Best mobile games of September 2014

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

Michelle Starr
Michelle Starr is CNET's science editor, and she hopes to get you as enthralled with the wonders of the universe as she is. When she's not daydreaming about flying through space, she's daydreaming about bats.
Michelle Starr
1 of 20 Ubisoft

Valiant Hearts: The Great War

Ubisoft's Valiant Hearts -- made, like Child of Light, with the studio's UbiArt Framework -- has been hailed as a beautiful example of storytelling. The 2D side-scrolling puzzle game takes place in World War I, and you play through the stories of five characters: Karl, a German soldier separated from his love; Emile, a French farmer who becomes a POW; Anna, a Belgian battlefield nurse; Freddie, an American soldier; and George, a British pilot. Although interspersed with humour, the game aspires to show the human side of war, with the actual gameplay almost an adjunct. But the stories are so beautifully told that it's worth your time just to experience them. (Trailer)

Platforms: iOS

Price: AU$6.49 | $4.99 | £2.99

2 of 20 Bossa Studios

Twelve a Dozen

Bossa Studios is the team behind Surgeon Simulator, but don't expect to find any similarities. Twelve A Dozen is a side-scrolling puzzle platformer with an interesting gameplay mechanic. You play Twelve, a resident of the microscopic town of Dozenopolis. Disaster has struck, and Dozenopolis is falling apart -- but little Twelve is on the case. As she journeys to fix the town, she can add and subtract numbers to solve puzzles -- making the game both educational (for children) and fun (for everyone). (Trailer)

Platforms: iOS

Price: AU$6.49 | $4.99 | £2.99

3 of 20 Rovio

Angry Birds: Stella

Putting aside the "Slap the colour pink on it, et voila now girls can enjoy it", Angry Birds: Stella is actually a pretty decent entry in the extensive Angry Birds stable. The graphics are top-notch, and the new group of birds brings something new to the gameplay, even though their abilities are similar to --if not the same as -- those of birds we've seen before. It's also designed to be a little easier, with an on-screen guide to show you the best trajectory in which to fire your birds, which makes it a great starter title for the new Angry Birds player. (Trailer)

Platforms: Android | iOS

Price: Free

4 of 20 Coffee Stain Studios

Goat Simulator

Because if you're going to play a goat blowing stuff up, you may as well play a goat blowing stuff up on mobile, why not. (Trailer)

Platforms: Android | iOS

Price: AU$6.49 | $4.99 | £2.99

5 of 20 Nicolas Liatti


As the name suggests, Stealth is a game about sneaking. You play an assassin completing a series of missions, infiltrating bases or getting through foe-riddled locations to complete an objective. The catch is that guards and other enemies have weapons much stronger than your armour -- so getting caught and ending up in combat is the worst possible option for you. It's no Assassin's Creed in terms of parkour, but that's not what Stealth is about: it's about carefully watching your enemies, learning their patterns, and striking them down when the window of opportunity opens. (Trailer)

Platforms: iOS

Price: AU$2.49 | $1.99 | £1.49

6 of 20 Square Enix

Dragon Quest I

As promised, Squenix is rolling out the Dragon's Quest series, so expect to see more of these in the month's to come. This month, it's the first game in the franchise, at an unexpectedly low price for what we've come to expect from the developer.

Platforms: Android | iOS

Price: AU$3.19 | $2.99 | £1.99 (Android); AU$3.79 | $2.99 | £1.99 (iOS)

7 of 20 Santa Ragione


Rarely -- if ever -- have we seen an endless runner with as much style as Fotonica. It bills itself as "a first-person game about running, jumping, sense of speed, and discovery", and that's accurate. But it's also incomplete. Fotonica is hard -- and beautiful, in a minimal, wire-frame sort of way. All you ever see of your avatar are two hands in front of you as you run through the mysterious, neon environments, holding a finger on the screen to continue your momentum, and lifting to leap chasms. And it's all about perfection: the perfect speed, the perfectly timed jump, the perfect score. (Trailer)

Platform: iOS

Price: AU$3.79 | $2.99 | £1.99

8 of 20 Eleftherios Christodoulatos

Goblin Sword

If you want an RPG experience that isn't a rabbit warren of skill trees and gear upgrades and endless buffs, Goblin Sword has you covered. The story is pretty simple: monsters have invaded your village, you have to slay them. It's a side-scrolling action platformer with its roots pretty firmly in the arcade era, and the gameplay takes place in levels where you have to slay foes and defeat traps -- and, of course, you do get loot and upgrades. It's actually darn near perfect. (Trailer)

Platforms: iOS

Price: AU$1.29 | $0.99 |£0.69

9 of 20 Boboshi

Bullseye! Geography Challenge

Boboshi is a small indie studio based in Stockholm, Sweden that primarily makes education apps for its local audience -- but occasionally busts out something for the rest of the world. A couple of years ago it was quiz game ExQuizit -- one of our favourites of its kind. Now, the team has released a new kind of knowledge app, and it's great. It's a map-based geography challenge, where you're tasked with locating places on a globe. It could be capital cities, or buildings, natural features, or monuments. And it's surprisingly good fun, allowing you to learn geography in a way that doesn't feel condescending or difficult.

Platforms: Android

Price: Free

10 of 20 Foursaken Media

Phantom Rift

This is one from the team behind Block Fortress. It's an RPG based in an unstable, floating-voxel-based world, inspired by Mega Man Battle Network and Bastion. It also reminds us rather strongly of last month's Almightree and Kitfox Games' Shattered Planet. As you explore the world, you'll fight monsters in a system that combines real-time, lane-based combat with spellcasting -- but the spells you can use are limited by how much power you have and what spells are actually in your bag. The game also offers extraordinary depth in terms of character customisation -- it's a brilliant complement to you RPG collection. (Trailer)

Platforms: Android | iOS

Price: AU$3.29 | $2.99 | £1.99 (Android); AU$3.79 | $2.99 | £1.99 (iOS)

11 of 20 Chillingo

Anomaly Defenders

Anomaly: Warzone Earth flipped tower defence on its head by introducing tower offence, and the final game in the series has flipped that around again -- this time, the humans have started fighting back -- and you have to defend your homeworld against their invasion in a series of fast-paced, increasingly difficult (and jaw-droppingly gorgeous) battles. (Trailer)

Platforms: Android | iOS

Price: AU$3.99 | $3.99 (Android); AU$6.49 | $4.99 | £2.99 (iOS)

12 of 20 Bento


Cosmophony is a game that sublimely mixes minimalist graphics, a fantastic electronic soundtrack, on-rails arcade shooting and rhythm into a heady mix that's extraordinarily hard to put down. And if that combination doesn't thrill you to your toe-tips, there's something wrong with your heart. (Trailer)

Platforms: Android | iOS | Windows Phone

Price: AU$3.86 | $2.99 | £1.99 (Android); AU$3.79 | $2.99 | £1.99 (iOS); AU$2.99 | $2.99 | £1.99 (Windows Phone)

13 of 20 Bulkypix

Nimble Squiggles

This little puzzle game is all about guiding your "squiggles" -- little wriggly-tadpole-looking things -- into the coloured portals by dragging them around the screen with your finger. You can't go too fast, or some get left behind, caught behind obstacles, or destroyed on hazards; and coloured barriers will only let squiggles of the same colour through. Each level is a maze of planning, in a charmingly hand-drawn style. (Trailer)

Platforms: Android | iOS

Price: AU$1.28 | $1.19 | £0.69 (Android -- launch special); AU$2.49 | $1.99 | £1.49 (iOS)

14 of 20 Fezziwig Games

Escape the Hellevator

For those who are unfamiliar with "escape the room" style games, they're a version of point-and-click where you have to search your environment for clues and objects that allow you to escape the room you're in and move onto the next room. Escape the Hellevator is based on that style of gameplay -- set in an elevator, where you play Clarence Ridgeway, on his way to the emergency department -- if you can escape the clutches of a mysterious priest intent on sending you straight to hell for your sins. It's a fascinating use of the format -- unfolding the protagonist's life, room by room, with eternity on the line. (Trailer)

Platforms: Android | iOS

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

15 of 20 Eric Froemling


Originally made for Ouya, BombSquad has made the port across to Android. It's a frantic, multiplayer arena game based -- strangely enough -- on blowing everyone up, with a massive range of explosive, costumes and minigames -- all with the a guarantee of explosive mayhem. (Trailer)

Platforms: Android

Price: Free

16 of 20 ice cold muffin


Real-time strategy title Ice has distilled the genre down to its purest form: nothing but bases, units and attacking team. The aim, of course, is to capture the most bases. There are five teams: you and four AI teams. You have to direct your swarms to conquer bases, but you can only attack those bases attached by lines in your team's colour; and you cannot separate your swarm -- if you direct your swarm to a target, the entire swarm will go, leaving your conquered bases undefended until more units can regenerate. It's done a masterful job of picking out only the essential elements around which to build a game. (Trailer)

Platforms: Android

Price: Free

17 of 20 Flow Studio


We do like our quiz games. Iconic is a little bit like 4 Pics 1 Word, in that it shows you an image and tasks you with figuring out what it means, choosing from a selection of letters at the bottom of the screen. However, rather than photographs, it uses pictograms -- which you have to solve, figuring out which band, film or famous person the images represent. It's sleekly designed and surprisingly addictive. (Trailer)

Platforms: Android | iOS

Price: Free

18 of 20 Room 8 Studio

Piano City

Piano City originally launched some time ago -- but, bafflingly, the game's text was entirely in Cyrillic, which made unplayable to a great percentage of the audience. This relaunch brings not only English, but a hefty update as well. It's a rhythm game in a similar style to Harmonix's offerings, only on a piano: you play the notes as they hit the bar, with the difference being that you have a much wider range of notes rather than Rock Band's four lanes. It's actually really good fun, with a campaign mode including quests, and versus multiplayer. (Trailer)

Platforms: iOS

Price: Free

19 of 20 Scott Cawthon

Five Nights at Freddy's

We don't have a slide dedicated to iOS releases that follow previous Android releases, so this one's going to have to stand alone: August's stellar Android horror release (also on Steam) came out for iOS last month; if you're a horror fan, it's definitely worth picking up.

Platforms: Android | iOS

Price: $AU$3.21 | $2.99 | £1.99 (Android); AU$3.79 | $2.99 | £1.99 (iOS)

20 of 20 Foursaken Media

Out last month for Android

Waiting for a particular game that got an iOS release a while ago? Here are our picks.

Unmechanical (AU$3.29 | $2.99)

The Nightmare Cooperative (AU$4.52 | $3.99)

Star Wars: Commander (Free)

Block Fortress (AU$2.20 | $1.99)

Bio Inc (Free)

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