Flippfly's Race the Sun borrows a concept from Tiny Wings: You have until the sun goes down to get as far as you possibly can. In
execution, it's vastly different.
Race the Sun is a third-person racing game in which you pilot a solar-powered craft across an alien landscape,
dodging obstacles and collecting multipliers and pickups that extend daylight,
giving you more time to race.
Every 24 hours, the landscape resets and changes,
which means every day, the game has something different to offer, while
completing challenges allows you to add upgrades to your ship.
The clean, simple graphics combined with the responsive
controls make the experience feel somehow serene, even when you're dodging for
Sentinel Command is a strategy game with a massive difference: You're commanding a small force guarding a strategically important resource, far from the front line of the battle. It's a bold choice, and an interesting one, since the game makes no bones about reminding you that bigger action is taking place elsewhere.
That doesn't mean Sentinel Command is boring, though. You have to fight strategic battles against guerilla raiders and strategically allocate resources to the frontline to aid the main war effort, all the while hunting out enemy bases in your zone and quashing them.
Hipster Whale of Crossy Road fame has teamed up with Bandai
Namco for a sort of "endless runner" take on Pac-Man, based on the
famous Map 256 glitch.
How does it work? Really well, actually: It takes place in an endless Pac-Man
map populated with ghosties and power-ups. You can go at your own pace, and
even backtrack, but hard on your little Pac-heels is The Glitch, gradually
swallowing up the screen. If you're too slow, you'll get all eaten up.
In all honesty, it's not as compelling to play
as Crossy Road, but that leaves it in the "still pretty compelling"
category. Of all the Pac-Man titles that have been tried over the years, it's the freshest and most interesting take on the little Pac that we've
seen in some time.
If you're the kind of person who likes to keep a notepad
on hand while you're gaming, The Guides will be for you. It consists of a series of
cryptic puzzles, a rabbit hole of maths
and translations and conversions, with a set of clues that, in some cases,
serve only to make the experience more confusing before you hit upon an
If you like the experience of diving into an ARG, The Guides
is a brilliant way to experience the sort of problem solving involved without
ending up smeared across the web. It also comes with a separate companion app,
The Guides Compendium (Android
which offers a separate narrative and its own mystery to unravel while providing clues and background about what's going on in the main game.
Final Fantasy VII is widely regarded as the best game in the entire Final Fantasy
franchise. It's due for a console
remaster, but if you're looking for a version you can fit in your backpack and
play on the train, a nostalgia trip, or if you've never played it and have
always wanted to, the original has made its way across to iOS.
Michael has woken up, memory lost, in a post-apocalyptic
world in terror, where humans huddle in refugee camps and a mysterious sickness
brings vast telepathic powers, madness and death. This bleak and darkly
atmospheric point-and-click adventure
explores a world on a deadline and a confused man racing against it to try
and stop reality itself from disappearing.
Galactic Keep is the deepest iOS game from developer Gilded Skull to
date, and it's an utter delight, combining those luridly
coloured, hand-drawn visuals with a pretty magnificent old-school tabletop RPG
experience. You roll the dice on a sci-fi adventure to complete missions,
moving across the board and engaging in combat with a variety of foes, alien
and robot alike. As is appropriate for a good RPG, though, it's not dependent
on the luck of the throw: You also have to be able to use the numbers you get
strategically to put yourself in the best position to win.
Your space ship has crashed and it's being overrun by hostile aliens. In this procedurally generated permadeath dungeon crawler, you and your crew have to defend your ship's crystal core from enemies while exploring to find an escape.
As you progress through the game, you unlock new ships and new
crew members with different stats and abilities, as well as capacity for a
greater number of crew members to deploy on exploration missions and protect the
crystal, gathering resources to try and keep them alive.
Most actions are automated, such as repairs and attacking,
which means your main role is to make sure resources (such as crew deployment
and upgrades) are allocated correctly. It's surprisingly complex for something
that requires so little micromanagement.
Stylish stealth puzzler and noir adventure Calvino Noir puts
you in the role of several actors in a play about revolution in 1930s Europe,
inspired by Blade Runner. Gameplay is pretty simple, and your objectives are
clearly labelled, with each character bringing specialities to the table to
advance the plot in various ways, but it's as much about atmosphere and
storytelling as it is about your actions as a player. It's quiet, peaceful,
poignant and beautifully animated.
Whispering Willows comes with a little bit of a caveat: The
floating controls are a little fiddly to work with and are probably best suited
to a larger screen, such as a tablet, or a Bluetooth third-party controller.
That said, it's a lovely little side-scrolling adventure game with a fun
mechanic. You play Elena, a teen girl searching for her missing father. Along
the way, you discover that you can separate your spirit from your body, which
leads to using your "ghost" to solve puzzles in a spooky, seemingly
Unless you've actually
played Forest Spirit already, you've not played a tower defence game like
Forest Spirit. The forest is under attack from nasty bugs. You're the benevolent
druid whose job it is to save the forest by using your
powers to plant upgradeable defensive flora that will keep the bugs away from
the forest's heart tree. Other plants generate energy, which you can use to
plant trees or cast spells, all set amidst a lush green forest.
If there's a word to describe Gathering Sky, it's joyful. The
aim is to control a flock of birds as it soars through the sky, following
slipstreams and gathering up stray birds, growing bigger and bigger, swooping
around obstacles over the changing landscape. The music has been created
especially for the experience by the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and
the result is an exhilarating flight into somewhere far removed from mundane
The Path to Luma is an odd little game, developed by a power
company ostensibly to raise awareness for solar energy. Although the majority
of NRG Energy's power plants are fossil-fuelled, it has been making efforts
towards more sustainable options, so this makes sense.
To the company's credit, the game, made by developer Phosphor of Dark Meadow fame, is
actually really good, from its stylish low-poly graphics to its puzzle-driven
gameplay. SAM, a sort of astronaut robot, is deployed to restore life to
sad planets by filling them with solar power. This is accomplished by solving
puzzles, opening gates and crossing chasms on tiny 3D worlds to reach the goal. It's an unusual surprise, but welcome.
I'm not entirely sure how, um, "good" this game is, but it gets top marks for originality. It's about a sniper who
forgot to, well, open their eyes, and it takes place entirely on a black
screen. You just sort of have to fire aimlessly and hope for the best, at least
in arcade mode. In Pro mode, you're given a four-character Morse-style code,
and you have to feel around to find the vibration that matches, which makes it
a little less random, though no less silly.
We're keeping our fingers crossed for a multiplayer mode.
Following the original Ski Safari launched in 2012, and Ski Safari Adventure Time in 2013, comes the official sequel, Ski Safari 2, bringing more endless skiing, snow stunt fun.
The basic gameplay is the same. You race through the snowy landscape to escape an avalanche, picking up power-ups in the form of animals and objects, and trying to avoid obstacles along the way. The more tricks and stunts you perform without crashing, the better your multiplier and score.
The new game brings a playable female character, swipe-based stunts and a new multi-device multiplayer mode so you can try to out-ski your friends.
Inspired by old-school isometric RPG dungeon crawlers, Demon's Rise is a stellar effort from a small team out of Canada. Inspired by games like Neverwinter Nights and tabletop wargaming, it sees you leading a team of intrepid explorers through a series of dungeons with all the trappings: turn-based combat, upgradeable character classes, loot and 24 heroes for seemingly endless party configurations.
In 2000, a side-scrolling Tomb Raider game was released for the Game Boy Color. Lara Croft ran around collecting keys and artefacts, killing snakes and monsters, and solving puzzles. I spent hours and hours playing and replaying. Whether or not Square Enix Montreal intended to channel that experience with Lara Croft Go, it's exactly where I go in my head as I play, and I loved every minute of it.
The game is similar in style to the runaway hit Hitman Go, a strategy game where you move Agent 47 around a board to take out targets without them seeing you. In Lara Croft Go, the experience gets more complex: Not only do you have to take out enemies from behind or the side, you have to navigate crumbling ruins and solve obstacle mazes. Luckily the move counter has been removed so you can take your time, and each level is short enough that you don't lose massive amounts of time if you have to start again. It's a fresh new take that manages to capture the old-school spirit of Tomb Raider, and I suspect it will end up being played again and again.