There’s an obscene amount of games that hit the App Store every year, and as any developer will tell you, discoverability is hard. Sometimes the very best games slip through the cracks and go largely unnoticed. It’s a shame, but that doesn’t mean you can’t play catch-up.
Gamezebo proudly presents our picks for ten of the best games this year (that you probably didn’t play):
A fast-paced, timer-based dungeon crawl with card-collecting perks, colorful art, and impossible-to-put-down gameplay, Storm Casters might just be the best thing that Get Set Games has ever done. And considering this is the studio behind Mega Jump and Mega Run, that’s really saying something.
Puzzle combat games usually have an element of chance, but not in the traditional, casino-style sense. Faif changes that, delivering a game that smacks of originality. Players select five adjoining tiles with different properties, but only one will (entirely at random) be selected for play. The tiles you select all come down to one simple rule: the more risk you’re willing to take, the more reward to stand to earn.
Roguelikes have gained an incredible following in recent years, with their core elements creeping into all kinds of games. Shattered Planet, however, sticks pretty close to genre staples. You’ll explore level after level of an alien world as you collect new gear, encounter new monsters, and enjoy the purest of gaming pursuits: exploration. While the experience remains consistent throughout, a heaping helping of variety helps Shattered Planet feel fresh play after play.
If you like a good auto-running platformer, you’re going to love Adventure Beaks. Following in the same gameplay spirit as BIT.TRIP RUN!, players will jump and slide through treacherous terrain in search of coins, artifacts, “B-O-N-U-S” letters and more. Additional challenge levels, high replayability, and adorable penguin-sized clothes make Adventure Beaks a winner in our books.
Joshua Rothman of The New Yorker describes Dudeski as such: “If ‘The Big Lebowski’ had an alpine sequel, and that sequel were turned into a video game, it would be Dudeski.” That’s a pretty apt description. Christine Chan at AppAdvice put it well, too: “Think of having SkiFree on an NES, because that’s what this is making me think of, and it’s awesome.” And Gamezebo? We didn’t describe it at all. It somehow slipped off of our radar back in March, as it probably did yours — which explains how it got on this list!
With games like Kingdom Rush Origins and Cursed Treasure 2, this was an incredible year for tower defense fans. Castle Doombad turned the genre on its side – literally – creating a side-scrolling alternative to traditional TD. Traps and monsters are scattered through the halls of your evil lair as “heroes” try to bring your villainous ways to an end. Plenty of smile-inducing moments (it is published by Adult Swim Games, after all) and a new perspective on TD made Castle Doombad well worth a play.
Matching cards by suit or face value sounds absurdly easy, right? But what if you could only match cards that were separated by one other card? That’s the “simple on paper, impossible to master” basics behind Pair Solitaire. Your goal is to clear away as many cards as you can, and within just a few minutes, you’ll start to see the larger strategy at work. Pretty soon you’ll be planning moves five and ten steps ahead like a Chess Grandmaster.
If you’re on the lookout for retro, GameBoy-style action with modern multiple objectives/exploration gameplay, 2-bit Cowboy is an easy recommendation to make. Levels are fairly large; and with minimal health and multiple goals to track down and complete, there’s a charmingly old school level of difficulty here too. It’s the best game that 1989 forgot to make.
We’re cheating a little with this selection, because Hoplite actually came out on the last day of new releases for 2013 — but it’s just too good a game to overlook. A turn-based strategy game with heavy roguelike trappings, players attempt to descend 16 floors in an attempt to recover “The Fleece of Yandor,” carefully plotting every step along the way. Don’t let its simple graphics confuse you; this is one of the best buys for strategic thinkers on the App Store.
You’ve played a lot of games, but how many of them are about gathering up you friends to hurl them into the sun with you? I’m thinking 5, max. Download Sunburn! and make it 6.