Well, it’s that time again! Time to go over the past 365 days of mobile games and find that one gem that stuck out over them all.
2023 was a pretty funky year for the mobile game industry. There’s just so much going on that I feel that the games themselves were affected. We have F2P games still being the majority, although less hyper-casual than years prior. We had just about everyone jumping on the survival game genre trying to get a piece of that sweet sweet survival pie. We saw a huge surge in subscription services with Apple Arcade still doing well, NETFLIX snagging up a ton of games, and multiple publishers trying out their own game-specific subscription services. 2023 was also a year for games leaving these services. We saw a lot of games that launched with Apple Arcade leave the platform and go back to a paid model.
With all of that going on, there were still a lot of great titles that were released on the App Store throughout the year. Games like A Way To Smash, Stone Story, and Hoop Land come to mind. Of course, there was one game that stuck out from all the rest. A game that stayed on my device since way back in February and kept surprising me every few months with new content updates that kept me coming back for more! That game is Ultra Blade by indie developer Kyle Barrett.
I reviewed Ultra Blade back when it first released, so I won’t get into too many game details. But, I loved the game in its original state and was perfectly content as it was. As the year went on, updates were released changing and morphing Ultra Blade into its own sequel. New arenas were added, new blades, relics, and modes that changed up the game to keep things fresh. All that work put in just showed how much passion was behind the project.
I’ll be honest and tell you that when I was going through all of 2023’s games, I kept putting Ultra Blade to the side. I didn’t want to include it due to it being another survival-style game that flooded the App Store this year and the fact that I gave one of Kyle’s other games, Immortal Rogue GOTY back in 2019. But, every time I would take it out of the final list, something about it brought it right back in. Ultra Blade is much more than “just another survival game”. It’s a roguelike, it’s an RPG, it’s a management game, it’s so many things wrapped up in one great package. Ultra Blade is something special. It’s a game that stayed on my device even after the change of two different iPhones. A game that kicked my ass and had me saying “Thank you sir, may I have another”. A game that surprised me every few months with something new to play. A game that entertained me every time I fired it up. There’s no denying that Ultra Blade is SNAPP Attack’s 2023 Game of the Year!