Every month, we like to look back at all the iPhone and iPad games that have come out in the past four weeks, and pick out the very best of the bunch.
It's never an exact science. There's no secret algorithm or formula. We just look at our review scores, check Quality Index
, see what's still hanging around on our Home screens.
Fair warning: in January's list you're going to see the word 'addictive' a lot. We played many games over these past 30 days - dungeon-crawlers, freemium thingies, RPGs - that sank their teeth into us, and refused to let go.
As always, though, feel free to let us know your
iPhone and iPad favourites in the comments section below.Dungelot
By Red Winter Software - buy on iPhone and iPad
Thanks to their crushing difficulty and a cheeky penchant for permanent death, roguelikes are often best left to card-carrying RPG mega-fans.
But, the maker of addictive Dungelot
offers up a cute and clever dungeon-trawling rogue-'em-up that anyone can enjoy. You just flip over tiles, whack the beasty hiding underneath, and waltz off to the next level.
And when you inevitably kick the bucket? You can use the cash from your previous attempts to level-up your warrior of choice.Joe Danger
By Hello Games - buy on iPhone and iPad
We know this comparison has been made many times now. But, it's just so
perfect, we're going to repeat it. Joe Danger
on iOS is to Joe Danger
on PSN what Rayman Jungle Run
is to Rayman Origins
Remember how Pastagames took the bouncy essence of Origins
, and fixed it up with mobile-friendly controls, bite-size levels, and slick social support for Jungle Run
? Well, yes.
The Joe Danger
DNA is still here - the British sense of humour, the colourful visuals, the smooth difficulty curve - but in a package that fits perfectly on iOS. An essential pick, we say.Momonga Pinball Adventures
By Paladin Studios - buy on iPhone and iPad
Don't be put off by the plunger and flippers. Momonga
is a full-on action adventure, with side-quests, hidden areas, and even boss fights. Only, you traverse the levels and bounce yourself into baddies by playing pinball.
It's a clever genre mash-up, then, in which wild ball-batting is mixed with precision hits. It's also got gorgeous graphics and a cute story.
The flying bits are a bit naff, mind.Time Surfer
By Kumobius - buy on iPhone and iPad
If you're a reductionist who's short on time, you can describe a lot of apps by mashing together the names of two other games.
In the case of Time Surfer
, you can sum up the entire thing by saying 'Tiny Wings
No, it's not about the bird from Tiny Wings
turning back the clock to undo a bad relationship or build a nuclear bomb or whatever Braid
was harping on about. It's just a gratifying endless-flyer with a handy time rewind mechanic.
Which means it's frantic and utterly unpredictable and a lot of fun to play. You can, however, step back a few seconds if you mess up your run.The Blockheads
By Majic Jungle Software - download free on iPhone and iPad
There's a reason why Minecraft
has influenced so many games. That core gameplay loop - digging deep into the earth, finding resources, and then using them to build stuff on the surface - is just plain satisfying.
2D adventure The Blockheads
has that same satisfaction loop, but with a few subtle changes.
For one, exploring the enormous world - complete with giant oceans - is every bit as enticing as building a cool house. And two, you need to look after yourself, giving the game a cool Sims
-like twist.Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes
By Tag Games - buy on iPhone and iPad
Might & Magic
will test your puzzle game prowess first, and your strategic smarts second.
In a page ripped out of the Book of Bejeweled
, fighting in Clash of Heroes
is about matching up units of the same type and colour. You can kick off chain reactions to earn more turns, and plan several moves ahead to get enormous bonuses.
These satisfying and oh-so-addictive battles crop up in the frankly enormous single-player campaign, and in the suite of multiplayer modes (including moreish asynchronous play).Wave Trip
By Lucky Frame - buy on iPhone and iPad
Scottish studio Lucky Frame has a thing for procedurally generated soundtracks. Last time around, every turret on Bad Hotel
's weaponised B&B added an extra tone to the game's evolving soundtrack.
Now, its the turn of the shmup. As you collect gems and avoid baddies in this otherworldly side-scrolling adventure, you'll systematically orchestrate new offbeat tunes for yourself.
It's good fun, and sounds great. If you like indie games with style and flair, check it out.Gunslugs
By OrangePixel - buy on iPhone and iPad
The latest game from retro specialist OrangePixel seems like it takes its cues from Metal Slug
. It's side-scrolling jungle warfare, after all, with chunky armoured vehicles and over-the-top explosions.
But, I think it's more like Super Crate Box
. It plays out at a lightning-quick pace. And as soon as you get used to one weapon - maybe a flamethrower or a grenade launcher - you'll have swapped it out for another.
Whatever its influences, Gunslugs
is frantic and entertaining, and plays surprisingly well on the touchscreen.Pixel People
By LambdaMu Games - download free on iPhone and iPad
This month, I spent a truly embarrassing amount of time playing Pixel People
, a freemium world builder where you splice together genes in an intergalactic effort to rebuild and repopulate the planet.
It's got all the usual freemium fluff - lengthy wait timers, in-app purchases, and utterly brainless gameplay - but collecting all 150 pixellated professions has been a hazardously addictive task.
Considering the sheer number of man-hours spent on this game, it's only fair it makes the Top 10. Don't worry: I've deleted it off my iPad mini.Little Inferno
By Tomorrow Corporation - buy on iPad
But, if freemium games aren't for you, then may we recommend a suitable alternative?Little Inferno
is a biting, Banksy-style satire of such mindless screen-tapping collectathons. It mimics those time sink freemium apps, then makes you feel like a dummy for wasting your time on them.
Thankfully, the game itself is enjoyable, too. You simply toss household goodies (and rejected toys and locust eggs and nuclear warheads) into a fireplace to watch them burn.
The 10 best iPhone and iPad games: December 2012
The 10 best iPhone and iPad games: November 2012
The 10 best iPhone and iPad games: October 2012
The 10 best iPhone and iPad games: September 2012
The 10 best iPhone and iPad games: August 2012
The 10 best iPhone and iPad games: July 2012