iOS Gaming Preview: 2011 At a Glance

Now, a preview of the year’s biggest and best upcoming games is kinda a tricky thing to do when it comes to iOS. Not because there isn’t an amazing array of new games on their way to iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad in 2011 – rest assured there is – but because most, if not all, of the titles on my list are likely to be eclipsed in the coming months by some breakout indie hit or another, the next big thing(s) courtesy of Crescent Moon, Gameloft, EA et al, and, indeed, whatever technical advances are allowed by the (bound to be) impressive new specs this year’s crop of updated iDevices come packing.

Still, that’s a good complaint I guess!. And even though we’ve barely gotten over the cracker that was Christmas 2010, a fair few titles have already been announced that have me very excited about the year ahead. Highlights include a potential GTA/Gangstar killer, an epic, incredibly ambitious sci-fi RPG, and an intriguing little title that just might turn you into the App Store’s next super-successful indie game dev.

Dead Space (EA Mobile): Due to land on 25th of this month to coincide with the eagerly anticipated arrival of Dead Space 2 on home consoles, the iOS edition is set to fill in the blanks between the events of the original game and its sequel. Early screenshots suggest EA aren’t pulling any punches in the graphics or gore departments, while the lucky few gaming sites that have spent hands-on time with this upcoming shooter are raving that it features “as many elements from the successful console game as possible” (IGN), “looks and plays fantastically” (Joystiq) and shows “signs of substantive gameplay with weapon upgrades and a meaningful story.” (Pocket Gamer)

Army of Darkness (Backflip Studios & MGM Studios): Backflip Studios teased an adaptation of Sam Raimi’s blood-splattered cult schlock-horror flick, Army of Darkness, back in September of last year. Not much is known about the upcoming title other than what Backflip have let slip so far, which is that Army of Darkness will be a hybrid castle/tower defense style game, is set to feature insane weaponry like a boomstick and chainsaw, and, perhaps best of all if you’re an Evil Dead fan, will also include a selection of anti-hero Ash’s endlessly quotable catchphrases from the movie. Groovy.

Car Jack Streets 2 (Tag Games): If, like me, you had given up hope that Tag Game’s mooted to be fully 3D GTA-alike, which was originally slated for a 2010 release, would ever see the light of day, prepare for a pleasant surprise. This week Tag’s Paul Farley revealed: “CJS 2 has been delayed but is far from dead. We have made some significant steps forward with the game…I believe CJS2 is really going to be ground breaking and not in the way you probably think. It’s pointless us competing directly with GTA and Gangstar so we have had to think hard about how we make CJS different to them – competing on graphics and game size/story/narration is pointless so we’ve come up with something much different.” I know, intriguing right?.

Sketch Nation 2: Subtitled “Jump” presumably this follow-up to Engineous Games’ critically acclaimed make-your-own-shmup Sketch Nation Shooter will allow players to create their own variations on a Doodle Jump-esque style game. Well, practically every other budding developer has tried their hand at emulating that particular winning formula, so why not me or you, eh?. Engineous hope that SN2 will “revolutionize the App Store” and have revealed that “this game will allow users to not only create their own games, but also create their own app, sell it on the app store and share the art assets with their friends.” Mark my words – this one will be HUGE!.

D.A.R.K. (Gamelab): Role-playing meets sci-fi meets survival horror meets dual-stick shooting in the forthcoming D.A.R.K. from the makers of Pirate’s Treasure, Gamelabs. Set aboard an enormous and eerily abandoned space craft, The Pathfinder, the game will put the player in the boots of a member of a highly trained special ops unit who have been sent to investigate the mysterious disappearance of the ship’s crew. Cue tactical battles of wits with unique and highly intelligent enemies (and, of course, zombies) as you explore the game’s humongous environments, hunting down a plethora of upgradable weaponry and tons of hidden items.

More upcoming games on iFanzine’s radar: Forgotten Memories, Doodle Gore, Final Fantasy Tactics, Ultra Kid, Jet Car Stunts 2 & Ravensword 2. But enough about me, I’d really love to find out which iOS games you guys are most looking forward to in 2011. P’raps drop your own top 5 list in the comments section below…