And this month's best new iOS games are...
It'd be an understatement to say that the Apple App Store is a big place - there are thousands of new titles hitting its digital shelves each and every week.
It's an unprecedented situation that often results in great games being overlooked, buried under a mountain of soulless endless runners, tepid Candy Crush clones, and uninspired MMOs.
With that in mind, we want to shine a spotlight on those games fighting the good fight. Here are this month's most interesting new releases.
VOEZ (£free + IAP)
The developers behind manic rhythm game VOEZ assure me that, hidden somewhere behind the kaleidoscopic orgy of J-pop, is the remarkable tale of a group of high-schoolers pursuing their dreams of becoming the greatest band on the planet. Although I'd take that claim with a pinch of salt, because School If Rock this isn't.
What VOEZ is, however, is a buffet of trippy rhythmic heaven. It might not make sense at the best of times - and at the worst of times it'll have you wondering why cats would ever wear leather jackets - but it'll keep anyone with a passion for hitting notes in a satisfying sequence entertained all day long.
Warp Shift (£2.29)
Fishlab's quirky transdimensional puzzler is a bite-sized effort with a whole lot of heart. Despite being a decent enough chin-scratcher, Warp Shift isn't designed to leave you reeling with frustration, but rather to take you on a serene audio-visual voyage through time and space.
Perfect then, if you're after something a little more laid-back for your ride to the office.
Goat Simulator Waste of Space (£3.99)
The original Goat Simulator put us into the shoes - or rather hooves - of everyone's favourite mountain-dwelling mammal. It was a poignant, eye-opening glimpse inside the day-to-day lives of goats, and, I don't know about you, but I had no idea they wielded jetpacks with such grace.
It answered so many questions, but yet one remained: what would it be like to be a goat in space? Well, wonder no more, because Coffee Stain Studios knew our thirst for scientifically accurate goat trivia wouldn't be quenched that easily, which is why they've developed Goat Simulator Waste of Space.
Waste of Space answers the above question, and so much more, giving goat fanatics the chance to take to the stars and go where no bovidae - that's posh for goat - has gone before. Build colonies, helm starships, or float away into the abyss. The universe is your oyster.
Hatoful Boyfriend (£3.99)
Hatoful Boyfriend is a pigeon-dating simulator, that asks you, the newest (and only) human student at the prestigious St PigeoNation's Institute, to look for love in-between classes. Really, what more is there to say?
This is a dating simulator that demands you test out your best chat-up lines on actual birds. At this point, you're either in or you're out, but I've got a feeling curiosity might already be getting the better of you.
Battleplans (£free + IAP)
If I could, I'd include Battleplans on this month's list based on presentation alone. This strategy title is a joy to behold, and everything from the game's minute colour-coded troops to the cel-shaded world they inhabit pops with grin-inducing charm.
Alas, I can't actually include a game based on looks alone - that would be incredibly shallow - but fortunately, I don't have to. That's because C4M Prod's stylish battler is also a delight to play, and delivers a challenge that blends squad tactics with classic strategy gameplay to deliver an experience that'll test even the most seasoned veterans.
From Threes! to twofold inc. there have been a spate of clean-cut minimalist puzzlers on mobile recently, and all of them have trained us to crunch shapes, numbers, and colours together as if it's our day job. If only.
Unmatch, the newest kid on the block, wants you to forget everything you thought you knew, because this time around you'll be breaking down seemingly pre-solved puzzles to creating chaos out of order.
It's a fresh, subversive take on a genre that was becoming over-saturated, and that's exactly why it's deserving of your undying attention. Dare we say it, we think you'll be a match made in heaven.
Remember when I said I wouldn't feature a game just because it looks gorgeous? Well, I also won't neglect one purely because it doesn't conform to our modern beauty standards.
I'm hoping you'll do the same, because in spite of its rustic trappings - which, if you ask me, are actually rather charming - Imbroglio is a terrific deck-building, tactically-leaning, vintage dungeon crawler where the dungeon is the deck and the deck is the dungeon.
That last sentence might've confused you, so all you really need to know is that Michael Brough's moreish effort received an honourable mention for Excellence in Design at this year's Independent Games Festival. All of those indies surely can't be wrong.
From May's list: illi (£free + IAP)
A short, snappy, and undeniably beautiful one-touch platformer, illi proves once again that, when it comes to mobile gaming, sometimes less really is more.
Mind you, that's not to say illi is lacking in depth, and the steady addition of new traps, challenges, and mechanics ensures things stay interesting until the very end.
War Tortoise (£free + IAP)
War. War never changes. Actually, that’s not strictly speaking true, because you probably never imagined there’d come a time when tortoise riding mice decided to suit up and take on the rest of the animal kingdom, but here we are.
A tower defence title with a twist, War Tortoise asks you to stand your ground and protect your furry rodents in arms by taking down endless waves of enemies and upgrading your lumbering reptilian tank.
It’s a silly premise, but one that’s strangely compelling thanks to the inclusion of a tactical upgrade system and a rich roster of enemies that stamp out even the faintest hint of complacency.
Cube Escape: Theatre (£free + IAP)
A surreal point-and-click puzzler, Cube Escape: Theatre is the eighth entry in Loyalty Game’s unusual series, and one that proves there’s life in the old box yet.
The idea is simple; you're trapped in a cube - in this case, one that takes the shape of a theatre - and you need to escape by solving its many mysteries. As you might imagine, that’s easier said than done, with each decoded riddle simply leading to another, more complex conundrum.
For all of its peculiar twists and turns, however, Cube Escape is never unfair, and if you can't find the answer, it just means you aren't looking hard enough.
Star Knight (£0.79)
The first thing you’ll notice about Star Knight is that it looks out of this world, and while it’s obvious that developer JungSang You took more than a few cues from fellow platformer BadLand, who can honestly blame them?
The second thing you’ll pick up on is that every aspect of Star Knight, from the game's expansive 2D worlds to its clean cut, minimalist user interface and loading screens, has been polished to near-perfection, and then polished some more. Those of you looking for a mobile game with a bit more bite will also be pleased to hear that it isn’t afraid to serve up a challenge. Sure, it’s not quite Dark Souls, but you’ll need to have your wits about you if you want to save the world.
Slither.io (£free + IAP)
Slither.io is a strange reimagining of Game Of Thrones where all of the characters have been replaced by googly eyed serpents. Just like Game Of Thrones, you’ll need to become king of the castle by taking down your fellow players, and feasting on their remains to grow in size. OK, so maybe it’s not exactly the same.
As you grow, the stakes get higher, and while it’ll be easier for you to entrap and devour your competitors, you’ll also have to deal with the ever-expanding target on your back. The real question then, isn’t whether you can climb to the top, but rather, how long you can stay there. And that bit's just like Game Of Thrones.
No Thing (£1.49)
Described as a “surreal arcade trip” by developer Evil Indie Games, No Thing is a minimalist action-runner set in a surreal dystopian universe.
It’s a fitting backdrop for a game that’s prepared to punish players for the slightest slip up, and one that provides the perfect environment for an offbeat storyline that’s as mind-boggling as it is brilliant.
Angry Birds Action! (£free + IAP)
It might be a movie tie-in, but there's nothing shameless about Angry Birds Action!, which puts a new spin on Rovio's tried-and-tested bird slinging formula.
This time around you'll be hurling Rovio's multicoloured flock around pinball stages - inspired by the movie version of Bird Island - to retrieve their stolen eggs and defeat the pigs. Story-wise, that's all there is, but this is Angry Birds, not a Shakespearian masterpiece.
The only thing you really need to know is that chucking birds around elaborate, explosive stages to collect stars and climb leaderboards is still as gratifying as ever, while the new 3D paint job is the icing on an already mouthwatering cake.
LEGO Jurassic World (£3.99)
If you’ve played any of the countless other Lego games, you’ll already know what to expect from the latest, dino-stuffed offering; and that's a bucketload of assembly-required platforming mayhem.
That’s no bad thing, mind, and even though the long-running build-em-up series is content to simply fit the mould, rather than break it, there’s still something immensely satisfying about the way Warner Bros. reimagines iconic franchises using the power of digital plastic. Oh, and did we mention there are dinosaurs? Lots and lots of dinosaurs.
From April's list: Telepaint (£2.29)
Stuffed with all manner of matter-bending, space-hopping puzzles, each more devilish than the last, Telepaint's prime objective is simple: play cupid and help buckets of paint find their long lost paintbrush partners.
It'd be easy, if it wasn't for all the portals, traps, and perplexing machinations turning your screen into a smorgasbord of paint-splattered, polychromatic torment. So, don't go in blinded by Acid Nerve's Portal-riffing puzzler's quirky trappings, because it's as brilliant as it is deceptive. Oh, and bring your overalls, because it's gonna get messy.
Clash Royale (£free + IAP)
Mix the skill and strategy of chess with the unpredictability and excitement of a high-stakes blackjack table and you'll have a good idea of why players are flocking to Supercell's new card battler, Clash Royale.
Unsurprisingly, given the millions of dollars and mountains of experience Supercell has at its disposal, Clash Royale has been polished to perfection. More important than its looks though, is the game's finely balanced gameplay, which dishes out brutal punishment and blissful gratification by the bucketload.
The cherry on the top takes the form of an IAP system that encourages competition. This isn't a pay-to-win title by any stretch of the imagination, and I've managed to amass more than my fair share of glorious victories without spending a penny.
Miitomo (£free + IAP)
Miitomo is Nintendo's first stab at mobile gaming, and brings the company's now iconic Mii characters to our small-screen devices.
Less of a traditional game and more of a strange, often unintentionally hilarious social app, Miitomo is deceptively simple on the surface: simply create a Mii, chat with your friends, play mini-games, unlock clothing, and repeat.
If it had been created by anyone else, it might've gone unnoticed, but Miitomo is as polished an offering as you'd expect from Nintendo, and the company's signature charm will leave you grinning at the most preposterous things.
Retro City Rampage DX (£3.99)
Old school cool, or old school cruel? Retro City Rampage DX is probably both, but, honestly, that's why we love it. A throwback to the unapologetically excessive games of yesteryear, Retro City Rampage DX is an open world, shoot-em-up that'll arm you to the teeth, chuck you into a retro city, and, you guessed it, politely enquire as to whether or not you fancy a rampage or two. Only two?! Well, for the low low price of £2.99, you can frolic around retro city to your hearts content. Just try not to forget where you parked that tank.
Beat Stomper (£1.49)
Hold. Jump. Stomp. Rave. That might sound like your average night out on the town - c'mon, I know you throw some pretty intense shapes - but it's actually the perfect description of Rocky Hong's new game, Beat Stomper.
If you really want to know what Beat Stomper plays like, think back to Lima Sky's Doodle Jump, but replace the hand-drawn, cutesy visuals with relentless bass drops and a light show that wouldn't look out of place in a hazy Berlin nightclub. Think that sounds good? You'd be right.
Exploding Kittens (£1.49)
Don't let the name put you off: Exploding Kittens isn't a game about making tiny felines fulminate like furry atomic bombs. In fact, it's about the exact opposite - avoiding said detonating kitties like your life depends on it.
Like a cat-powered version of Russian roulette, Exploding Kittens is a strategic digital card game that can be played online, or in a group of friends. Betrayals, treachery, and deceit are the name of the game, but before you get mad, just remember, those poor kittens have it worse than you.
Total War Battles: Kingdom
Total War Battles: Kingdoms is a condensed, slightly refocused version of SEGA's history-spanning strategy franchise that places the emphasis on managing and expanding your kingdom rather than the epic battles themselves.
Given that on PC those battles would sometimes take hours, I'm well aware that the tail end of that sentence might put a few of you off. But don't let it: if you're a Total War fan looking for an engaging mobile reimagining of your favourite franchise, it should be music to your ears.
Besides, the battles are still there - stripped back, sure, but as richly detailed as ever - and by refocusing on the kingdoms, and the citizens and politics within, SEGA has turned a potentially pale imitation into a layered, absorbing experience that lives up to its forefather's name.
Super Arc Light (£0.79)
Super Arc Light is an arcade shooter that takes a splash of Super Hexagon, a shot of Geometry Wars and a whole bucketload of adrenaline, and calls it a cocktail.
It's a potent beverage, but, thanks to its relentless high-score chasing gameplay, simple one-touch control scheme, and incisive design, it's hardly an acquired taste. After your first round, you'll be downing it by the gallon.
From March's list: The Swords (£2.29)
A fusion of Chinese calligraphy and ancient martial arts, The Swords is basically what would happen if you took Fruit Ninja, bundled it into a time machine, and transported it back to ancient China.
While not quite as frivolous as Halfbrick's classic melon-slasher, The Swords is appealing for all of the same reasons, and will test your reactions, but never your patience, as it tells the unexpectedly immersive tale of a sword master's quest for control and understanding.
Prism is a tactile box of tricks perhaps best described as a clean cut, neo-futuristic take on The Room.
Like that game, Prism asks players to manipulate a series of increasingly complex objects in a bid to unlock the curious secrets within.
It's a simple concept that works superbly on mobile thanks to the precise touch-screens that inhabit our pockets, and one that truly shines as a result of Prism's captivating, twisting visuals and terrific ambient sound design.
As clichéd as it might sound, Dreii is less of a video game and more of an art-house experiment brought to life through our ever-expanding digital medium.
On the surface, the puzzler is a bright, bubbly, and infinitely gorgeous gravity-suspending physics conundrum, but the idea at the heart of Dreii's collaborative, globe-spanning universe is infinitely more beautiful than any of the game's other features.
Saying any more would be selfish of me, as Dreii's secret is something that should unravelled on your own terms. Rest assured, though, you won't be disappointed.
Tomb Of The Mask (£free with IAP)
Think fast, collect pills, grab power-ups, and escape a retro-inspired labyrinth filled with traps and treacherous foes. If that description sounds vaguely familiar, it's probably because it's reminded you of a little game called Pac-Man.
I wasn't talking about everyone's favourite yellow pill-popper, though. I was referring to Tomb Of The Mask, an endless high-score chasing arcade-em-up that harkens back to the classics of days gone by.
This isn't a simple copy-and-paste job, however, and although Tomb Of The Mask uses its retro-stylings to great effect, it never becomes dependent on them. Instead the focus is on razor-sharp, hyper-elastic gameplay that's more fun than a slip 'n' slide made out of strawberry jelly.
Final Fantasy IX (£15.99)
The latest entry in Square Enix's sacred RPG series to make its small-screen debut, Final Fantasy IX is finally available on mobile 16 years after making its console debut. Yes, it's really been that long.
For the most part, this is the same game you know and love, and Square Enix has, quite rightly, been hesitant to tamper with its beloved classic.
Of course, some tweaks have been made, and the addition of achievements, high-definition movies and character models, and a handy autosave feature serve to make the mobile version of IX absolutely definitive.
The Walking Dead: Michonne - Episode One (£3.99)
Anyone who's already invested in TellTale's zombie-infested episodic series won't need me to tell them to pick up the first episode of The Walking Dead: Michonne - a new three part miniseries that explains Michonne's absence between issues #126 and #139 of the comic book.
If you haven't sampled TellTale's genre defining post-apocalyptic storytelling, however, then Michonne, a standalone tale filed with The Walking Dead's signature horror, action, and painfully tough-choices, might just be the perfect place to start.
Circles (£free with IAP)
Defend your dot. Fail your dot. Sob in a corner and tell yourself that your dot deserves better. Cast your doubts to one side as your realise that this time, you're going to become the dot protector you were born to be.
That's Circles in a nutshell, and although you might not create the same warped narrative that I have, I've no doubt that once you pick up Cherrypick's minimalist score-chaser you'll become enchanted by its delightfully intoxicating gameplay.
The real challenge isn't in beating your own high-scores, but in convincing yourself that it's time to put down your phone and do something - anything - else.
Rayman Classic (£3.99)
Rayman's recent adventures have gone down very well on mobile, and now Ubisoft are giving us the chance to turn back the clock and play through the platformer that started it all with Rayman Classic.
A different beast to its contemporary counterparts, Rayman Classic - which is now 20 years old, by the way - has nonetheless aged very well, proving that, sometimes, you don't need to teach an old dog new tricks.
Even though the unforgiving vintage gameplay and pixel-perfect visuals still hold an undeniable charm, the same can't be said for the touch-screen controls. Still, it pays to take the good with the bad this time around, and unless you've got the original game sitting in a cupboard somewhere back home, there's no reason to let this one pass you by.
From February's list: Pocket Mortys (£free with IAP)
Relentless meta-comedy Rick And Morty might not be back on our screens until March 2017, but that doesn't mean you need to wait another year and a half to join Rick and his schwifty side-kick on another misadventure.
Thanks to the good folks at Adult Swim you can pick up the aptly named Rick and Morty-themed RPG Pocket Mortys right now and squanch your way through the multiverse on a quest to round-up all the Mortys known to (bird)man.
There are over 70 bizarre Mortys, including Mustache Morty, Wizard Morty, and Cronenberg Morty, to recruit and train, and you'll need to assemble a legendary team to prove your Rick is the greatest Morty trainer of all time. If it sounds a lot like Pokemon, that's because it is. But, hey, it's more Rick and Morty, so who really cares? Wubalubadubdub!
Surfingers (£free with IAP)
Simple, fun, and more entertaining than Kanye West's twitter feed - so basically, everything that makes a mobile game worth downloading - Surfingers is a quirky score-chaser that manages to stand out from the crowd thanks to a unique art style and a penchant for ramping up the action at just the right time.
Asking players to manipulate the very waves themselves to keep their surfer's hot streak going, Surfingers offers as much entertainment, and frustration, as you can handle, and also features a number of unlockable characters to give you even more reasons to keep riding those waves.
Sky Chasers (£free with IAP)
Retro-inspired platformers have found a new lease of life on the App Store, and Sky Chasers is one of the best we've seen in quite some time. You see, when it comes to side-scrollers, controls really are king.
Fortunately, Sky Chasers hits it out of the park in that department while also serving up a truckload of fancy environments, perplexing puzzles, and more collectibles than you can shake a stick at. As if that wasn't enough, the storyline - the tale of a young dreamer called Max who vows to explore the world in his flying cardboard box - is as charming as they come.
The Westport Independent (£3.99)
The best way to describe The Westport Independent is "Papers, Please, but with actual papers". That's not to say the game is a carbon copy of Lucas Pope's bleak border control sim, but the similarities, from its washed out pixel-art design to its dystopian post-war setting, are remarkable.
In this harrowing reality, however, you'll take charge of the titular Westport Independent, an independent broadsheet waging a war against censorship. Will you bend the truth and manipulate the populace, or report the cold hard facts no matter what? Either way, you'd better be prepared to face the consequences.
Step into the shoes of Flux Dabes, intergalactic…space trucker? Yeah, if you thought Crashlands was going to be the gritty tale of a group of stranded space marines struggling to survive on a hostile world, think again.
After getting tangled up with the nefarious evil alien, Hewgodooko, our unassuming purple lorry driver finds himself left for dead on an alien planet. Luckily, he's the main character in one of the most well-rounded mobile RPGs we've come across, so he'll be able to craft, quest, customise, build, and explore his way out of the god-awful mess he's found himself in. Think The Martian, but with less Matt Damon and more psychedelics.
Punch Club (£3.99)
When he wasn't taking on Russian heavyweights and working out to Eye Of The Tiger, what was Rocky Balboa doing? Punch Club, a fighting sim/RPG from TinyBuild, answers that question by giving players the chance to write their own rags to riches story and become the best boxer the world's ever seen.
Unlike Rocky, on your way to the top you'll have to work dead end jobs, manage your stats, level up, avoid being mugged, juggle your social life, and drink in as many '80s references as you can manage. It won't be easy, but becoming the best never is.
Twofold inc (£2.99)
Twofold inc, the latest release from grapefrukt games, the studio that cemented its place in the App Store annals with minimalist RTS rymdkapsel, has the potential to become one of this year's most memorable releases.
You see, twofold inc isn't merely a puzzler, it's a digital jazz bar. A smoky, mellow experience that'll beguile and charm in equal measure. Unlike your favourite jazz bar, however, twofold inc is open all hours, with the game's endless challenges - each more mesmerising than the last - ensuring the only time you'll be able to stop playing is when your phone runs out of power.
Circa Infinity (£2.29)
Good platformers iterate on what's come before, refining the basics and polishing up the finest details to serve up something truly wonderful. Great platformers, however, throw out the rule book, trading in those familiar tried and tested mechanics in favour of something bold, something fresh.
Circa Infinity is that next great platformer, asking players to navigate though 50 retro-inspired levels, not by overcoming a series of linear obstacles, but, instead, by leaping inwards, hurling themselves and their sanity into a perplexing pit of circular mayhem. Like a never-ending game of Inception, Circa Infinity will turn your brain into a smouldering pool of jelly and leave you questioning the essence of reality itself.
From January's list: Rayman Adventures (£free)
Ubisoft's most recent Rayman games have been nothing short of magical, taking the franchise back to its glorious 2D platforming roots using a combination of finely honed rhythmic gameplay and vibrant visuals that imbue each second of gameplay with a sense of wonderment you'll struggle to find anywhere else on the App Store.
We're happy to report that Rayman Adventures continues that trend, taking players on another wonderfully whimsical frolic, this time through the mythical worlds of Olympus, as Rayman looks to rescue the Incrediballs, save the enchanted forest, and - if you're any good - set a few high scores along the way.
Scribblenauts Unlimited (£3.99)
We could say that you should pick up the latest entry in the award-winning Scribblenauts series to go on more whirlwind adventures in an all-new open universe, filled with eccentric puzzles and adorable characters.
That, though, would only be a half-truth, because we all know the real reason you'll be picking up Scribblenauts Unlimited is so that you can solve puzzles in the most preposterous, nonsensical, and downright absurd ways you can possibly imagine.
By harnessing the unbridled power of adjectives and nouns you'll be able to solve Scribblenaut's many mysteries with the help of corporate werewolves, robo-Einstein, hipster Abraham Lincoln and - quite literally - anything else you can dream up.
Grayout is an aphasiac text adventure game set in a totalitarian medical dystopia
No doubt a slight departure from your usual iOS gaming fare, and all the better for it, Grayout is a text adventure game set in a totalitarian medical dystopia simply called The Neighborhood.
Players take on the role of Alaine, a rebellious Neighborhood resident who wakes up in hospital following an accident. It's up to Alaine - that's you - to make sense of the world around her by talking with hospital staff. The only rub is that her post-traumatic aphasia - a condition that affects her ability to process speech - makes choosing the right things to say increasingly difficult.
I know it might sound strange on paper (or screen), and, somewhat ironically, it really is hard to put Grayout's experimental gameplay into words - but trust me when I say that this is one of the most fascinating gaming experiences you'll ever have.
Rustbucket is a turn-based dungeon crawler built from the ground up for mobile by the folks over at Nitrome, who apparently have the secret to development success tucked away somewhere in their studio.
Designed to be an effortless affair that doesn't sacrifice depth or quality, Rustbucket is a no-brainer for anyone searching for a devilishly charming challenge to sink their teeth into.
Star Hammer: The Vanguard Prophecy (£10.99)
The most surprising thing about Star Hammer isn't the price - I know £10.99 isn't cheap for a mobile game, but bare with me - but rather the fact that developer Slitherine has managed to make good on its promise and create a fully 3D space battler that doesn't feel like a overstuffed mess on our small screen companions.
By promising so much, the studio almost made a target for its own back, but there's nothing unimpressive about Star Hammer's branching narrative or stunning space skirmishes, which will force you to rely on quick thinking and tactical quick-wit if you want to overcome the odds, save your fleet, and secure the future of humanity.
Badland 2 (£3.99)
Developer Frogmind's first crack of the platforming whip, Badland, was crowned Apple's Game of the Year a whole 12 months ago, and now the studio is back with a sequel that somehow manages to meet every one of our impossible expectations.
An all new physics-based adventure set in Badland's fantastical world, Badland 2 serves up more of the polished-to-perfection side-scrolling action you love while chucking in new features such as online challenges and multi-directional gameplay.
It might sound too good to be true, but we assure you, it really isn't.
GTA: Liberty City Stories (£4.99)
More impressive than the fact that Rockstar have managed to cram an entire Grand Theft Auto on to your iPhone is the fact that the developer has actually made the original game better in every way you can possibly imagine.
Sporting new hi-res textures, better effects, smooth 60fps gameplay and custom soundtrack support - to name but a few of the improvements - Liberty City Stories is a definitive GTA experience that's a must-buy for longtime fans and newcomers alike.
A Good Snowman is Hard to Build (£3.99)
Listen, we totally get that it's not cool to play Christmas games after Saint Nick has done the rounds, but that's no reason to sidestep A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build - unless you really have something against playing great games, that is.
So, set your festive prejudices aside and download this lovingly crafted puzzler about a lone monster who just wants to build a frosty friend in time for Christmas.
It's every bit as heart-melting as it sounds, but don't be fooled by its cuddly exterior; a good snowman really is hard to build.
From December's list: Square Rave (£2.29)
Square Rave is a frantic, feverish, high-score chasing love affair from sound designer Adam Hay, who's racked up plenty of development experience working at big name studios Traveller's Tales, Frontier, Rare, and The Chinese Room.
Hay's chirpy all-action disco challenges players to speed around a morphing field of squares - that, somewhat fittingly, bares a striking resemblance to a 1980s dance floor - in an attempt to reach temporary safety before the end of each bar of music.
Once that happens, the fun starts all over again.
The Room Three (£3.99)
The first one won a BAFTA, the sequel was named in the App Store Best of 2013-2014, and now the third entry in Fireproof's The Room series has made it onto our prestigious App Watch list.
That's right, the puzzle guru's at Fireproof have finally released The Room Three, the highly anticipated follow-up to two of the most compelling mobile games to ever grace the App Store.
Proving that the age old manta 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' still holds true, Fireproof have focused on refining the series' signature gameplay, delivering another beautifully tactile puzzler soaked in mystery and intrigue.
Choices: And The Sun Went Out (Freemium)
Choices: And The Sun Went Out is an interactive-fiction magazine that updates once a week
A modern riff on the choose your own adventure books of yesteryear, Choices: And The Sun Went Out is an interactive-fiction magazine that updates once a week.
The first part of And The Sun Went Out, a post-apocalyptic tale set in a world without sunlight, is absolutely free, although you'll need to subscribe if you want to finish the tale and get access to even more stories.
If you're pining for a fresh new mobile experience, Choices might be exactly what you're looking for.
Blendoku 2 (Freemium)
Have you ever wondered what Sudoku would be like if you swapped the grid and those pesky numbers for meandering squares and a compex, pastel colour palette?
No? Well, we'll be honest, we hadn't either, but then we unearthed Blendoku 2 and now we can't believe how foolish we were.
A colourful puzzler in the most literal sense imaginable, the only way to make your way through Blendoku 2's 500+ levels is to unravel each level's muddled up palette. It's wonderfully simple and impossibly addictive, which is exactly why we've put it on this list.
Football Manager Mobile 2016 (£14.99)
It's the same story each year. You've just finished guiding Preston North End to Champions League glory for the fifth season in a row, and no one can challenge your team of world beaters. It took months to get there, but finally, you decide to retire. Football Manager can offer you no more… it's time to say goodbye.
Then you realise the new game is out in mere weeks, and the cycle begins all over again. This year, though, you don't need to confine your managerial duties to your PC, because Football Manager Touch is subbing itself on.
As expected, Football Manager Touch is the most comprehensive management sim on mobile, featuring 139 leagues, as well as the 3D match engine that you've grown so accustomed to staring at. FM Touch also lets take your PC saves on the road with you, so now there really isn't any reason to slowly reintegrate back into society.
King Tongue (£1.49)
The Banana King has declared war on monkeys around the world. Thousands of disturbingly aggressive bananas have been deployed, each elongated fruit following one very simple order: to attack with everything they've got.
It's a story worthy of an Academy Award, but, believe it or not, that's only where the fun begins.
In order to stop the relentless banana horde, you'll need to take control of King Tongue and - you guessed it - his titular tongue, to grapple, swing, and combo-break your way through 30 levels filled to the rafters with bananasoldiers.
It might sound crazy, but this is old-school arcade action as its finest.
A Skyrocket Story (£2.99)
As much as we love the App Store's more, ahem, colourful offerings - yeah, we're looking at you King Tongue - sometimes more can be less.
If, then, you're after a game with more finesse and charm than you can shake a stick at, look no further, because A Skyrocket Story hit shelves this month, and it's all that and more.
Designed, and hand-drawn by John Evelyn, A Skyrocket Story is a fantastical puzzler that whisks you away on an adventure through five unique picture book worlds.
£2.99 will nab you 46 levels, as well as a 46 page fully illustrated book. It might just be the best three quid you spend this month.
Last Horizon (£2.29)
Explore and survive. Those are your only two objectives in minimalist sci-fi effort, Last Horizon.
Take control of your vessel and safely guide it to the farthest reaches of the galaxy in search of a new habitable world.
Space exploration isn't easy, mind - or so I've heard - and you'll need to carefully manage your fuel, gather resources from alien worlds, and utilise every piloting trick up your sleeve to reach your new home in one piece.
Oh, and one more thing, watch your back. As a famous agent once said, we are not alone.
From November's List: Lumino City (£3.99)
Look, you should do whatever you need to do to play every single game on this list, but if you could only pick up one, it should be Lumino City. My reasoning? It's only one of the most original, most creative games to hit shelves this year.
Originally released on PC, Lumino City is a gorgeous BAFTA-winning puzzler from the talented team over at State of Play. What separates Lumino City from the crowd, however, is that every single level has been hand-crafted out of paper, card, motors, and miniature lights, adding an extra layer of wonder to a game already steeped in beauty.
Octodad: Deadliest Catch (£3.99)
Octodad: Dadliest Catch is one of the most nonsensical games you'll ever lay your hands on, and, to be totally honest, that's exactly why we've included it in this month's list.
A lesson in subterfuge and fatherhood, Octodad puts you in control of the titular mollusc, whose life is always teetering on the brink of disaster thanks to some unruly cephalopodan limbs.
Will you be able to help him master the art of being a functioning human and loving father without raising any suspicions? Probably not, but you'll have a lot of fun trying.
Stay, Mum (£2.29)
I'll refrain from saying too much about minimalist puzzler Stay, Mum, because it's an experience that works best if you go in blind. I will, however, say this: if you make it through the game without shedding a single tear, you're most likely a robot unaware of it's true nature. Sorry to break it to you.
Yes, that really is your lot. You'll have to go and unravel Stay, Mum's secrets for yourself, but rest assured, you won't regret it.
Beneath the Lighthouse (£Free)
We know: there are a lot of puzzle games on this week's list, but it's impossible to complain when they're as beautiful and skilfully constructed as Beneath the Lighthouse.
Developed by the mobile moguls at Nitrome, who apparently can't make a bad game, Beneath the Lighthouse tasks you with guiding the main character, a hat-wearing ball, through each level by manipulating and twisting the world around him.
It's an innovative control scheme that'll engage, and punish, puzzle fans old and new. Best get practising those breathing exercises.
As the name suggests, Downwell is an endless faller - yeah, that's a thing now - that asks you to guide a young boy down a well using nothing but your (hopefully) razor sharp reflexes and his trusty Gunboots.
There are upgrades to lock, high scores to set, combos to break, and an infinite supply of procedurally generated levels to keep you coming back again and again and again.
Download Downwell for iOS here
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (£3.99)
Another console title that's made the leap to iOS, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is, above all else, a masterful piece of storytelling that needs to be played by everyone. Yes, that includes you.
The award-winning adventure game is the brainchild of Swedish film director, Josef Fares, who worked with the team over at Starbreeze Studios to bring his vision to life. So, if you're looking to trade in your endless runners for something with a little more depth, look no further than Brothers.
Lumo's Cat (Free)
When I say that Lumo's Cat is one of the most adorable, strange, and downright bizarre games on the App Store right now, I mean it in the best way possible way. How else do you expect me to describe a game that combines customisable felines with tactical napping gameplay?
Okay, if you didn't start downloading it as soon as you saw the words "customisable felines", you're beyond our help.
Super Sharp (£1.49)
Bold, intuitive, and, well, super sharp, 1button's latest puzzler is a perfect example of bite-sized gaming done right.
What's more, it's also an absolute steal, serving up 120 physics-based levels for the criminally low price of £1.49.
I know for a fact you've spent more on a sandwich, so I don't want to hear any excuses. Go and buy it.
From October's List: Astrå (£2.29)
A planet-hopping platformer from the mind of Pablo Molina Garcia, Astrå is one of those rare titles that proves just how rewarding the simple things in life can be.
By taking the tried-and-tested platforming formula and reducing it down to its very core, Garcia has managed to assemble one of the most unique, elegant, and bewitching mobile games I've ever had the good fortune of playing.
Mobile developer Laser Dog proved it was one of the best in the business with its intense space survival title ALONE, and the team's latest release, HoPiKo, has convinced me that the studio is still at the very top of its game.
An electrifying platformer that puts an emphasis on snappy decision making and record-breaking speed, HoPiKo is a remorseless retro thrill-ride that's as beautiful as it is brutal. Score chasers beware. This will consume you.
When they released SPL-T, seasoned developers Simogo simply stated two things: it doesn't look like much, and it's very, very good. While the first is undeniably true, I was a little more sceptical about the second.
Looking back, I can't believe how foolish I was, because SPL-T isn't just a good puzzler, it's one of the best in recent memory. Taking a no-fuss approach, Simogo let SPL-T's focused gameplay speak for itself. Sure, there's a steep learning curve, but, be warned, once you've picked it up, I doubt you'll be able to put it down.
Resonance Unlimited (£1.49)
Resonance Unlimited is a soundtrack on steroids: a hyper-kinetic disco that asks you to follow the beat laid down by its main character, Lumiere, as she dances her way through time and space - at least, that's what we assumed it was.
If that's not making any sense, let me break it down for you: Resonance Unlimited is essentially what you'd get if you somehow managed to combine Saturday Night Fever with 2001: A Space Odyssey. Yeah. Now you're interested.
Numberful (£free + IAP)
Numberful is the game that puts the power of maths in the palm of your hand! OK, I'll concede that doesn't sound like the most appealing power of all time, but trust me, Numberful is the Jason Bourne of the brain-training world.
The premise is simple at first: connect the numbers on your screen to make the target number. Naturally, as the timer gets smaller and the numbers get bigger, Numberful becomes anything but.
Sky (£free + IAP)
Mobile minimalism has never been more in demand. The resurgence of clean-cut, usually isometric titles is thanks in no small part to ustwo's remarkable puzzler, Monument Valley.
Sky, not to be confused with the satellite TV provider of the same name, takes more than one leaf out of Monument Valley's book - asking players to fly, jump, and clone their way through a procedurally generated mystical world.
Land Sliders ( £free + IAP)
Land Sliders, the debut effort from fledgling studio Prettygreat is, well, it's pretty great. What? Too easy? For anyone who's followed the story of Prettygreat, that won't come as much of a surprise.
Made up of former Halfbrick developers - you know, the team that made Fruit Ninja - the studio knows exactly what it takes to craft a portable showstopper. So, what is Land Sliders? Simply put: it's a charming adventure title that asks you to find collectables and unravel secrets by manipulating the world around you. What's more, it's absolutely free, so you can try it right now.
FIFA 16 Ultimate Team (£free + IAP)
Another year, another FIFA game. Until now, I'd never even dream of mentioning FIFA's mobile offering in the same breath as its console counterpart. This year, though, things are different. Instead of churning out a stripped-back, scaled-down version of its main event, EA has built the mobile edition of FIFA 16 from the ground up.
The studio has designed an all-new game engine to ensure it now looks, and plays, better than ever, while the shift in focus on to the series' popular Ultimate Team mode makes for a more cohesive experience. So, whether you're an Ultimate Team veteran or someone who's just looking to dabble on the way to work, FIFA 16 Ultimate Team has you covered.