Slideshow

In Pictures: The 20 best iPhone/iPad games of 2012 so far

Angry Birds Space isn’t the only iPhone/iPad game in town!

  • We’re nearly midway through 2012, which means that it’s time to check in to see how the mobile gaming industry has fared so far this year. While Rovio’s Angry Birds Space has certainly grabbed the most attention from mobile gamers, there are plenty of other quality games to be had on your iPhone or iPad. In this slideshow we’ll break down the top-rated games of 2012 so far according to both App Store user reviews and professional reviewers on Metacritic. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover something you like as much as Fruit Ninja or Cut the Rope!

  • Epic Astro Story Developer: Kairsoft Price: $3.99 Ratings: 92 from Metacritic; 4.5 stars from App Store users Epic Astro Story is a sort of Sim City-meets-Civilization strategy game where you build up colonies on distant planets while at the same time skirmishing with hostile alien creatures.

  • Beat Sneak Bandit Developer: Simogo Price: $2.99 Ratings: 92 from Metacritic; four-and-a-half stars from App Store users The plot: An evil duke has stolen the world’s clocks and you have to help a master thief take them back. The game mixes puzzles and rhythm games to make a truly original experience complete with an art style that looks like it would be at home in a Matisse exhibit.

  • Reckless Racing 2 Developer: EA Price: $4.99 Ratings: 91 from Metacritic; 4 stars from App Store users EA’s mobile racing game features stunning graphics for a mobile game as well as 18 different cars that you can customize to your heart’s content.

  • Beat Hazard Ultra Developer: Cold Beam Games Price: $1.99 Ratings: 91 from Metacritic; 5 stars from App Store users “Beat Hazard Ultra” is a rhythm-based Galaga-style space shooter game whose action changes depending on the music that happens to be playing at the time. The coolest part is that you can import all the songs from your iTunes library to use as a soundtrack. This game should probably not be played by people prone to seizures, however

  • Pizza vs. Skeletons Developer: Riverman Media Price: $2.99 Ratings: 90 from Metacritic; 4.5 stars from App Store users C’mon, if you can play Plants vs. Zombies you can surely try Pizza vs. Skeletons. Judging by the game’s official description, it really does deliver on its promised pizza-against-skeleton battles as well: “You control a 25-foot-tall pizza as it smashes through a horde of undead rivals on land, sea, and in outer space.

  • AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! (Force = Mass x Acceleration) Developer: Dejobaan Games Price: $1.99 Ratings: 90 from Metacritic; 4.5 stars from App Store users This is a futurist sky-diving game where you jump from tall buildings and try to hit bonus targets along the way, all the while remembering to open up your parachute in juuuuuust the nick of time.

  • Spin Up Developer: Nenad Katic Price: $0.99 Ratings: 89 on Metacritic; 4.5 stars from App Store users We admit it: We have absolutely no idea what this game is supposed to be about. You sort of spin a wheel on the screen like you’re DJing at a club and this somehow launches attacks against aliens invading earth. But shoot, it’s gotten great reviews from both the professional reviewers and gamers, so why not include it? As an added bonus, note that the game has been customized for the new iPad’s retina screen, so it should look terrific.

  • Elf Defense Eng Developer: Jellyoasis Price: Free Ratings: 89 from Metacritic; 4 stars from App Store users Elf Defense Eng is a tower defense game for true fantasy nerds as players use their tower-defending skills to protect 11 homelands from human invaders. If you’ve ever wanted to have a poor man’s Warcraft III on your iPad, this game is likely for you.

  • The King of Fighters – i 2012 Developer: SNK Playmore Price: $6.99 Ratings: 88 from Metacritic; 5 stars from App Store users Remember how much fun you used to have playing Street Fighter and Mortal Combat? Well so does SNK Playmore, whose King of Fighters game brings you 32 unique fighters to choose from as well as the ability to challenge others through multiplayer mode.

  • LostWinds2: Winter of the Melodias Developer: Frontier Developments Price: $3.99 Ratings: 87 from Metacritic; 4.5 stars from App Store users LostWinds2 is a beautiful-looking adventure game that revolves around a boy named Toku who uses elemental spirits to manipulate seasons during his quest to rescue his mother. While that might sound a little odd, remember that most of us grew up playing games filled with heroic plumbers that ate magical mushrooms and stomped on flying turtles.

  • Swordigo Developer: TouchFoo Price: $1.99 Ratings: 87 on Metacritic; 5 stars from App Store users Like LostWinds2, Swordigo is a graphically rich adventure game that features “a magical realm of dungeons, towns, treasures and devious monsters.” OK, so that admittedly sounds like every magical realm we’ve ever seen, but it looks terrific and will only cost you two bucks!

  • Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective Developer: Capcom Price: Free Ratings: 87 on Metacritic; 4.5 stars from App Store users The game begins with your player character getting shot to death. But don’t worry! This wily dead person comes back as a ghost to figure out who had them killed and why. Think of it as a version of “The Sixth Sense” where you don’t have to watch a boring movie for two hours before learning the cool twist at the end!

  • DARIUSBURST SP Developer: TAITO Price: $10.99 Ratings: 86 on Metacritic; 4.5 stars from App Store users This space shooter game is pretty expensive at $10.99, but it does feature some nice graphics and has a soundtrack that App Store users are raving about.

  • Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy Developer: Namco Price: $4.99 Ratings: 86 on Metacritic; 4.5 stars from App Store users SkyGamblers is a classic flight-simulation game that also sets you as a modern-day fighter pilot. The game controls basically move as you tilt your iPad in different directions and you can execute maneuvers by doing specialized swipes on your screen.

  • Puzzlejuice Developer: Colaboratory Price: $0.99 Ratings: 86 on Metacritic; 4.5 stars from App Store users Have you ever wanted to play a game that combined Tetris with Scrabble? No? Well you might want to give it a try with Puzzle Juice, where you transform falling colored blocks into letters that you can use to spell words and get points.

  • Chaos Rings II Developer: Square Enix Price: $17.99 Ratings: 86 from Metacritic; 5 stars from App Store users Yes, this is more expensive than your typical iPad game, but it's also more ambitious than Angry Birds or Plants vs. Zombies. Created by the makers of the classic Final Fantasy games, Chaos Rings aims to give you the full experience of a classic role-playing game on your mobile device. Needless to say, the graphics on this puppy are terrific.

  • Bee Leader Developer: Flightless Price: $1.29 Ratings: 86 on Metacritic; 4.5 stars from App Store users “They can’t make a game about a swarm of bees collecting nectar, can they?” Yes, apparently, they can. You and your fellow workers are assigned to get nectar for your hive all while avoiding poisons, spiders and other nasty surprises that stand in between you and your sweet, sweet honey.

  • Air Mail Developer: Chillingo Price: $4.99 Ratings: 85 on Metacritic; 4.5 stars from App Store users We’ve seen a lot of gorgeous-looking games on the new iPad so far, but this looks like one of the very best. In Air Mail you pilot an old-timey biplane through beautifully rendered cities and landscapes to deliver (presumably) important messages to their destinations.

  • Rinth Island Developer: Chillingo Price: Free Ratings: 85 on Metacritic; 4.5 stars from App Store users Rinth Island is a nifty little app that combines elements of puzzle and adventure games on a mysterious tropical island.

  • Kitten Sanctuary Developer: Clockwork Pixels Price: $0.99 Ratings: 85 on Metacritic; 5 stars from App Store users Lastly, what list would be complete without a game featuring adorable little kittens? Kitten Sanctuary is a puzzle game where your goal is to figure out the best way to spring trapped kittens that have been captured by aliens. Why are aliens after these adorable little rascals? Who cares! Free them and revel in their adorableness!

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