Looking for a new game to play on your mobile device? Here's our pick of the best released in November 2013.
Drawing its inspiration from The Legend of Zelda, Oceanhorn is one of those games that proves the gaming power of mobile devices. It's beautifully designed, with a story that goes back 1000 years to a catastrophe that let loose a monster on the world: the mysterious sea-dwelling beast Oceanhorn. Our protagonist has to sail the world in his boat, solving puzzles and dungeons to figure out what Oceanhorn is — and why it's following him.
Cover-based touchscreen shooter Epoch 2 picks up where its predecessor leaves off. Charged with protecting the princess, you have to collect the resources to revive her from cryosleep, battling your way across a war-torn city. The touch controls are every bit as slick as the first game, and new gameplay mechanics have been included for a fresh, yet familiar experience.
Every night when Alice dreams, she goes to a fantastical world. There, her fears are made manifest — and the player must guide her through, solving puzzles and meeting the strange dwellers to help her face and overcome her fears. Inspired by the music of Spanish band Vetusta Morla, it's paced at the player's speed — beautifully hand-drawn in ink, pencil and watercolours, it's an experience about exploration and discovery rather than combat.
Shane Brouwer, who made retro side-scroller Super Lemonade Factory all by himself, has brought Andre and Liselot back for a sequel, solving lemonade factory puzzles around Sydney, New York and a military base. The game has been rebuilt from the ground up with a bunch of new features, including the ability to play your own music, new gameplay mechanics, third-party controller support and Twitter integration.
From the developer of Cytus comes another rhythm game, Deemo. We're not entirely sure what's happening with the story — something about a girl with amnesia and a tree growing out of a piano — but you don't need that for the gameplay. It's a lot like games like Dance Dance Revolution, where the notes fall towards a line, and you have to tap the note the instant it touches the line. Even on the easy level, it's surprisingly challenging, and the hand-painted art and classical music makes it a pleasure to play.
Coming from a Melbourne-based studio, endless runner Zombitsu offers a couple of twists on the genre. First, you're a ninja. (We thought it was a lady-ninja and were a little disappointed to find out otherwise, but oh well.) Second, while you're running, you're killing zombies; not by jumping on them, but by slashing them with your sword and shooting fireballs. It's a nicely designed game that adds some well executed variation on a tried-and-true formula.
From the maker of last year's Battle of the Bulge comes yet another historically based war game for iPad. This time, you're fighting the biggest land battle of World War II: the Battle of Moscow, which ran from October 1941 to January 1942. You can choose to play as either the Soviets defending their homeland or the invading Axis, using deep turn-based strategy over several game modes. The app also includes extensive commentary and photos so that you can learn while you play.
Board games are great and all, but it seems there's a lot to be gained from making the port across to touchscreens. Wizards of the Coast's 2012 Dungeons & Dragons title, Lords of the Waterdeep, has just done so, and it's bringing the goods. Up to six players can take turns on a single iPad, either online or by passing the iPad around, or a single player can go up against AI to gain control of the city of Waterdeep.
We've seen a few Tamagotchi-style virtual pets arrive for mobile (including an official Tamagotchi one). This is another, but it's adorably drawn. Your Fugu is a little pet that needs stroking, feeding and attention, and will reward you in turn with cuteness. It's admittedly not really our thing, but its well made and the kids will love it.
We think it's pretty safe to say that "monochrome" has become something of a trope and is well on its way to cliché territory. Nevertheless, Darklings is a little different to what we normally see rendered in the style. A side-scrolling brawler of sorts, instead of tapping to defeat legions of foes, it employs a more intricate mechanic. Each foe has a symbol on its head; to defeat it, you have to replicate the symbol by drawing on the screen with your finger. It makes gameplay surprisingly more complex and fresh.
As the inexplicably underpants-clad Dennis, you have to ride your tiny bicycle over a variety of increasingly deadly frozen terrains, collecting shards of ice along the way. The whys and wherefores elude us, but it's charmingly animated (and tricky to play), and we love that the environments dynamically shift and warp around you as you cycle for dear life.