Pocket Tactics Best of 2013 Awards

We’re keeping track here of all the games and developers we’ve recognized as the best (and worst) of the year during Pocket Tactics Awards Fortnight. Here’s last year’s awards, if you’re curious.

Award Winner Runner-up
Disappointment of the Year Plants vs Zombies 2 Star Command
Word/Puzzle Game of the Year Paint it Back Device 6
Sports Game of the Year Football Manager Handheld 2014 Pro Strategy Football 2013
Action Game of the Year Tilt to Live 2: Redonkulous Ridiculous Fishing
RPG of the Year Warhammer Quest Shadowrun Returns
Adventure Game of the Year Year Walk Gemini Rue
Interactive Fiction Game of the Year Sorcery! Part 2 The Fleet
Multiplayer Game of the Year Drive on Moscow Frozen Synapse
Board/Card Game of the Year Agricola Pandemic: The Board Game
Strategy Game of the Year XCOM: Enemy Unknown Ace Patrol: Pacific Skies
Creator of the Year Firaxis Simogo
Readers’ Choice Game of the Year Eclipse Warhammer Quest
Editors’ Choice Game of the Year XCOM: Enemy Unknown Agricola

 

Disappointment of the Year

Winner: Plants vs Zombies 2, free

“[S]imply being a cynical, limp follow-up to a popular favourite isn’t enough to merit consideration for Disappointment of the Year. PvZ 2 is here because of what it says about big publishers’ attitudes towards mobile gaming.”

Read the whole award entry.

 

Runner-up: Star Command, $2.99

“So Star Command was a let-down, but it was an important let-down. It taught us a lesson that we were bound to learn sooner or later: if you fund somebody who’s never made a game, don’t be surprised when what you get back is somebody’s first game.”

Read the whole award entry.

 

Word/Puzzle Game of the Year

Winner: Paint it Back, free

“You can take a simple idea and make it shovelware, or you can make it something amazing — and that’s what Edward Brown did with Paint it Back.”

Read the whole award entry.

 

Runner-up: Device 6, $3.99

“The memory of it has a tenacious grip on my mind, like an interesting film or a challenging book. That’s not something a lot of games do, whatever category they fit into.”

Read the whole award entry.

 

Sports Game of the Year

Winner: Football Manager Handheld 2014, $9.99

“Football Manager Handheld 2014 is possibly the most dangerous time sink on mobile. Entire plane trips and delayed commutes and boring conference calls fall helplessly into its maw.”

Read the whole award entry.

 

Runner-up: Pro Strategy Football 2013, $4.99

“I’d never thought about it like that but he was absolutely right: American football is a wargame.”

Read the whole award entry.

 

Action Game of the Year

Winner: Tilt to Live 2, $2.99

“Tilt to Live 2 is a frantic just-one-more-go game that rewards clever thinking as much as it does deft reflexes, and it manages to evolve the original formula with new bosses and dot-killing power-ups while staying true to its formula and never taking itself too seriously. Or remotely seriously.”

Read the whole award entry.

 

Runner-up: Ridiculous Fishing, $2.99

“I suspect Ridiculous Fishing already has a place in that unnamed Hall of Fame — the games that you never delete off your phone.”

Read the whole award entry.

 

RPG of the Year

Winner: Warhammer Quest, $4.99

“For some there’s not enough meat on the skeletal story, and conceit of flipping your device’s orientation to access the inventory is one of the most divisive UI features I’ve ever seen in a game. But there can be no arguing the game’s extraordinary craftsmanship.”

Read the whole award entry.

 

Runner-up: Shadowrun Returns, $9.99

“Developers Harebrained Schemes knew well that FASA’s Shadowrun sci-fi/fantasy universe was their greatest asset, and they built this year’s RPG of the Year Runner-up to take full advantage of it.”

Read the whole award entry.

 

Adventure Game of the Year

Winner: Year Walk, $3.99

“The world of Year Walk is a magical, dangerous place — but not a place beyond your understanding.”

Read the whole award entry.

 

Runner-up: Gemini Rue, $4.99

“You’ve probably done the noir-plot-in-a-cyberpunk-setting thing before, but you’d have to invoke Ridley Scott to trump Josh Nuernberger’s masterful tale.”

Read the whole award entry.

 

Interactive Fiction Game of the Year

Winner: Sorcery!, $4.99

“Our Interactive Fiction Game of the Year for 2013 is to digital gamebooks what the monolith was to the apes at the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Read the whole award entry.

 

Runner-up: The Fleet, $2.99

“The Fleet nods so hard to source material like Battlestar Galactica that it practically breaks its own neck, offers the reader exactly one picture in its entire length, and features the occasional bad science head-scratcher — but I was happy to forgive all those foibles.”

Read the whole award entry.

 

Multiplayer Game of the Year

Winner: Drive on Moscow, $9.99

“Though I didn’t agree, some critics of Battle of the Bulge felt that that game’s scale was so intimate as to feel like a brainteaser more than a wargame. Nobody can lay that criticism upon its direct sequel Drive on Moscow, whose enormous map and scattered objectives make it a dynamic rolling brawl that never plays the same way twice.”

Read the whole award entry.

 

Runner-up: Frozen Synapse, $2.99

“It is a romantic ideal of a multiplayer strategy game, paring back presentation and effects and complexity until you’re left with a squad tactics game so simple that it’s two or three notches away from chess.”

Read the whole award entry.

 

Board/Card Game of the Year

Winner: Agricola, $6.99

“Agricola for iOS did everything a great boardgame conversion should: changed the presentation to match the device and preserved the same gameplay as the cardboard version. What pushed it over the top was how beautiful the game was, and the fact that the underlying game is a masterpiece.”

Read the whole award entry.

 

Runner-up: Pandemic: The Board Game, $6.99

“The game is about cooperating with your friends to stop outbreaks of infectious disease, and the iOS version really manages to feel cinematic and engrossing, and the app has a clean, responsive interface that’s better than offerings from devs with much more experience.”

Read the whole award entry.

 

Strategy Game of the Year

Winner: XCOM: Enemy Unknown, $19.99

“XCOM takes the turn-based strategy game and makes it into a Hollywood blockbuster, with every order liable to trigger a dolly tracking shot of your action hero squaddies.”

Read the whole award entry.

 

Runner-up: Ace Patrol Pacific Skies, $4.99

“Ace Patrol is a Sid Meier design from the skin to the frame. It’s a game that gives you a few simple systems to learn and lets complexity emerge from their interaction. Every decision you make (Half loop or bank right? Hide in the clouds or try to outrun my pursuers?) is an interesting one.”

Read the whole award entry.

 

Creator of the Year

Winner: Firaxis

“Our Creator of the Year for 2013 broke away from its peers in a big way this year.”

Read the whole award entry.

Runner-up: Simogo

“If making highly polished casual games is the “safe” way to make money on the App Store, then Simogo rolled out of cover very ostentatiously this year, shooting off fireworks and replacing their helmet with a sombrero.”

Read the whole award entry.

 

Readers’ Choice Game of the Year

Winner: Eclipse, $6.99

“In his review of Eclipse from April, Kelsey called it ‘an excellent game implemented well, deserving of the time of nearly every iPad strategy gamer.'”

Read the whole award entry.

 

Runner-up: Warhammer Quest, $4.99

 

Editor’s Choice Game of the Year

Winner: XCOM: Enemy Unknown, $19.99

“XCOM has had to wear a lot of hats: redeemer of turn-based strategy, flag bearer for premium mobile games, evangelist for sadistic difficulty levels. But hey, they all look good. It’s a worthy successor to a true classic and hopefully a sign of the shape of things to come — not just more ports to iOS, but bigger, more sophisticated games on mobile.”

Read the whole award entry.

 

Runner-up: Agricola, $6.99

“Agricola isn’t just a perfectly-executed translation of a complicated game, it’s also the most remarkable marriage of board game and video game that we’ve ever seen.”

Read the whole award entry.