The best platform game for iPhone and iPad: Drop Wizard: Oddmar
The beardy Viking hero of this breezy platformer was an oafish layabout until acquiring special powers on munching a magic mushroom. Just as well, because his tribe’s vanished, and he must find out why, mostly by way of cut scenes played between levels of leaping, hacking at enemies with swords, and grabbing lots of bling.
That might all sound formulaic, but Oddmar builds on familiar platform game tropes with gorgeous cartoonish animation, lush and varied worlds, tons of secret levels, and multiple challenges per stage that boost replay value.
Even the touchscreen controls are top-notch in this mobile classic, whether you’re blazing through the forest to escape a furious screen-high troll, or riding a pig in a manner that totally wouldn’t be OK with the RSPCA.
The jolly tunes, pixelated graphics and single-screen action here bring to mind 1980s platform games Bubble Bobble and Snow Bros. However, Drop Wizard is a thoroughly modern creation, perfectly suited to mobile. It boasts a bite-sized pick-up-and-play structure, short level sets ending with battles against ginormous bosses.
Most importantly, the controls are pitch-perfect. Instead of run/jump/fire, you can only auto-run left or right and fall down holes. On landing on a platform below, you emit a magic blast, used to stun roaming enemies. Boot them and they tumble about for a bit, potentially collecting fellow stunned foes, eventually turning into a tasty piece of collectable fruit.
This combination of controls and attack methods is a masterstroke, forcing you to strategise, and making the entire product feel chaotic, fresh and exciting.
Most platform games on iOS tend to be resolutely 2D affairs, even if some of them are eye-poppingly gorgeous (such as Oddmar, featured above). But Suzy Cube takes a very different approach. Riffing off of Super Mario 3D Land, the game regularly switches up the viewpoint, keeping it fresh, if a touch dizzying.
On iOS, this could have been a recipe for disaster, but tight controls and level design ensure only your thumbs are to blame if you fluff it when zooming down a snowy mountainside in 3D, or sprinting through a trap-filled side-on pyramid of doom like a blocky breakneck Lara Croft with bunny ears.
Described as ‘Portal meets Lemmings’, Telepaint finds you helping clockwork automaton paintpots reach their paintbrush pals.
Each single-screen test involves figuring out how to utilise teleporters to blast your pot in the right direction, simultaneously splattering the otherwise gloomy industrial surroundings with vibrant colour. Early levels are just simple enough for you to get cocky, whereupon Telepaint gleefully smacks your brains out with a Dulux catalogue wrapped around a brick.
On-screen VHS controls soften the blow a little, enabling you to pause the action, take a breath, and set up subsequent teleports. It’s a clever move, and one that stops you seeing red a little too often. Regardless, you’ll never quite look at a can of paint in the same way again after playing.