That’s not to say that 2015 didn’t bring us some great, memorable iOS gaming experiences, but choosing the best of the best for 2015 just isn’t as cut and dry for me as it’s been in previous years and there were no immediate and obvious winners. Obviously, I have not played EVERY new release that came out in 2015, but I did play quite a few of them.
Last year we saw a welcome resurgence in the point and click adventure genre with some excellent PC ports from Wadjet Eye Games, Daedalic Entertainment, and Phoenix Online Studios as well as iOS originals like Agent A, Rusty Lake Hotel and the satisfying final episode of Glitch Games’ Forever Lost Series.
The digital board game scene, while fairly busy, overall was a somewhat of a letdown (with regards to new games) for me after an amazing 2014. However, there were some nice surprises like Asmodee Digital’s release of Splendor, the unique solitaire game Card Crawl, Catroon Network’s humorous family strategy game Thirty Days & Seven Seas, Galactic Keep, Le Havre: The Inland Port, Kickstarter successes Boss Monster and Coup and the head to head word battle game Capitals.
There were quite a few fantastic content and app updates/complete rewrites for existing digital board game apps in 2015 including Ticket to Ride and Hearthstone (which both went Universal), Galaxy Trucker, Magic The Gathering, SolForge, Sentinels of the Multiverse and Star Realms.
Some exiting new digital board gaming experiences are on tap for 2016 and it’ll be interesting to see what effect iPad support for the new Tabletopia platform expected in the latter part of the year will have on the digital board gaming space.
Last year there were also a number of successful and engaging ports from other platforms including Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Evolved, Fearless Fantasy, Lumino City, Scribblenauts Unlimited, PAC-MAN Championship Edition DX, Transistor, Octodad: Dadliest Catch and I am Bread, proving that iOS gamers want these same fresh, rich, indie gaming experiences that PC gamers have enjoyed for years.
iOS / mobile developers showed their originality with some fresh titles of their own like Her Story, Does Not Commute, Lifeline, Wizards and Wagons, Dark Echo and Progress to 100. These titles really showcased the ingenuity and creativity of the mobile development community.
Several studios made big splashes this year with Hipster Whale’s late 2014 release of Crossy Road becoming a massive success and the studio hitting it big again with Pac-Man 256 – Endless Acade Maze, their unique take on the arcade classic. Telltale launched and/or concluded several adventure game series including The Walking Dead Season 2, Game of Thrones, Tales from The Borderlands and Minecraft Story Mode and they show no signs of stopping with several new ones on tap for this year as well.
Tin Man Games was quite prolific in 2015, releasing three more titles in their award-winning Gamebook Adventures series as well as their first Warhammer 40k gamebook Legacy of Dorn: Herald of Oblivion. They also ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for a digital tabletop RPG with miniatures and launched a new subscription-based series Choices: And The Sun Went Out and released their humorous digital adaptation of Ryan North’s To Be of Not To Be.
Despite Amazon dropping the Apple TV from its online store, their Amazon Game Studios came out swinging on iOS, debuting an impressive slate of iOS games including Til Morning’s Light, Lost Within and Tales From Deep Space.
It was a good year for kids apps as well. Being the father of 6 and 8 year-old daughters this is an area I tend to follow pretty closely. Toca Boca launched Toca Life: City and Toca Life: School (as well as a few others) which quickly became favorites in our house, bringing Toca Boca’s total app count to an impressive 30 apps.
Tinybop released several more educational and fun apps for kids including Simple Machines, The Everything Machine and The Monsters. Finally we saw the triumphant return of the childhood classic, Carmen Sandiego in a modern, but familiar feeling package for a whole new generation of globe-trotting junior agents to enjoy.
Even some of the new titles that weren’t specifically made for kids-only were huge hits with my girls.
My 8 Year-Old Daughter Emily’s Top iOS Games of 2015
There were plenty of (often forgettable) free-to-play experiences to go around, and it was mostly the paid games which left a lasting impression, especially in the arcade, puzzle and platforming genres with games like the aforementioned Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Evolved, Downwell, Super Happy Fun Block, HoPiKo, BADLAND 2, The Excecutive, Horizon Chase – World Tour, Divide By Sheep, PewDiePie: Legend of the Brofist, Lara Croft GO and The Room Three all offering solid experiences with a good deal of replay value.
As I said, narrowing down my favorites from last year to a definitive ‘top ten’ has proven to be a bit of a challenge, but without further ado..
My top 10 favorite iOS gaming experiences of 2015
These titles very nearly made it into my top ten and are worth mentionin as they represent some of the finest iOS gaming experiences of last year.