Two years ago, if you asked me to write up a “Top 10 Games of 2012” post, it would have been ultra-predictable and probably, a bit boring. At that time, there just weren’t that many good games on Android aside from the big titles from the big players. Today, it’s so much different. In fact, it took me a couple of hours to try to narrow down my list to 10, because at Droid Life, we seem to write up two to three games a day from big to small developers that are all outstanding.
I did get the list down to ten though, but I have to warn you, that right away you’ll probably see a trend in my gaming tastes. You see, I love platformers or level-based games because my attention span is extremely short. For a game to catch my eye, I better be able to do things in a hurry, so that I can pick it up, beat a couple of levels, put it down, and come back to it later. To me, speed, polish, and simplicity are the essence of mobile gaming.
1. Granny Smith ($0.99):
I cannot say enough about this game. Granny Smith is far and away, by miles, the best Android game of 2012. The idea of this masterpiece is to beat the little bratty child down the course as Granny Smith (an old lady on rollerskates), collecting apples and coins along the way. There are obstacles that require you to flip over or hang from, some of which are quite challenging. It seems super simple, but trust me, it takes some work and dozens of restarts on some levels to get through them flawlessly.
Rarely do I find a game that I can’t put down until I have passed every level with a perfect score. What makes Granny Smith different to me, is the fact that I’m still playing it weeks later.
2. Organ Trail: Director’s Cut ($2.99):
If you have ever watched a campy old zombie flick from the 80s, then you will love Organ Trail. It’s a throwback zombie survival game that has zombie deer, disease, includes your best friends, and an old beat-up station-wagon on its trek across the country. The stops along the way, soundtrack, hours of play, and tricky survival choices made this another game I couldn’t put down until I had crossed the country, zombie-disease-free. It’s silly, don’t get me wrong, but it’s supposed to be.
3. Oscura ($0.99):
Oscura is one of those games that you probably haven’t heard much about. It hasn’t received any play from mainstream gaming sights, but it’s one of those that I stumbled across and fell in love with. It’s a 2D platform styled game, but the 3D visual effects make in one of the more beautiful releases of the year. Your goal is to retrieve shards of a crystal so that you can restore light in the land. There are creepy creatures, an amazing soundtrack, it’s incredibly challenging, and it’ll bring the Emo out of you immediately upon launch.
4. Dead Trigger:
Dead Trigger is the polar opposite of the three games I just mentioned above. It’s a full fledged, HD, first person shooter, console-quality gaming experience. Want to cruise around the streets of a world that has been overrun by the undead while using a variety of powerful guns and weapons? This is your game.
Madfinger Games is showing that they really want users to take mobile gaming seriously with the release of Dead Trigger. It’s heavy on graphics, even heavier on blood, and has helped usher in a new wave of games that most of us probably couldn’t have imagined would ever make their way to our smartphones and tablets.
Puzzle games aren’t always my favorite, but the minute I opened Treemaker and swung between my first couple of trees while the soothing soundtrack played in the background, I knew I would be hooked. This game is incredibly beautiful, much like Oscura is, only Treemaker is all about peace and feeling good rather than trying to dodge and avoid demons. It’s difficult, but not so difficult that you’ll struggle to beat levels. Treemaker is one of those games that you can sit back and relax while playing.
6. Jetpack Joyride:
This game was just released on Dual Sim Android within the last few weeks, and already has grabbed my attention. It came over from iOS where it was a big hit, something that shouldn’t surprise you the minute you begin to play it. It’s a simple platformer, with comical power-ups, silly animations, and a goofy plotline that involves scientists, a machinegun jetpack, bombs, electricity, and coins. Jetpack Joyride is like many great mobile games in that you can pick it up and play it for a few minutes to kill some time or spend hours trying to beat your high scores and unlock new equipment.
7. Zombie Smash ($0.99):
Wow, three zombie games in one top ten list? What can I say, I love the undead. Zombie Smash is a simple zombie killing game that helps feed that love. Made by Zynga, ZS is a survival game, much like Plants v. Zombies, but it makes the zombie smashing so much more interactive. Having a bad day at work? Download this game and take your frustrations out on the poor little walking undead.
8. Death Rally:
Guns. Speed. Explosions. Racing. Cars. Trash talking. What else could you ask for in a game? Death Rally is the ultimate mobile racing game in that it takes out the seriousness of driving a car in circles and makes it a blast by letting you equip that car with guns. There are power-ups, unlockable items, and a variety of vehicles to choose from.
9. Project 83113:
For some reason, this game is no longer showing as being available in the Google Play store, but that won’t stop me from putting it on my top ten list. Project 83113 is the ultimate platformer, filled with speed, great controls, variations of guns, and fantastic graphics. I wouldn’t necessarily put this in the “casual” category though, as it is one of the more difficult games that I became addicted to this year. Let’s hope that it returns.
10. Temple Run:
As main stream as Temple Run is, I still spent hours upon hours playing this game when it was finally released on Android. It’s a huge title for a reason – it’s the perfect mobile game. It’s simple, fast paced, has unlockable items, is a great trash talk generator with friends, and can be casually played at any time.