Best mobile games of February 2014

Looking for a new game to play on your mobile device? Here's our pick of the best released in February 2014.

Looking for a new game to play on your mobile device? Here's our pick of the best released in February 2014.

(Credit: Nyamyam)

Tengami

Trailer

If you like games that are as much about atmosphere and art as they are about gameplay, Tengami should be on your list. Based on pop-up books and set in a sort of mythical feudal Japan, it sees you exploring a gorgeous paper world, solving puzzles based on the mechanics of pop-up books: pulling tabs and folding pages to explore the world and find the fallen cherry blossom to return it to its tree. The narrative isn't especially deep, but sometimes an exercise in aesthetic wonder is enough in and of itself.

You can read our full review of Tengami here .

Platform: iPhone and iPad
Price: AU$5.49

(Credit: Mi-Clos Studio)

Out There

Trailer

We have plenty of space-themed games on the list this week, but if it's depth you want, Out There is it. It tells the tale of an astronaut who wakes from cryosleep to find that he's no longer in orbit around Earth — in fact, he has no idea where he is, and has only unreliable alien technology as a guide home. You have to carefully manoeuvre through dangerous situations and manage resources as you navigate the stars — because if your astronaut dies, it's game over. And all the while, you have no way of knowing if what you seek is truly the way home.

Platform: Android; iPhone and iPad
Price: AU$5.64 (Android); AU$4.49 (iOS)

(Credit: David Mondou-Labbe)

Oquonie

Trailer

David Mondou-Labbe, better known as Aliceffekt, doesn't make games for the faint of heart: each one is an exercise in going somewhere completely new. In Oquonie, you have to navigate the strange, labyrinthine spaces, where everyone speaks a strange language of symbols, trying to unlock enough information to find the way forward. It's a puzzle in every sense of the word — deeply confusing, deeply clever and deeply engrossing.

You can read our full review of Oquonie here .

Platform: iPhone and iPad
Price: AU$2.99

(Credit: Sirvo)

Threes!

The premise of Threes! is pretty simple: pair matching numbers, starting with threes. Your base units are twos and ones, which you can push together to create a three; from there, you have to place matching numbers next to each other, then push them together to create a single, doubled number. The idea, of course, is to get the number higher and higher, until you hit the highest number achievable in the game — 6144 — on a four-by-four grid. Although it may well go higher than that. If you find out, let us know.

It's worth noting that Threes! is not yet available for Android. There is a copycat called Fives doing the rounds on Google Play, but if you can wait — and we'd recommend you do, because copycats suck — Threes! will be available for Android soon.

Platform: iPhone and iPad
Price: AU$1.99

(Credit: Rising Step)

Dual Survivor

Trailer

The core of Dual Survivor is multi-tasking. The idea is to place both thumbs on the screen, using them to simultaneously steer two discrete pads along two tracks, collecting power orbs, 50 per level. This is not as easy as it sounds. Firstly, the orbs can be tucked away in tricky corners, which makes navigation difficult even on one track, never mind two at the same time. Secondly, it's not long before the placement of the orbs, as well as the layout of the track, starts to vary, meaning that you are, essentially, running two completely different tracks at once. It's dastardly tricky — and tremendously satisfying.

Platform: Android; iPhone and iPad
Price: AU$3.80 (Android); AU$2.99 (iOS)

(Credit: Playmous)

God of Light

Trailer

The light physics puzzler is nothing new, but a well-realised game is worth a look, even if we're all familiar with the mechanics. In God of Light, you're tasked with restoring light to the land by directing beams at a series of mirrors to reach a final destination point, tilting the mirrors to create a path through three gems. The fun part is that Shiny — the smiley light source — is the only light source, and it's only by directing light around the space that you can figure out how to solve the puzzle.

Platform: iPhone and iPad
Price: AU$1.99

(Credit: The Voxel Agents)

Toy Mania

Between the Train Conductor games and Puzzle Retreat , Aussie developer The Voxel Agents is becoming a consummate master of arcade puzzlers. Toy Mania has been available as a free Facebook game for some time, and it's just made the leap across to Android. It's a match puzzler, and the aim is to connect colour blocks together to create a lovable stuffed animal. But you have to connect together all the blocks of any single colour on the playgrid, or the match doesn't clear. Each line on the grid can be moved on the horizontal and vertical planes, so you need to carefully plan your manoeuvres — all the time racing against the clock.

Platform: Android
Price: Free

(Credit: Pierre Aclement)

Primal Flame

Trailer

It's rather astonishing that something like Primal Flame hasn't crossed our path before. As the name suggests, it's about fire, and your finger is the match, swiping across the screen to light a flame, then holding to stay alight. The aim is to move around the dark screen, killing the darkness where it blooms and collecting seeds of light to master the element of fire and restore light to the world.

Platform: iPhone and iPad
Price: AU$2.99

(Credit: Realore)

Viking Saga: The Cursed Ring

We love a good resource management game, and Realore does some great ones based in history and legend. In Viking Saga: The Cursed Ring, the King has been cursed by, well, a ring, and you have to travel to and settle in new lands, building small towns, feeding your workers and bringing in resources to keep moving onward to find the villain Loki. Each level provides several challenges, such as building houses, clearing obstacles and collecting money.

Platform: Android; iPhone and iPad
Price: Free (Android, full game available via IAP); AU$5.49

(Credit: Ludosity)

Card City Nights

Trailer

After Adventure Time Card Wars, we really wanted to see an IAP-free CCG; and this offering from Ludosity, the team behind the excellent Legend of Zelda spoof Ittle Dew, is balm to our souls. Once you have purchased the game, there are no further payments — not even for booster packs. The game also features a bunch of characters and fantasy tropes, as well as Ludosity's own wicked brand of cutting humour.

Platform: Android; iPhone and iPad
Price: AU$2.20 (Android); AU$0.99 (iOS)

(Credit: Spiderweb Software)

Avadon 2: The Corruption

Trailer

You really can't beat a good, old-fashioned isometric dungeon-crawler. Avadon 2: The Corruption picks up where Avadon: The Black Fortress left off, and it's everything we love about an old-school fantasy RPG: five different character classes for replayability; a sprawling, epic storyline; multiple endings; a bunch of optional side quests and secrets; and loot. So much loot.

Platform: iPhone and iPad
Price: AU$10.49

(Credit: Bithack)

Principia

Trailer

Physics and engineering puzzler Principia is a little bit more cerebral than your usual "move A to B" style of game. In the game, you have to move a little robot to a specific place. It starts off pretty small — building bridges and placing directional pads — but quickly moves on to more complex engineering, such as building robots and other machines, and complex Rube Goldberg-style mechanisms.

Platform: Android (lite version available); iPhone and iPad
Price: AU$3.89 (Android); AU$4.49 (iOS)

(Credit: Skoobie Games)

Blue Eden

Trailer

We don't think we've ever played a game quite like Blue Eden. You control a school of blue surgeonfish, navigating the perils of the coral reef: feeding, predators, migration and breeding. It's quite lovely, and each element of the fish's lives has a different gameplay mechanic. Educational and fun!

Platform: iPhone and iPad
Price: AU$0.99

(Credit: Crescent Moon Games)

Coldfire Keep

Trailer

Want your dungeon crawling a little more on the immediate side? Crescent Moon Games' Coldfire Keep is full of monsters and treasure — all from a first-person, 3D perspective. You control a team of four, venturing into the depths to destroy the evil that lurks within — and collect all the shiny, shiny loots, of course.

Platform: iPhone and iPad
Price: AU$5.49

(Credit: Creatiu Lab)

Stubies

Trailer

Stubies is eye-catching: it has cute, colourful little characters and very polished graphics, looking like quite a sweet little time-waster. Looks, however, can be deceiving: although it starts pretty easy, Stubies gets very hard, very quickly. The titular Stubies are colourful little block-headed characters that meander across your screen. The aim is to match them up in same-coloured pairs, removing them. You do this by changing their direction, which often means factoring in timing it so that their paths cross at exactly the right time. There is no penalty for differently coloured Stubies bumping into each other, but add in a few other elements — such as holes in the floor, obstacles and powered Stubies — and the gameplay rapidly becomes more frantic, complicated and utterly mad.

Platform: iPhone and iPad
Price: AU$0.99

(Credit: Steph Thirion)

Eliss Infinity

Trailer

Launched five years ago, Eliss was one of the more prominent early "arty" arcade games for iOS. Eliss Infinity continues the gameplay. Set to a gorgeous ambient soundtrack, the aim is to match correctly sized and coloured cells to their portals. Cells can be split or joined, but only with other cells of the same colour — if cells of different colours touch, it depletes your life meter; since cells will spawn on top of each other, you have to act relatively quickly to keep things moving. It's a wonderfully satisfying experience.

Platform: iPhone and iPad
Price: AU$2.99

(Credit: DotEmu)

R-Type II

Trailer

R-Type has been floating around on iTunes and Google Play for a while now, on and off (there was some messiness when developer DotEmu's contract with Electronic Arts expired). The series of side-scrolling shoot-'em-ups holds a rightful place in the hearts of many gamers, and it's high time the 1989 sequel made its way across to new platforms too. It's been rebuilt and optimised for mobile, with two different customisable control modes, three difficulty settings (although why you'd want to play on easy mode is anyone's guess), and support for third-party controllers — while maintaining the classic graphics and gameplay we know and love.

Platform: Android; iPhone and iPad
Price: AU$2.70 (Android); AU$1.99 (iOS)

(Credit: Selosoft)

Running Quest

Trailer

I'm going to be honest about this game. It's buggy. The touch controls don't always work. The voice acting isn't great and the animation is wooden. But I still can't stop playing the danged thing. It's a runner (not endless, since you can catch and kill the final boss) based on a fantasy premise: you're chasing a goblin who's stolen something and threatened the realm, and you dash along destroying enemies, collecting gold to buy power-ups and orbs to use abilities. It's very easy to see where fixes can be applied, and I hope developer Selosoft gets around to that, because there are a lot of things the game does right: fun gameplay, IAP that is completely optional, collectible weapons and armour and a new setting for the runner genre.

Platform: iPhone and iPad
Price: AU$1.99

(Credit: AppXplore)

Caveboy Escape

Trailer

Plenty of match titles see you swapping or moving the tiles or rows-and-columns, but Caveboy Escape is a little bit different. You have to move the Caveboy to the exit — but he can only advance by stepping across lots of three of the same tile type. This leads to some tricky circumnavigation, as well as needing to plan ahead — and for some extra spice in the mix, you can only get three stars if you manage to beat the clock.

Platform: Android; iPhone and iPad
Price: Free

(Credit: Ivan Zanotti's MyMadness Works)

NothingElse

Creepy point-and-click game NothingElse, by the creator of Imscared: A Pixelated Nightmare, follows Phillip, a young boy with a troubled family who just wants to escape into a good book for a while. However, he finds himself instead descending into a weird, surreal sort of nightmare, trying to find his way out. For a relatively short eight-bit game, it certainly doesn't skimp on the creepy — creator Ivan Zanotti is a master of minimalist horror.

Platform: Android
Price: Free

 

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