Top iOS Games & Impressions for December

If you are traveling for the holidays, or even if you are not, you might want to pick up some of December's best and biggest iOS games. 
 

iPhone / iPod Touch

   

Real Racing 2

 $9.99 
All iPhone and iPod Touch models
Real Racing 2, the sequel to Real Racing, is an evolutionary step for the franchise and remains to be the best racing experience on the iPhone. The all-new career mode has you earning cash and reputation by completing races. Using the money that you have earned, you can purchase cars from the library of 30 licensed vehicles, including cars from BMW, Ford, Jaguar, Nissan, Volkswagen, and more. There are some limited options to upgrade your car, such as improving the handling, acceleration, and top speed by a few increments. It won't compare to Gran Turismo or Forza, but is incredibly robust for an iPhone game.  
 
The largest addition, however, is the 16-player online multiplayer. It works pretty well for the most part, but I haven't been able to get into any 16-player matches, mostly racing against 7-8 other people. The one gripe I have is that you can take your car from the career mode and race it online. This is cool for people who can invest the time to unlock the best cars, but for people like who is still sporting the VW GTI, we are at a distinct disadvantage.  
 
The game looks great, the cars are very well modeled (cockpit view for all cars, btw), and the environments feel real. The $10 price tag might be a bit much for people, but if you are looking for a solid racing experience on the iPhone, look no further. 
 

N.O.V.A. 2 - Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance

 $6.99  
iPhone and iPod Touch
Oh Gameloft, I don't know if I should be upset at your total lack of creativity, or if I should be happy that you are bringing these uninspired, yet pretty decent, iPhone games to the app store. For NOVA 2, I'll choose to tolerate your business practices. 
  
NOVA 2, for those of you who might not have guessed this by now, is essentially Halo for iPhone. You  shoot aliens with assault rifles, shotguns, pistols, sniper rifles and rocket launchers. You will sometimes drive vehicles and shoot aliens. The campaign is interesting and varied enough to not be a total bore-fest, and is genuinely exciting in some parts. The voice acting is still quite terrible, but I believe that is a staple for all Gameloft releases. 
  
 The controls work pretty well for all of the actions they try to get on screen.

NOVA 2 also has 10-player online multiplayer, and allows you to gain exp to rank up and unlock different guns and perks. The multiplayer experience is excellent, and despite some spawning and balance issues, is a blast to play. There is a version for iPad, too, I believe. 
 
Gameloft has also released Dungeon Hunter 2, a Diablo-esque game that has loot and 4-player online co-op. Additionally, if you are looking for some Uncharted on your iPhone, check out Shadow Guardian. 
  

Infinity Blade

 $5.99 
Infinity Blade could coast on the fact that it is the best looking iPhone game ever to be released, but it actually has some pretty compelling gameplay. The game is not an expansive open-world RPG, rather, it is a fairly linear, on-rails Punch-Out with swords. You fight different warriors by slashing (swiping), dodging (tapping on the left or right sides of the screen), parrying (swiping in the opposite direction of an attack), or blocking (tapping/holding the block button). It all works pretty well, and is satisfying enough to not get old after five hours of doing the same thing over and over again.  
 
The game is highly repetitive; you actually retrace your steps multiple times over the course of the game. Thankfully, there is a plethora of loot to obtain, from swords, shields, and rings, to helmets, and different armor sets. Infinity Blade was initially announced to have a multiplayer-dueling system, but did not release with that feature, and as of today (Dec 18th) has not been updated. 
 
Overall, a pretty fun experience that should keep you entertained for 5-6 hours. 
 

Other notable releases:

 
Aralon: Sword and Shadow HD 
$6.99 iPhone/iPad 
An ambitious open-world RPG. 
 
World of Goo for iPad 
$9.99 iPad only 
 
Dungeon Defenders: First Wave 
$2.99 
This has 4-player Game Center multiplayer, and is a combination of tower defense and action RPG. 
 
EA is also having a GIGANTIC sale, with ALL of their titles priced at 99 cents! (Go get Mirror's Edge for iPhone/iPad if you haven't picked it up yet!) 
 
www.twitter.com/Jayrossss
2 Comments
3 Comments
Posted by Jayross

If you are traveling for the holidays, or even if you are not, you might want to pick up some of December's best and biggest iOS games. 
 

iPhone / iPod Touch

   

Real Racing 2

 $9.99 
All iPhone and iPod Touch models
Real Racing 2, the sequel to Real Racing, is an evolutionary step for the franchise and remains to be the best racing experience on the iPhone. The all-new career mode has you earning cash and reputation by completing races. Using the money that you have earned, you can purchase cars from the library of 30 licensed vehicles, including cars from BMW, Ford, Jaguar, Nissan, Volkswagen, and more. There are some limited options to upgrade your car, such as improving the handling, acceleration, and top speed by a few increments. It won't compare to Gran Turismo or Forza, but is incredibly robust for an iPhone game.  
 
The largest addition, however, is the 16-player online multiplayer. It works pretty well for the most part, but I haven't been able to get into any 16-player matches, mostly racing against 7-8 other people. The one gripe I have is that you can take your car from the career mode and race it online. This is cool for people who can invest the time to unlock the best cars, but for people like who is still sporting the VW GTI, we are at a distinct disadvantage.  
 
The game looks great, the cars are very well modeled (cockpit view for all cars, btw), and the environments feel real. The $10 price tag might be a bit much for people, but if you are looking for a solid racing experience on the iPhone, look no further. 
 

N.O.V.A. 2 - Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance

 $6.99  
iPhone and iPod Touch
Oh Gameloft, I don't know if I should be upset at your total lack of creativity, or if I should be happy that you are bringing these uninspired, yet pretty decent, iPhone games to the app store. For NOVA 2, I'll choose to tolerate your business practices. 
  
NOVA 2, for those of you who might not have guessed this by now, is essentially Halo for iPhone. You  shoot aliens with assault rifles, shotguns, pistols, sniper rifles and rocket launchers. You will sometimes drive vehicles and shoot aliens. The campaign is interesting and varied enough to not be a total bore-fest, and is genuinely exciting in some parts. The voice acting is still quite terrible, but I believe that is a staple for all Gameloft releases. 
  
 The controls work pretty well for all of the actions they try to get on screen.

NOVA 2 also has 10-player online multiplayer, and allows you to gain exp to rank up and unlock different guns and perks. The multiplayer experience is excellent, and despite some spawning and balance issues, is a blast to play. There is a version for iPad, too, I believe. 
 
Gameloft has also released Dungeon Hunter 2, a Diablo-esque game that has loot and 4-player online co-op. Additionally, if you are looking for some Uncharted on your iPhone, check out Shadow Guardian. 
  

Infinity Blade

 $5.99 
Infinity Blade could coast on the fact that it is the best looking iPhone game ever to be released, but it actually has some pretty compelling gameplay. The game is not an expansive open-world RPG, rather, it is a fairly linear, on-rails Punch-Out with swords. You fight different warriors by slashing (swiping), dodging (tapping on the left or right sides of the screen), parrying (swiping in the opposite direction of an attack), or blocking (tapping/holding the block button). It all works pretty well, and is satisfying enough to not get old after five hours of doing the same thing over and over again.  
 
The game is highly repetitive; you actually retrace your steps multiple times over the course of the game. Thankfully, there is a plethora of loot to obtain, from swords, shields, and rings, to helmets, and different armor sets. Infinity Blade was initially announced to have a multiplayer-dueling system, but did not release with that feature, and as of today (Dec 18th) has not been updated. 
 
Overall, a pretty fun experience that should keep you entertained for 5-6 hours. 
 

Other notable releases:

 
Aralon: Sword and Shadow HD 
$6.99 iPhone/iPad 
An ambitious open-world RPG. 
 
World of Goo for iPad 
$9.99 iPad only 
 
Dungeon Defenders: First Wave 
$2.99 
This has 4-player Game Center multiplayer, and is a combination of tower defense and action RPG. 
 
EA is also having a GIGANTIC sale, with ALL of their titles priced at 99 cents! (Go get Mirror's Edge for iPhone/iPad if you haven't picked it up yet!) 
 
www.twitter.com/Jayrossss
Posted by Nettacki

You have a very good list here. I managed to pick up Mirror's Edge and a couple of other games on the list, but I'm especially enjoying Infinity Blade.

Posted by Jayross
@Nettacki Yeah, Infinity Blade is great! I just wish there was a bit more exploration.