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 IPHONE FEATURE

From Advance Wars to Tearaway - the 30 Platinum Awards of Pocket Gamer

From the archives
Product: Pocket Gamer | Publisher: Steel Media Ltd | Format: Android, DS, GameBoy, iPhone, Mobile, N-Gage, PSP, iPad, 3DS, PS Vita
 
Pocket Gamer iPhone, thumbnail 1
Late last year, handheld editor Peter Willington gave a Platinum Award - a.k.a. 10/10 - to papery Vita platformer Tearaway.

This happened to be the 30th Platinum Award we'd handed out. Which makes such awards pretty rare, seeing as we have been reviewing hundreds of games every year, in almost eight years of analysing handheld and mobile games.

So, we thought now would be a good time to look back through the PG archives and reminisce over all of the games that received a vaunted Platinum medal. Plus, it gave us a chance to do a little stat crunching.

Without further ado, then, I present to you the 30 most highly decorated games in Pocket Gamer history.

Advance Wars (Game Boy Advance, 2005)

Advance Wars

Steel Media's digital publishing head João Diniz Sanches gave the site's first-ever Platinum Award to moreish turn-based strategy game Advance Wars.

He called it "possibly the most finely crafted handheld strategy game to date, and an essential GBA purchase." I think that one will certainly stand the test of time.

Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time (DS, 2006)

Mario and Luigi

You don't have to be a soothsayer to predict that Nintendo's name will show up a lot on this list.

PocketGamer.biz editor-at-large Jon Jordan gave a Platinum to this Mario RPG and said: "Genius squeezed into a cartridge, Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time is the first must-have game for DS."

Tetris (Mobile, 2006)

Tetris

We've reviewed about 14 Tetris games - across DS, iPod, N-Gage, Android, and several brands of microwave oven - in our scant eight years of operation. But only one, on creaky old mobiles, got a perfect 10.

Pocket Gamer Hall of Famer Stuart Dredge - now writing about apps for The Guardian - said that "the world's best puzzler is just as good on mobile."

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (Nintendo DS, 2007)

The Legend of Zelda Phantom Hourglass

More Nintendo now. And this time, it's Zelda's turn.

Damien McFerran took Phantom Hourglass for a spin and said that "Nintendo again shows that it's the master of its own hardware with another sublime entry in the Zelda lineage."

SolaRola (Mobile, 2007)

SoloRola

Reviews editor Rob Hearn wrote: "Playful and ingenious at every turn, SolaRola is a mobile homage to LocoRoco which demonstrates that, in the arena of gameplay, the mobile handset really can take on the big boys and win."

The game was eventually ported over to iOS and Android, but only earned a Silver. "Where five years ago its style of play made it stand out, now it's just another face in a far more crowded App Store."

Oh, time, you cruel bastard.

Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions (PSP, 2007)

Final Fantasy Tactics

Simon Parkin called The War of the Lions "a masterpiece of art and design. Its technicalities might take a little time to get to grips with but, once understood, this distinguished and exemplary video game demands to be savoured and adored."

'Nuff said, really.

Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness (PSP, 2007)

Disgea Afternoon of Darkness

PSP might have failed to dethrone Nintendo as King of the Handhelds, but it was no slouch. Sony sold a bundle of them, and games for the console earned a number of Platinum Awards at PG.

Including this Disgaea entry, which freelancer extraordinaire Simon Parkin described as "one of the most perfect expressions of freeform strategy gaming it's possible to imagine".

Reset Generation (N-Gage, 2008)

Reset Generation

Every dog has its day, apparently. And, my god, was Nokia's taco-shaped, side-talkin' flop-of-a-phone a dog. Even in its reincarnated form as a gaming platform, it was a dog.

But that platform could, at the very least, boast one top game, if Stu Dredge is to be believed.

He called parodic online strategy game Reset Generation "the best N-Gage game yet, and up there with the best on any platform."

Playman Summer Games 3 (Mobile, 2008)

Playman Summer Games 3

I have no idea what this game is, but Stu Dredge described it as "gold medal, record-breaking standard from start to finish."

So, there we have it.

Rally Master Pro (Mobile, 2008)

Rally Master Pro

Before Galaxy on Fire, Fishlabs was more concerned with life down on planet Earth. Such as the goings-on in this mobile rally game, which reviewer Kath Brice said was "beautiful to look at and superb to play."

Kath might need her eyes tested.

God of War: Chains of Olympus (PSP, 2008)

God of War

Some more PSP love.

This time, ex-PG reviews man Tracy Erickson said that "God of War: Chains of Olympus nourishes PSP with unparalleled action gameplay".

FIFA 09 (PSP, 2008)

FIFA 09

EA also scored big in 2008 with footy game FIFA 09 on PSP. Simon Byron called EA's port "the best handheld football game by a country mile."

Back of the net.

Rolando (iPhone, 2008)

Rolando

2008 will forever be known as the year the App Store opened for business. The mobile gaming scene would never be the same again. And the first standout hit on Apple's digital marketplace was a blobby platformer from ngmoco.

"The year's best iPhone game offers gameplay brimming with accessible controls, sophisticated design, and style - an emblematic title for a rising platform," Tracy said.

Glyder 2 (iPhone, 2009)

Gylder

Tracy went gaga for Glu's Glyder sequel in 2009. He called it "a one-way ticket to fantastic gameplay", and said "its combination of self-motivated exploration and dynamic goals" ensure a first-class flight.

As you'll soon see, iOS is the platform with the most critically acclaimed games on its virtual mantelpiece. We've given out nine Platinum Awards to iOS games. By contrast, we've handed out 15 Platinum trinkets to games on Mobile, PSP, and 3DS. Five on each, I mean.

The Secret of Monkey Island (iPhone, 2009)

Monkey Island

More iOS love in 2009.

Rob gave a Platinum to a remake of "a stone cold classic", which had been "reproduced with pixel perfection and then some". More Monkey Island love in a minute.

Zen Bound (iPhone, 2009)

Zen Bound

We were still on the iPhone love train at this point.

Spanner Spencer - yes, that's his real name - said that "Zen Bound is an interactive poem which organically ties together contemplative gameplay and beautiful presentation."

LittleBigPlanet (PSP, 2009)

LittleBigPlanet

It wasn't all about iOS in 2009, mind. There was love aplenty for do-it-yourself PSP platformer LittleBigPlanet, too.

PG Hall of Famer Fraser MacInnes called this "a staggering work of game design genius".

Zombie Infection (Mobile, 2009)

Zombie Infection

Who would have guessed that Gameloft would walk away with a Platinum Award? But as much as we bag on the firm now for its shameless clones and greedy free-to-play tactics, Spanner Spencer gave Gameloft game Zombie Infection a Platinum in 2009.

He said it was "a superb rollercoaster of undead action, packed with as many thrills as it has severed heads. This game claims its place alongside the finest zombie yarns - both film and game - that we've seen in years."

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (Nintendo DS, 2009)

Chinatown Wars

Mark Walbank called Chinatown Wars "a pocket rocket that's sumptuous to look at, riotously funny, and deeply rewarding."

That's the end of 2009, during which we dished out a whopping seven 10/10s.

Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck's Revenge (iPhone, 2010)

Monkey Island 2

This game was another LucasArts remake. This time around, Tracy did the review honours (or 'honors', as he would have said)

Tracy wrote: "Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck's Revenge breathes new life into a classic while at the same time setting a new standard for adventure gaming".

Real Racing 2 (iPhone, 2010)

Real Racing 2

Tracy gave another Platinum Award to an App Store game in 2010.

In his review of Real Racing 2, Tracy called it "a phenomenal game with an impressive slate of features and superb design".

Pullblox (Nintendo 3DS, 2011)

Pullblox

In 2011, we said a collective 'hello' to the Nintendo 3DS. Since then, there have been a huge number of Platinum Awards for 3DS games.

Including this puzzle game - from Advance Wars maker Intelligent Systems - which Mike Rose called "the new puzzling gaming god in town".

Mike is one the most frequent givers of Platinum Awards - he's handed out four of the blighters. He's tied with Tracy in this respect. Stuart handed out three. I've never given one. I want to. It looks like fun.

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (Nintendo 3DS, 2011)

Ocarina of Time

No one can begrudge us for giving perfect marks to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D. With this considered 3DS remake of one of the most critically acclaimed games on Nintendo 64, Ninty didn't make any missteps. It's a pure handheld classic.

Mike said that "Ocarina of Time 3D is, and forever will be, pure unadulterated bliss, taking the original title and making it essential gaming all over again."

Anomaly Warzone Earth (iPhone, 2011)

Anomaly Warzone Earth

Ex-PG deputy editor Will Wilson gave just one Platinum in his PG career.

He called Anomaly Warzone Earth "one of the most entertaining and enthralling real-time strategy games on iOS".

Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing (iPhone, 2011)

Sonic Sega All Stars Racing

PocketGamer.biz editor - and soul of the PG Podcast - Keith Andrew popped his Platinum cherry with "an exhaustive and, more importantly, finely balanced release" called Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing.

Splice: Tree of Life (iPad, 2012)

Splice Tree of Life

Only one game maker walked away with a Platinum Award pinned to its lapel in 2012.

It was the developer of "effortless and elegant puzzler" Splice, which reviewer Harry Slater called "a wonderful expression of the freedom the App Store can offer".

Fire Emblem: Awakening (Nintendo 3DS, 2013)

Fire Emblem Awakening

Finally, it's the turn of 2013. Another bumper year for Platinum Awards, thanks entirely to the Nintendo 3DS and PS Vita.

Take epic strategy game Fire Emblem: Awakening, the third Intelligent Systems game on this list (the cheque is in the mail, right, guys). Matt Diener called this one "strategy role-playing at its finest".

SteamWorld Dig (Nintendo 3DS, 2013)

SteamWorld Dig

Like Pullblox, Steamworld Dig is a bona fide eShop classic.

Mike said: "Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you SteamWorld Dig: Your new favourite Nintendo 3DS game."

Pokemon X and Y (Nintendo 3DS, 2013)

Pokemon X and Y

We've reviewed hundreds of Pokemon games down the years. And while most have walked away with high scores and shiny awards, only X and Y has received a 10/10.

Mike said: "A true evolution of the series, Pokemon X and Y is the most important, expansive, exciting monster-battling title since the earlier days of the franchise."

Tearaway (PS Vita, 2013)

Tearaway

Peter Willington is famous for being the most enthusiastic and upbeat human on Pocket Gamer. Scratch that - on earth. But he has actually only given one Platinum in his career. And that was to Media Molecule's Tearaway.

He said that it's "inventive and joyous in equal measures, making for one of the best adventures this year, on any platform."




I wonder what games will receive Pocket Gamer Platinum Awards in 2014?

Place your bets, ladies and gents...
 

Reviewer photo
Mark Brown 13 January 2014
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