We really do believe that Monument Valley is going to be one
of the finest mobile games of 2014. The Escher-inspired puzzle game is strange,
and lovely, a deeply rewarding rabbit hole of an experience. You control the
tiny Princess Ida on a mysterious mission in a place called Monument Valley,
made up of non-Euclidean structures populated by belligerent black birds. The nature of her mission is part of the splendid discovery experience built into
the game as you guide Ida around the monuments, twisting and sliding to shift
perspectives in order to make your way through the levels.
There have been a few attempts to port the collectible card
game experience to mobile, with varying levels of success (Solforge is pretty great).
We don't know if Hearthstone is the best, but it's definitely up there, with
all the polish and shine Blizzard can muster. It also has some decent
strategy to get into, with nine playable classes, each with their own
strengths and weaknesses, as well as the ability to custom-build your own
decks, breaking down cards you don't need to craft new ones. There's more to
it, of course, but the tutorials are breezily intuitive -- and you can get some
in-game goodies for World of Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo by completing
If you ever wanted to be the captain of your own spaceship…
well, there are several simulators out there, but few with the appeal of indie
darling FTL (Faster Than Light). In it, you are the captain of your ship in a
randomly generated universe, trying to deliver critical information to your
allies while surrounded by hostiles. The game itself is strategy-based: you
have to carefully manage resources to keep your ship moving, diverting
them in times of crisis to keep from getting blown up. It can get crazy
difficult -- but it's worth the ride.
favourite little clockwork Knight has made a return. There's not a lot that's
actually changed between Wind-up Knight and Wind-up Knight 2 in terms of
gameplay -- you're still playing a coin-collecting, hazard-avoiding,
monster-slaying side-scroller, but it's a very well made one, and it gets
pretty challenging pretty quickly. It's also added side-quests to round out the
gameplay: each level has three objectives you can complete separately for extra
coins -- plus, it's one of those rare games that doesn't require you to make
in-app purchases in order to play or win.
which of Pendleton Ward's creation is the best is a futile discussion (but it's
totally Catbug). Fly
Catbug Fly! is pretty much just an endless runner, but it's a really cute one.
You have to guide Catbug along a side-scrolling path, tapping to gain height
and collecting items along the way, which you can deposit in portals for in-game
cash. You can then use this to buy Catbug cool little costumes. Not the most
conceptually brilliant or in-depth game we've ever seen, but, well, Catbug.
is a relaxing colour-based puzzler in the vein of Color Zen. In it, your
screen is divided in two, with coloured shapes on both sides. The aim is to balance
the screen so that the colours are divided evenly, with just enough difficulty
to engage the mind. With no scoring and no timers, it's the kind of experience that is just right to wind down and decompress.
It's very rare that you see a major franchise tie-in that
works in a new or interesting way. Hitman Go spins off from Square Enix's
Hitman series, and it's very different to its stealth shooter forebears.
It's a board game with a series of predefined paths laid out along a grid, and
you have to move an Agent 47 piece to take out the other pieces. You can only
take them out from behind or from the side, though, so it requires some tricky
is one for your stable of survival arcade titles, alongside WaveWave, Super Hexagon and Pivvot -- and it brings its own take to the genre.
You're travelling at a breakneck speed along a rail (well, the outside of a
twisting, turning tube), and the aim is to avoid the obstacles in your path by
holding or tilting your device. That's it… but it's gorgeously executed in
futuristic black and neon blue, with a pumping electronic soundtrack to keep
the adrenaline high. Add some really smooth controls to the mix, and
Unpossible is a winner.
Eye Crime isn't actually dissimilar to Hitman Go, although it's rather more
noirish in tone. You play the role of Rothko, a criminal with a "third
eye". It's played out in a top-down perspective, and your role is to nab
the loot and make your escape, all while evading the guards. You can't avoid
their gaze -- which is displayed by a blue area -- but you can see where
they're heading in order to move around in the opposite direction. There's
plenty of hard-boiled narration from our antihero, and a blues double-bass soundtrack
keeps up the Chandleresque tone.
month in procedural deathlabyrinths, we have Wayward Souls, a nostalgic trip down permadeath lane.
Inspired by games such as Spelunky and The Secret of Mana, it sees you taking
on the role of one of six character classes -- warrior, mage, rogue,
adventurer, spellsword and cultist -- to destroy the evil that is terrorising
the land. Of course. But it's a survival of the fittest world out there, and
the game is not kind. There's something tremendously fun, though, about the
high-stakes hack-and-slash it has to offer.
the creator of the beautifully designed Machinarium
comes Botanicula. There's something very sweet about it. You are in control of
a party of five friends who live in a tree, trying to save its last seed from a
devouring spider-thing. Like Machinarium, this involves solving point-and-click
style puzzles, collecting items to proceed down the tree. Each of your five
little tree-guys has a different skill, and you'll have to figure out which
little guy can complete which task, usually involving getting to a hard-to-reach
area. There's an element of exploration to it, too: as you journey, you'll come
across many small, strange creatures, each of which gives you a new collectible card.
If you like your stunt bike titles, Trials Frontier is up
there among the best. It has pretty standard gameplay: you have to ride your
(upgradeable) motorcycle along hazardous tracks, doing as many stunts as you
can while aiming for the best time -- but gravity is not your friend. It offers
a decent challenge, and if you're interested in a more casual experience,
spending money is entirely optional.
Flappy48 is the devil. Like combining steak and chips, though, it's a match made
in heaven. It puts together Flappy Bird and 2048 (which is based on Threes!).
You have to guide your numbers through the pipes, smooshing them together with
matching numbers to increase your score.
this is something amazing we haven't seen before: a point-and-click noir murder
mystery… that's procedurally generated. You have to investigate the crime,
interrogating suspects, searching for clues and trying to catch the killer before the killer catches you. Each time you play, it will be a different game,
leading to potentially hours and hours of gameplay.