Mobile games are every bit as relevant, as important and frequently as good as traditional PC or home console games... so don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Oh, and don't you dare tell anyone that they're not "real games." For shame. The rise of iOS and Android has allowed countless Independent developers and triple-A colossi to compete on a level playing field; giving rise to an entirely new ecosystem of gaming excellence.
As resident critic for Mobot.net, I've been inundated with fantastic mobile and tablet titles over the last twelve months. Choosing a shortlist has been an absolute nightmare, so I'd invite you to get involved and tell us all what you've been playing this year!
10: Allied Star Police
Ten year-old Owain Weinert was diagnosed with Leukemia last year, but thanks to the Make A Wish Foundation, he was able to realise his dream of creating a videogame with casual giants PopCap. Impressively, Owain showed incredible natural talent in game design and development - taking the helm of what turned out to be an polished and addictive action/strategy game that would have been worth paying good money for.
A class act from all involved, and proof that videogames can and should be a force for good.
SQUIDS feels like a quality DS title crunched down onto a handset and slapped with an unbelievably low price tag. It blends RPG mechanics with billiards; giving you control over a team of arthropods that you'll fling into enemies and manoeuvre around the maps with all the skills of a pool hall shark. Eyepopping graphical prowess, massive replayability and adorable art design make this a force to be reckoned with.
8: Real Racing 2 HD
Fully-featured racers don't come more fully-featured than this. Crisp graphics (on the iPad 2), thirty cars, authentic handling and the unfettered joy of raw speed sets Real Racing 2 HD above practically any other racing game on mobile devices, and what's more, also elevate it clear of most handheld titles too. If someone ever tells you that mobile games aren't designed for "real gamers," point them in this direction. Then punch them in their filthy mouth.
7: Galaxy On Fire 2 HD
Galaxy On Fire 2 brought an Elite-style space sim onto iOS last year, and its new HD version is stunning in any sense of the phrase. It looks brilliant, plays beautifully and offers an entire galaxy of exploration, intrigue and combat for wannabe starship captains. If you're itching to head out into the wild black yonder in an age when the space sim has all but died out, Galaxy On Fire 2 HD should be your first port of call.
6: Tiny Wings
Tiny Wings is arguably a serene and sumptuous art project first and a game close second... though that doesn't make it any less addictive. Piloting the adorable bird through gorgeous procedurally-generated landscapes was an absolute joy, and it's nearly the most fun you can have with a single finger. Keep it clean.
5: Jetpack Joyride
But here's the best use for your lone digit. Jetpack Joyride absolutely nails the thrill of barrelling down obstacle-strewn corridors with a gun turret strapped to your back, and manages to cater to practically anyone. Fancy continually challenging the world to high score distance runs? Grinding for gold to spend on a massive selection of new jetpacks, clothes and upgrades? Taking part in constantly-changing challenges that make you think outside the box? Jetpack Joyride has you covered, and hard.
4: Dead Space For iPad
When it comes to offering a full-fat home console experience on a tablet, Dead Space currently holds the crown. I actually prefer it to Dead Space 2 since the experience is creepier, beautifully paced and relies on pure atmospheric horror rather than constant action. Plus, the protagonist actually manages to be interesting. Mechanically sublime and audibly terrifying, the Dead Space app absolutely deserves your rapt attention.
3: Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP
#Sworcery is a point and click adventure game for the Twitter age mixed with a mind-expanding mushroom trip. In fact, it is a mind-expanding trip without the need for expensive Amsterdam sojourns or illegal substances - and to explain exactly why it's so brilliant would completely ruin the experience. Capybara's thought-provoking, retro-tastic, innovative gem is both inexplicably wonderful and wonderfully inexplicable.
2: Infinity Blade II
After sorting out the horrific launch bugs, Chair finally managed to imbue their seminal Unreal-powered slaughterfest with a huge amount of extra content, depth and replayability. Infinity Blade II feels like a classic arcade game brought to life. Countless hours of addictive gameplay and innumerable deaths await the brave adventurers who dare to free the Worker Of Secrets (and have space for its whopping download size on their iThings).
1: Extraction: Project Outbreak
I've said it before and I'll say it again: mobile games don't have to clone their console counterparts in order to be truly great. Smartphones and tablets have the potential to offer revolutionary new gaming experiences if developers are willing to embrace the hardware's strengths rather than mitigating its limitations, and Shortround Games did exactly that. Extraction: Project Outbreak was designed from the ground up to be a perfect mobile game; a throwback to classic strategy games like Cannon Fodder and Syndicate, but possessing the split-second adrenaline hit offered by twitch shooters. Its responsive touch controls and dozens of upgrades could have commanded a premium price tag... and that's even without the exquisite Unity visuals.
Cooperative multiplayer and new features are headed to Extraction in a major update, and prove that the future is bright for any studio who see touchscreens as an opportunity, not a drawback. A worthy winner for an exceptional year.