App Watch: the best new iPhone and iPad games released this month

These are the newly released games that'll keep your tablet or smartphone 'appy this January

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.

Super Mario Run (£Free+IAP)

It's-a-him, Mario! And he's on your smartphone for the first time ever. That's right, Nintendo made its full-fledged mobile debut (Pokemon Go was Niantic's baby) in December with the launch of Super Mario Run, but was it worth the wait?

The simple answer is, "yes." Super Mario Run is a supremely polished one-touch platformer that manages to streamline the classic Mario experience you know and love without sacrificing any of its charm. Terrific level design, compelling challenges, and uber-responsive controls ensure Nintendo's mobile transition is a call for celebration, rather than frustration.

Download Super Mario Run for iOS

Dawn of Titans (£Free+IAP)

You might think Dawn of Titans' biggest draws are its stunning visuals and dedication to letting giants smash things up. Okay, I'll admit, those are the cherries on top, but the real hero here is Dawn's remarkable control scheme.

All too often are mobile RTS' bogged down by dodgy controls, with most devs struggling to find a scheme that can cope with the complexity of large-scale conflicts. Dawn of Titans clears that hurdle with eye-rolling ease. Here, your units can be sent to their deaths with simple taps and swipes, and while things do get a little more complex as skirmishes wear on, generally speaking, it's a joy to behold.

If you think tactically, you'll be able to set traps and dictate the flow of battles without ever breaking a sweat, meaning you can stop worrying about finicky controls and start worrying about that titan tearing your troops limb from limb. Poor little guys.

Download Dawn of Titans

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier (£3.99)

The third season of Telltale's critically acclaimed take on The Walking Dead has finally arrived, and while the studio has gone on to tackle a number of big name franchises like Game of Thrones and Batman in the meantime, this is the one fans have really been waiting for.

Times though, haven't changed. And as most of you will remember, when you're trying to survive the zombie apocalypse every single choice matters. Life and death are in your hands, but it's not a question of good vs. evil. It's simply a matter of how much you're willing to sacrifice to see out the day.

Buy The Walking Dead: A New Frontier for iOS

Don't Starve: Shipwrecked (£3.99)

Just when he'd finally mastered the art of surviving in the grassy wilderness, Wilson has gone and gotten himself shipwrecked on a desert island. Will that lad ever learn? Well actually, he'd better learn fast if he's going to get out of this one.

Unlike that famous volleyball, our Wilson doesn't have a certain Tom Hanks to rely on. That means you'll need to use every ounce of wit at your disposal to keep him alive. Don't be fooled into thinking this is a tropical paradise, because behind those palm trees is a whole world of danger where everything (yes, literally everything) is trying to kill you. New seasons, new creatures, and new biomes might be the talk of the town, but it's still the same old story: do or die.

Buy Don't Starve: Shipwrecked for iOS

Galaxy on Fire 3: Manticore (£Free+IAP)

Galaxy on Fire quickly established itself as one mobile gaming's most important standard bearers. Each entry has raised the bar, delivering experiences that some have even dared to call "console quality."

Now while I wouldn't go quite that far, there's no denying that Galaxy on Fire 3 is edging nearer to that holy grail. For starters, the game looks phenomenal. Each vast stage is filled edge-to-edge with colour and intricate detail, imbuing the universe with a genuine sense of grandiose scale. Combat is fast, responsive, and fluid. And if you're finding things a little too easy, don't forget to turn off auto-aim. Because jetting through space shouldn't be as simple as dusting crops.

Download Galaxy on Fire 3: Manticore for iOS

ShapeMe (£Free+IAP)

ShapeMe is a balmy match-em-up from Umbrella Games that packs a surprising punch. At its core, the game is a simple geometric puzzler that asks players to merge shapes in super-quick time to blast through levels and save the dreams of a kingdom.

The story takes a backseat here, but lets face it, that's not what you're here for. What you're after is a puzzler with bite, and despite it's fluffy trappings, that's what you're going to get. It's time to shape up, or ship out.

Download ShapeMe for iOS

Apollo Justice - Ace Attorney (£Free+IAP)

Fancy yourself as something of a legal eagle? Well, you might always win those dinner table arguments, but how'd you fare in a real courtroom? Find out by slipping on the well-polished shoes of Apollo Justice, a rookie defence attorney who's about to hit the big time.

You won't just be strutting your stuff in front of the judge, though. No, there's more to being a lawyer than fancy words and killer suits. There are crime scenes to visit, evidence to collect, and witnesses to interrogate before you even think about putting together a case. Any objections? I thought not.

Download Apollo Justice - Ace Attorney for iOS

Bully: Anniversary Edition (£4.99)

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of its tongue-in-cheek, schoolyard shenanigans simulator, Rockstar has given Bully a new lick of paint and slapped it on smartphones.

The Anniversary Edition features all the extra content from Bully: Scholarship Edition, improved lighting and textures, enhanced graphics, high-res support, and new multiplayer challenges. So, if you and your friends have ever wanted to find out who can dissect a frog the fastest, or take control of a flying squirrel (wait, that's not on the curriculum), now you can.

Buy Bully: Anniversary Edition for iOS

Don't Grind (£free + IAP)

Picture the scene. There's a cute banana hovering above two giant buzzsaws. Its fearful, wide-eyed stare pierces your very soul. You have the power to save it. But the question is; do you?

If you're me, the answer is no. I let that banana tumble straight on down into saw town, mainly because I just wanted to see what'd happen. Following that admittedly sadistic incident, you'll be pleased to hear I did my best to save every sentient critter I came across - be it banana, pumpkin, or chicken leg.

I'd like to say my motivations were selfless. But, honestly, I was in it for the high-scores. That's right, if there's one thing I love more than animated fruit being turned to mush, it's topping leaderboards.

And the only way to get to the top in Don't Grind is by doing exactly that; saving your terrified companions from the toothy blades below. You won't always succeed, so try not to take it too hard when your digital friends get ground to a pulp. They probably had it coming.

Download Don't Grind for iOS

Flip King (£free + IAP)

Once Christmas has passed and New Year has left you hanging, there's not much else in the way of festive commemorations to look forward to. That's until you remember that Pancake Tuesday, more commonly (and wrongly) referred to as Shrove Tuesday is right around the corner.

And what better way to get into the Pancake spirt than by honing your flipping skills in Qwiboo's one-touch score chaser, Flip King? As simple as the name suggests, your aim is to flip, flip, and then flip some more until you become the undisputed master of the flip.

No, not the Master Flipper, but the Flip King. A title steeped in history and renown - or, at least, that's what I tell myself.

Download Flip King for iOS

Yankai's Triangle (£2.29)

Every triangle has three sides. So you can slap three triangles onto one triangle to get four triangles. Then you just need to, erm, take three more triangles and stick them…

Look, the more you think about Yankai's Triangle, the more confusing it gets. So I'll just say that the vibrant puzzler is a confounding and altogether mesmerising concoction pulled from the remarkable psyche of Circa Infinity creator, Kenny Sun.

The game was pitched by Sun as a love letter to those equilateral enigmas, but if that's the case, I have no idea what language it's written in. Still, just because I don't speak Triangle, it doesn't mean I can't appreciate Sun's work. And make no mistake, there's a lot to appreciate here.

In fact, I'd go as far as to suggest that Sun is quickly establishing himself as one of the App Store's master craftsmen. One glance at Yankai's Triangle should tell you that much, but the proof, as they say, is in the pudding. So go get yours.

Download Yankai's Triangle for iOS

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Icarus (£free + IAP)

Tell me, do you recall the tale of Icarus? The young boy who attempted to escape from his island prison with wings made of feathers and wax, only to meet his fiery doom?

Ah, you do? Well I wish I hadn't mentioned it now, because it has absolutely nothing to do with PlaySide's game of the same name. But you have to admit it was a sweet intro.

In fact, serene puzzler Icarus - A Star's Journey turns the Greek myth on its head by challenging players to catapult a fallen star back to the heaven with the help of your trusty fingers. Easy, you say? Funny. That's what Icarus said.

Download Icarus for iOS

Football Manager Mobile 2017 (£free + IAP)

The App Store has made a new signing. Someone called F. Manager. Heard of 'em? If you have, then you don't need me to tell you that it's a name worth remembering, and that Football Manager is one of the most addictive, all-consuming games in existence.

If you've not heard the name in a while, or ever (where have you been), then allow me to briefly introduce you. Football Manager Mobile 2017 is the portable version of Sports Interactive's long-running footy management sim.

It's a detailed, deep, and rewarding title that lets you take charge of (almost) any team you can think of and guide them to the very pinnacle of world football. Fancy taking a League 2 team to the Champions League final? You can do it. Want to sign a handful of young stars for your local side and tear up the league? You can do it? Want to take charge of Leeds and get sacked in weeks? You. Can. Do. It.

Download Football Manager Mobile 2017 for iOS

Party Hard Go (£4.99)

Have you ever been to one of those parties? You know, the one where you weren't actually invited, but you could overhear it from your bedroom so you decided to hop on over and maim every single person in attendance?

Oh yeah, me neither. But that's about to change, because butchering revellers is precisely what you'll be doing in Party Hard Go. Erm… hurray? Just make sure you don't get caught, because what you're doing isn't strictly speaking legal. In fact, it's not legal in any sense of the word.

Download Party Hard Go for iOS

SteamWorld Heist (£7.99)

Turn-based shoot 'em up SteamWorld Heist is a melting pot of ideas that somehow manages to strike the right balance.

You'll bump into everything from robo-pirates to starships, but at SteamWorld's core is a trickshot mechanic that imbues the game with its own unique sense of identity. What? You didn't think traipsing halfway across the universe would be easy, did you? No, you're bound to get into a scrape or two.

It's at times like that when you'll need to think outside of the box, bouncing bullets and bombs off of walls to pull off impossible, live-saving shots. And what better reward for being an upstanding pirate Captain than the respect and admiration of your clanking crew? Only kidding. There's loot. Lots and lots of loot.

Download SteamWorld Heist for iOS

PinOut! (£free + IAP)

You're a mobile gamer, so you're no stranger to endless runners. But what about endless, er, pinballers?

It's not exactly a phrase that rolls of the tongue, but that's exactly what PinOut is: an never-ending journey through a neon flavoured pinball machine of seismic proportions.

Much like your classic game of pinball, the aim is simple: use a pair of paddles to keep the ball in play and amass points. The only difference here is that PinOut's digital tabletop is infinite, so you'll have to beat the clock as well as the board if you want to rack up a world-class score.

Download PinOut! for iPad and iPhone

Masky (£free + IAP)

Guess what? You're going to the ball. And not just any ball, but the annual grand costume ball! We knew you'd be thrilled.

Actually, we should probably warn you, because there is one catch. People like to dance at this ball. At least, we assume they're people. We haven't actually seen behind their masks.

They've also got atrocious balance, which means you've been put in charge of leading the lively shindig. All you need to do is help your fellow revellers stay on their feet and everything should turn out fine. Don't worry too much about the magic masks, either. We're sure they're quite harmless…

Download Masky for iPhone and iPad

Epic Orchestra (£free + IAP)

The golden age of rhythm gaming might've ended when the likes of Guitar Hero and Rock Band lost their star power, but there's still some life in the old dog yet.

Epic Orchestra is proof enough of that. One of the simplest rhythm games you'll ever play, the streamlined one-touch title uses four basic commands to put you in control of a charming, retro orchestra. Even on the hardest difficulty setting it's hardly taxing, but that feels like that point.

See, Epic Orchestra doesn't try and baffle you with an endless stream of overly complex instructions. Quite the contrary. It's a relaxing, zen-like experience that's more concerned with serving up tiny slices of musical escapism, and that's exactly why we love it.

Download Epic Orchestra for iPhone and iPad

Mini Metro (£3.99)

Anyone who's forced to catch the tube on a regular basis will know how much of a nightmare it can be. That's why there's a 100 percent chance you won't believe me when I say that a tube simulator can be…fun.

You heard me right. Mini Metro proves that the rigours of underground transport management can provide warm, fuzzy entertainment. It also proves you can create a game about inner-city infrastructure that looks and sounds stunningly beautiful.

Download Mini Metro for iPhone and iPad

Eggggg - The Platform Puker (£1.49)

The bizarrely titled Eggggg - The Platform Puker is one of the strangest morsels I've come across in quite some time. Why? Well, as the name suggests, the game is a platformer centred around one odd mechanic: puke.

Look, I was sceptical at first. But once you get past the undeniably peculiar concept, you'll find a rewarding two-touch platformer that puts most of its competitors to shame.

As for the puke, there's a simple explanation. Gilbert - the star of this show - has a pretty visceral egg allergy. The poor guy just can't keep them down. Alas, it just so happens they give him the power he needs to survive in a world populated with angry cyborg chickens. Swings and roundabouts, really.

Download Eggggg - The Platform Puker for iPhone and iPad

Vikings: An Archer's Journey (£2.29)

If you like your platformers with a little bit of bite, then Viking: an Archer's Journey might just be for you.

What initially looks to be a by-the-books endless runner is elevated thanks to some slick projectile combat, power-ups, and elementary platforming. It's a formula that works well, and although it's hardly overflowing with originality, it's one that's undeniably compelling.

What makes Viking's a must have is the procedural world around it, with each of its randomly generated levels sporting a gorgeous, wintery coat steeped in minimalist beauty.

Download Vikings: An Archer's Journey for iPhone and iPad

Oh…Sir! The Insult Simulator (£1.49)

If verbal sparring and interplay, by which we mean expertly forged insults at fellow humans, is your jam, then Oh…Sir! The Insult Simulator is the game you've been waiting for.

A delightfully kooky experience that challenges players to get one over on their opponent by stringing together a series of inspired insults, Oh…Sir! truly is a game unlike any other. In fact, I don't have a single bad thing to say about it. How terribly ironic.

Download Oh…Sir! The Insult Simulator for iPhone and iPad

Level With Me (£free + IAP)

As we all know, life is a balancing act. But it's nothing compared to the perplexing challenges found in Unept's tilting puzzler, Level With Me.

Seriously. Have you ever tried balancing bowling balls, motorcycles, dynamite, and even people using nothing but bubbles. It's pretty difficult, you know, especially when you're trying to stop a whole gaggle of humans from being blown to smithereens.

Think you're up to the task? Yeah, so did I.

Download Level With Me for iPhone and iPad

Banner Saga 2 (from £3.99)

Over two years after Stoic burst on to the mobile scene with gorgeous handdrawn RPG The Banner Saga, the studio is back with a follow-up that proves the best things in life really are worth waiting for.

Picking up where the first left-off, The Banner Saga 2 - inventive titling there, team - builds on the series' captivating choice-driven storytelling with new characters, races, and improved turn-based battles. The fate of an entire civilisation is in your hands, so it's worth remembering that there's no coming back from some decisions. Choose wisely. 

Download The Banner Saga 2 for iOS (£3.99)

Sorcery! 4 (£3.99)

Sorcery! 4 is the final instalment in Inkle's text-driven fantasy adventure series, and by now the studio really has nothing left to prove. With that in mind, you won't be surprised to hear that the fourth entry is just as polished, well-written, and captivating as its predecessors.

The sense of dynamism and depth found in Inkle's open-world saga has yet to be matched on mobile - or anywhere else, for that matter - and while we can't wait to unravel the final chapter in our own fantasy yarn, it's going to be a bittersweet farewell. 

Download Sorcery! 4 for iOS

Batman: The Telltale Series (£3.99)

After taking on likes of Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and Minecraft, storytellers-at-large Telltale Games have been given the keys to Gotham City. The studio's latest might've taken a little longer than expected to land on mobile, but patient fans can finally step into the fractured, tormented mind of Bruce Wayne - better known to Gotham's more unsavoury characters as Batman - in Telltale's gritty take on DC's long-standing detective. 

Download Batman: The Telltale Series (£3.99) for iOS

Burly Men at Sea (£3.99)

A colourful, easy-going folktale that wouldn't look out of place in Wes Anderson's whimsical portfolio, Burly Men at Sea is an interactive vignette centered around, you guessed it, burly men at sea.

Perhaps the best thing about Burly Men... is that each vibrant adventure is designed to be completed in one sitting, making it ideal for those fleeting moments of mid-week downtime. Although we should point out that the game's branching narratives, charming animations, and delightful score make repeat viewings an absolute must. 

Download Burly Men at Sea (£3.99) for iOS

PewDiePie's Tuber Simulator (£free+IAP)

If you've ever wanted to be a YouTube sensation, with all the fame, fortune, and bizarre catchphrases that come with it, then PewDiePie's ultra-realistic Tuber Simulator might just be the game for you.

The second mobile title released by the eponymous Swedish star, Tuber Simulator is an undeniably addictive affair that's more fun than it really has any right to be. Sure, it's preposterously silly - case in point: there's a pug pachinko machine - but as far as mindless entertainment goes, you could do a hell of a lot worse. 

Download PewDiePie's Tuber Simulator (£free+IAP) for iOS

60 Seconds! Atomic Adventure (£2.99)

How well would you survive in a nuclear wasteland? It's a question we've all asked over a spot of Sunday lunch, and now you can find out the answer (without starting World War III) in Robot Gentleman's atomic adventure. As the name suggests, in 60 Seconds! you have one minute to gather as many supplies - including your family members - and get to your fallout shelter before the bombs drop.

The choices you make in that first minute will go on to shape your thermonuclear life, so maybe you should think twice about grabbing that toaster. Once you're bunkered in, you'll have to decide how to manage those resources: who eats, who drinks, and who gets to venture forth into the wasteland in search of hope and giant cockroaches is all down to you. Good luck, vault-dweller. 

Download 60 Seconds! Atomic Adventure (£2.99) for iOS

Zip-Zap (£1.49)

Weird physics puzzler Zip-Zap the latest ingenious title from Sometimes You Die and Squaredance developer Philipp Stollenmayer, better known as Kamibox. In Zip-Zap, the mission is simple: manipulate the digital meccano to slide, hop, and roll your way towards each level's glowing end goal. Smart design and an intuitive UI elevate this squeaky premium puzzler above its App Store peers. 

Download Zip-Zap (£1.49) for iOS

The Dark Matter (£free+IAP)

Dodge the dark matter, collect the tasty orange matter, and hop through the micro-universe in pursuit of that unbeatable high-score.

It sounds so darned easy on paper, but you'll need to be on top-form to made any headway in Leven Lab's all-too-addictive high-score chaser. That's no bad thing, mind, and there are power-ups aplenty to help you become the best bouncing blob you can possibly be. There's a sentence I never thought I'd write.

Download The Dark Matter (£free+IAP) for iOS

From September's list: Deus Ex Go (£3.99)

Square Enix has hit on a winning formula with its 'Go' series, so it's no surprise to see Deus Ex following in the footsteps of Tomb Raider and Hitman by getting it's own minimalist mobile spin-off.

As you'd expect, Deus Ex Go is just as gorgeous as its forebears, with the series' augmented, angular cyberpunk world proving the perfect partner for Go's signature isometric trappings.

The game isn't just a pretty face, mind. Square has packed in a lot of bang for not much buck, and for £3.99 you'll get your mitts on over 50 narrative-driven levels, with more added every weekday as part of a live content program. Win-win.

Download Deus Ex Go for iOS

Riptide GP: Renegade (£2.29)

If you like your racers filled with obscene amounts of stunts, jumps, and gravity defying vehicles, then I think we're in business.

The tale of an outcast hydrojet racer — think jet ski racing on steroids — framed and kicked out of the Riptide GP league, the story is, well, it's not what you care about, is it?

What you want is a deep career mode, lightning fast gameplay, responsive controls, online multiplayer, arcade-style tracks, and spectacular visuals. As luck would have it, Riptide delivers all of that, and then some.

Download Riptide GP: Renegade on iOS

Space Marshals 2 (£4.49)

Space crime doesn't pay. At least, not when the Space Marshals are about, so it's a good thing they're back for a sequel.

While it might deliver more of the same high-calibre, top-down gunslingin' action, Space Marshals 2 isn't just a carbon copy of the original with reworked missions.

Instead, developer Pixelbite has made a true sequel, bringing new stealth mechanics, improved graphics, ragdoll physics, fresh environments, and all-new enemies to the sci-fi frontier you already know and love.

Download Space Marshals 2 for iOS

ENYO (Free+IAP)

Enyo might be a adventure game centred around an ancient war goddess tasked with recovering three legendary artefacts, but God of War this ain't.

Rather than thrusting you into the shoes - erm, sandals - of a Greek god and asking you to stab, chop, and gouge your way to victory, in Enyo you'll triumph through indirect combat, which is to say you'll have to outwit and outmanoeuvre your enemies to win the day.

That's not to say the game's titular goddess of war doesn't have a mean streak. Just ask the centaur I sent for a bath in that lava pit.

Download ENYO for iOS

Nightgate (£2.29)

Nightgate is a sensory buffet that feels like it belongs in an classic '80s sci-fi movie, not on our mobile screens.

Best described as 'the complete package,' Nightgate isn't just a visual treat. It's also an accomplished, pitch-perfect puzzler, a neon-soaked art installation, and a synth-driven audio showpiece that'll prick the ears of anyone who's just polished off Stranger Things.

Download Nightgate for iOS

Magic Mansion (Free+IAP)

Retro-gaming gurus Nitrome are at it again, and this time they're turning back the platforming clock with Magic Manson.

A Gameboy classic for the modern age, Magic Mansion is a stripped back one-touch platformer with simple objectives; time your taps, collect coins, and beat your high score.

Sure, it might not be the deepest game on the App Store, but it isn't trying to be. It's something else entirely; an experience that delivers simple, honest fun. And sometimes, that's precisely what you need.

Download Magic Mansion for iOS

Reigns (£2.29)

Swipe left. Swipe right. Do your best to keep everyone happy. Get butchered by a horde of ungrateful peasants anyway.

It's a story those familiar with card-swiping monarchy simulator Reigns will know all too well, and for those who've yet to stumble upon Nerial's charming hit, it's one you'll want to experience first hand.

Mind you, making sure your "loyal" citizens are fed, managing an army, keeping the church onside, and shoring up the treasury isn't even the hard part. No, there are greater, more mysterious challenges at the heart of Reigns.

I'm not going to ruin that surprise here, but just remember; the devil's in the details.

Download Reigns for iOS

Mr. Robot:1.51exfiltrati0n.ipa (£2.29)

This one's a little bit of a left field choice, but given publisher Telltale's pedigree, I'd be a fool to exclude it.

Created by Oxenfree developer NightSchoolStudio, Mr. Robot is a narrative-driven offering that takes place during the first season of Amazon's hit show of the same name and asks players to do some hacking of their own.

If you haven't seen the show, this one probably isn't for you. But, if you are one of Mr. Robot's fervent viewers, and you also happen to appreciate intelligent, sharp writing and tightly woven interactive narratives, then you, my friend, are in for a treat.

Download Mr. Robot:1.51exfiltrati0n.ipa for iOS

From August's list: Dots & Co (£free + IAP)

From developer Playdots, the studio that brought you hit puzzlers Twodots and Dots, comes another game about - you guessed it - dots!

Taking the mantra "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" and running with it, Playdots has stuck to what it does best. That's not a complaint though, because what it does best is polished, glossy puzzlers steeped in sweet, sticky charm. I would say Dots & Co's glorious interactive menu is worth the price of admission alone, but seeing as this ride is absolutely free, that'd be a barefaced lie. 

Download Dots & Co here 

BBTAN (£free + IAP)

A neon drenched mash-up of Tetris and block-busting arcade classic Arkanoid, BBTAN is a damn-near-perfect slice of mobile gaming pie. The challenge is simple: hurl balls at an advancing army of shapes to stem the tide for as long as possible.

Power-ups and angles are your allies, but as the pressure ramps up so does the need for strategic placement and forward planning. More a game of eclectic chess than a platform for random acts of brick-breaking violence, you won't survive long if you rely on dumb luck. 

Download BBTAN here

Severed (£4.49)

The latest release from Guacamelee! creator DrinkBox Studios, Severed is the tale of a one-armed warrior named Sasha, who, with the help of a living sword, must make her way through a nightmare world to find her missing family.

Severed has been crying out for an iOS port since it launched on PS Vita earlier this year, with the game's touch-based combat mechanics and crisp vivid visuals a natural fit for mobile screens. DrinkBox has even chucked in a new 'casual' difficulty mode for those of you who want to polish off the gorgeous RPG-lite action title without breaking too much of a sweat. 

Download Severed here

Road Not Taken (£3.99)

Road Not Taken might look like an adorable children's book or early morning cartoon, but don't be fooled: this isn't a heartwarming tale of success against all odds starring valiant heroes who fend off the darkness. This is a game about that darkness, and one that's unafraid to acknowledge that, sometimes, terrible things happen and the bad people win.

Thankfully, Road Not Taken's undeniable charm helps sugarcoat its harsh lessons, which are brought to life through randomly generated puzzle-based levels and tough decision making. As is the case in real life, the choices you make will lead you down different roads, forging new narratives with every playthrough. Well kind of; you don't get different playthroughs in real life.

Will your decisions lead to prosperity or disaster? The fate of an entire village is in your hands, so choose wisely. 

Download Road Not Taken here

Dunkers (£free + IAP)

Dunkers is a preposterous game on almost every level, and deep down I know I shouldn't like it. The premise is simple; score more slam dunks than your opponents - who could be human, skeleton, or perhaps a frog - in one of three game modes; arcade, campaign, and local multiplayer.

Controls are deliberately unpredictable, and winning games relies as much on skill as it does on blink luck. Yet, just like me, you won't be able to tear yourself away. Just one more go, you'll think on the train journey home, or before you feed your braying cat. Just one more go. 

Download Dunkers here

Klocki (£0.79)

Part Monument Valley and part Rubik's Cube, Klocki is a meditative isometric puzzler designed by Maciej Targoni to relax and beguile in equal measure. The game is as much about discovery as it is about actually solving puzzles. There are no menus, scores, or timers of any kind, meaning you'll have time to unravel Klocki's mysteries at your own pace while Wojciech Targoni's ambient soundtrack serenades you from upon high. 

Download Klocki here

Snakebird (£free + IAP)

Find fruit. Chomp fruit. Grow. And for the love of all that's holy, don't get your snakebird wedged in-between a rock and a stump. They're an endangered species, don't you know?

That's the long and short of Snakebird, a surprisingly complex physics puzzle-platformer that isn't half as easy as its buoyant art-style might suggest. Indeed, Snakebird's sole purpose - to gobble up fruit and hightail it to the nearest portal - might sound like a relatively conservative life-goal, but making sure your serpentine sidekick actually gets to live out its dream is easier said than done. 

Download Snakebird here

Orbyss (£1.49)

Remember that scene in Interstellar where Matthew McConaughey plunges into a wormhole and all sorts of psychedelic transdimensional madness ensues? Yeah, well, that's basically Orbyss, but instead of following McConaughey you'll follow a meandering ribbon into the radiant unknown.

Words really don't do this game justice, so just know that even though you'll have no idea what's going on most of the time , Orbyss is so uniquely beautiful it won't ever matter.

Download Orbyss here

From July's list: Rodeo Stampede (£Free + IAP)

Following your dreams isn't easy. Especially when they involve building a floating sky zoo and filling it with armour-clad ostriches and unicorns masquerading as zebras.

The only way to catch such fantastical beasts is by leaping from creature to blocky creature as they stampede around the globe using nothing but your razor-sharp reactions and trusty lasso.

Difficult as that might sound, it’s not impossible, and thanks to Rodeo Stampede’s ultra-responsive one-touch controls you’ll soon have a menagerie worthy of song.

Download Rodeo Stampede for iOS here 

Redungeon (£Free + IAP)

Pixelated dungeon crawler, Redungeon, is more fun than it has any right to be — although that won’t surprise those of you who’ve been following developer Nitrome’s illustrious mobile career.

There’s practically no swordplay, spells, archery, or combat of any kind, and you can forget about running around castles, caves, and keeps with reckless abandon.

That's because Redunegon is a more modest affair, bending the rules by serving up endless grid-based levels that ask players to use brains rather than brawn to survive the trials ahead. 

Download Redungeon for iOS here

Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens (£Free + IAP)

There has been an awakening. Have you felt it? That’s right, after little more than a nap Lego Star Wars is back, and this time it’s The Force Awakens that’s been given the Lego treatment.

Much like The Force Awakens itself, you’ll soon realise that the formula here hasn’t changed much, and the series’ signature gameplay is still as gleefully addictive as you remember — if, perhaps, a little too familiar.

Still, the addition of new fan favourites like Kylo Ren, Rey, BB8, Poe, and Finn helps freshen things up, while the inclusion of never-before-told stories that flesh out The Force Awakens’ story make this blocky adventure unmissable. 

Download Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens for iOS here

Crypt of the NecroDancer Pocket Edition (£3.99)

Dungeon crawling can be a frightful business, so why not put on your dancing shoes, crank up the music, and adventure to your own sweet beats?

That’s the idea behind hardcore roguelike rhythm title, Crypt of the NecroDancer, which thrusts players into groove-infused dungeons and gives them one choice: dance to victory, or die trying.

Whether you’re tapping to the beat of your own tracks, or jiving to Danny Baranowsky’s stylish score, the music never stops, and neither will you.

Download Crypt of the NecroDancer Pocket Edition for iOS here 

Teeter - Endless Arcade Balancer (£1.49)

A high-stakes balancing act quite unlike anything else on the App Store, Teeter is a unique physics puzzler with a deceptively simple aim: get the ball in the hole.

It might sound like a walk in the park, but as the difficulty ramps up you’ll need to keep your cool as well as your balance if you want to get your spherical companion back home. 

Download Teeter for iOS here

Perchang (£1.49)

Another puzzler that’s all about shepherding circular objects through increasingly complex puzzles, Perchang is an exercise in mental strength and quick reflexes that emphasises coordination above all else.

To burn through all 60 beautifully realised 3D levels you’ll need to beat the clock and hit the targets by helping those pesky metal orbs survive a series of intricate Rube Goldberg machines that frustrate and beguile in equal measure.

Download Perchang for iOS here 

Combo Quest 2 (£Free + IAP)

Tap, tap, and them tap some more, because it’s the only way you're going to save this pixelated kingdom from its winged overlords.

That’s right, Combo Quest is back, and so are those pesky dragons. Luckily for you, that also means the charming RPG’s furiously addictive one-touch gameplay makes a glorious return.

You see, in Combo Quest battles will be won and lost on your ability to swiftly assess your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, and then systematically demolish them through a seres of block-busting taps.

What seems easy at first can quickly turn into a nightmare if you aren’t prepared, but that’s where the fun really begins.

Download Combo Quest 2 for iOS here 

Hyperburner (£2.29)

I’ve seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships rifling through the New Sol Tradelane. I watched light streams glitter in the dark across the LLF7 Freeway. All those moments will be lost in time — well actually, now that I think about it, they won’t.

In fact, you can relive all of those spectacular moments and more by picking up Patrick Cook’s high-speed sci-fi flier, Hyperburner.

Set in a solar system far, far away, Hyperburner is a mobile mirage, a near-perfect, well-oiled slice of portable gaming that at times feels too good to be true.

From its smooth, free-steering controls to its wonderfully realised intergalactic worlds, every aspect of Hyperburner is a joy to behold. So get beholding.  

Download Hyperburner for iOS here

From June's list: 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.

Unmatch (£2.29)

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.

Imbroglio (£2.99)

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.

MMX Hill Climb (£Free + IAP)

I won't beat around the bush here; MMX Hill Climb takes the best bits of RedLynx's score-chasing, physics-based racing series Trials, polishes them up, and slaps them on to our mobile screens.

Riffing on a classic might not be the most inspired creative decision, but boy does it pay off, and much like Trials, MMX Hill Climb is an addicting, punishing, and tense rollercoaster of vehicular carnage that proves there's no point in fixing something that 'aint broke.