Games  |  Lists

The 10 Best Mobile Games of 2011

December 26, 2011  |  8:30am
Mobile gaming hasn’t completely taken over the industry yet, but it might just be a matter of time. Angry Birds are already the most culturally iconic videogame characters since Mario. And people who never really played before are addicted to games on their phones and tablets. Here’s our list of the 10 best mobile games of 2011.

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5. Quarrel
Developer: Denki
Publisher: UTV Ignition Entertainment
Platforms: iOS

Quarrel cleverly combines two timeless board games into a modern day treat. It’s equal parts Risk and Scrabble, as your armies invade enemy territories and try to form the highest scoring word as quickly as possible. It devoured most of my free time for a solid month after it came out, and whenever the inevitable online multiplayer arrives, I might very well never need to play another game again.—Garrett Martin

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4. Forget-Me-Not
Developer: Brandon Williamson
Publisher: Brandon Williamson
Platforms: iOS

Forget-Me-Not is like gaming deja vu. You’re sure you played it at an arcade or bowling alley back in the early 1980s but you can’t quite remember when or where. Brandon Williamson’s maze-chase shooter resembles Pac-Man but with randomly generated levels that change every time you play it. It’s a fantastic medley of disparate game philosophies wrapped up in a highly affordable iOS package.—Garrett Martin

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3. Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP
Developer: Superbrothers and Capybara Games
Publisher: Superbrothers and Capybara Games
Platforms: iOS

Sword & Sworcery’s most awe-inspiring moments take place when it allows us to forget about ourselves, our world, our iPad and our Twitter followers for long enough to take in the wonders that it presents. Danger feels imminent and foreboding, and the animal and plant life seem organic and ethereal. While performing the “Songs of Sworcery” our fingers seem to trigger magical wonders and beautiful music. The story itself is beautiful in its simplicity, and it is so effective because it lingers on implications rather than literalities.—Richard Clark

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2. Infinity Blade II
Developer: Chair Entertainment
Publisher: Epic Games
Platforms: iOS

Infinity Blade II doesn’t fundamentally alter the formula that made its predecessor so successful, but it does add some welcome refinements like new weapon sets, an expanded story, and varied enemies. Its stunning visuals and responsive controls make it one of the best-looking and best-playing games on iOS, even if its repetitive structure isn’t entirely compelling over the long haul. In a franchise based on iterative gameplay, this sequel is an interesting study in iterative design.—J. P. Grant

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1. Jetpack Joyride
Developer: Halfbrick Studios
Publisher: Halfbrick Studios
Platforms: iOS

Videogames used to exist solely to suck up every quarter of our baby-sitting and paper route money. They offered short bursts of play with a goal no greater than making the high score board. Mobile games often share the same sensibility today, and Jetpack Joyride fulfills its end of that bargain better than any other game in 2011. No game stunned me more with “just one more time” paralysis than this infectious one-finger pursuit. No matter how far I fly with that jetpack (or dirtbike, or mechanical dragon) it will never be far enough.—Garrett Martin

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