We Pick Our Favorite iOS Apps of 2012

We Pick Our Favorite iOS Apps of 2012

Each member of the AppAddict staff has once again, selected his or her picks for the top three apps of the year.

What a big year for iOS it has been, with the App Store boasting more than 730k titles. We’ve seen a significant uptick in freemium apps, a number of big console-quality releases, more titles in already popular franchises, new franchises and the indie spirit is alive and well, giving birth to some very creative offerings.

As you will see, our personal selections varied quite a bit, with a few big winners appearing on several of our lists.

One thing I will point out is that despite their huge sales numbers, NO Angry Birds titles appear on any of our lists as there were much better offerings than more helpings of Rovio’s same tired old birds.

Without further ado… here are the AppAddict.net Staff picks for the best Apps of 2012.

BrettNolan

Brett’s Picks

Selecting my top 3 apps of the year was definitely a formidable task with so many great ones to choose from. For whatever reason over the past year I found myself really gravitating toward card, strategy and adventure games. Thus two of my top selections were longer-form games rather than the shorter experiences at which the mobile platforms excel. It was just a great year for tabletop gaming and big adventures in the mobile space.

Before I revel my top picks, I just wanted to mention a few very honorable mentions, starting with the dark and delightful adventure game Yesterday from Pendulo Studios which is an amazing and memorable adventure gaming experience that is definitely not to be missed. Other great titles released from the indie community this year were Letterpress, Outwitters, Hero Academy, Lost Cities, Fieldrunners 2 HD, Jack Lumber, Writer Rumble and Polymer.

And looking forward, the games I’m most looking forward to next year? Super Stickman Golf 2 and Joe Danger!

Telltale’s best work to date, their episodic game based in part on the Walking Dead comic series, but with an all new story line. A stellar production, with fantastic visuals and voice work along with genuinely scary and emotionally engrossing plot that will put you through a roller coaster of emotions. It is cinematic and engaging, almost like you are inside a comic book, literally fighting for your life and the lives of your friends, I dare you not to get invested in these well-developed characters. Normally you can’t really play through a game like this more than once, but because decisions you make during the game have an effect on what happens for multiple episodes down the road, you can play the game over multiple times and get yourself into different situations, with different characters being killed off each time.

One genre that I just don’t tend to gravitate toward are Action RPGs. However when this XBLA hit unexpected appeared on the App Store w/o much fanfare, I knew I had to try it as my brother had praised the original so much. If ever there was a poster child of how to take your XBLA game to the iOS platform this is it. Brilliantly ported, with great attention to actually playability, sans a physical controller, Supergiant Games has created a game that feels like a native iOS title that is unique, entertaining, brimming with character and easily approachable for even non- Action RPG gamers. And thanks to another unexpected gift last month, Bastion is also a universal app as well.

Playdek made a great play for top honors in this final month of the year with two stellar card games Fluxx and Penny Arcade The Game: Gamers vs. Evil, both of which have devoured much of my free time. I have been playing Penny Arcade The Game: Gamers vs. Evil non-stop since its release just one week ago and I see no signs of stopping going into the new year, especially if the powers that be at Playdek and Cryptozoic decide to extend the game with the Rumble in R’lyeh expansion. Humor, strategy and reversals of fortune, this game has got it all. If you though deck-building games were just for Magic players, think again!
WilParker

Wil’s Picks

I’m a HUGE fan of epic roleplaying games, and as a fan of the first Ravensword, I was super excited to get my hands on this title. Promised to be everything the first game was, but taking it to the NEXT level. I can certainly say, this game has blown me away. Having the polish and shine of Infinity Blade, but having the gameplay along the lines of Skyrim, all on a mobile device? Pure bliss. This gets my game of the year and #1 spot. I’m having a blast with this epic title.

I’m a redditor, plain and simple. And by far, as part of my nightly routine aside from checking email, twitter, facebook…etc…is checking out Reddit via Alien Blue. It’s the absolute best iOS client and by far screams polish. It is available for free for the iPhone and the paid iPad version works just as amazing. Give it a shot if your a Reddit-Addict like myself.

I have about 4 Gmail accounts I use daily and very actively. When Sparrow was bought out by Google, my workflow process shattered. I got it over with and deleted Sparrow, knowing its fate was all but gone. The Sparrow team moved to the Gmail team and hope came for a better Gmail app. In comes Gmail 2.0 just a few weeks ago . Multiple account support, a redesigned sexy as heck interface and push notifications for all accounts signed in. Pure happiness, is all I can say.
JadenWalker

Jade’s Picks

First one quick honorable mention, which is not from 2012, but I just wanted to say that my pick from last year: Downcast is still my most used app, today. Why don’t you have it, yet?! 🙂

Not only is this an epic game with great effects, it narrates everything you do as you do it. On top of that, the game screams inclusion with very accessible controls for the disabled set as the default. Big props for that!

Amazing comic book. Amazing novels. Amazing TV Show. Now, it’s also an amazing video game AND it took home so many awards (game of the year among them). While it was pretty expensive, as far as iOS titles go, this game delivered on every level I could have ever hoped.

I love Magic the Gathering and have been playing since 1994 (I’m old!). I’ve previously bought versions of Duels for my XBox, but it’s just not fun on a console. The controller takes you out of the moment of the game. 2013 was brought to the iPad and it just feels at home, here. Also, all my Magic buddies have iPads anyway, so the online multiplayer (that I don’t have to pay extra for, MICROSOFT!) is perfect.
JP Cupertino

JP’s Picks

Another year gone by, and as newer and more powerful devices enter our lives, we have seen an interesting shift in mobile gaming. Console-quality games released such as Ravensword: Shadowlands, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Street Fighter X Tekken, Need For Speed Most Wanted, and Infinity Blade II. The casual crowd was kept enraptured by games like Angry Birds Star Wars, Letterpress and the long-awaited HD version of Skee-Ball, Skee-Ball 2.

As for my personal picks, I have to go with the ones that have really taken over my iPad and refused to give it back no matter how much I cry, and certainly no matter how much I have begged to be released from their sweet embrace.

This game is what I have been waiting for since I started playing games on my iPod all those years ago. Once the shift was made to tablets, the much beloved Skee-Ball was left in the dust. Now it works like a charm on tablets and has some unique new features that keep you playing for that high score. The inclusion of asynchronous online multiplayer just becomes icing on the cake.

This frequently overlooked game is exactly what trekkies have been wishing for since the iOS devices began to release. Spaceteam is a Star Trek-inspired party game where you have to yell out commands to other players to pilot the ship away from certain doom, as players try to follow commands and survive. The social aspect of the game is unbelievably exciting since you need to be playing with real-life players, which quickly goes from silly to insanity in moments. Kudos to the dev team for making it a free release, and not hounding for payments. Very classy.

This asynchronous multiplayer strategy battle game has become my best friend and nemesis at the same time. As much as I love commanding my troops to destroy my opponent, I inevitably am reminded how terrible I am at strategy games in general.Compared to most Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas out there, Hero Academy manages to keep the game very acceptable to new players, while still being surprisingly deep for a very cartoon-ish looking game.

That seems to be about it folks, thanks for another great year, and remember. Winners Don’t Do Drugs.

Kyle Nolan

Kyle’s Picks

While the TiVo app was originally released last year, they have made some major improvements in 2012, such as TiVo Stream support, which are exclusive to iOS. If you own a TiVo Premiere box, this is a must-have free app that lets you manage your recordings, To Do lists, Season Passes and search for & tune in OnDemand programs. All of this in real-time, right from your iOS device, instead of having to navigate through slow menus. Add a TiVo Stream box to your network and this app is exceptional at streaming and/or downloading live or recorded shows to your iOS device.

One of my favorite card games, Fluxx, just managed to squeeze in under the wire before the Holiday App Store freeze. While the game of Fluxx starts off with two simple rules, as it progresses, the rules change and the game gets more complex. The developers have managed to capture all of the fun and excitement of Fluxx the card game in an app that I’m already addicted to. It’s so great to be able to play a game of Fluxx any time I want!

Another one of my favorite card games, Skip-Bo, made its way onto iOS this year. When this game was first released, I couldn’t get enough, getting in a game here and there while watching TV and a month and a half later, I’m still playing it quite a bit, it’s a really fun game!
Josiah Cochran

Josiah’s FUNdead Picks

Ahh, zombies. If it weren’t for the whole “craving human flesh” thing, I’d have a bunch as close friends (not close enough to smell them, however). As it stands though, I’m relegated to merely play with them in-game form. Here’s my top 3 apps of 2012 featuring those lovable cannibals.

Despite the full release of Season 1 of this episodic adventure by Telltale, I’ve only played through the first episode. This wasn’t because I didn’t like the game, or didn’t want to continue. To the contrary, I loved every second of this dramatic horror-adventure. I just felt so emotionally drained after the episode wrapped that I was hesitant to continue (That alone should be a testament to how well this game tells its story and builds its characters). Hopefully, I’ll muster up enough courage to make it through the rest of the first season soon (but probably not). Until then, I give huge congratulations to Telltale for beating my emotions to a pulp. (Seriously, though. You will cry.)

It’s only been out for a few weeks, but this endless runner has already sprinted away with my heart (and my other internal organs). Basically, it’s Temple Run in first-person, and instead of coins, you dodge the hungry reanimated. It carries all the addiction of an endless runner, and the creepy presentation alone is superb. A weapon system adds some replayability, but the game’s solid foundation is more than enough to keep me coming back for another sprint through the hordes.

The Men Who Wear Many Hats hit right in the nostalgia with this Oregon Trail-esque survival sim. The retro pixellated graphics, bit soundtrack, and basic resource management gameplay are present, but tonal changes have been made, mostly in the way of replacing the threat of natural obstacles with the threat of being eaten alive by walkers. Extra “apocalyptic” gameplay touches, like being able to finish off infected members of your party and little survival/shooter minigames, make the game both fun and funny. If you’re an Oregon Trail fan, or just want a good zombie survival game, check this one out.
Emily Nolan

Emily’s Picks

Here are some apps that Emily really loved playing with this year, but weren’t her top three: Toca Hair Salon 2, Toca Band and Goodnight Moon, Whoowasit? HD.

Emily is a very imaginative kid, so she loves apps that let her utilize this creativity. Being a huge fan of fairy tales, she actually prefers this free fairy tale-themed version to the paid one (Toca Tailor) let her explore her inner fashion designer, copying her own outfits and designing new ones.

Emily gets huge thrill out of discovering colors in all of her everyday objects to color the pictures. She’s like a little Detective using her iPod Touch like a magnifying glass to hunt down the colors. It’s adorable.

A recent addition to the family iPad thanks to Spinlight’s pre-holiday sale, Emily loves Pixel and Parker’s board game style play and the fact that she can collect new shirts for Parker to wear each time she plays.