Four amazing games we think deserve a little more attention
Our mission is to help you get the most from your iPhone and iPad. This often means scouring the App Store, to find and review for you the very best apps and games. But the App Store is huge, meaning there’s no way we can cover everything.
So as we head towards the end of the year, it’s time for our traditional round-up of new and updated games from the previous 12 months that we reckon deserve a bit more attention – and a place on your Home screen.
If you missed it, see our Best Apps of 2019 roundup.
These choices are all fantastic games that should suit all players, whether you like thoughtful puzzlers or frenetic arcade fare. And they’re all standalone titles – Apple Arcade is great, but it’s had enough coverage already. Our first choice is strictly for the kids but the rest cater to adults too.
$4/£4 • v1.0.3 • 105.4 MB • By AVOKIDDO
Some parents might bristle at the thought of shoving an iPad into the mitts of a young child. However, although screen time should be moderated, there’s evidence to show the right apps and games can be beneficial rather than problematic. And Thinkrolls has long shown itself to be in the right camp.
This latest entry in the series is easily the best. It transfers the trundling protagonists to interstellar climes, rolling along and through far-flung planets, encountering all kinds of oddball alien beings and traps.
As ever, each individual screen is a logic test to be defeated, and the puzzles are handily split into those designed for ages 5 and up, and those for 8 and up. In our experience, though, even younger kids will have a blast with this one.
$4/£4 • v1.0.3 • 249.1 MB • By ARTE Experience
Some games are just there. Others beg to be noticed. Vectronom is very much bopping away in the latter group. The game comprises smallish levels of minimalist shapes, and tasks you with getting from one end to the other. That would be easy if Vectronom’s world didn’t move on the beat.
You must therefore carefully watch the patterns of floors, holes, and obstacles that shift before your very eyes, and swipe in time to pumping electronic tunes. Sometimes, you leap into empty space, safe in the knowledge ground will appear on the beat as you do so. Quite often, you mess up and get impaled instead.
This is compelling stuff, with vibrant visuals, head-nodding tunes, and oddball gameplay that sits partway between arcade test, path-finding puzzle, and dancing.
Free or $2/£2 • v3.2.1 • 57.2 MB • By Colin Lane Games AB
Games creator Colin Lane has form in deranged larger-than-life titles where protagonists bounce around the screen, as if living in a world primarily comprising trampolines. But whereas his previous efforts mostly centered on decidedly unrealistic takes on sport, Knight Brawl finds you using all kinds of weaponry to duff up armored opponents.
It’s gleefully stupid. As you dart left and right, bouncing around and swinging your weapon, barely in control, you can’t help but laugh. However, it is possible to gain a semblance of mastery over your actions; and on doing so, Knight Brawl quickly opens up.
You soon discover the game is more than a gimmick. In fact, given that the title is free (or a piffling two bucks to remove the ads), there’s loads going on here, from mass brawls to storming castles and stealing bling from rich kings, like you’re a bouncy Robin Hood.
$4/£4 • v1.01 • 119.8 MB • By Sparse Game Development Inc.
If your idea of gaming is about chilling rather than bounding around like a maniac, Spring Falls will be more to your taste. It takes place on a mountainside of precise geometric shapes that resemble a finely hewed Giant’s Causeway. Dotted about are thirsty shoots, and it’s your job to get water to them.
The path of water is dictated by erosion – only here, erosion happens the instant you tap a rock. Get the order right, and grey rocks become green as grass starts to grow. If that reaches a shoot, it will blossom.
There’s no hand-holding here, but also no stress. Spring Falls leaves you to discover its secrets, but there’s no pressure while doing so. As such, it’s a beautiful and graceful puzzler about bringing wildflowers to life that’s ideal fodder for a cold winter’s night.