and secret coves, upgrade armor and weapons, level up and and everything else you'd want to find in an epic RPG platforming adventure. The on screen controls make your journey all the more enjoyable for a classic gaming feel. Any nostalgic cravings you had for your favorite games of old will be satisfied as you are the hero and your quest is great. Keep that sword handy and your magic prepped; who knows what danger lurks beyond those gates? You'll soon find out!

The HatchingsGuide a laying hen around her running eggs until there's enough of them to set off a chain reaction hatching explosion! If that idea doesn't brighten your mood by itself, we'll sweeten the deal by telling you it features zany kazoo music and the cheerful art of master developer Orisinal. Now you're ready to get cracking!

Zaga-33Zaga-33 is a minimalist roguelike created by Michael Brough in one week but later refined into a more polished product for Windows, Mac, and iOS devices. It ditches almost all of the traditional roguelike customs in favor of focusing on just a few gameplay elements for an ultra-refined experience. No stats to track, enemy lists to memorize, or equipment to manage, just pure and simple power-ups and combat!

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