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Top Ten Games Missing from iOS (2012 Edition)

Sunday, May 20th, 2012 by

Last year, I made a list of the top ten games I felt were missing from iOS. Then, a funny thing happened. The number 1 and number 6 games were ported to iOS in Scribblenauts: Remix and Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, respectively.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the new top ten games missing from iOS. Here’s hoping I have to make this list again in 2013 for the same reasons.

#10: Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
Last year’s position: Not ranked

Interesting sidenote: The GBA and iPhone have the same aspect ratio.

My partners will lambaste me for this, but I actually prefer Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and Final Fantasy Tactics A-2 to the original game. I like tactical RPGs, but they also tend to ask for an awful lot out of the players. You can make things as complex and deep as you want but simplicity sells, not depth. This is why you get billions out of Michael Bay movies while Wes Anderson can hardly find an audience.

Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions was released in the App Store and, even after numerous delays, was an utter mess. Even now, after a handful of updates, the game struggles to be BARELY playable. Square Enix should cut their losses and try to squeeze a little more blood out of this franchise’s stone.

Regardless of how crowded the App Store is, there are few noteworthy tactical RPGs. Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, kiddie though it may seem, has just enough depth and appeal while asking less of the processor (seriously, Square Enix, slowdown is no longer a tolerable game quirk) to make a splash in the App Store.

#9: Maniac Mansion
Last year’s position: #8

Maniac Mansion's tv show was way better than the game, though.

The point-and-click adventure genre has made a lot of progress over the past year. Telltale Games has pushed loads of adventure games into the App Store, what with Tales of Monkey Island, Sam & Max, Puzzle Agent, and Hector for all systems and Back to the Future, Law & Order: Legacies, and Jurassic Park on iPad, making Maniac Mansion far less necessary than it was a year ago.

So, to make it stand out, let’s make it a Maniac Mansion/Day of the Tentacle App Package. If Capcom can make Phoenix Wright 123 HD, LucasArts can put out this package.

#8: Trauma Center
Last year’s position: #10

I'm thinking NDS interface with Wii graphics. What do you think, Atlus?

As I mentioned last year, Adult Swim Games has already taken Trauma Center’s formula and made the Amateur Surgeon games. Trauma Center has had numerous sequels since the first game launched with the Nintendo DS, but I’m all for having Dr. Derek Stiles in my pocket with more-precise, multiple-input gameplay.

The series could also include other common iOS features, such as pinch-to-zoom, that would feel more intuitive than they did on the Nintendo DS and Nintendo Wii games. Plus, as much as I liked Trauma Team on Wii, there’s no substitute for actually touching a screen when making scalpel incisions, injecting them full of painkillers, or closing a patient up.

#7: Meteos
Last year’s position: #7

It may not look like much, but Meteos made me believe in the Nintendo DS.

Meteos was one of the few early Nintendo DS games that seemed to truly understand the touch controls of the system. Meteos Wars proved that the game just wasn’t the same without the touch input.

Meteos appears to be your standard match-3, but it comes with the gimmick of blocks launching, gravity, and planetary rules that made things more interesting.Yes, I’m aware the App Store is flooded with match-3′s, from multiple versions of Bejeweled and Puzzle Quest to indie gems like Dungeon Raid, but there’s really no reason not to add another high-quality one to the mix.

Mind you, iPad owners can already pick up a Meteos-clone in Mini Meteors. However, it’s hard to suggest that when the original developer is out there just leaving cash on the table.

#6: Harvest Moon
Last year’s position: #3

Harvest Moon 64 may be my favorite. If you do this, boost the textures, though.

I love Harvest Moon. The strange breed of time and resource management with a farming and dating simulator has always found a way to hook me. So, why did it drop when it by all means should have risen with Scribblenauts out of the way?

Three words: Adventure Bar Story.

While the games are very different, many of the elements that I love about Harvest Moon carried over to Adventure Bar Story. It isn’t nearly as deep, aside from the 436 total recipes that can be made, and features traditional RPG mechanics, but Adventure Bar Story’s daily structure feels remarkably similar.

Still, there’s no getting around the fact that other games are taking the farming and time management formula and finding success. Rather than use real-time, though, I want a game that feels like a game, NOT a chore like all the social games out there. Please, Natsume, make it happen this year. I don’t want Puzzle de Harvest Moon to be the closest we get to your little slice of gaming heaven.

Bonus points if it’s a high-resolution port of Harvest Moon 64.

#5: Elite Beat Agents / Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan
Last year’s position: #2

Imagine, if you will, Elite Beat Agents with GOOD MUSIC. None of that Sk8r Boi crap.

As much as I love the silly, super-Japanese fun found in the Ouendan games (and to a lesser extent, Elite Beat Agents), Taito’s Groovecoaster has kind of scratched my tap and drag rhythm itch. I’d still welcome the kooky stories and happy J-Pop music, but it just doesn’t feel as urgent as it was before. However, and this is food for thought iNis, think about how easy it would be to move this over to iPhone.

Now, take this a step further with in-app purchases, licensed music by their original artists, and the same funny little stories that have so little to do with the music that you wonder why they’re there at all. This is, perhaps, the least appreciated and severely overlooked rhythm game out there.

Think about all that money you got from DLC in Lips. Then tell me why we can’t make this game, or one very similar to it, happen.

#4: Final Fantasy IV
Last year’s position: #8

Girl... you'll be a woman... soon. By the way, Edge? PEDOPHILE!

Over the last year, I’ve really come to appreciate Final Fantasy IV more than any other Final Fantasy game. This was the first modern Final Fantasy game, where it became less about leveling up and more about advancing the story. It’s still not my favorite game in the series, but it’s definitely my favorite story in the series.

As I stated last year, with the number of DS and PSP ports that have made their way to the App Store over the past couple of years, there’s no reason a game that’s on both systems can’t find its way to iOS. You can keep “The After Years”, though.

The downside is that Square Enix is bringing Final Fantasy Legends, a game that appears to be a mix of Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy V, to iOS later this year. They may not want to bring one of the best in the series to iPhone for fear it would cannibalize sales.

#3: Bookworm Adventures / Bookworm Adventures 2
Last year’s position: #5

Too bad there isn't a hyphen. You could totally spell "Giant-Nerd."

A lot of word games have come and gone over the past year. For a majority of iOS users, it begins with Words with Friends and ends with Spell Tower, but there are tons of really solid word games in-between.

What they don’t have, though, one of the few games in PopCap’s library to receive a direct sequel. What they don’t have is battles against mythic monsters with ridiculous descriptions. What they don’t have is the mash-up masterpiece where sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can freaking kill you.

#2: Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes
Last year’s position: Not Ranked

The HD assets already exist. Quit dicking around and make it happen, Capy!

Now, we have the most glaring omission from my list last year. How nobody called me on this is beyond me. The game would be perfectly at home on iOS, what with its minimal input requirements, and the pace of battles would fit within your standard five-minute windows that fill in gaps. If there were GameCenter and Wi-Fi battles, there’d be no stopping this juggernaut. Right through your wall for 5 to the dome, that’s all I’m saying.

Raise your hand if you played Sword & Sworcery EP. The game received loads of critical love, regardless of how relatively short the adventure is, and made Capy into one of the most recognizable indie developers out there. Here we have another critical darling that just isn’t quite as well known as it should be. Part of the fault, one might assume, is the Might & Magic tie-in.

What was a great pick-up-and-play title on Nintendo DS would surely make an even better title with higher graphical and audio capabilities. The XBLA and PSN ports should make this a pretty easy game to translate to retina display devices. As great as it would be on my iPhone, this is the kind of game that would feel terrific on an iPad.

#1: Theatrhythm
Last year’s position: Not Ranked

Rhythm and RPG: Two great tastes that taste great together?

If you listened to our second podcast, you may have heard me mention just how badly I wanted Theatrhythm.

Yes, this game isn’t even out yet. I can’t even promise that it will be any good, regardless of the 36/40 score it was given by Famitsu. There are few games coming from Square Enix that I actually care about. Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Kingdom Hearts have all grown stale for me in the way that the Seiken Densetsu and SaGa games have before them.

When they get out of their comfort zone, though, I take note. Theatrhythm has a lot of elements that click with me. RPG? Check. Epic Music? Check. Rhythm gaming? Check. Hell, if any of these songs are the Black Mages covers, I’m so in that it might just sell me a 3DS and what will surely be another online failure in the Nintendo Network.

Yes the graphics look horrible for the most part. But, I dare you rhythm enthusiasts out there who have any sort of love for Final Fantasy to check out this video of One-Winged Angel being played in Hard Mode and then tell me that you don’t want a piece of that.

Square Enix, let’s make this happen. Port it and take my money, already!

About the Author

Fade to Slack is a founding member of Delta Attack, an American expatriate in South Korea, and a true believer in the legitimacy of mobile gaming. Keep up with him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Fade2Slack so he can justify having a Twitter account.

Fade to Slack has written 347 posts on Delta Attack
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  • Markham Asylum

    Theatrhythm: I generally consider myself done with rhythm gaming, but I may have to make an exception for this. I sure as hell won’t be playing on Hard, though.

    Do you think those characters are Cloud, Squall, Lightning, and Terra?

    • Fade to Slack

      Lightning! I was trying to figure out who that one was.

      As for the others, yeah… definitely Cloud, Squall, and Terra. I wish they would’ve kept her hair green, but it’s more in line with Amano’s art, now.

  • Mark A. Brooks

    I would totally buy Clash of Heroes again on this platform, especially if the online component was integrated solidly. Fantastic game, that one.

    • Fade to Slack

      If I hadn’t already played the hell out of it already on Nintendo DS, I would’ve left it as my number one.

      I’d buy all of these again, though I’d wait for the price of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance to drop before getting it. Damn Japanese premium…