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The Top 10 iOS Games of the Year (2012)

We love playing iOS games here at App Chronicles. As the year comes to an end, our reviewers and editors shared their choices for the best iPhone and iOS games of the year.

It has been a tremendous year for iOS gaming. There were the expected sequels like NOVA 3 and Need For Speed Most Wanted. Many excellent ports from consoles and handheld games like The World Ends with You and Bastions have arrived in the App Store with a blast. There were also some surprises like Air Supremacy: Storm Raider, which came out of no where. Freemium games like Dead Trigger and Heroes of Order and Chaos show that not only paid games could ooze quality in the App Store. Innovative games like Waking Mars prove once again, there are always more room for innovation.

With that, we present to you the 10 Best iPhone and iPad Games of the Year.

Best Game of the Year

Walking Dead: The Game


Walking Dead: The Game brings cinematic zombie adventure to the iPhone and iPad. It is loosely based on Robert Kirkman’s comic book series, portraying the zombie apocalypse with its gritty, visceral details. You play Lee, a felon being transported to prison as the story begins. But an undead being caused the police car to roll over the hill, leaving you as the lone survivor. You’ll soon discover that the neighborhood near your crash area has become infested with zombies. You must survive!

Walking Dead is an adventure game with an excellent story and memorable moments. It is one of those rare games that makes you come back for more because you want to know what happens next. The characters are well portrayed while the action rarely stops. Since it is a zombie horror game, don’t be surprised at a sudden zombie scare or a few gruesome scenes. It is rated as 17 or older after all. The graphics are also some of the best the iPhone and iPad have ever seen. But it is the story that made the game so great. We praised it as one of the most memorable, best written adventures ever. With its consistent and vivid presentation, memorable plotline, and intense zombie encounters, Walking Dead earned the spot for our Best Game of the Year.

Walking Dead: The Game Universal

Our Score: 5 Out of 5 (Read Episode 1 Review) (Read Episode 2-5 Review)

Our Bottom Line:

“But this is a case where quality counts for something, and wow, is The Walking Dead: The Game of good quality. Add in the replay value the game offers, and it’s worth the price of admission. If you’re a fan of the show, or a fan of the comics, or a fan of zombies in general, pick up this game.”


Runner Up

Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders


Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders is the sequel to Namco’s hit modern fighter sim, Air Supremacy. But this time, you’ll have to lose the heat seeking missiles and just focus on old fashioned metal bullets and your air maneuvering skills with your WWII war plane.

What makes Storm Raiders so special is the sheer scope and scale of the battles. Join your fellow Americans during the Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor and witness the chaos happening all around you. Dozens and dozens of planes are battling it out in the skies. Join them, protect your aircraft carriers, and see whether or not you can reverse a dire situation all by yourself. Losing those heat seeking missiles aren’t a bad thing too. It just makes the fighting more intense. Using your evasive and maneuvering skills to shoot down 5 enemy planes is not easy, but completing the task will make you feel like a true ace in the sky. Together with its excellent graphics, intense aerial dogfights, top notch mission presentations, Storm Raiders ranks near the top as our runner up to the Best Game of the Year.

Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders Universal

Our Score: 5 Out of 5 (Read Review)

Our Bottom Line:

“We could have saved a lot of time by just letting you know that Sky Gamblers has more-than retained the five-star rating we gave Air Supremacy, but where’s the fun in that… The advancements are all in the details here, whether it’s the huge fleet of WWII aircraft, the weapon selections, or even the historical accuracy of the missions, Storm Raiders delivers above and beyond what’s come before, and that’s saying something… $4.99 might seem like a lot to pay for a genre that gets little representation in the App Store, but Atypical Games has been doing this for awhile, and it’s time more people know about it. Get it now and start training—those dogfights aren’t going to win themselves.”


3rd Place



Bastion is an action RPG with an interesting presentation. Pieces fall from the sky as you explore the world. There is also an overly verbose narrator commenting on your every move. Using a variety of weapons and special skills, you, The Kid will fight your way across different lands searching for the core shards to rebuild your bastion in the sky. The fighting is pretty intense, as enemies often surround you to give you a good fight. Bastion also shines with its gorgeous graphics. It’s artworks and animation is unlike anything we’ve seen before. With excellent presentation and intense battle gameplay, Bastion has earned its place as one of the best iOS games of 2012.

Bastion Universal

Our Score: 4.5 Out of 5 (Read Review)

Our Bottom Line:

“It’s hard to know where to begin when summing up a masterpiece like Bastion. The art direction, the soundtrack, the writing, the narration—any one of those things would make an app worth downloading when done this well. It’s all made more incredible when you hear that Bastion was created by a team of just seven people… So if words like Calamity, Shards, Cores, and Caelondia are all new to you, then get ready for an iPad game that will change your expectations for RPG titles in the App Store. And if you’re wondering if this app can possibly live up to what you once played on Xbox Live Arcade, don’t waste another moment before discovering the greatness that is Bastion.”


4th Place

The World Ends with You: Solo Remix


The World Ends with You: Solo Remix for iPad iPad Only




The World Ends with You: Solo Remix iPhone OS


The World Ends with You: Solo Remix is Square Enix’s port of the original DS game. Set in a modern day Japanese metropolis, explore the strange circumstances around you as are able to hear into people’s thoughts and wield supernatural abilities like telekinesis and flame attacks. TWEWY has one of the most unique and engaging battle system for an RPG and a touchscreen device. Launch street objects for an attack by holding and then swiping it against an enemy. Launch fireballs with just one swipe. There are tons of abilities to discover. Together, with an engaging story, we pick it as one of the top ten games of 2012.

Our Score: 5 Out of 5 (Read Review)

Our Bottom Line:

“Right now, The World Ends With You: Solo Remix is one of the best JRPGs on iOS, and one of the best RPGs, period. Square Enix is asking a crazy high price for the game, especially for a port, and especially for one that doesn’t even offer a Universal version! But in the case of this game, I think it’s worth it. If you’re more than a casual player of iOS games, if you’ve enjoyed games like Superbrothers, Aralon, or Chaos Rings, then you should definitely experience TWEWY.”

5th Place



Zombies, and lots of them. You’ll be blasting through tons of zombies in this gorgeous looking shooter. Complete the quests or go into the arena to face endless waves of zombie attacks, complete with bosses and unique new zombies not found in many quests. This zombie shooter is intense. With the price tag of $0 , it is definitely a must-have for your iOS devices.


Our Score: 4 Out of 5 (Read Review)

Our Bottom Line:

“For awhile there, it seemed that zombies were taking a rest from their constant bombardment of the App Store. But now we know why—they were saving up for this! Dead Trigger from MADFINGER Games exists on a wholly different level from what’s gone before. The visuals exceed even what has been seen in blockbuster games like NOVA 3 and Dead Space, and those little surprises that unfold throughout the gameplay keep you wanting more despite the sometimes-repetitious missions that have you guarding this door, picking up that box, or killing “x” number of zombies… Sure, the pricing model is wonky and the storyline/characters are lackluster, but don’t let that stop you from experiencing this remarkable advancement in the iOS FPS genre.”


6th Place

Heroes of Order & Chaos – Multiplayer Online Game


So what does Heroes of Orders and Chaos play like? It is sort of like Warcraft 3, except that you only get to control 1 hero in the game at a time. Work together with your teammates in an online game to crush the opponents’ base. Kill more enemies and level up faster than your opponents to gain an edge. You can’t do it all alone, or could you? Heroes of Orders and Chaos has that thrilling online battle experience to make the gameplay fun and exciting. With great visuals and the price tag of $0 (again), it’s definitely worth checking out.

Heroes of Order & Chaos – Multiplayer Online Game Universal

Our Score: 5 Out of 5 (Read Review)

Our Bottom Line:

“Gameloft has absolutely nailed the MOBA game on mobile, at the gameplay level. They can patch and update to resolve the technical issues; and they can add content like maps and additional heroes. Until League of Legends itself comes to iOS, this is an absolute must-have for hardcore gamers of every stripe.”


7th Place

Waking Mars


The moment you entered the world of Waking Mars, you’ll be enthralled by its environments, characters, and their conversations. Set in the not-too-distant future, the objective of Waking Mars is exploration of life on Mars. You’ll be exploring an underground cavern on Mars, unlocking the secret life forms that dwell within. You’ll need to use various objects you find on your way to research the ecosystem inside this living cavern and unlock blocked passageways to deeper chambers below. It is a unique, new style of adventure game, and definitely deserves a place in the top ten iOS games of 2012.

Waking Mars Universal

Our Score: 4.5 Out of 5 (Read Review)

Our Bottom Line:

“Tiger Style has managed to do AGAIN what they did previously with Spider, The Secret of Bryce Manor—and that is create a game that’s fun to play, but even more fun to experience. You can expect to be intellectually stimulated all the way through Waking Mars—and on top of that, you’ll be enthralled with the story and gameplay (this isn’t biology class, after all)… Waking Mars is a subtle masterpiece that has been lurking right under our noses in the App Store for most of the year. Given the nature of the game, I guess it’s only right that this is a treasure waiting to be discovered. Consider this review your bright, shiny clue.”


8th Place

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Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy has to be one of the most visually stunning iOS games we’ve seen all year. With its modern, near futuristic fleet of aircrafts, experience the joy of flying as you perform lots of in-the-air maneuvers with the swipe of a finger. Lock on your targets, unleash a flurry of missile attacks and watch your opponents sink. If it wasn’t for the superior presentation of its WWII sequel, this gorgeous, online multiplayer enabled aerial combat sim would rank higher up on this year’s top game list.


Our Score: 5 Out of 5 (Read Review)

Our Bottom Line:

“While the game can be a bit of a difficult pick up right off the bat, Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy more than holds its own in not just the mobile gaming platform, but the flight simulator genre as well. All of the planes are incredibly detailed, and the artwork is top notch, not to mention the gameplay. With only a few minor quibbles, it’s safe to say that Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy is quite the win for Namco Bandai, the developer.”


9th Place

N.O.V.A. 3 – Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance


For those looking for Halo-like experience on the iPhone and iPad, NOVA series have always been the top choice among iOS gamers. This year, Gameloft’s NOVA 3 doesn’t disappoint. With even better visuals and shooting experience from the previous 2 titles, NOVA 3 ranks near the top as one of the best shooters in the App Store.

N.O.V.A. 3 – Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance Universal

Our Score: 4.5 Out of 5 (Read Review)

Our Bottom Line:

“With NOVA 3, Gameloft shows that they can do console-level gaming on the iOS better than just everyone else out there. While the story is thin and the dialogue corny, this game has got it where it counts: gun in hand, running for cover and shooting bad guys. It’s worth playing.”


10th Place

Need for Speed™ Most Wanted


Set in the city of Fairhaven, EA has unleashed their newest build of Need For Speed series this year with Most Wanted. With lots of cars, beautiful visuals, and crazy police chases, you’ll want to experience this newest game in the series.

Need for Speed™ Most Wanted Universal

Our Score: 4 Out of 5 (Read Review)

Our Bottom Line:

“We’ll keep our fingers crossed that EA has more coming to Most Wanted, because in the meantime I’m not going to be able to stop myself from entering races and accumulating money toward one of the many dream cars… The action of Fairhaven utilizes the capabilities of our devices in a way that can’t be missed—so, whether you’re a gear head or just someone who wants to flee from cops without any consequences, be sure to pick this one up.”


Leave a Comment

4 comments on “The Top 10 iOS Games of the Year (2012)

  1. Games fall in a narrow range. What about puzzles? Board games? Word games? Strategy games? Apparently non in these categories passed muster

  2. Unfortunately word games like Letterpress, strategy games like Hero Academy, and puzzle games like The Room or Dreams of Pixels didn’t make it into the top 10. They are in the Top 11-20 though.

  3. way too many “puzzle,: match 3 and camera apps in on this great site. those fit into the category of should always be free anyhow. nice this site often has a mix of productivity app too, which sets it apart from the other 560 free app a day sites.

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