The 20 best iPhone and iPad games of 2013 -- so far

Fish turn into money, sorcerers rule and things get creepy in these iPhone and iPad games

iphone apps

As we head toward the halfway point of 2013, it’s time to check in and see how the mobile gaming industry has fared for Apple iOS platforms, the iPhone and iPad. Here’s a look at top rated games issued this year, based on App Store user reviews and professional reviewers on Metacritic. While not all of these are Big Names, we hope you’ll discover a few hidden gems.

RELATED: The 20 best iPhone/iPad games of 2012 so far

Ridiculous Fishing – A Tale of Redemption
Ridiculous Fishing – A Tale of Redemption

Developer: Vlambeer

Price: $2.99

Ratings: 92 (out of 100) from Metacritic; 5 stars from App Store users

From Vlambeer, creator of SpellTower and Super Crate Box, comes this 8-bit style game in which fish turn into money and arcade bells chime as you use high-powered lures to snag your bounty and unlock surprises.

Eclipse: New Dawn for the Galaxy
Eclipse: New Dawn for the Galaxy

Developer: Big Daddy’s Creations

Price: $6.99 on iPad Ratings: 90 from Metacritic; 5 stars from App Store users

This reinvention of the popular board game with a Star Wars-y feel to it puts you in control of an interstellar civilization that’s competing with rivals. It’s a 4X game, meaning it’s full of eXploration, eXpansion, eXploitation and eXtermination. There’s more than one way to win this game, but you need to weigh the strengths and weakness of the various species involved.

Magicka: Wizards of the Square Tablet
Magicka: Wizards of the Square Tablet

Developer: Paradox Interactive

Price: $1.99 Ratings: 89 from Metacritic; 4.5 stars from App Store users

This iPad and Android tablet edition of role-playing game Magicka is “A fantastic tale of sorcery… and cranial explosions,” according to the developer, and lets you concoct crazy spells while dressed in even crazier get-ups and hanging out with a big friendly crab.

Super Stickman Golf 2
Super Stickman Golf 2

Developer: Noodlecake Studios

Price: $0.99 Ratings: 87 from Metacritic; 5 stars from App Store users

This sporty sequel for iOS and Android phones and tablets boasts 20 courses and according to reviewers is easy to pick up and play for a few holes even if you aren’t a real duffer. You can also race through the game – something real golf could really pick up a few pointers from.

Year Walk
Credit: YouTube.com
Year Walk

Developer: Simogo

Price: $3.99 (plus free companion app)

Ratings: 87 from Metacritic; 4.5 stars from App Store users

This haunting iPad/iPod touch/iPhone first-person adventure game is the fourth offering from Simogo and includes both a game and a free companion app. Simogo says the atmospheric game blurs the line between reality and supernatural, as you solve puzzles and come across mysterious creatures while getting a glimpse into the future.

Gemini Rue
Credit: YouTube.com
Gemini Rue

Developer: Wadjet Eye Games

Price: $3.99 Ratings: 87 from Metacritic; 4.5 stars from App Store users

This neo-noir scifi adventure game features an ex-assassin and interplanetary travel. It arrived on iOS this year after debuting on Windows back in 2011.

NightSky
NightSky

Developer: Nicalis

Price: $4.99

Ratings: 86 from Metacritic; 4.5 stars from App Store users

This original PC game came to iOS and Android earlier this year, providing a physics puzzler backed by soothing music as you tilt or touch a crystal ball from silhouetted scene to silhouetted scene. (You’re going to rub the skin off your index finger if you play this for too long at one-sitting, not that I would have done that.)

Sorcery!
Sorcery!

Developer: Inkle

Price: $4.99

Ratings: 86 from Metacritic; 5 stars from App Store users

Tom Jackson’s Sorcery lets you traverse a hand-drawn 3D map wielding magic spells and battling monsters, with thousands of choices to make in this interactive storytelling adventure game.

Badland
Credit: YouTube.com
Badland

Developer: Frogmind

Price: $3.99

Ratings: 86 from Metacritic; 5 stars from App Store users

This eerie and sometimes mysterious side-scrolling action game out of Finland has been designed specifically for the iPad/iPod touch/iPhone and features freaky owl-like creatures, who aren’t as angry as the other birds that come out from Finland’s game developers, but do get into quite the fixes as they roll through the forest. Some of this feels a bit like a noisier version of NightSky.

King Cashing 2
King Cashing 2

Developer: Productions Multimage

Price: $2.99

Ratings: 85 from Metacritic; 5 stars from App Store users.

King Cashing 2 is a combination role-playing game, slot machine and graphic novel, with the goal of helping a resurrected king grab gobs of gold coins. Oh, and what else would you expect in game of this nature? Yes, of course there are zombies!

Final Fantasy V
Final Fantasy V

Developer: Square Enix

Price: $15.99

Ratings: 85 from Metacritic; 4.5 stars from App Store users

This classic medieval tale of magic, monsters and friendship is pricier than your average game, but players of this updated Game Boy Advance release featuring Bartz, Boco and Princess Lenna -- and some valuable crystals -- is worth it.

Frozen Synapse
Credit: YouTube.com
Frozen Synapse

Developer: Mode 7 Games

Price: $6.99

Ratings: 85 from Metacritic; 4.5 stars from App Store users.

This stylish single- and multi-player turn-based tactical battlefield game involves protecting VIPs, infiltrating banks, avoiding security systems, all against the backdrop of original tantalizing music. The iPad offering is a fresh twist on a popular PC/Mac game.

Penumbear
Penumbear

Developer: Bulkypix

Price: $1.99

Ratings: 85 from Metacritic; 4.5 stars from App Store users

A buddy game, as a bear and a purple firefly attempt to a escape from a shadowy castle by navigating 100 levels of adventures and puzzles.

Cut the Rope: Time Travel
Cut the Rope: Time Travel

Developer: ZeptoLab UK Ltd.

Price: $2.99 for the iPad; $0.99 for the iPhone.

Ratings: 84 from Metacritic; 4.5 stars from iPad users; 5 stars from iPhone users

Feed Om Nom, the little green monster, and his ancestors as you go back in time through the Middle Ages, Ancient Greece and on Pirate Ships. This latest version of Cut the Rope is considered a relatively mild update to the original and perhaps not as challenging as it could be, but still is fun.

Toy Story: Smash it!
Credit: YouTube.com
Toy Story: Smash it!

Developer: Disney Mobile Studios

Price: $0.99

Ratings: 84 from Metacritic; 5 stars from App Store users.

Woody, Buzz and the gang present physics challenges in space in the wild west, plus challenge you with puzzles across 75 levels.

Star Wars Pinball
Star Wars Pinball

Developer: Zen Studios

Price: $1.99 Ratings: 84 from Metacritic; 3.5 stars from App Store users.

Note that ZEN Studios delivers The Empire Strikes Back table for starters, but additional pinball tables (Boba Fett, The Clone Wars, etc..) cost extra as in-apps purchases. You get to control your favorite Star Wars characters and choose whether to support the Galactic Empire or Rebel Alliance with your high scores. Users have said the iOS versions compare favorably to the PC editions.

Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol
Sid Meiers Ace Patrol

Developer: 2K Games

Price: Free (but it’s going to cost you 99 cents to really get going)

Ratings: 84 from Metacritic; 4.5 from App Store users

This WW1 dogfighting game for those 12 and older is relatively easy to master, tapping your way across your iPad or iPhone through the skies over Europe with a selection of famous fighters.

Robot Unicorn Attack 2
Robot Unicorn Attack 2

Developer: Adult Swim

Price: Free Ratings: 84 from Metacritic; 4.5 stars from App Store users

Unicorns might be figments of your imagination, but robot unicorns are real in this iPad and iPhone game for ages 9+. This seemingly endless running and jumping game across pastel settings is filled with humor as well as more challenging adversaries than in the original.

Fetch
Fetch

Developer: Big Fish Games

Price: $3.99 Ratings: 84 from Metacritic; 4 stars from App Store users

Games don’t get much more heartwarming than this (ages 4+) offering, which has a Pixar feel to it: “When Milo sees his dog “Bear” being captured by a mysterious fire hydrant, he sets off on a wild journey to save his best friend.”

Zoombies: Animales de la Muerte!
Zoombies: Animales de la Muerte!

Developer: High Voltage Software

Price: $2.99

Ratings: 83 from Metacritic; 4.5 stars from App Store users

An entertaining zombie iPhone/iPad game in which a couple of weapon-wielding school kids try to save a Mexican zoo from the undead.