Imagination’s List-o-mania: Best mobile games of 2012

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As Imagination’s PowerVR Series5XT GPUs can now offer console quality graphics for mobile devices, 2012 has seen a proliferation of high-quality mobile games with impressive graphics and effects. Our PowerVR Insider programme provides all the support required for game developers, including a regularly updated PowerVR Graphics SDK and a newly relaunched forum where our DevTech team is actively engaging with over 35,000 developers. Their applications make our graphics technology shine, so we are keen to help them as much as possible to succeed. Although hundreds of new titles are released to iOS or Android weekly, we’ve tried to pick some of the best mobile games of 2012.

Imagination's List-o-mania: best mobile graphics of 2012

Lili by BitMonster, Inc.

Imagination's best mobile games of 2012: Lili

Lili is an adventure RPG hybrid with stunning visuals, silky-smooth graphics and a cinematic storyline that uses Epic Games’ Unreal mobile game engine. Tuned for new devices and optimized to run on our PowerVR graphics, Lili is one of the most visually-stunning games available right now. The storyline sees Lili exploring the mysterious island of Geos and meeting a number of hilarious locals, solving some puzzles, and even challenging an oppressive regime or two along her way. Lili uses an amusing “non-combat” system for dealing with enemies, and sorts out a few personal issues along the way.

Infinity Blade 2 by Chair Entertainment Group, LLC

Imagination's best mobile games of 2012: Infinity blade

Infinity Blade 2 offer a robust & dynamic 3D world, where you can explore beautiful and immersive environments that dynamically change over time during your travels and venture to exotic locations such as the Asian themed Saydhi’s Estate or the medieval inspired Vault of Tears featuring multiple paths to explore. Winner of more than 20 ‘Game of the Year’ & ‘Editor’s Choice’ awards, Infinity Blade 2 is based on Epic Games’ Unreal mobile game engine which has been optimized for Imagination’s PowerVR graphics.

Real Racing 2 HD by Firemint Pty Ltd

Imagination's best mobile games of 2012: Real Racing 2 HD

Real Racing 2 HD provides one of the best racing experiences for mobile games. Optimized specifically for multicore PowerVR SGX Series5XT graphics, Real Racing 2 HD is a heart-pounding, visually astounding 3D racer that puts the steering wheel directly in your hands. The expansive, 10-plus hour career mode and extensive, one-of-a-kind multiplayer means the fight for first place is never over. We’re really looking forward to Real Racing 3 HD, soon to come out.

Wild Blood by Gameloft

Imagination's best mobile games of 2012: Wild blood

Gameloft has harnessed the power of the revolutionary Unreal Engine to bring unimaginable battles in real-time, full 3D graphics which run beautifully on our PowerVR GPUs.  Players are in for a treat, as this game offers amazing real-time, full 3D graphics with special effects and epic fights full of impressive enemies and stunning special powers. Gameloft have put a ton of work into the storyline, re-imagining Lancelot’s story. Wild Blood gives you the opportunity to become the legendary and brutal Sir Lancelot, fight off the legions of Hell and challenge the mighty King Arthur, who has been enchanted by Morgana.

Asphalt 7: Heat by Gameloft

Imagination's best mobile games of 2012: Aasphalt 7: Heat

Asphalt 7: Heat is one of the most impressive-looking car racers released in the last 12 months. Get ready to hit the speed of heat in the newest, fastest, most visually stunning edition of the famed Asphalt series. Optimized for the high-resolution displays of current smartphones and tablets, Asphalt 7 features cutting edge graphics. Every car and track is more beautiful than ever thanks to graphics that push the limits of your device and the high-res display. Cars are divided into six different categories based on their on-the-road performance characteristics. Players are given the choice of customizing the paint, decals, and window tint for each car, as well as upgrade its features with virtual money.  Thanks to the rendering performance of our PowerVR GPUs and the impressive quality of our PVRTC/PVRTC2 texture compression format, there’s plenty of detail in the dense urban environments, including nicely textured pavement, building structures, and sun glare, and the car models are all easily recognizable.

Smash Cops by Hutch

Imagination's best mobile games of 2012: Smash cops

Featuring ultra high quality graphics, Smash Cops is all about stopping criminal suspects by using your vehicle as a battering ram. A top-down police chase romp using Unity’s mobile game engine, it’s the Hutch Games’ first attempt at an iOS title. Hutch are an indie start-up founded by experienced game developers, with previous releases like Burnout and Fable under their belt. Their A-list expertise shows through, particularly when it comes to the graphics which feature detailed cars, towns and killer effects. The controls are another plus, using a simple yet intuitive two-finger system to offer immediate and satisfying mastery of the road.

Bladeslinger by Kerosene

Imagination's best mobile games of 2012: Bladeslinger

Selected as ‘Editor’s Choice’ in the App Store and rated 4/4 “Must Have” by critics, Bladeslinger Episode 1 is a full-length game in an on-going series. A visually stunning, fast paced 3D action brawler developed exclusively for high-end mobile devices and optimized for PowerVR graphics, Bladeslinger follows the story of William Glaston as he returns to his hometown to confront an ancient evil. Featured by TouchArcade as App Users’ Top Ten Most Anticipated Upcoming Games, identified as one of the best games of the year, Bladeslinger is certainly one of the best releases of 2012. It also uses Unity’s mobile game engine, pushing the limits of Imagination’s PowerVR mobile graphics processors.

Let’s Golf 3 by Gameloft

Imagination's best mobile games of 2012: Let's golf

The world’s most exciting golf odyssey returns in 2012 with more great new features that you’ve been waiting for. This fun and exciting golf adventure features a 3D course with high-quality graphics, beautiful waterfall, lush forest and distant green that really provide an immersed adventure. Players can create their own avatars and challenge friends and opponents from across the globe in golf tournaments that are unlike anything seen before. It’s been one of Gameloft’s most popular smartphone games, having easy to understand controls that anyone can pick up and learn in minutes.

Galaxy on Fire 2 HD by Fishlabs

Imagination's best mobile games of 2012: Galaxy On Fire 2 HD

Galaxy on Fire 2 HD is the completely overhauled HD-version of the award-winning space shooter that set a new standard for sci-fi gaming on the App Store. It has been specifically optimized for the capabilities and rendering power of new devices with PowerVR graphics. This is what Fishlabs had to say about our PowerVR GPUs and PVRTC/PVRTC2 texture compression in an interview with Tom’s Hardware:

“Imagination Technology’s PowerVR is one of the best architectures on the market because its overall texture compression is very good. There are still minor issues with the processing of normal maps, but apart from that, the visual quality of PowerVR-encoded textures is among the best you’re going to find, especially in relation to the file size.”

CSR by NaturalMotion

Imagination's best mobile games of 2012: csr

Race your dream car in the ultimate test: a drag race along deserted city streets. CSR Racing combines stunning visuals with addictive gameplay and stunning multiplayer head-to-head competition to create a new type of racing experience. Featuring a breakthrough in graphics fidelity, CSR Racing smashes the barriers between consoles and your smartphone or tablet. Full HD resolutions and next-gen lighting combine to beat any 1080p console racing game on the market.

Fibble by Crytek GmbH

Imagination's best mobile games of 2012: Fibble

Crytek’s first mobile game stars the cute but curiously brave extra-terrestrial explorer ‘Fibble’, who crash lands in a suburban home on the wonderfully blue planet, Earth. In the dramatic crash, Fibble becomes separated from his crew as they’re scattered all over the mysterious house. In order for the gang to return safely to their home planet, the player needs to help Fibble regroup with his mates, by searching every corner room by room. Thanks to our Imagination’s PowerVR GPUs, the game’s graphics are a big hit. The environments are richly detailed and vibrant, bringing new life to common household objects and locations.

Death Rally by Remedy Entertainment Ltd

Imagination's best mobile games of 2012: Death Rally

Death Rally is an action packed combat racer with global multiplayer, stunning visuals thanks to our PowerVR GPUs and more than 10 hours crash, guns and explosive fun. It has reached the number one download spot in over 84 countries with more than 14 million gamers worldwide. The game offers players the thrilling chance to race against incredible boss drivers like Duke Nukem, upgrade and level up cars and guns in an exciting single player career mode or global multiplayer.

Dead Trigger by Madfinger Games, a.s.

Imagination's best mobile games of 2012: Dead Trigger

Dead Trigger is the first free to play arcade shooter from Madfinger Games, which we’ve recently seen present at GDC Europe 2012. Madfinger have really managed to get the best out of our PowerVR GPU, with stunning graphics that feature advanced lighting and post-process effects. Dead Trigger has full 3D characters and environments with an unprecedented level of detail, character animations recorded using high-end motion capture, intuitive controls and spectacular ragdoll effects.

Best mobile games of 2012: Part 1 of the trilogy

We hope you’ve enjoyed our selection of mobile games and share it around on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Also, you can check out IGN’s very own preview of 2012’s best mobile games or follow the Guardian’s Apps Blog where they frequently feature the week’s best mobile game releases.

Remember to follow us on Twitter (@PowerVRInsider and @ImaginationTech), Google+ (+Imagination Technologies) and come back to our blog for the second and third installment of our 2012 highlights series, where we will look at a selection of the releases and announcements associated with smartphones, tablets, smart TVs and STBs.

* All images courtesy of the Android Apps on Google Play and the iTunes App Store, all rights reserved

Alex Voica

Alex Voica

Before deciding to pursue his dream of working in technology marketing, Alexandru held various engineering roles at leading semiconductor companies in Europe. His background also includes research in computer graphics and VR at the School of Advanced Studies Sant'Anna in Pisa. You can follow him on Twitter @alexvoica.

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