The best mobile games of 2013

Image via PopCap

From plants with personality to cars corkscrewing through the air to a game that can best be described as the Words with Friends of sports, 2013’s best mobile titles left both our brains dazzled and our batteries drained.

So as we step into 2014 looking forward to what the gaming world has to offer, we take a look back at the year that was and pick our favorite games of 2013.

And just in case you missed any of these gems, I have two words for you: Download now.

Jon Robinson’s Five Favorite Mobile Games of 2013:

Plants vs. Zombies 2 (iOS, Android)

Image via PopCap

Price: Free
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Why we love it: I can sum up my love for Plants vs. Zombies 2 in three words: Zombie chicken farmers. That’s right, in the insane world of PvZ2, the plants have to deal with everything from pirate zombies getting shot out of cannons to the zombie chicken farmer, complete with chickens strapped to his body with barbed wire. Shoot the zombie, and he unleashes his pesky beasts in a move designers like to call “The Chickening.” Addictive, iconic, and best of all, a free to play game that I beat without having to spend a single penny (sorry, EA), Plants vs. Zombies 2 has my vote for best mobile game of 2013.

Your Turn Football (iOS, Android)

Image via Pick6 Studios

Price: Free
Publisher: Pick Six Studios
Why we love it: No NFL license, no problem as Your Turn Football took the X’s and O’s strategy of America’s favorite sport and combined it with the social aspects of popular games like Words with Friends to become the game I found myself the most glued to in 2013 (and the first thing I’d check when I woke up in the morning). The concept is simple: A turn based football game where the player on offense actively controls the action, then after a score or stop on downs, the action is passed to the opponent who takes his or her turn on the virtual gridiron. YTF really takes me back to the glory days of sports gaming.

Asphalt 8: Airborne (iOS, Android)

Image via Gameloft

Price: $0.99
Publisher: Gameloft
Why we love it: If you ever wanted to do a barrel roll in a Lamborghini, Asphalt 8: Airborne is the game for you, as the action-packed racer is as much about the spectacle of the crash as it is about the competition (think Burnout). Jumps, takedowns, and smashed up rides only begin to explain the insanity of the races, as players fly around the streets banging into each other while performing stunts and filling up their nitro gauges in order to boost their cars to new heights (while never having to worry about the reality of a little thing called gravity).

Badland (iOS, Android)

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Price: $3.99 (iOS), Free (Android)
Publisher: Frogmind
Why we love it: A dark, atmospheric action-adventure, all you have to do is look at the title to know there’s something evil waiting for you in Frogmind’s side-scrolling swamp. But that’s the beauty of Badland, as it starts out and you catch yourself almost mesmerized by the incredible art on your screen, then next thing you know your working your way through puzzles and traps in order to avoid a startling death by spike or sawblade. Warning: Four-player multiplayer is so good (and so competitive), it has the potential to end friendships with its survival of the fittest playability.

Infinity Blade III (iOS)

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Price: $4.99
Publisher: Epic Games
Why we love it: You haven’t seen the graphics of mobile games pushed to their limits until you’ve downloaded Infinity Blade III. The final game in ChAIR’s blockbuster trilogy, IB3 boasts the intense combat to match its stunning visuals, while offering fans of the series a breathtaking last ride into the epic quest to stop The Worker of Secrets from destroying the world. A fantastic mix of powerful storytelling and thrilling gameplay.