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Christmas Gift Guide

This War of Mine

Heroki

The Executive

Don't Starve

Reflectica

Divide by Sheep

ZType

Q*Bert Rebooted

The Journey Back

Gabriel Knight Sins of the Fathers

Prune

Prismatica

Warhammer: Arcane Magic

Five Nights at Freddy's 4

To-fu Fury

Pathpix Max

The Mesh

Out last month for Android

11 bit studios is known for its Anomaly series of Tower Offense RTS war games. This War of Mine shows an utterly different side of war: its brutal effects on the innocent citizens of a city under siege. It's a survival sim where you are looking after a building full of refugees, sick and scared, scavenging what they can and trying to stay alive. You have to take care of their basic food and health needs on limited resources, trying to stay safe from the military, and where every other citizen can be either a friend to band together for survival, or a foe out to take what they can.

Trailer

Platforms: Android | iOS

Price: $14.99 | AU$18.99 | £10.99 (Android); $14.99 | AU$18.99 | £10.99 (iOS)

Caption by / Photo by 11 bit studios

Created by Dutch studio Picomy and published by Sega, Heroki is a gorgeously crafted platform adventure. It owes a lot of its visual style to Katamari Damacy and Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, by way of... weird creatures with on their heads that fly around in a side-scrolling adventure.

A magical MacGuffin gets nicked from our hero's village, so he has to go on a Legend 0f Zelda-style adventure to collect enough power to face the foe and return the treasure to its rightful home. The formula isn't new, but there's a reason it works, and the flying adds a fun new element to the action gameplay.

Trailer

Platforms: iOS

Price: $7.99 | AU$9.99 | £5.99

Caption by / Photo by Picomy/Sega

Deathfall, Pizza vs Skeletons, now The Executive: I'm never going to get tired of Riverman Media's bizarre concepts, rendered in beautiful hand-drawn art.

In the developer's latest game, you play an executive of a company that has been infiltrated by werewolves, because why not. It's a side-scrolling beat 'em up in which you have to face an increasingly weird series of monsters across 120 levels, using Street Fighter-style combat with high hits, low hits, blocks and special moves.

It's completely nuts, and every minute of it is great.

Trailer

Platforms: iOS

Price: $4.99 | AU$6.49 | £3.99

Caption by / Photo by Riverman Media

You're going to die in Don't Starve. You're going to die a lot. An inventor and scientist kicked out of your safe, warm home, you have to rely on your wits and the landscape to build the means to stay alive as long as you possibly can. The dark can kill you. Spiders can kill you. Hunger and fear can kill you.

Each day, you must gather materials to survive the night, while making sure you get enough to eat, while resources such as grass, stones and wood allow you to craft materials. When you die, it's game over and back to the beginning to start all over again.

It's brutal, tense and rewarding. Plus its art seems inspired by a mix of Tim Burton and Edward Gorey, which is like human catnip to me.

Trailer

Platforms: iOS

Price: $4.99 | AU$6.49 | £3.99

Caption by / Photo by Klei Entertainment

Light reflecting games have been done before, before, but Reflectica does it a little differently.

You have to slide specific mirrors up and down to create a path that guides the beam towards the exit. It's also not easy -- the finest adjustment can throw the beam off, so you need to be very precise. It's a great game for spatial thinkers.

Platforms: Android | iOS

Price: Free

Caption by / Photo by Blue Orca Studios

The premise of Divide by Sheep is pretty silly. Death wants some friends, and he can only have dead friends, so he drowns a bunch of sheep.

Now you have to put them on rafts to safety. The game is based on very simple arithmetic, where you have to put a certain number of sheep on each raft. The sheep are on platforms, each of which has a number of spaces. You can add them together, or use a variety of tools to subtract (such as platforms that don't have enough spaces, or wolves that eat excess sheep). It's goofy, cute in a macabre sort of way, and will make you think as you plan each level through.

Trailer

Platforms: Android | iOS

Price: $2.99 | AU$4.05 | £2.30 (Android); $2.99 | AU$3.79 | £2.29 (iOS)

Caption by / Photo by tinyBuild

Typing games are usually pretty useful for helping increase your typing skills, so it's a little weird to see one for a touchscreen. Nevertheless, ZType -- which was pretty popular on PC -- works surprisingly well on a mobile phone screen. As words fall from the screen, you use a keyboard that mimics your phone's keyboard to destroy them by typing them as fast as you can. It's actually pretty fun, but if you get to be better at texting because of it, well, who's to argue?

Trailer

Platforms: Android | iOS

Price: $2.99 | AU$4.05 | £2.30 (Android); $2.99 | AU$3.79 | £2.29 (iOS)

Caption by / Photo by PhobosLab

By most accounts, Adam Sandler's "Pixels," which stars Q*Bert, is not a very good film. However, for Q*Bert lovers, it's great to see the trumpet-faced little fella finally landing on mobile screens. The game includes the classic 1982 edition, and a "rebooted" version of the game that includes selectable characters, collectible gems, achievements to unlock and a level progression.

Trailer

Platforms: Android (Android TV only) | iOS

Price: $1.99 | AU$2.44 | £1.31 (Android); Free (iOS)

Caption by / Photo by Sideline Amusements

For a game that starts in the aftermath of a car accident, there's something quite gentle about first-person point-and-click exploration game The Journey Back. You start outside the car after it has collided into a tree. Your sister is missing, and no one seems to be around...

What follows is a series of clues that leads you back through the series of events that led you to this point, in a low-poly art style that's quite pleasing to spend time in.

Platforms: Android | iOS

Price: $1.95 | AU$2.37 | £1.34 (Android); $1.99 | AU$2.49 | £1.49 (iOS)

Caption by / Photo by MarWin Studios

The remake of a 1993 classic, Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers, is a rather more old-school point-and-click adventure.

Containing the voice talents of, among others, Mark Hamill, Tim Curry and Michael Dorn, you play Gabriel Knight, bookstore owner and aspiring writer, solving a series of murders. The port to a touchscreen interface is a little rough, but the original game is compelling enough to make it worth a visit (or revisit).

Trailer

Platforms: Android | iOS

Price: Free

Caption by / Photo by Phoenix Online Studios

I'm a little bit of a sucker for pretty zen puzzle games. In Prune, you need to grow a tree so that its branches can reach the light and flower. Your little seedling, however, is hindered by a series of obstacles. You need to trim the branches so that the plant doesn't break, and so that it can channel its energy into creating longer branches where you need them. It's peaceful and sweet.

Trailer

Platforms: iOS

Price: $3.99 | AU$4.99 | £2.99

Caption by / Photo by Joel McDonald

Time for a confession: I was never very good at solving Rubik's Cubes. So I'm not really good at Prismatica, which is sort of like what if a messed-up hex-based colour grid had to be put back in colour order. Some points on the grid can be rotated, which allows you to move the hexes around. It's actually sort of relaxing, as there are no move limits, so you can sit there rotating away until everything clicks neatly back into place.

Trailer

Platforms: Android

Price: $2.99 | AU$3.24 | £1.79

Caption by / Photo by Loomus Games

It you're feeling a little blue about the whole Age of Sigmar debacle and need a dose of old-school, Arcane Magic might be the medicine you're looking for.

Based on the 1995 physical board game of the same name, it sees you leading a team of up to three famous Warhammer wizards in two single-player strategic campaigns (with more in development). The developer is also giving away a professionally painted mini to celebrate the game's release, so make sure you stop by the website and check that out, too.

Trailer | Developer walkthrough

Platforms: iOS

Price: $9.99 | AU$12.99 | £7.99

Caption by / Photo by Turbo Tape Games

You thought the Five Nights at Freddy's saga was over (actually you probably didn't because developer Scott Cawthon has been teasing the fourth installment for months, but shhhh). In this new chapter in the story of the Freddy Fazbear animatronics, you play a young boy locked in his bedroom with plush toy versions of the animatronics, at night, alone, with nothing but a flashlight for comfort.

If that doesn't sound like a recipe for terror, then I don't know what is.

Free demo

Trailer

Platforms: Android

Price: $2.99 | AU$4.10 | £2.32

Caption by / Photo by Scott Cawthon

Everything coming out of Amazon Game Studios this year has been absolutely top notch, and To-fu Fury is no exception. The side-scrolling puzzle game sees you slinging a piece of ninja tofu around a series of increasingly tricky levels to collect chi. Weird concept, excellent execution, stupidly fun little puzzler.

Trailer

Platforms: Android (via Amazon) | iOS

Price: $1.99 (Android); $1.99 | AU$2.49 | £1.49 (iOS)

Caption by / Photo by Amazon Game Studio

Kris Pixton has been quietly putting out his Pathpix series of games for some years now, and they're a delightfully puzzling, entirely different take on "paint by numbers." Each image is laid out in a grid, and you have to draw paths between the squares to fill in colour, matching numbers. For example, two squares labelled 4 need to be joined by two blank squares between them, making up four squares total. Pathpix Max is the most ambitious yet, and it'll keep you pleasantly occupied for hours.

Platforms: iOS

Price: $3.99 | AU$4.99 | £2.99

Caption by / Photo by Kris Pixton

Maths puzzler The Mesh doesn't look particularly prepossessing from the screenshots, but its extraordinarily satisfying to play. Numbers are placed on a grid. You have to match the number in the middle by adding and subtracting the numbers around it. Any number can be positive or negative, and you can make more than one match for the central number, but the number of hexes on the grid in the next level will be subtracted by any numbers left over that don't match, so the aim is to match the central number as closely as possible.

Trailer

Platforms: iOS

Price: $1.99 | AU$2.49 | £1.49

Caption by / Photo by Creatiu Lab

Waiting for a particular game that got an iOS release a while ago?

Alphabear (Free)

Fearless Fantasy ($2.99 | AU$4.05 | £2.30)

Sword of Xolan (Free)

Sometimes You Die ($1.99 | AU$1.99 | £1.29)

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions ($4.99 | AU$6.47 | £3.82)

Xenowerk ($1.99 | AU$2.42 | £1.42)

Evocreo ($0.99 | AU$1.24 | £0.78)

Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf (Free)

Atomas (Free)

Caption by / Photo by tinyBuild
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