The best iOS games of 2012 (so far)

by Brad Spirrison

What are the best iPhone games and iPad games worth paying for? Whether you like drawing games, blockbuster sequels or games that have classic soundtracks, there are plenty of great titles to tap into. Here are our favorite iOS games of 2012 so far.

Draw Something by OMGPOP (Universal: $2.99)

While the momentum for this touchscreen-based and unofficial variation of Pictionary slowed down after it was acquired by Zynga in March, there are reasons why Draw Something generated tens of millions of downloads in only its first few weeks (faster than Angry Birds, Instagram, and any other app in history). It’s really fun to play! The premise of the game is simple enough for a five-year-old to pick up. Further, Draw Something’s social integration via Facebook and email makes it easy to play the game with a friend or stranger regardless of what kind of iOS and Android device they own. Don’t own a device on either platform? No worries, you’ll soon be able to watch the upcoming Draw Something primetime game show.

JAZZ: Trump’s journey (Universal: $2.99)

Loosely based on the life of Louis Armstrong, JAZZ: Trump’s journey plays well as a “greatest hits” for platform games. With beautiful graphics that capture 1920’s era New Orleans, great controls, and of course a killer soundtrack, Trump’s journey has enough features and depth to appeal to established gamers while also serving as a spirited and soulful introduction to newbie players.

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Angry Birds Space (iPhone and iPod Touch: $0.99, iPad: $2.99)

With a launch promotion that was literally out of this world, there was a concern that Angry Birds Space wouldn’t live up to its hype, or just be a slight variation of previous versions of the game. That fear was flung into the stratosphere once we actually began playing it. With new gravity-based mechanics, awesome new birds, a darker color palate and bizarrely amusing space aesthetics, Angry Birds Space is arguably the most refreshing and enjoyable title in the franchise.

N.O.V.A 3 (Universal: $6.99)

If you are a fan of first-person shooters, than this is the game for you. Developed by Gameloft, N.O.V.A. 3 more than any other title available on mobile devices moves and feels like a console game. N.O.V.A. 3 has you blasting aliens and enemies through a number of planets (including a war-torn Earth). The multiplayer aspect of the game will have you sharing your battle with as many as 11 other players. Each beautifully animated level takes about 30 minutes to complete, offering a lot of bang for your seven bucks.

Spellsword (Universal: $0.99)

With furious and addicting gameplay, unique mechanics, and retro graphics and music, Spellsword is a fresh new platform game contained within a sword and sorcery kind of environment. Use your single sword to strike down enemies, and launch fireballs along the way. As you proceed through the missions and maps, new spell cards will be introduced along with new enemies. The best thing about Spellsword, at least for more competitive gamers, is that it contains no in-app purchases, and all of the achievements must be earned by the player.