Picking the games with the greatest potential in the year ahead is tough. If there's anything that 2009 taught us, it's that the best iPhone games come from the unlikeliest places.
As such, our ten most anticipated games of 2010 has to be taken with a grain of salt. Despite our jubilant forecasting of Mirror's Edge and Zenonia 2, we have no doubt that some independent developer has a groundbreaking game on the way that has yet to see the light of day or that notable publishers are holding back big titles for splashy announcements in the months to come.
So while we know for certain that these ten games will demand our attention through the course of the new year, we're also sure that scores of unknown titles will equally captivate. That, fellow pocket gamer, is what will make 2010 so exciting.
Make sure to tell us the games you're looking most forward to by leaving a comment!
Top 10 most anticipated iPhone games for 2010
Publisher: EA Mobile
If you at enjoyed the side-scrolling platform play of Canabalt, then you ought to stand alongside us in rabid anticipation of Mirror's Edge.
Having already played through the game, we can honestly say it's everything that Canabalt could have been and more. Harrowing leaps across rooftops, clambering sequences atop cranes and fire escapes, and bare-knuckle combat against gun-wielding security forces ensure more sophisticated gameplay than its Flash-originating rival.
There's depth, too, with the promise of collectible messenger bags and time trials complete with online leaderboards. Mirror's Edge is undergoing a thorough polishing before release in the first few months of 2010, which leaves plenty of time to stretch and warm up those finger muscles.
Having saved the Kingdom of Rolando and ventured to the tropics for the fabled golden orchid as a cure for the royal plague, where Rolando 3 takes us next is of great curiosity.
The third instalment of the series has rolled past its promised 2009 release into the new year, which may ultimately be a good thing. More levels and new characters are nice, but what about introducing cooperative play and more gesture-based gameplay?
Inventive new gameplay mechanics could be in the works that evolve the tilt platforming that has made Rolando such fun. We're eager to learn just what Hand Circus has planned for this iconic series come 2010.
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
Developer: Rockstar Games
Publisher: Rockstar Games
The release of any Grand Theft Auto game is a big event, which makes it unsurprising that Chinatown Wars is among our most anticipated of the new year. While we've played it on handheld, we're anticipating this huge title for its likelihood in raising the bar for games on iPhone and iPod touch.
Of course, it's only coming out in 2010 after an unannounced delay that we scooped in early December. That's fine by us because we'd rather this epic sandbox action game come out in spring when there are fewer games taking up our time.
Without official screenshots and details on the control scheme, we're in the dark regarding this port; but, great gameplay on DS and then PSP have us confident we'll want to sink hours into this iPhone and iPod touch version whenever it comes out.
Zenonia 2: Lost Memories
Good role-playing games are hard to come by, despite the recent glut that has proved more middling than magnificent. Zenonia was among a handful in the genre that stood out in 2009, which makes its sequel worth immediate consideration.
Zenonia 2: Lost Memories should carry the same jovial spirit that made the original so charming. We're looking forward to clever dialogue and funny scenarios paired with improvements to the interface that take full advantage of the touchscreen. Control options and better menus will make a world of difference.
By holding onto its light-heartedness while taking steps to better mould the experience to iPhone and iPod touch, Zenonia 2 has enormous potential to become a defining role-playing game when it appears sometime in the middle of 2010.
Rare is the music game that strikes up an innovative tune, which makes Riddim Ribbon that much more intriguing. Along with its distinct visuals, the game promises an unlikely blend of rhythmic gameplay and racing.
You're cast in the spotlight as a DJ that tips and tilts your handset to guide a rhythmic ball down a musical track. Jumping through hoops and selecting branching routes switches up the beat and mixes the song.
It's an interesting mash-up and one that we're looking forward too, especially when you consider Riddim Ribbon comes from the same minds that have rocketed Tap Tap Revenge to become one of the most popular games on iPhone and iPod touch.
Legion of Amon
Developer: On the Rocks
A surging cult seeking to revive the powerful deity Amon provide plenty of flesh to hack 'n' slash in this eagerly awaited action role-playing adventure.
Aiming to be Diablo for a new portable generation, Legion of Amon combines loot lust, level grinding, and the supernatural for an original experience. We know little of the game aside from its premise, developer On the Rocks choosing to keep details quiet following its delay from this past autumn to summer 2010.
More time can only be a good thing - with the polished design of Dungeon Hunter, Legion of Amon has high standards to meet. It's original setting earns it points, though we're hopeful it can back it up with equally inventive role-playing this summer.
GT Racing: Motor Academy
Real Racing set the standard, Need for Speed: Shift refined it, and GT Racing: Motor Academy may end up raising it again.
Gameloft's own simulated driving series hopes to qualify as the genre's best in early 2010 with Motor Academy, which is being completely reworked for iPhone and iPod touch from an earlier mobile version. Our impressions of that game weren't all that hot, yet this accelerometer-controlled iteration is entirely different.
Based on hands on time with it at the company's Paris headquarters, vast improvements are underway to put this in the same league as its competitors. Online races and in-depth tuning could do it. We are concerned the format of the career is too similar to Sony's Gran Turismo series, but we'll know definitely in the early months of 2010.
Developer: EA Mobile
Publisher: EA Mobile
With South Africa right around the corner, how could you not be pumped about the next FIFA game? Whether it goes by FIFA 11 or opts for 2010 FIFA World Cup instead, we can't wait to see what improvements are made in the new year.
FIFA 10 was an excellent start, but there's plenty of room for improvement. Tightening up and allowing greater flexibility in the controls, as well as adding online match play would rocket the series well beyond rival series Real Football.
Refining the available modes would be nice too. Polishing up the transfer system, for instance, could improve the managerial side of the game. We're sure to see what improvements are being made soon since EA assuredly will want to capture the World Cup buzz come June.
Developer: Angry Mob Games
It's everything we've been asking for in a twin-stick shooter: depth, variety, and rewards. Guerrilla Bob finally delivers the three elements of which others in the genre have been so starved.
Instead of simply shooting to survive, this hilariously styled adventure has you trekking through the Mexican desert hunting down gang members with guns blazing. Each stage comes packed with power-ups that increase your arsenal's firepower and grant access to new guns.
Even better, boss battles and new stages keep things fresh - levels have you passing through shanty towns and floating down streams on a raft, while shooting at foes lining the banks. Guerrilla Bob should be a straight shooter when it hits the App Store in January.
Fleeced! Shear Terror
Developer: Bight Games
Publisher: Bight Games
Quarrelling Peruvian brothers provide reason to game in the unique Fleeced! Shear Terror, a castle defence meets first-person shooter where your goal is to eliminate the walls surrounding your opponent's llama pen.
It's without a doubt the most creative game on our list and likely the one you've heard the least about. Don't let that scare you off because Fleeced! has the look of something special. The accelerometer allows you to control the trajectory of cannons in single player. You'll have to be particularly careful with your aim in multiplayer - both local and online are promised.
With castle defence games in sore need of some fresh ideas, the act of guiding cannons in real-time and competing online should do just that when Fleeced! comes out in the first few months of the year.
Others to look forward to in 2010:
Assassin's Creed II: Discovery
Galaxy on Fire 2
Car Jack Streets 2
Radio Flare Redux