Earlier this year, we announced The Best App Ever Award winners at the 2010 Macworld Expo in San Francisco. These awards honor the best iPhone apps and are chosen by the people that actually use the applications—users like you and me. This year we saw over 300,000 votes cast in 56 categories, a huge success. These awards are a great way for users to show their appreciation to the developers of these great apps.
In this final part of the series, we present you with the winners in the game categories. Special thanks to Carter Dotson, Bonnie Eisenman, Jason Fanguy, James Isabel, Ryan Johnson, Patrick Jordan, Damon Singline, and Ryan Wood for contributing their comments about the games and why they won. Later this year we will announce the plans for the awards for this year, including both iPhone and iPad games and apps. For more info about the awards or to see the nominees in all 56 categories, head on over to the Best Apps Ever Web site (bestappever.com).
Living up to the hype!
The App Store's games section has more apps than any other category. It's populated with many wonderful, exciting, and creative games that will keep you occupied for hours at a time. In an age where everything is over-sold, the games listed in this article live up to the hype surrounding them—they deserve their award-winning status.
Who knew that six grassskirt-wearing pygmies stuck on a deserted island would become one of the App Store's greatest pillars? Pocket God started out as a little time-waster but evolved into an app with dozens of mini games and islands. You can throw the pygmies intoa volcano, feed them to the sharks, activate a dinosaur or a sea monster, play a Doodle Jump-like game or a line drawing game, and a whole lot more. Why would anyone look for anything else? Part of the game's continued success to this day is its huge fanbase that drives the game's future updates. Pocket God has been out for over a year and is still a constant chart topper, garnering multiple awards without ever charging for any of its huge list of updates. Now you know why this is THE Best App Ever! (Review by James Isabel, TheAppera.com).
This one was made by the company that developed Flight Control. Both games are incredibly fun, but Real Racing is more of an arcade racer than a simulation. You could say that the "Real" in Real Racing stands for the game's really good looks, really easy controls, and its really good replay value. There are few games that look better than this and even fewer that nail the accelerometer steering controls as well as it does. This game and Flight Control are Firemint's only app releases so far, and though they couldn't be more different, they show that Firemint understands how to make a great iPhone game. Real Racing is one of strongest racing games available for the iPhone, even months after its initial release. (Review by Carter Dotson, ThePortableGamer.com).
Canabalt is an online, side scrolling game ported to the iPhone. Your goal is to have your character run as long as it can while avoiding different obstacles. The longer you last, the faster you run, and the more difficult the game becomes. Canabalt is one of those almost inexplicably addictive games that makes you want to retry for a better score the moment you die. Though strategy and perfect timing are required to actually go far in the game, the simplicity of its control and endearing gameplay make it a perfect distraction for just about anyone. (Review by James Isabel, TheAppera.com).
Eliss immerses you deep within an aberrant cosmos faced with planet-swallowing vortexes and other intergalactic phenomena.
Your goal is to manipulate planets and maintain harmony in the universe. Brilliantly leveraging multi-touch functionality, Eliss empowers you with the ability to wipe away accumulating stardust and to move, arrange, split, and join planets.
To keep things in order, you must ensure that the yellow and pinkplanets remain separate—for when the two collide, the universe is at risk. This is no easy task as planets are continuously produced in unpredictable locations and, at times, are redirected against your will by unpredictable attractions to vortexes. To keep things in check, you must constantly alter planets to fit "squeesars" that can absorb and dissolve them. Twenty-five challenging levels await you.
Eliss will take you on a beautiful, multitouch, space adventure you'll never forget! (Review by Ryan Johnson, Slapapp.com).
Squareball is an unassuming retro title that pulls off quite a feat: It has the nostalgic gameplay elements of an old platform-based game combined with those found in a basic Pong-inspired game. It features a single ball that ricochets between the screen's floor and ceiling.
Squareball is a unique, innovative, and nostalgic nod to retro platforms and Atari 2600/8-bit classics. The nostalgic gameplay is addictive, challenging, and unbelievably fun, all at a great value. (Review by Jason Fanguy, 148Apps.com).
Charadium is an online Pictionary game in which users of the Plus+ social network draw pictures or guess pictures drawn by their friends or random strangers. You can use different colors to make your pictures even more easily recognizable. The sooner you guess someone's illustrations and the sooner they guess yours, the higher the scores you'll be awarded. Play a quick game by joining one already in progress, or invite your friends and open a public room where you and other people can start the game from round one.
This may be a simple concept, but the way On5 Entertainment executed both the gameplay and Plus+ integration more than justifies this Best App Ever award. (Review by James Isabel, TheAppera.com).
Words With Friends is a multiplayer, turn-based, crossword puzzle game similar to Scrabble. It allows players to compete online with friends or random opponents, in as many as 20 simultaneous games. In addition, the game contains a built-in chat feature and push notifications that alert players when it's their turn.
Words With Friends gives players seven tiles to play with at a time, displayed in a row along the bottom of the screen. As in Scrabble, the goal is to outscore your opponent by using as many letters as possible to spell words. (Use all of them in a single play to form a Bingo.) The rare letters (X, Q, Z, J, etc.) are worth more than the common ones and placing them on the board's premium squares (DL - Double Letter, DW - Double Word, etc.) is the key to winning games.
The game's graphical interface allows players to zoom in and out on the board by double tapping the screen. It's definitely the best interface in this genre. The game's asynchronous, no-pressure gameplay makes for a relaxing, immersive experience while subtly tickling each player's competitive spirit— making it the best game in its class. (Review by Jason Fanguy, 148Apps.com).
Words With Friends
Space Invaders Infinity Gene starts off a lot like the beloved classic. But as you play, the game evolves; weapons are unlocked, obstacles are added, environments change, and enemies become increasingly craftier. The game will even base its adaptations on the music you're playing! Space Invaders Infinity Gene is an ever-evolving creature that retains all of the appeal of the original. It's no wonder it took the crown in the Retro Reborn category. (Review by Bonnie Eisenman, 148apps.com).
Space Invaders Infinity Gene
Simplistic perfection is the best way to describe the dualstick shooter, Minigore. This well-designed shooter started out as a one-level survivability campaign with lots of guest appearances. But a dedicated staff of developers has continued to enhance it and release a lot of updates. Minigore is a great action game that is unmatched on the iOS platform in terms of dedication and support. (Review by Ryan Wood, 148Apps.com).
Civilization is expanding uncontrollably, polluting earth's precious ecosystems, and bringing us to the verge of extinction. Just as it seems all hope may be lost, a glutinous little creature rolls onto the scene and sets out to clean up the world and make it beautiful again! Gomi is creative, challenging, and a content-rich game that is fun for the entire family. This cute, pollution-cleansing adventure game takes you through eight uniquely different worlds, more than 140 mazelike stages, and eight extremely addictive mini games. It even lets you customize your Gomi! Pollution sticks to your skin as you roll, jump, and launch your way around levels. When you clean up filth, Gomi replaces it with flowers and cleanliness. It requires sound strategy and a good sense of direction to complete the confusing stages. Make the world livable again as you enjoy hours of challenging and smile-inducing fun! (Review by Ryan Johnson, lapapp.com).
The original Labyrinth app was a hugely popular ballin- a-maze game. Labyrinth 2 took the first game's basic structure and added tons of new elements. Cannons, bumpers, magnets, fans, and more add plenty of twists to keep the game interesting. The best features of this update include local multiplayer capability, a level editor, and the ability to download levels created by other users. For pure arcade-style fun, Labyrinth 2 trounces the competition. (Review by Bonnie Eisenman, 148apps.com).
Many of us have fond memories sitting around the table with family or friends playing a round of UNO. UNO's color/ number style gameplay flawlessly adapts to the iOS platform. The addition of online compatibility makes UNO fun regardless of the setting, and players can square off with people from around the world. Gameloft took a great game and added features and detail that really make it an awardwinning app. (Review by Ryan Wood, 148Apps.com).
This one had to compete with Apple's Texas Hold'em game for the Best Casino Game award. It doesn't offer the flashy graphics of Apple's game, but it wins the pot with its extensive Legend Career, where you start at local poker rooms and build your way up through larger and larger tournaments, all the way to the World Series of Poker. The Legend Career mode is based on real events and, in addition, you also have the option to play friends or strangers alike online. The game is easy to learn and provides you with many hours of winning fun! (Review by Damon Singline, iFoneReviews.blogspot.com).
World Series of Poker Hold'em Legend
With multiple versions and countless special editions, Monopoly lives on in households around the world. The iOS version provides great fun on the go. Monopoly may be a complicated game, but Electronic Arts has done a great job of keeping the game user- friendly on the pocket-size platform. Monopoly also includes multi-player options using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, a great addition to an already great game. Monopoly's already established game mechanics, combined with Electronic Arts's superior game design, made this a shoe-in for best dice game. (Review by Ryan Wood, 148Apps.com).
The iPhone version of Toki Tori has its origins in a Game Boy color game of the same name. It's a puzzle game that has you use a limited set of tools to control a yellow bird's movements through the game's four worlds. You have to overcome hazards while trying to get the bird's eggs strewn all throughout the different worlds. It's an adorable looking game that will twist your brain every which way as you try to solve its fiendish puzzles. The iPhone incarnation of the game features stylishly updated graphics and controls optimized for the system. It was an underappreciated gem in its original incarnation, but now that it is on the iPhone, there's no excuse for you to not play Toki Tori! (Review by Carter Dotson, ThePortableGamer.com).
Epic Pet Wars is so simple that, on the surface, its appeal is a mystery. You adopt a pet, deck it out in gear, and battle other pets in a super-simple interface. After enough battles, your pet will grow and you'll need to buy better weapons and armor... and so the cycle continues! What makes it such a powerful MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online game) is that in order to ascend to the top ranks you'll need a powerful posse of fellow players. (Review by Bonnie Eisenman, 148apps.com).
Epic Pet Wars
While there are a plethora of rhythm games available for the iPhone, none are as innovative as Beat It! Instead of simply tapping notes in time/rhythm, players are challenged to reproduce a short, pre-determined, looped beat exactly as they hear it. Many instruments are used (simultaneously) throughout the game and players must choose which are used for the beat and place their notes on a musical grid. Beat It! offers 50 levels of difficulty, all varying in the number of individual instruments used in each beat. Beat It! is a unique, interactive experience that will challenge the way you listen to music. Its gameplay inspires creativity and players will probably develop a newfound love and respect for music and rhythm! (Review by Jason Fanguy, 148Apps.com).
Cross Fingers challenges you to combine solid pieces into a large tangram puzzle. The game's 80 levels provide plenty of challenge, and many of them force you to use some finger dexterity and the multitouch capabilities of your device to get your pieces where you want them to go. Some of Cross Fingers' later levels are exceptionally difficult, particularly as the game starts to present you with physical and mental challenges. Cross Fingers is a stylish looking puzzle game that is exceptionally addicting. (Review by Carter Dotson, ThePortableGamer.com).
This highly anticipated sequel to Chronicles of Inotia takes the average RPG storyline and gameplay to a higher level. Its addictive style and game controls, which are even easier to use than in the original, allowit to stands out among its competitors. Inotia 2's incredibly long story mode and addictive online gameplay easily make it the best RPG of 2009. (Review by Damon Singline, iFoneReviews.blogspot.com)
Inotia 2: A Wanderer of Luone
Homerun Battle 3D is a simple, intense, and super addictive game that is like MLB's All Star Game week's Home Run Derby come to the iPhone. You don't have to worry about fielding, base running, or pitching—just swing your bat and aim for the fences. The graphics and sound effects are great—especially the crack of the bat on a big hit. It offers various game modes, high score tracking, and a superb online head-to head mode. All in all, Homerun Battle is a rare sports game that will keep you coming back for more. (Review by Patrick Jordan, JustAnotheriPhoneBlog.com).
Homerun Battle 3D
This great classic board game is lovingly and faithfully rendered for the iOS platform. If you enjoy playing Trivial Pursuit as a board game, you'll love it on the iPhone. Gameplay is easy and the UI makes it feel like the board game. It offers a couple of multi-player modes, and even the ability to purchase additional specialist question packs from within the app (for topics like Movies, Sports, and more). (Review by Patrick Jordan, JustAnotheriPhoneBlog.com).