Best of 2011 (Top 5):
NimbleBit releases another hit with Tiny Tower, and it is possibly the best, least-nag-filled freemium game on the App Store! Manage the creation and staffing of every floor of your pixel tower. Choose from a number of floor types (residential, commercial, service, etc.) and wait in real-time while the construction is complete. When your floor is ready, staff it with one of your bitizens, matching each person's strengths with that type of shop. The only real maintenance you have to do is restocking shelves, all of which is done by choosing between items that range from a few minutes to an hour or so to obtain, then just make sure you have a good mix of floors available. You can opt to spend real cash to buy in-game towerbux to speed things up, but this is one game that plays remarkably well without using your own money.
New to the iPad world is the tower defense game we all love to love, Kingdom Rush HD
from Ironhide Games, a port of Kingdom Rush for browsers released not too long ago. The team had a bit of a problem when an unauthorized clone appeared on the iTunes App Store weeks before release. The knockoff was spotted and eventually removed (whew), leaving space for this excellent port of an already excellent game to wow and surprise gamers in the iOS device realm!
We all know Minecraft by now, the massively cool 3D sandbox creativity game that lets you explore, craft, and build anything you like. Then there's Terraria, a game that took the same formula and flattened it into a 2D sidescrolling game, adding combat and some other nice extras in the process. Both titles have spawned similar games on numerous platforms, but so far the mobile realm hasn't been a fertile ground for the sandbox genre. Until Junk Jack came along. This 2D pixel-gorgeous game takes the all-too-familiar crafting, digging, and exploration formula to your iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, bringing with it an entire world of possibilities.
Do you remember your high school? Are you still in
high school? Have you always thought you could do better than the, like, total lamers
who run the place? Now's your chance to prove it with Kairosoft's latest simulation and foray into the world of Pretend School Management. Balance the needs of your students and faculty with building improvements to your facilities, research new rooms and activities, take part in competitions, and design the academy of your dreams to ensure you rise to number one.
Surprise! Here is a very, very good card-based strategy defense game illustrated in the style of emakimono, or Japanese picture scrolls. The unique visuals may be what draws you in, but what will keep you interested is the gradually-paced tactical progression you experience while traveling across the map, fighting greater and greater foes. Each level pits you against ten waves of enemies. Draw cards to place your battle units on the grid, then level them up or place more as you see fit. After each victory you get a new card, and after tough battles you might even get a new unit. Organize your decks between matches to deal with the more difficult enemies, then jump into battle for even more strategical fun.