We're past the halfway point for the year, and 2013 has already proven to be an incredible time for new iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch games. Whether you tend towards quick-hit affairs or engrossing, strategic time sinks (or a little of both), there's been an absolute wealth of great options to choose from in a huge array of genres. Why wait until January rolls around to look back on such greatness? We've compiled our picks for the 25 best iOS games of the year to date, all of which are surefire options for on-the-go entertainment.
From the Osama bin Laden compound raid to the rescue of hostages from Somali pirates, small military strike teams have grabbed more and more headlines in recent years. It's only fitting that video games, which so regularly imitate soldiers' actions via first-person shooters, would follow suit. Breach & Clear is a celebration of the slow, methodical, and tactical side of combat, with your squad of four soldiers tasked with taking out enemy combatants in a series of engagements. You set their paths and then let them loose, watching as your decisions pay off or get your men killed.
Pacific Rim, Guillermo del Toro’s blockbuster paean to classic Japanese monster flicks, seems tailor made for a video game adaptation, and Reliance Games' workmanlike effort dutifully pits enormous robot mechs (called Jaegers) against monstrous kaiju in a series of Infinity Blade-esque duels. Unfortunately, control issues and an irritating progression approach make what should be a cool experience feel instead like a grind.
Blurring the line between marketing tool and vanity project, Kavinsky features the music and comic-like visage of the titular French house artist, who released an album earlier this year. Designed around the fictional backstory behind the record – about a teen who crashes his supernatural Ferrari in the '80s and returns two decades later as a beat-making zombie – the free game alternates between beat-em-up and driving segments without ever explaining the events or hinting at that narrative, but it sure does look and sound cool along the way. Too bad the game itself isn't terribly interesting.
In Le Vamp, it was an angry mob; in Temple Run 2, a giant gorilla. What’s chasing you in Greedy Dwarf? A dragon on a bicycle (!) — but thankfully, he’s not seen during actual gameplay, as you never slow down enough for him to appear onscreen. In fact, you have no enemies to contend with at all. Your only goal in this auto-runner game is to coast through each of its 32 stages without falling off the path into hot lava, grabbing as many gold nuggets and rocket boosts as you can.
The annual Steam Summer Sale might not go live until tomorrow (if rumors are to be believed), but you shouldn't let that stop you from experiencing brave new worlds in gaming today. Specifically, we're talking about the Brave New World expansion for Civilization V that was released this morning, as well as Deus Ex: The Fall, which hit the App Store a day earlier than expected.
G.I. Joe fans no doubt remember their collection of action figures and the fun times they spent going on imaginary missions against Cobra’s army of evil. It's no surprise, then, that the action card game G.I. Joe: Battleground rekindles some of those memories as you assemble your squad and recruit your favorite soldiers for combat. It may not always be the most exciting experience, but it’s a quality card game that doesn’t require much effort to enjoy.
Contra has never been easy. Like many of Konami’s old-school ‘80s arcade games, the punishment in this run-and-gun series is designed to come quickly and often, as you attempt to break through endless hordes of enemies using only your reflexes and aim. Death is only a hit away, so winning means memorizing every attack pattern the game throws at you. If and when you screw up – losing one of the few precious lives given from a finite supply of continues – the loss really hurts. Strip that necessary roughness from Contra’s bones and all that’s left is a sad husk trading on a venerable name. This is essentially what Contra: Evolution does.
A computer may still be the desired platform with which to have a true multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) experience, but when you’re on the go and have a hankering for some genre action, your phone is quickly becoming the next best option. No stranger to online games, Zynga is the latest developer to throw its hat in the mobile MOBA market with Solstice Arena, a free-to-play title that provides the ideal balance of portability and strategy without skimping out on what makes the style of play so fun to begin with.
You'd think it would be a simple task to make a great game based on the latest Superman film, what with all its high-flying action and superhero awesomeness. Sadly, Man of Steel is a bland, repetitive, and weak (though ultimately competent) Infinity Blade knock-off, minus the exploration. You'll fight one Kryptonian after another, going through a Story Mode of loosely-connected scenes based on events from the movie, all while leveling up your skills along the way and watching a handful of neat comic-style cut-scenes that hint at the presence of a plot.