I don't consider myself a gamer anymore. I used to be. Countless, countless hours in Final Fantasy 6-9, Zelda, Tetris, Alleyway, Neverwinter, Halo, Fallout, Half life, Oblivion. The list goes on. I cut my teeth on a gameboy and SNES and kept going. Things dropped off after Halo 2. I surfaced for Halo 3 (a lot) and 4 (less so). I didn't play much on my phone during my years on Android; the games really weren't that great or polished.
Part of my commute is a 10 minute subway ride. Something quick to play is appreciated, but I've been looking for something a little more immersive. Something I can sit and get lost in for a few hours. The other part of my commute is a 30 min commuter train ride where I'm either reading instapaper, napping, or playing a game while listening to podcasts.
Baldur's Gate - I found this very late in the year. In fact I think I installed it at my in-laws on Christmas morning. I had never played either of the originals and was curious. It was one of the few games that consistently showed up on "best iOS RPG" when I was searching for something to play. The face that it looked like Neverwinter was a huge bonus for me. The tutorial for this game is very, very buggy and was very off-putting. Once I got past that though, everything changed. The game mechanics started making sense: pinching and zooming the map is fluid and tapping on your party to direct their targets just felt completely natural. The story quickly swept me in and I started questing. When I play RPGs, I try to do all the side quests. Baldur's Gate is no different. I'm currently grinding my way through a number of maps looking for someone's lost cloak. Perfect gameplay for listening to podcasts on the train. Outside of that though the music and sound effects are top notch. If you were ever a fan of D&D style point+click RPGs, this will feel right at home. If you've never tried them, I can't recommend this game enough.
Tiny Tower & Pocket Trains - I put these games together because while very different games, they have similar gameplay mechanics. Build out your empire! In Tiny Tower, this takes the form of expanding a single tower. Inside this tower are all your Bitizens live: Where they eat, where they work, and where they have fun. Ala Sim City, but in an enclosed environment. In Pocket trains, you expand your train line, going for a trans-continental goal. Pick the cargo for your trains, build tracks, repair the engines, and race against the clock. Both games have IAP to buy coins and bucks to get you through the game faster. I've never used real world money in either and it's just as enjoyable
RGB Express - This is a good puzzle game where you draw routes for your drivers, picking up packages and making sure that every house receives the correct package. Setup your route, press play, watch your trucks zoom, and hope you didn't create any collisions! Pro Tip: You can set the playback to run the trucks at a faster speed. Kudos to the iOSDocked crew for making this the GameCenter Showdown in episode 77.
Threes - Threes is a tiny puzzle that grows on you. It looks simple at first. But at some point you figure out you need a strategy to go higher. Match the same number, it triples and collapses. Keep going. Build higher and higher. Compete with your friends. It gets harder the higher you go and becomes addicting trying to get to that next score. I play tower defense style: Building into one of the top two corners and slowly growing numbers in those directions. What's your high score?
2048 - This game is very similar to threes (maybe too much so). But, it's still fun. I keep this one around because it takes a little less concentration than threes. It's more mindless and good for when I'm tired or need to think. It's a good distraction. 2048 is my checkers to my Threes chess.
Honorable Mention: Monument Valley - I can't stress enough that you NEED to go play this game. There is no other experience like it on iOS. Control your character through immersive M.C. Escher-like paintings. The levels are gorgeous. You'll spend time just staring at them, moving pieces around just to see what they do. It only gets Honorable Mention because of replay value. I played through it once in a few hours and that was that. But, it's magical. Everyone should play it