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The Top 10 iOS Ports We Want Available on the App Store
As developers are finally starting to notice the untapped potential of the App Store, we’re starting to see more and more well established IP’s appearing on its front page. This is great news for gamers because it means on that rare occasion when a developer gets it right – Hitman Go, Assassins Creed: Pirates and The Walking Dead to name a few – you have a near AAA quality experience right there in the palm of your hand. But what other franchises would we love to see on iOS? We decided to compile a short list of 10 realistic titles that we would love to see ported over to iOS and Android devices. So, without further ado…
10. The Binding of Isaac
Originally released on Steam in September 2011, The Binding of Isaac is a 2D top-down roguelike game which challenges players to fight their way through a series of procedurally generated challenge rooms. The game’s lead designer Edmund McMillen revealed The Binding of Isaac was developed over a period of three months and has since gone on to sell over two million copies.
The Binding of Isaac is essentially just a twin sticks shooter with extreme macabre influences. According to McMillen, the game touches on many aspects of child abuse, including (but not limited to) gender identity, infanticide, neglect, suicide, abortion, and how religion might negatively affect a child; topics many games designers would avoid, but for McMillen they served as inspiration. “I wanted to talk about them, and I wanted to talk about them in the way I was comfortable with, so that’s what I did with Isaac.” The Binding of Isaac is as powerful as it is successful.
9. Age of Empires
Age of Empires is a franchise that is in fact already marching onto iOS and Android devices in the form of Age of Empires: World Domination. According to the game’s developer KLab, “Age of Empires: World Domination is a Free to Play Mobile Game that allows you to deploy advanced tactics in battle with simple [and] intuitive touch gestures.” World Domination is being developed exclusively for mobile platforms and features a “revolutionary new battle system.”
If given the choice I think a lot of fans would prefer to have Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings in their pocket, but World Domination looks very promising and the confirmed summer release can’t be that far off.
8. Yu-Gi-Oh! Worldwide Edition: Stairway to the Destined Duel
Hearthstone or Magic, Hearthstone or Magic, Hearthstone or Magic… How about neither; how about Yu-Gi-Oh! Worldwide Edition: Stairway to the Destined Duel! Originally released for the Game Boy Advance in April 2005, this fifteenth instalment introduced gamers to the new rules as featured in the Battle City story arc from season two of the Anime. The updated card library and streamlined interface make this one of the best translations of the celebrated trading card game that took the world by storm.
Blizzard has already proven there’s enough room for more than one CCG on the App store, and I think the time is right for Konami to step in and unleash the power of Exodia to obliterate the competition.
7. Professor Layton
Would it be considered ungrateful to ask if Professor Layton would be so kind as to grace the App Store with his most dignified presence considering the fact that his son is already featured in a critically acclaimed adventure? Let’s assume not, because for all its virtues (of which there are many) I fear that developer LEVEL-5’s efforts will always be one top hat shy of perfect if they do not include the world-renowned Professor Layton and his self-proclaimed apprentice Luke.
Layton Brothers: Mystery Room is a fantastic addition to Professor Layton’s expanded universe, but it’s no substitute for the real thing. We don’t necessarily need a custom built iOS experience, just give us Professor Layton and the Curious Village and we’ll be happy. For now…
Before outspoken indie developer Phil Fish announced his impromptu retirement from the games industry, an iOS port of the award winning FEZ was reported to be in development. Unfortunately any possibility of mobile gamers ever playing FEZ on the move seemingly died along with the highly anticipated FEZ 2, and it’s a crying shame…
FEZ uses a limited colour palette and a beautiful pixelated art style to elevate itself above the sum of its parts. The game lacks any form of enemies and never punishes the player for failing, Fish himself describes the game as a, “stop and smell the flowers kind of game,” and it’s one of the few games that perfectly embodies the term indie.
5. DJ Hero
DJ Hero may have only just managed to secure niche commercial success on consoles, but can you imagine two fully functional turntables slowly spinning your favourite tracks right there on the screen of your phone? It could even pull songs from player’s own music libraries for the track list. I can see it now; intense head-to-head DJ battles that force players to face off and compete for the beat, Swedish House Mafia style supergroups where multiple DJ’s join up to bring the house down, and insane freestyle sessions where players can experiment with new tunes and remixes.
DJ Hero iOS Edition, coming never to an App Store near you!
4. Castlevania Symphony of the Night
Originally released in 1997, Symphony of the Night is still regarded as one of the finest entries in the Castlevania franchise. Symphony of the Night introduced a brand new style of open-ended gameplay that successfully combined subtle role-playing elements with the series’ long established action adventure roots.
Since its original release Symphony of the Night has been re-released on many occasions, and in 2010 Konami actually released a Puzzle Quest-inspired remake of Symphony of the Night dubbed Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night for iOS devices. Encore of the Night was highly praised for its compelling gameplay and authentic art style, but no matter how good it may be, it cannot play substitute for the real Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
3. Papers, Please
Indie sensation Papers, Please combines the simplicity of pixel art with the complexity of managing a border control checkpoint in the fictitious country of Arstotzka. The gameplay consists of carefully inspecting the various travel documents of each new arrival for the purpose of keeping terrorists, smugglers and wanted criminals out of the country. Over time the game presents you with a selection of clear moral dilemmas that you must somehow overcome if you wish to continue to provide for your struggling family.
Papers, Please lead developer Lucas Pope has expressed a desire to port his immigration simulator onto iOS devices, but according to a recent conversation with Pocket Gamer, Pope is apparently concerned about getting iOS App Store Approval. Ironic…
2. Mario Kart DS
Mario Kart DS being ported onto iOS would be like a dream come true. The refined Mario Kart experience coupled with the impressive but potentially manageable visuals made this a real contender for the number one spot. But, as the realisation of how little I would achieve if I had Mario Kart on my iPad began to sink in, it was relegated to the number two position. Offering endless hours of competitive fun, Mario Kart is one of the few games that really defined the phrase ‘winner stays on’.
Perfectly timed banana skins, skilfully aimed green shells, expert knowledge of the course; these are the three necessary requirements of a Mario Kart champion. See you on the course.
Including the two latest releases, X and Y, the Pokémon franchise now includes more than 24 core titles. It’s the second best selling video game franchise of all time and, no matter how hard we may pray, we will never see a licensed Pokémon game on iOS devices. Why? Because Nintendo will never develop games for a device that directly competes with its own hardware. Not until they’re on the verge of bankruptcy (and even then I wouldn’t bet on it!).
Pokémon Rainbow Edition can sadly never be, but we can dream. We can dream of a game that relies on social integration to build dynamic worlds populated with real trainers each on their own unique journey across one of the many diverse Pokémon regions. We can dream of intense dungeon-like raids where players band together to fight powerful legendary Pokémon. We can dream of finally having proof that we did in fact Catch ’em all! We can dream…
Thanks for reading and be sure to leave us a comment letting us know what your top 10 list would look like. We’d love to hear from you!