The iPhone developed into a legitimate gaming platform at a remarkable speed. It’s as if we turned around to look at something behind us, and when we faced forward again, Apple’s iOS series of handhelds was suddenly making a serious grab for a market that had been dominated by Nintendo for ages.
While nobody can predict the future, we can comfortably assume that the iPhone will continue to evolve and mature as a handheld gaming system. Here are a handful of iOS games that we anticipate will be among the best plays in the coming year.
Eufloria: Eufloria is a unique real-time strategy game that has already made a splash on the PC and the PlayStation Network. The game’s concept is based around the Dyson tree hypothesis, which states that it may be possible to grow life-sustaining trees on asteroids. The player colonizes and conquers asteroids by planting and growing Dyson trees, which then spawn seedlings with certain attributes.
Eufloria may be a bit slow-moving for some tastes, but players with time and patience will make fast friends with this original take on the RTS genre. It should hit iOS devices in 2012, so keep an eye on the official Eufloria site for a finalized release date.
Hunters 2: Hunters 2 is another strategy game, albeit a turn-based strategy game with traditional themes like guns, gear, and merciless corporations that hold entire planets in an iron grip. Hunters 2 also looks great, and will offer a single-player campaign mode–a new feature that wasn’t present in the first Hunters. Look for Hunters 2 on iOS devices in early 2012.
Clay Jam: This Katamari-style game features a familiar concept (run over small stuff and grow, avoid big stuff or get squished), but with some interesting traits of its own, not the least of which is its charming clay-based graphics. Players make their “Pebble” bigger by running over little clay people, but risk losing it all if they mash into buildings or monsters. By drawing trenches in the game’s clay foundation, however, players can steer the Pebble’s course. We can practically smell the Plasticine. Clay Jam should be available in February of 2012.
Battlefield 3 Aftershock: The iOS has a ways to go before it can prove itself as a viable platform for first-person shooters, but EA’s feature-packed Battlefield 3 Aftershock might be solid enough to make FPS fans rethink their stance on smartphone-based shooters. According to EA, Battlefield 3 Aftershock will feature connectivity with with other versions of Battlefield 3, and will have both single and multiplayer modes. Going by the screenshots, Aftershock is already one of the best-looking games on iOS devices. The game should be out sometime in 2012.
Super Crate Box: Super Crate Box is an arcade-style shooter that’s already a hit amongst retro enthusiasts on the PC. The game’s iOS adaptation is coming on January 5 2012, and (according to its official description) hearkens back to a time when “all that really mattered was getting your name on that high score list.” Fans of pixel-based graphics and twangy Sega Genesis-style chiptunes are sure to love this one, to say nothing of those of us who are willing to spend hours on a game for the privilege of inscribing our names as “BUTT.”