With 2014 nearly over, we’re starting to see all kinds of lists and recaps of the year that was: best films, biggest news stories, most successful songs, etc. And because it is always fun to look back this time of year, we thought we’d chip by writing about the best titles in app gaming from 2014. To be clear, these weren’t all actually created this year. Some are adaptations of pre-existing games and others are apps that have existed for some time and merely received fresh updates in the past 12 months. But whatever the case, here are 10 app games that will stick with us as we head into the new year.
This game tops PC Mag‘s list of 2014 apps, too, and it was one of the true sensations of app gaming early this year. It’s a sort of mathematical puzzle game that’s actually very difficult to describe. Basically, you slide numbers along a panel while mashing similar numbers together to double the number to reach 2048 without getting stuck. It’s surprisingly addictive, and free to download.
(New) Words With Friends
Words With Friends debuted in 2008 and really was one of the first gaming apps to achieve massive popularity. Basically a twist on Scrabble, it lets people play against other users (friend or not!). The new version is a substantial upgrade on the existing app, with a Time write-up citing improved social features, a solo game option, statistical tracking, and dictionary integration among the upgrades. Words With Friends is back!
There’s a clear trend favouring visually attractive gaming apps, and Monument Valley—a delightful little creation from ustwo—is leading the way in this category. It is a dream-like landscape puzzle game with shades of inspiration from artist M.C. Escher, challenging you to look through geometric illusions to find your way. It’s an easy game to lose yourself in.
Designed to resemble a pixellated computer game from the early-’90s, Only One is a brilliantly addictive fighter that pits you (a small character with a sword) against waves of enemies on a cliff top (and yes, people can fall off). Macworld‘s review cited the game’s humour, and it is indeed an attribute that helps set this goofy but competitive fighter apart.
App Advice called Dwelp a dot-connecting puzzle game like no other. While it doesn’t look so original, the description is actually accurate. Dwelp, like 2048, is easier to understand through playing than by reading descriptions. However, you’re essentially you’re tasked with matching up dots of the same colour within particular grids that make it increasingly difficult to move your connected bunches of dots. It’s simple, well designed, and addictive.
Casino gaming apps tend to blur together in an array of Texas Hold’em offerings and mindless slot machines, and there are certainly a lot of options out there. But the mobile app from Betfair‘s online casino stands out as a more professional and all-inclusive version for fans of the genre. As a result, it is well worth a mention. Baccarat, roulette, blackjack, and other popular games are all offered, and the app is designed as a sleek and realistic looking casino.
The Room Two
Fireproof Games is really onto something with its The Room series, with the sequel offering an even greater thrill than the original. This is a point-and-click title that combines a creepy adventure and a puzzle solver. It takes you on a mysterious journey in which you follow cryptic notes, unlock boxes and various other contraptions, and move on into the unknown. It’s beautifully rendered and just the right amount of scary.
This is a standard tower defense game created by Infinite Dreams Inc., but it has the sort of charm that can help a title stand out in a competitive genre. Instead of cluttering itself with explosions and soldiers, it takes a more comical approach (as in, jelly creatures) and offers a clean, appealing look with a fun soundtrack.
Smash Hit is a sort of 3D endless runner in which you launch little metal balls at glass structures to get them out of your way. Touch Arcade gave the app a very favourable review but talked mostly about its beauty. The reality is that, beauty aside, this is almost a form of stress relief.
Clash Of Clans
In 2014, this inventive little game took charge as the leading MMO for mobile devices. Challenging players to build up “clans” and villages, gather resources, and compete with one another, it’s been described as almost problematically addictive. It also netted its developer nearly $1 billion in 2013, and it is still gaining popularity.