Mobile gaming has been mainstream for a while now. From iPads and iPhones to Windows Tablets and Galaxy Notes, we’re surrounded by tech loaded with potential gaming goodness. Goodness which has, in the past two or three years, been tapped into by big-name publishers and independent studios alike.
Out of all the categories in our Game of the Year round-up, this was perhaps one of the hardest to nail down. “Throwaway” sounds like such a dirty word though it sums up the majority of mobile games out there; though we enjoy them – and even become obsessed with them at times – many of us simply move from one to the next in rapid succession. Nailing down our favourites, therefore, was no easy task.
Anyone who has laid fingers on an mobile or tablet has likely come across Rovio’s avian catapult simulator. With millions of downloads across the globe, Angry Birds has propelled its way into the gaming hall of fame, spawning its own TV series in the process. Angry Bird Star Wars II builds upon the original experience with its own sci-fi take, introducing new character types and challenges that become increasing more difficult.
Device 6, on the other, is a new contender. Developed by Simogo (Year Walk) the game combines a written thriller with various interactive elements enabled via touchscreen. Like Year Walk, it’s a truly unique experience and one that requires audio to get the full effect.
Hot on their heels we have Rayman Fiesta Run. No surprise really, considering our ongoing love for Ubisoft’s armless mascot. Fiesta Run is basically a redux version of recently-updated Rayman template. Players are dragged through vibrant, hand-drawn gauntlets, each with its own quirky hazards. Wall run, leap over obstacles, and collect lums to advance. Though some will no doubt have preferred a Rayman Legends port, Fiesta provides a fast-paced alternative, loaded with character and charm.
There are also plenty of runners up. Just missing out on a podium spot is PopCap’s Plants vs Zombies 2 followed by slick racing sim, Real Racing 3. Other, more obscure, titles also made the list, including Rymdkapsel and the quirky Tiny Thief. Alongside these were returning power players, Temple Run 2 and Infinity Blade III.
If anything, this year’s mobile award highlights just how diverse the medium of touch-screen gaming is. Once seen as a bastion for five-minute sprints of gameplay, the iOS and Android market is now home to some of the best gaming experiences around, whether they be sequels, ports, or those truly unique, genre-agnostic masterpieces.
Angry Birds Star Wars II and Device 6 are TheSixthAxis’ joint winners of Mobile Game of the Year 2013.