Not many games let you ride on the back of a laser-spewing velociraptor (although Ubisoft is likely taking notes). Then again, Punch Quest takes a more aggressive approach to the endless runner, having the player use an assortment of attacks and weapons to take out the legions of enemies between the protagonist and his unreachable utopia. In that respect it has more in common with classic sidescrolling beat-’em-ups, but with a vast array of power-ups and weapons, not to mention one eye on the leaderboards at all times, it’ll be a quest you won’t be abandoning in a hurry.
A respected elder of the matchthree subgenre, Bejeweled Blitz’s dominance has been threatened in the last few years by Candy Crush Saga. But where King’s puzzle game implemented paywalls and cheap tricks, Blitz kept things relatively simple and is all the better for it.
A simple on-rails side-scroller that takes mere seconds to grasp but will drain hours before you put it down. Jetpack Joyride’s plucky premise masterfully matches simplistic design with addictive gameplay, while a vast pool of customisation options and upgrades keeps you firmly hooked. Get strapped in and brace yourself for a helluva ride.
PLANTS VS.ZOMBIES 2
Courting some controversy since adopting a freemium business model, Plants Vs. Zombies 2 nevertheless retains the endearing brilliance of PopCap’s original tower defence game – just ignore all the superfluous microtransaction frills that invade the screen intermittently.
NEW STAR SOCCER
A football management game with a neat twist: take complete control of one up-and-coming footballer both on and off the pitch. This includes keeping their social affairs in order, maintaining a destructive gambling addiction and making sure not to piss-off your manager. The on-field action is suitably captivating to boot.
THE WALKING DEAD: THE GAME
While only the first episode of Telltale Games’ critically revered take on the comic book is available for free (likewise for the developer’s The Wolf Among Us), those who have yet to check-in with Lee, Clementine and their band of misfit survivors would do well starting here. Drawn with loving reverence to its source material, while packing in more emotional wallop than the entirety of the brand’s own big-budget television drama, the first episode does much to draw vivid portraits of each of the main players. A warning: after a couple of hours playing this you’ll have an appetite for
HEROES OF ORDER & CHAOS
A genre that is beginning to pick up steam on tablets, Heroes Of Order & Chaos is quickly becoming the quintessential MOBA experience on mobile devices. With new characters to use each week for free there’s plenty of variety on offer and the intuitive control scheme proves that you don’t need a mouse and keyboard to make MOBA work.
HEARTHSTONE: HEROES OF WARCRAFT
Blizzard took everyone by surprise earlier in the year when it released its Warcraft spin-off card game, Hearthstone, and its tablet iteration successfully translates the action to touchscreen
devices without diluting the gameplay experience. Hugely popular with the PC community, the mobile iteration has garnered its own impressive following due to its intuitive touch controls and convenient portability. With Hearthstone, Blizzard has done for card games what it did with World Of Warcraft and the MMO: created a genredominating experience both rich in depth and addictive.
CUT THE ROPE
Cut The Rope’s popularity has endured as long as Angry Birds’ (if not quite matching its rival in lucrative marketing opportunities). Accessible gameplay (slice some string and feed a dino-house-petthing some candy – as simple as that), challenging design and charming visuals – it’s mobile gaming 101.
ZEN PINBALL HD
The next best thing to owning your own pinball table, Zen Pinball has cornered the market on virtual facsimiles of popular cabinets from all eras. The base game is enjoyable enough but there’s
always Star Wars, Marvel and other licensed tables that can be purchased within the app.