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Framed

Loveshack's Framed is a masterpiece of visual storytelling -- and using that storytelling as the basis for unique gameplay. Each page of the story is laid out like a comic book, a "silent" story of two protagonists, avoiding the lawmen and double-crossing each other -- but the panels are out of order. By examining the context closely, you have to arrange the panels into the correct order to see your hero win the day, foiling the fuzz and escaping clean, but it's harder than it sounds.

Give the trailer a watch, because words really don't do it justice: it's truly unlike anything you've ever played.

Platforms: iOS

Price: $4.99 | AU$6.49 | £2.99

Published:Caption:Photo:Loveshack Entertainment
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Crossy Road

Sometimes things ain't broke, they just need a bit of a tweak. Although there are plenty of official Frogger options from Konami available for mobile, they've all just been a little bit disappointing, really. Crossy Road (trailer) takes the basic premise of Frogger and adds "endless" into the mix. Alongside some rather adorable voxel art and a whole bunch of unlockable, road- (and river-, and railway track-) crossing animals. And, if you don't move fast enough, you get eaten up by a giant bird of prey. It's mixed things up enough to give the gameplay a fresh, competitive new feel -- and something to keep coming back for.

Platforms: Android | iOS

Price: Free

Published:Caption:Photo:Hipster Whale
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Fruit Ninja

One of Australia's most well-known mobile game studios is Halfbrick, of Fruit Ninja fame. That game needs almost no introduction -- your finger is a sword, and you use it to slice up as much fruit as you can, while avoiding the bombs. It's a simple concept, but one that works utterly perfectly in a casual context, with collectible swords and backgrounds to keep it interesting.

Don't, also, forget to check out Halfbrick's other games -- the studio is also behind popular games such as Jetpack Joyride, Age of Monsters and Fish out of Water.

Platforms: Android | iOS

Price: Free (Android)

$0.99 | AU$1.29 | £0.69 (iOS)

Published:Caption:Photo:Halfbrick Studios
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Bonza Word Puzzle

Bonza (trailer) might look like a crossword game, but don't be fooled -- it's actually a bit more interesting than that. Think of a completed crossword: that seems to be the basis where Bonza begins. Each puzzle is based around a concept, and the words in the puzzle will have something to do with that concept. It might be zoo animals, or sports, or something more specific. The "crossword" has been broken into pieces -- and the aim is to put them back together by figuring out the words based on the key concept. It's a really refreshing -- and fun -- take on word games.

Platforms: Android | iOS

Price: Free (Android)

$0.99 | AU$1.29 | £0.69 (iOS)

Published:Caption:Photo:MiniMega
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Epoch and Epoch 2

Uppercut Games revolutionised the cover shooter for the touchscreen in Epoch. The game itself is more or less on rails, and you use a series of swipes to dodge enemy fire while hiding behind cover, popping up and tapping enemies to target and return fire when the coast is clear. It's an extraordinarily slick system, providing enough of a challenge to keep things interesting while fitting perfectly with the platform -- and wrapped, let's be honest, in some pretty gorgeous graphics.

Epoch: Android | iOS

Price: $2.99 | £2.29 (Android); $2.99 | AU$3.79 | £2.29 (iOS)

Epoch 2: Android | iOS

Price: $4.99 | £3.99 (Android); $4.99 | AU$6.49 | £3.99 (iOS)

Published:Caption:Photo:Uppercut Games
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Duet

Duet (trailer) seems to be based on death, in more ways than one. There is, of course, a little death in video games — where you crash and burn and have to start the level all over again. Duet has a lot of that. But if you look for the thematic clues, the game is crawling with it: from the very minimal snippets of dialogue to the strange, void-like atmosphere to the names of the levels — the Kübler-Ross five stages of grief (plus a few extra). It also forces you to think outside the box, requiring your spatial cognition to go into overdrive as you navigate the levels to avoid hitting the obstacles with your paired red and blue dots, which can only turn on a wheel at the bottom of the screen. It's this that fills it, in spite of its difficulty, with immensely satisfying "eureka" moments.

You can read our interview with the game's composer Tim Shiel here.

Platforms: Android | iOS

Price: Free (Android)

$2.99 | AU$3.79 | £2.29 (iOS)

Published:Caption:Photo:Kumobius
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The Voxel Agents

The reason we're showcasing The Voxel Agents as a developer rather than any one of its games is because we just couldn't decide which of its games we liked more -- Puzzle Retreat for iOS and Android, a zen puzzler where you have to fill squares on a grid by sliding ice around it; or the Train Conductor games, where you have to keep trains from crashing into each other by assigning them tracks as they chug on to the screen.

And the studio is only getting better as it goes: Train Conductor 3 will be adding curved tracks and other new features, and the upcoming, but mysterious, Time Project, which looks just stunning.

Published:Caption:Photo:The Voxel Agents
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One More Line

Every now and again, an arcade title comes out that is just beautifully put together. One More Line has a simple premise, but everything about it is a brilliant example of elegant game design. You control a little icon, flying along a track, trailing three colour-changing lines behind. Along the track are circles -- which will cause you to explode if you crash into them. However, by holding down on the screen, you can latch onto them, swinging around to latch on to the next at high speeds. And when you crash and burn -- which you will -- you're left with the lovely loops of your journey and that magnificent feeling that you'll beat your high score if you just have one more try.

If the name of the studio seems familiar, there's a good reason -- it's behind another game you might have heard of, a little thing called OTTTD. Only possibly our favourite tower defense ever.

Trailer

Platforms: Android | iOS

Price: Free

Published:Caption:Photo:SMG Studio
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TownCraft

TownCraft is the kind of game we'd like all town management sims to be: free from timers and in-app purchases. Basically, it's about building a new village from the ground up from a wilderness. A rather civilised wilderness, with lots of berries, eggs, trees and stones, yet a wilderness all the same. You start with nothing, and have to build basic tools such as a hatchet and a pickaxe to gather resources, experimenting with your supplies to see what you can make. The aim is to create a successful town, and it's some seriously addictive stuff. Think Doodle God meets Don't Starve -- without the whole "starving" part.

You can read our full review and interview with the developer here.

Platform: iOS

Price: $4.99 | AU$5.49 | £3.99

Published:Caption:Photo:Flat Earth Games
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of 10

Tin Man Games

When it comes to "choose your own adventure" gamebooks for mobile, the biggest name in the business is possibly Tin Man Games. Not only has the Melbourne-based studio launched a large number of gamebooks of its own, it's also partnered with the likes of genre giants Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone to bring a new, digital lease on life to some of your childhood favourites, all with loving attention to detail to make the experience true to your nostalgia as possible.

Check out the entire library here.

Published:Caption:Photo:Tin Man Games
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