Note from the Editor: We were working on a series of “best of” posts, but figured it might be best if we reached out to someone who’s had a lot more hands on time when it comes to iOS gaming. We reached out to Corey, and figured that the Editor in Chief of MacGamer might be more than qualified for a top-ten list. Corey Tamas has been Editor in Chief of MacGamer.com since 1998. He has also worked for MacHome magazine, as games contributor for The Mac Bible, and he co-hosts the iGame Radio Podcast.
From the first glimpse of iOS back in 2007, the world got a pretty good sense of just how much gaming awesome could be packed into that little smooth device we called the iPhone. Even so, the most optimistic gamers couldn’t have foreseen what was to come; from major-league players like Epic Games, Electronic Arts and id Software to little game houses that grew like Telltale, Freeverse and Popcap, talent and product flocked to iOS and turned it into a gamer’s paradise. If 2010 proved anything, it wasn’t just that the iOS is a great mobile gaming platform… it’s that iOS is a great gaming platform, period. Let’s take a look at what set the stage for time-wasting in 2010:
Top Ten Games from 2010 (No. 10 to 6)
10. Bejewelled 2 Blitz
In the gaming world, there’s some merit to the maxim “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and Popcap’s enduring Bejewelled formula hits the spot like always in Bejewelled 2 Blitz. Those of you who would enjoy it most probably know it; match up rows of gems in a frame to win points and advance levels. Simple, addictive and almost zen-like in its elegance, Bejewelled 2 Blitz is one of the must-have casual games that will get you through many long bus trips or waiting room visits.
9. N.O.V.A. – Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance
This game almost didn’t make the list due to the fact that its shining points are largely done as well or better by several other titles on the list… but let’s come out and say it: It’s Halo on iOS, and that’s damn cool. This first person shooter shows that a mobile FPS can have it all: amazing graphics, lots of different guns, full 360 degree movement and vision, a great single player campaign, and multiplayer as well. At the risk of uttering gamer blasphemy, id Software’s Rage for iOS could have learned a thing or two from N.O.V.A. about pacing and environment.
Freeverse borrowed a page (well, several pages really) from a classic Mac game called Escape Velocity and gave it a hell of an iOS makeover. The premise is simple, yet epic: Crawl into your little space ship and go explore the universe. Through visiting planets, learning what to buy and sell, carrying out missions-for-hire and carefully juggling alliances, you’ll find yourself gaining power, prestige and influence in the many sectors of the known galaxy. It’s not all diplomacy and business, however; enemy factions and piratical savages have your number and like to hunt you down. It’s sort of a 2.5D world (which works just fine, thankyouverymuch), with lovely galactic backdrops, colorful worlds and scintillating effects to keep your pulse pounding when the lasers fire.
7. Stair Dismount
Stair Dismount by Secret Exit Ltd. is going to put a lot of people off for its gruesome and dry humor (at least I think it’s humor), which is a shame; this physics toy/game, which involves shoving a witless mannequin off of a tall structure to see how much physical damage you can do to him, is innovative, addictive and has great replay value. I defy anyone alive to not wince when they hear the breaking of bones as the dummy rolls down a flight of stairs or falls off a tall tower and hits every support beam on the way down, but it slyly pulls you in to a clever series of entertaining physics experiments to see how much and where pressure will create the ultimate bone-breaking fall. Note for parents or the squeamish: There’s no blood or screams of agony involved when this faceless dummy takes a fall. It’s only the sound effects that are truly gruesome.
6. Puzzle Agent
If you cross the movie Fargo with Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, you get this brilliant little head-scratcher from Telltale games, which follows the quest of plucky Puzzle Agent Tethers into Scoggins, Minnesota. Once there, he goes up against a series of diverse and fresh puzzles served up in a cool, casual, sketchy style. The brilliance of Puzzle Agent is that it knows what it’s good at: Mind-bending (but not mind-torturing) puzzles with an ironic smirk in between to cleanse the palette.