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.
"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.
If you haven't already joined the fight, sign up for an invite and grab the game below.
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.
If you're not tired of zombies and you somehow haven't experienced Dead Trigger yet, hit the widget below immediately.
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.
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.
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
- Angry Birds Star Wars (HD)
- Bad Piggies (HD)
- The Bard's Tale
- Draw Something (Free)
- Final Fantasy (II, III)
- Max Payne
- Need for Speed: Most Wanted
- NOVA 3
- Paper Monsters
- Pizza Boy
- Shadowgun Deadzone
- Superbrothers Sword and Sworcery EP
- Temple Run
- Waking Mars
- Wild Blood
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.