Our Mobile Game of the Year 2012 is Letterpress from Atebits. Loren Brichter has done more to influence the app user interface than almost anyone else. He invented the “pull-to-refresh” mechanic that many apps, including Apple’s own Mail app, have adopted. He pioneered “swipe-across” menus too. He created the much beloved Tweetie app for Twitter before eventually selling up to the social giant themselves and crafting their mobile apps. Then he left, set up Atebits and took a stab at creating a game.
Letterpress is an iOS word game that has a beautifully simplistic interface. It is littered with small flourishes that make using the most mundane elements of a user interface pleasurable. More than that, it taps into a turn-based, network-enabled competitive system that has been so popular for other big apps like Draw Something and Song Pop.
You don’t necessarily have to be a wordsmith with a bottomless vocabulary to win at Letterpress though. It’s clever colonisation mechanic – you steal letters from each other – means that you can play tactically with shorter, common words and still emerge victorious. It really is simple, focussed and beautifully crafted.
It wasn’t a one-horse race though, the diverse and vibrant mobile market was well represented with a nice spread of games making an appearance. One of the most successful mobile developers, Rovio, sees their Star Wars-themed Angry Birds release come a close second. Traditional videogame publishers also saw some representation with Ubisoft’s Rayman Jungle Run coming in third before we saw a return to independent developers further down our charts.
Here’s a chart showing our top five.
And here’s the league table showing every game that received at least one vote from the TSA staff.
- Angry Birds Star Wars
- Rayman Jungle Run
- Plague Inc.
- Super Hexagon
- New Star Soccer
- Draw Something
- Fieldrunners 2
- Rico: A Tale of Two Brothers
- Fuel Tiracas
- Pizza vs Skeletons
- The Room
- Bad Piggies