2014 was a great game for original mobile games. Of all the games to hit iOS this year, these ones proved to be the most popular with users:
A port from a popular desktop indie game, VVVVVV is an experimental, artistic, and polished entry into the iPhone games market. VVVVVV takes traditional platform gaming and turns it on its head, literally. Instead of jumping over obstacles, the player flips gravity at whim, switching the hero between the floor and ceiling. This simple premise underpins impressively complex gameplay that challenges and engages players. For the iPhone, a library of user-created levels add new puzzles and challenges.
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
Blizzard, the makers of the Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo franchises, have a reputation for highly polished, perfectly balanced, and frighteningly addictive multiplayer games. Hearthstone certainly is no exception. Unlike Blizzard’s other games, Hearthstone has few graphics and is turn-based, making it excellent for iPhones. The gameplay is layered. Players start with several free virtual decks of cards, where the cards are used as weapons, spells, and allies. Advanced players can pay to unlock new cards and join tournaments. This game takes advantage of the variety of modern gamers: casual gamers can play for a couple of bucks, while advanced competitive gamers can spend hundreds.
Traps N’Gemstones, an Indiana Jones-themed platform with elements of classic Castlevania and Metroid, is not inventive or ground-breaking. It’s just good. Really good. Every level is carefully designed to introduce new mechanics in a way that is challenging, but never annoying. The game’s sprawling levels and detailed art also make it incredibly good value, for only $5.
The Banner Saga is a tactical role-playing game based on Norse culture and mythology. The player leads a caravan of Vikings and giants through a world undergoing a Ragnarok-like apocalypse. More important than the setting is the art: low frame rate, high-quality animation mimics old-school Disney movies in beautiful and surprising ways. Layered onto the setting and graphics are a great story, interesting moral choices, and a deep combat system. It’s all turn-based so even if you’re busy or distracted, you won’t lose any progress.
Monument Valley is one of the most brilliant games to come out in recent years. In this puzzler, you guide a princess through abstract, Escher-esque paintings. Players need to learn to deal with impossible geometries and laws of physics. The sheer originality has driven huge numbers of downloads.
Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake
Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake, produced by the Cartoon Network, provides joy to kids and adults alike. The gameplay is, at base, a puzzle game, where you use a child and different monsters with special abilities to navigate areas. Layered on this are fun cartoon graphics, humor, and RPG elements that all work well together.