2011 was another great year for iPhone-owning casual game junkies, and it was just as good a year for those who flocked to iDevices hoping for pocket-sized PlayStations. However you game on iOS it’s impossible to deny that studios large and small are seriously upping the ante, so we thought it prudent to highlight the range of developer accomplishments that most impressed us during the year. Developers have bestowed so many achievements on players, isn’t it about time the devs get their own?
Probably the most important lesson we’ve learned about iOS gaming this year is that developers are just getting started when their titles hit the App Store. Waiting in the pipeline is more content that deepens the player’s experience and keeps fans coming back for more (and more, and more…) over time. Of the developers we covered in 2011, Liv Games unquestionably leads the pack in this regard for their continuing work on Legendary Wars! Seriously, this game has had over ten updates since it released last February, introducing oodles of new character classes, enemies and game modes. We just didn’t get this sort of thing during the heyday of console gaming.
Following swift on Liv Games’ heels for the most impressive and transformative updates in our humble opinion were the Edis Bros. & co., who brought iOS gamers quite a Diversion last summer. The game has received updates that range from the expected new worlds to the previously unimaginable. Bosses and lasers, in a running game? For real? Not to mention, Diversion has just been updated with ten new levels to commemorate the winter holidays, and that was after a Halloween celebration with unlockable monster characters.
If the studios mentioned above are master marathon runners, the devs who earned this distinction are great sprinters. You know what they say about the best laid plans, and devs who run into the unexpected can either leave a problem hanging or push themselves to the next level and address player concerns immediately. Shortly after SpyCorp released to some quibbling on our part, we were blown away by how many transformative changes the developer made over the following month: all-new minimaps, improved controls, complete removal of IAPs, the works! Wicked Games has set a standard that few devs can measure up to — if they want any sleep in the weeks following release, that is.
We originally noted a rather lackluster translation in our review of Galactic Phantasy (the game previously known as Galaxy Pirate Adventure). Not only did the developers complete a major script overhaul within a week of release, but they actually sent us a before-and-after comparison of the screenplays for our perusal! Script quality often gets the shaft in games that pass a language barrier, especially in the still-maturing field of mobile titles, so this was a real treat to see.
When Danger Alliance: Battles released with surprise stability issues on the iPod Touch 4, TOME Studios immediately went into emergency care mode and had it resolved within a week. Where the story gets impressive is the fact that the devs spent the first few days of that week fixing up a separate bug, making for back-to-back rush updates in record time. TOME have made it clear that they’re just getting started with Danger Alliance, so we’re looking forward to seeing how this TBS evolves in 2012.