14
Jan
2012

To round out our coverage of the Play Store's very best offerings from 2012, we're back with our top picks for best new game. In the interest of saving readers time, energy, and money in their search for awesome new games, we've compiled a short list of only the most notable games from the past year.

Our picks are arranged in no particular order, and since there are far more than four new games worth talking about, so we've got plenty of runners up.

All of that being said, here are our picks for the very best of 2012.

GAMES

Ingress

"The world around you is not what it seems" is the sentence that has drawn tons of Android users in to Niantic Labs' fascinating, closed-beta augmented reality game. In our review, we said Ingress "goes far beyond simply a game," and we weren't kidding – Ingress is a multiplayer online game that not only requires time and patience, but requires that you travel in real life to accomplish goals, interacting with other players in the process.

Players divide themselves into two teams – the Enlightened and the Resistance. The goal is to hack, capture, power up, and link portals to claim as much ground as possible for your faction. The game is extremely involved, and takes a certain level of commitment if you want to continue playing. The only downside is that it's a closed beta. Hopeful players, though, can head to Ingress.com to grab an invite.

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If you haven't already joined the fight, sign up for an invite and grab the game below.

Dead Trigger

In our review of Dead Trigger, David said the zombie shooter was the most fun he'd ever had playing an Android game. Judging from the game's popularity, it would seem many players agree. And it's true that Dead Trigger is a great game – it's got compelling graphics, nice sounds, and an extremely simple gameplay dynamic: complete missions while shooting the ever loving crap out of zombies, who have nothing better to do than attack you from all sides.

Besides pure zombie-killing action, the game has a pretty wide arsenal, and plenty of missions that challenge you to survive, defend, or collect items.

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If you're not tired of zombies and you somehow haven't experienced Dead Trigger yet, hit the widget below immediately.

Jetpack Joyride

Of course, some mobile gamers aren't into deeply involved real-life MMOs or action-packed zombie killing sprees. For casual gamers who just want a really awesome time waster, 2012 still had something to offer. Probably the best embodiment of the casual game from 2012 is Jetpack Joyride. The game, which first came to Android through the Amazon App Store, is – as we said in our review – everything a mobile game should be. Following the story of Barry Steakfries, who just wants to hijack some jetpacks and have a little fun.

The game is colorful, challenging, and has plenty of motivation for replay with powerups, custom clothing, and more jetpacks than you could pilot a mechanical dragon into. Once you've completed about thirty goals, you'll get a badge and an entirely new set of missions, meaning you could play this game for years without running out of goals.

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If you love casual gaming but are burnt out on other big titles like Angry Birds, Jetpack Joyride is an excellent option. Plus, it's totally free from the Play Store (though you can get power ups faster with in-app purchases).

Rayman Jungle Run

Also in the "casual" category is Rayman Jungle Run, which we called "possibly the best platformer on Android". The game, based around the same characters and art style as the old Rayman games we know and love, puts a great twist on the constant runner genre with great gameplay dynamics and plenty of replay value.

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What's great about Jungle Run, is that it's easy to play successfully, but tough to master. If you're into vivid, compelling constant runner action, grab Rayman Jungle Run from the Play Store.

Special Mention: Another World

Another World, which we reviewed after its release last year, is a great revival of the classic game that's seen life on more than a dozen platforms.

In the game, you're Lester Knight Chaykin, a young physics researcher who is thrust into a spectacular, haunting world. Somewhere between adventure and "chill" genres, this game is great for both fans of the original and those looking for a masterfully executed conceptual game.

Other Great Games

Final Thoughts

Last year had plenty of games for just about any gamer, from multiplayer games based on the real world around you to quick, colorful time wasters. Of course, even if none of these games suit your fancy, we'll be back next month with January's best entries. In the mean time, check out our semi-weekly longer roundups with dozens of new games and apps.

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • Aaron Berlin

    Eufloria!

  • defred34

    Oh please, Ingress is NOT a game!

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Of course it's a game. What else would it be? It relies heavily on geo-location, but it's a game in every way you think of it.

      • defred34

        It is an augmented-reality experience.

        • http://them3blog.wordpress.com/ Abel

          Ingress player spotted ^

        • Nick Coad

          So... a game.

      • Dumb-o

        A new pokemon, of course.

      • Tomi Golob

        He is jelous he wasn't invited...

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

      It's a game, just not a very good one...

      • Tomi Golob

        Boooooooo!!! :(

  • defred34

    Where are other games such as Polara, Devil's Attorney, Puddle, Auralux and Anomaly: Warzone Earth (or Korea)? The Top 5 choice is pretty poor, and then only I agree with is Rayman.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Each person's list is going to be different - those are some great games as well. But if we added everything everyone liked, the list would have been over 100 games long I'm guessing, and unlike the game roundups where I want to highlight as many good new games as possible, we decided the best of 2012 posts should not have an overwhelming amount.

      • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

        I'm kinda on his side with the Anomaly Warzone series (Earth and Korea). The reviews have been fantastic, the ratings are very high, and it's nicely polished. Since strategy games are completely unrepresented in the list, it would be a pretty fitting addition.

        • Tomi Golob

          Lol earth and Korea...as if Korea is on another planet. Sorry I always found that funny :)

    • GraveUypo

      well it's their list... i'm pretty sure hardly anyone will agree with all of these.

      • Tomi Golob

        I disagree!

  • tumatos

    how could you forget Ski Safari? it beats the hell out of jetpack joyride

    • http://twitter.com/misterE33 Mr E

      Recovering Ski Safari addict here. I couldn't spend more than 10 mins in Jetpack Joyride though.

    • RP

      Ski safari is more fun than jetpack joyride! Period.

    • DeadSOL

      Ski Safari has excellent visuals, it's fun to play, and it's hard to put down! I love it!

    • Tomi Golob

      Indeed... I demand it! *shakes fist*

  • http://twitter.com/TouchGamesEU TouchGames EU

    Worth mentioning (for old school gamers at least) is bomberman-inspired FireLords, was reviewed here: http://www.androidpolice.com/2012/09/29/xx-best-new-android-games-from-the-last-2-weeks/

    or here : http://www.touchgames.eu/firelords-hd/

  • John

    INGRESS

    Absolutely RLZ

    Best game ever!

    • John

      Biking few times a week thanks to this game :)

      I don't know anything more motivating. Even Endomondo is far behind.

      • Tomi Golob

        That's a shame man! Health should be on top of your list! :) oh wait...but if u are cycling now, then it's ok ;)

  • atlouiedog

    I continue to not understand the popularity of Dead Trigger at all. That's okay though, because this isn't my list.

    • http://twitter.com/misterE33 Mr E

      It would not normally be my thing either, but it's a quick little, high quality shooter with just enough tongue-in-cheek to keep it from getting bogged down. Also -- it's free [now]. It also has lite rpg elements in upgrades, plus daily rewards, that can be addictive.

    • defred34

      Dead Trigger is nothing more than a tech demo that caters to graphics whores. I said enough there.

    • Tomi Golob

      If you own a decent specs phone you will love how well it plays ! :D

  • matt

    Would it kill a company to make a good true rts game for android for god sakes!!!

    • John

      What about emulate Starcraft?

    • http://twitter.com/misterE33 Mr E

      After playing Company of Heroes again on PC, I kept thinking the same thing. If the small screen problem could be overcome, it seems like it would be a perfect fit. FWIW, you might want to try Great Big War Game (and GLWG): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.rubicon.dev.gbwg&hl=en

      • Floss

        GLWG felt like a very bad attempt at copying Advanced Wars. The graphics were better but the gameplay was just weak in comparison to the decade old game it was copied from.

    • Steve Freeman

      Or something like Civilization. Something that we can keep going back to and advancing in the game, other than just something to spend 10 minutes shooting stuff in.

      • Jongjungbu

        Completely agree with the both of you.

        • smeddy

          Me too. I know this doesn't 100% fill your criteria, but I'd love Red Alert on Android

          • Tomi Golob

            I agree because I wanted to join in the conversation and I'm bored

    • lusty crab

      it's the same reason with NDS platform I suppose. lack of screen space perhaps ?

      you can see not much good RTS on NDS, a platform where AAA titles is abundant, even with accurate touch pen input available. I can only found robocalypse, ff revenant wings, shogun empires, which still can be considered rts.

      .
      Android is better, there are some good true-RTS game available here. the problem is most rts game are not AAA title.

      As for me, on Android I prefer playing rts game using emulator, like psx warzone 2100, populous, warhammer dark omen, etc.
      At least until there's some good AAA RTS on android. but I bet they will be released for iOS first, big developer nowadays tend to do that :)

      • Tomi Golob

        I prefer turn based strategy games

    • defred34

      Auralux?

  • John_Merritt

    Not bad list, Rayman Jungle Run being the best of the bunch.

    For me, it would be

    Berzerk Ball 2
    Nightmares of the Deep - HOG
    Amazing Alex
    Contre Jour
    Cut the Rope
    Pudding Monsters
    Spooky Manor
    GTA Vice City
    Pumped BMX
    Bike Race

    Not a game, but a honourable mention to the Playstation emulator, ePSXe. In hardware OpenGL mode this emulator looks stunning. Blows away Fpse in OpenGL hardware, with the same games running max speed in ePSXe on my Nexus 7.

    • Thatguyfromvienna

      Hidden Object Games are for girls, mate.

      • http://twitter.com/misterE33 Mr E

        Well put me in a dress and call me Sally ;)

        • Thatguyfromvienna

          Would you shave your legs for me? ^^

          • Tomi Golob

            What the fuck is your problem with female sex? Oooh I see...chronic lonely penis sindrome ?

      • defred34

        It is not pansies, not necessarily girls ya sexist!

    • http://twitter.com/misterE33 Mr E

      I actually really liked Pudding Monsters despite the bad review I saw. It didn't hurt that I had adblock which hid whatever obtrusive ads were supposed to be there.

      • Tomi Golob

        Adblock is awesome...but it blocked even the S Voice app so i couldnt use it lmao ...not kidding

  • John

    Anyone had a chance to play the ridiculously awesome physics based driving game, Hill Climb Racing ? It's rare for me to find a game that can really draw me in on my phone, but this one has certainly done it. Worth checking out even if you've played other scroller driving games.

    • McLean Riley

      What a great game! Just added the tank too. I played others like it a few times but this one keeps my attention. Good call out.

      • Sootie

        Nothing beats the Moto, and yeah I have spent way to much time on this game too, I have fully upgraded everything without ever spending 1 cent of real money on it

    • http://twitter.com/misterE33 Mr E

      Sweet Jebus, that and Ski Safari are tied for addicting app of the year

  • mgamerz

    I lost interest in ingress. They still haven't opened it out of beta yet, so anyone I knew that was interested forgot about it. It got boring as well, theres really little to do. They've kind of screwed the launch... which isn't surprising, this is google.

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

      I have to agree, the game mechanics are sorta shot. If you live in a quiet area like I do, the portals are so spread out that it's impossible to make links at low level and it's too much travel to get to any portals. In larger areas where there are a lot of players, too many people have already achieved high levels and the portals are untouchable to anybody that's new or not extremely active. If they ever open it up to everybody, the number of people will virtually ensure leveling for new players is impossible. Unless they significantly change something, it's kind of doomed to a short life.

      Oh yeah, and the tutorial is pretty awful...

  • dobbsy

    I don't understand Ingress. It just has me walking around aimlessly. Nothing ever happens.

    • defred34

      Oh wait, so you were waiting for you neighbor to point a gun to your faces?

  • morph

    Ingress seems to be an illuminati/freemasonic game with the team "Enlightened" (in other words illuminati) and the resistance (those who want to destroy this society. Also the symbolism in the promo video seems to confirm it.

  • gacl

    Dead Trigger is pathetic next to any decent console shooting game. I'd even argue Rayman and Jetpack are also really weak by console standards. I have requested an Ingress invite since day one and I just can't get in. I'm dying for a good Android game and I can't find a single one. PS3 + Vita + Windows have *way* better content, but I really prefer the Android platform and want to play a deep amazing game on my tablet.

    • Tomi Golob

      Did u play it on a newer phone? It is far from pathetic looking

      • gacl

        I tried it on a Nexus 7 tablet. It looks extremely primitive next to a typical PS3 or even a Vita title.

  • manish0261

    Has anyone played Trainyard Ex/Trainyard.

    Its a puzzle game,starts off easy but you will be whacking your brains out in the latter stages.

    Tons of fun

  • AustinX

    Critical Strike Portable.. Modern Combat 4.. Order & Chaos.. How about something not in the "casual" category for us gaming addicts? To me the best games on Android are the ones that leave you saying "Wow! I can't believe I'm playing this on a phone! "