The top 10 iOS games released this calendar year.
As we reach the end of 2011, the ever-divisive iOS market feels increasingly important to the troubled but talented UK development scene, with promising studios like Hogrocket, Spilt Milk and Shortround Games all making their debuts this year. There are plenty of detractors out there who believe, perhaps correctly, that the cheap-and-cheerful approach to iOS development and the cut-price frenzy of the iTunes Store does the medium no good - but like it or loathe it, Apple's accidental phenomenon is undeniably a gaming scene that feels like a modern gold rush, with developers scrambling to claim their share of a bountiful marketplace in constant flux.
It's particularly interesting to see that the free market conditions of the iTunes marketplace are recreating Nintendo's evergreen dream, where the best-selling games of 2011 are the same games that were doing well in 2010; Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, Infinity Blade and so on. But there have been plenty of new hits released on iOS this year, and we'd like to reward the titles that have ticked our fancy this year. Here we've rooted through the endless procession of comedy fart apps to highlight the mobile pearls that are actually worth your time:
There's something incredibly pleasing about the way Jetpack Joyride comes together, and that, we'd wager, is why it's gone down so well with us. It takes most of its cues from the same homogenous procession of endless running-man games that normally blight the iOS marketplace, adding a dash of the helicopter Flash game many of us probably used to play at school. The end result stands above the competition for offering that gentle but devious mix of all the right elements.
Where our ennui with many iOS games derives from weary repetition and endless familiarity, Halfbrick's delightful little title has managed to make the familiar fresh. Drawn in by the charming presentation, you're quickly spurred on with the social competition of climbing the leaderboards by inching forward with a combination of skill and the odd bit of luck.
It is both delightful and disheartening, perhaps, that our favourite iOS game of the year just so happens to be one that, on paper at least, seems so unimaginative and routine. But Halfbrick has perfected a formula many others have failed at, and Jetpack Joyride comes alive as you play it.