If you’re one of the folks behind Google’s Android operating system, 2012 has been a pretty great year. Not only have Android phones taken a triumphant lead over iPhones in terms of sales (if you include cheap, feature-limited Android phones in emerging markets, they make up a whopping 68.3% of smartphone sales in 2012), but some have been quick to call the Android-powered Samsung Galaxy S3 the must-have device of the season, saying that it even outshines Apple’s iPhone 5.
Android vs iOS squabbling aside, there’s only one measure that we really want to judge a phone by here at Gamezebo – its games. Much like it was in 2011, the Google Play store is crawling with ports of popular iOS games, and listing those here would seem downright silly. Instead, our picks for the Best Android Games of 2011 aren’t simply any games that you can find on the platform – we’ve picked from the games you can either only find on Android, or that make a significant debut on Android before going to Apple’s App Store.
So which five Android games made the cut in 2012? Let’s find out!
#5 – Sandago
Playing with sand is for kids, right? But what about those of us who are still kids at heart? For grown-ups looking for a little sandbox fun, there’s always Sandago. A color-matching game that tasks players with pouring stacks of sand until a pile is large enough to clear away, there’s something downright hypnotic about this charming little puzzle game. And mixing in real world locations like the Leaning Tower of Piza? That’s just icing on the cake.
#4 – Beastie Bay
Kairosoft games may appear on both iOS and Android, but fans of the company know where their heart truly lies. Almost all of their games debut on Android months ahead of an iOS release, and Beastie Bay (still only on Android) is no exception. In this simulation, Kairosoft puts their unique spin on the “gotta catch’em all!” monster fever of games like Pokemon.
#3 – Puzzle Forge
Match-3 mashups have been a staple of the gaming industry since Puzzle Quest first graced our screens in 2007, and while Puzzle Forge belongs in the same category, and it does have a fantasy theme, it’s not simply another attempt to recreate Puzzle Quest. Instead Puzzle Forge draws its inspiration from Triple Town, but the experience is made unique by asking players to craft weapons for customers with the matches they make.
#2 – Mr Legs
Fun fact: Sometimes video games can be really weird. Mr Legs tells the story of a cherry picker who wants to be the very best in all of Londonium. And no, we don’t mean a piece of machinery when we say “cherry picker.” We mean a strange little man whose legs grow and shrink at your command, letting him pick cherries with his mouth as he walks. See? Weird. But also wonderfully delightful. If you own an Android phone and haven’t had a chance to experience this gem yet, that'ss something you should rectify immediately.
#1 – Rage of Bahamut
When gamers look back at 2012, more than a few of them will say it was the year of the card battle game. And Rage of Bahamut? That’s the card battle game king.
While the game later made a splash on the App Store, Rage of Bahamut was already a sensation on Android long before it made its way to your iPhone. It’s simple and accessible (especially when compared to what most would think of as a collectible card game), and it’s this simplicity that helped it spawn a million imitators (and gain even more fans). Collect cards, combine them, and take them into battle? What could be easier (and more addictive) than that?
With another year come and gone, Gamezebo is looking back at the best games that 2012 had to offer. Our month-long retrospective will touch on just about every type of game you can imagine - so be sure not to miss any of it! Check out our full collection of Best of 2012 articles, and vote for your favorite games in our 2012 Reader’s Choice awards.