Game of the Year 2012 – Mobile


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.

  1. Letterpress
  2. Angry Birds Star Wars
  3. Rayman Jungle Run
  4. Plague Inc.
  5. Super Hexagon
  6. New Star Soccer
  7. Draw Something
  8. Fieldrunners 2
  9. Rico: A Tale of Two Brothers
  10. Fuel Tiracas
  11. Leyenda
  12. Pizza vs Skeletons
  13. The Room
  14. Bad Piggies
  15. Curiosity


  1. I think I only have one of those on my phone and its been a long time since I played Draw Something.

  2. The life-cycle of mobile games can be so short that this category can, more easily than others, influenced by those released more recently

  3. A few there I’ll have to try.

  4. Not tried this Letterpress yet and the Angry Birds series has become boring. My mobile game of the moment is Punch Quest.

  5. Plague Inc deserved to be higher imo :)
    Might give this Letterpress a try though!

  6. I didn’t think Letterpress was special in any real way to be honest.

    Plague Inc is by far and away the best there, although I was surprised to see Angry Birds Star Wars was actually quite good.

  7. My vote would have gone to Pizza vs Skeletons. Have never played it (or even heard of it) but that name alone would have earned my nod!

  8. Utterly criminal that Super Hexagon wasn’t second, in my opinion.

  9. I’ve only just gotten back into Letterpress, now I have it on my phone. It’s a great game, but I can’t find many people playing it anymore.

  10. Me and the missus just tried Letterpress, I can’t believe we didn’t bother before, brilliant.

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