Get in. Leave your mark. Get out. Those are the basics of Vandals, a stealth-based puzzler that'll have you tagging the streets of Paris, Tokyo, New York and more. As you'd expect from a game that puts street art at the fore, Vandals is drenched in style, with the game's neon purple and blue hues breathing life into the urban sprawls that serve as your canvas. Like all great artists, you'll have to find your own way, and Vandals' unique approach to tagging lets you create your own calling cards on the fly. Will you leave behind a simple tag, or follow in the footsteps of Bansky to become the next great social provocateur? The choice is yours.
Mark my words: there's nothing odd about Oddmar. Mobge's radiant platfomer is a joy to behold, and more importantly, a joy to play. Everything about the title has been fine-tuned to near-perfection, from the scintillating visuals to the pinpoint controls. The story might come across as a bit one-note — you're a viking warrior who's on a journey to prove themselves after being cast out — but that hardly matters. What matters is that Oddmar is a captivating effort that understands exactly what it takes to succeed as a platformer. This one's more than worthy of a place in Valhalla.
The Mooseman (Free+IAP)
What do you get if you cross a moose with a man? What do you mean you don't know? The answer's staring you in the face! Thats's right, you get a Mooseman — a mythical creature with the power to see all that's hidden to our mortal eyes. You'll need to harness your newfound ability to explore the three layers of the universe, chat with long forgotten gods, and solve all the mysteries of finno-ugric tales. It's gonna be an adventure unlike anything you've ever seen.
Touchgrind BMX 2 (Free+IAP)
The long-awaited sequel to one of the best mobile offerings of 2011 (as chosen by the brains over at Apple), Touchgrind BMX 2 is pitched as one of the most elaborate sports games on the App Store, but in this case 'elaborate' doesn't mean finicky. It means rewarding, because the game's two finger control scheme is as deft and responsive as ever. Sure, you'll need patience to become a master, but that just makes it all the more satisfying when you finally manage to pull off that killer trick you've been losing sleep over. Guess it's time you hit the track.
Ava Airborne (Free+IAP)
Ava Airborne believes she can fly. Really, she can fall - or rather float for a bit - with style. Still she's determined to soar as far as she can, and you've been brought in to help her. Weave between bomb-balloons, dive into turbo-charged catapults, bounce off trampolines, and launch yourself in the clouds. In short: put as much distance between that little aeronaut and the ground, and see where the breeze takes you.
For relaxing times, make it Hexologic time. That's the unofficial slogan (which means I made it up this instant) for Hexologic, a sumptuously zen puzzler thats more chilled than the freezer aisle at Asda.
Solve sudoku inspired puzzles, lap up some laid back beats, and embark upon a journey to the centre of your soul. Okay, that last bit might be taking it a tad far, but if you're searching for a sure fire way to unwind on the morning commute, then look no further.
Trick Shot 2 (£2.99)
This game is my recital, I think its very vital, to get that ball, in that hole, the trick is in the title. One butchered Run DMC classic aside, Trick Shot 2 is indeed exceedingly tricky. On the surface it all seems so simple: send the ball home and become a living legend. Okay, the living legend part might not be a guarantee, but we're sure at least one person will be impressed by your putting prowess.
How does a p fall? How much does an r weigh?
You'll have to unravel all of those riddles and more if you want to puzzle your way through Supertype's century of levels. That's because every mystery in Philipp Stollenmayer's zany word game can only be unlocked by manipulating the alphabet in some rather imaginative ways. It's basically what you'd get if Isaac Newton invented countdown, and if that doesn't have you interested, I don't know what will.
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery (Free+IAP)
We are pleased to inform you that you have a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
That's right, you lucky son of a gnome, turns out you're not a muggle after all! It's time to pack those school bags, trot down to Diagon Alley, and make your way to Platform 9 3/4, because the Hogwarts Express is leaving, and you've got a date with the sorting hat. In Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, you can embark on your own adventure in the wizarding world, set years before Harry ever got his own letter. What does fate have planned for you? There's only one way to find out, but one thing's for sure: it's going to be magical.
Space Pioneer (£Free+IAP)
Space. The final frontier. Step into the great unknown, discover new galaxies, and explore strange new worlds. Oh, and while you're at it, amass an arsenal of hi-tech weapons so you can crush all who oppose you. Alright, we admit that took a fairly dark turn, but you're gonna step on some alien toes (and err… tentacles) when conquering the galaxy. Just try and make some friends along the way, because the universe is a big place, and you'll need all the help you can get.
Stranger Things: The Game (£free+IAP)
Stranger Things is back, which means for the next month you're going to enter a nostalgia coma where '80s pop-rock, Eggos, and avoiding spoilers are the only things that matter. But before you binge your way though Season 2 (as if you haven't already) you might want to check out this surprisingly swish video game tie-in.
Designed to look and feel like it's been ripped out of the '80s, Stranger Things: The Game lets you explore Hawkins, interact with your favourite characters, and solve a few mysteries of your own. It's much more than a marketing gimmick, and developer BonusXP have put a lot of love into crafting a old-school adventure that's sure to delight fans of the series.
Jelly Dance (£Free+IAP)
Hey Mr. DJ put a record on, I wanna dance with my jelly. Wait… say what now? That's right folks, there's a horde of rambunctious jellies heading your way, and they're in the mood to boogie. If you don't want to let your new pals down, you'd better get behind those turntables and spin some funky hip hop beats, because these wobbly customers know how to party.
Just match the tumbling beats to the party started, and your gelatinous friends will handle the rest. Oh, and while you're grooving, take a moment to remember the most important lesson of all: you've gotta turn it up if you wanna get down.
Marvel Strike Force (£Free+IAP)
Avengers: Infinity War is right around the corner, so naturally Marvel has released a free-to-play smartphone title to cash in that golden ticket.
Marvel Strike Force is anything but a cheap tie-in, though. It's a gloriously polished squad-RPG that'll have you teaming up your favourite heroes and villains to save the world - or at least take down those who destroyed it.
The premise is standard comic book fare, and the real star of the show is the dynamic, five vs five combat system, which is built around succulent multi-hero combo moves and abilities. It makes for some pretty cinematic skirmishes, making Strike Force as much fun to watch as it is to play.
Got an Axe to grind? Well then keep walking, because Axe.io isn't the game you.
Now, if you've got an axe you don't mind lobbing, then you might want to stick around, because that's the name of the game in Crescent Moon Games' brutal battleground. Surviving won't be easy, but it is simple enough: just toss your axe faster than the other chump, and hope it lands true. If it doesn't, you're going to be in a bit of a pickle, because you aren't the only hatchet hurling hero around these parts.
An ancient civilisation blinks out of existence, leaving nothing behind except a mysterious cyber-network.
256 years later, an anonymous explorer sinks into its cold depths to seek out answers, but the network has its own plans for the nameless adventurer, and doesn't treat intruders lightly. You'll need to muster your courage to survive, blasting through eclectic block-breaking encounters and battling dynamic bosses to solve the riddles ahead.
Only those with the sharpest reflexes will prevail. Are you in?
Explore a world of illusion and intrigue, where everything appears to be a simple case of black and white.
Your mysterious companion, OVO, is a strange being born of those contrasting halves, and as you travel through the metaphysical world of OVIVO, your biggest challenge wont be solving the puzzles within, but rather making sense of what you find in the great beyond.
Kingpin Bowling (£Free+IAP)
This is not 'nam. This is bowling. There are rules. And those rules will have you tossing balls down infinite alleys, dodging all manner of pesky obstacles and knocking over more pins than you can shake a stick at.
Or at least, you'd best hope that's how it plays out, because these are the State Bowling Championships and the competition is hot. You're not half bad, mind. But it's down to you, Munson, McCraken, and The Jesus, and as anybody familiar with The Dude will know, nobody messes with The Jesus.
My Child Lebensborn (£2.99)
My Child Lebensborn is a beautiful and utterly heartbreaking tale about the loss of innocence in a post-war world. How do you raise a child in a land shattered by conflict? You'll need to find an answer if you want to help your recently adopted sprog find their feet.
It might sound like an melancholic slog, but My Child Lebensborn is peppered with moments of levity and brilliance that make those emotional beats feel earned. It's one of the most original, human games we've played in quite some time, and it deserves every bit of attention you can muster.
Merge Star (£Free+IAP)
Most legendary warriors have a mystical power. What could yours be? The ability to hurl fireballs, summon undead armies, or perhaps even command deadly wyverns? Well, not exactly. Your party trick is 'merging,' which is basically the art of gaffer taping two items together in the hopes of creating something half-decent.
Okay, maybe that's underselling it slightly, but you get the gist. As the Merge Hero you'll have to overcome the forces of evil by tinkering with the treasure you find along the way. Need a better weapon? Combine those two wooden swords to create a powerful axe. Need to enlist the help of a bumblebee companion? Mash together those two sentient fluff balls you found under that rock. Yeah, you heard me.
Spike City (£Free+IAP)
The latest effort from mobile moguls Nitrome, Spike City is a pristine platformer that proves once again why the studio is one of the best in the biz. As its rather pointed name suggests, Spike City is all about using your super-sharp noggin to breeze through levels like a pro. Naturally, this being a platforming affair, there are power-ups to collects, new worlds to explore, and big ol' bosses to defeat. On the surface, that might sound like some pretty standard fare, but this is a Nitrome game, which means it's been polished more than the royal family's fanciest cutlery. Shiny indeed.
Lazaretto is an atmospheric and frighteningly immersive horror effort that packs its fair share of genuine scares. Set on an abandoned quarantined island that some foolhardy chap has decided to explore (because who doesn't love a spine-chilling vacation?), Lazaretto quickly turns into a surreal, strange, and dangerous adventure through a realm where everything isn't what it seems. Armed with only a flashlight and whatever bravery you can muster, you'll need to push ahead to get back home. Just try and avoid the nightmarish monsters watching your every move, unless, of course, you fancy becoming human chow.
No doubt inspired by Monument Valley, Umiro is a sumptuous isometric puzzler that puts its own spin on the genre by asking players to guide not one, but two colourful entities through its vibrant, minimalist levels.
Only by safely escorting Huey and Satura through Umiro's striking labyrinths and winding landscapes will you be able to restore colour to the world, but the dynamic duo have come down with a case of amnesia, making your job that little bit harder. It's never straightforward, is it?
Quirky puzzle-platformer Candleman thrusts players into the shoes of a hardy candle and asks them to explore a dark, dangerous world beneath light and shadow.
Unfortunately, the sentient waxwork you've been asked to help can only burn for ten seconds, so you'll have to use your light sparingly (and wisely) if you want to escape the murky depths in one piece.
Tread carefully and don't be a hothead - a meltdown would mean the end for your cute companion, and we know you wouldn't want that.
Hold me closer MissleDancer. That's what you'll be whispering to your phone after getting to grips with Junichi Terayama's manic, vertical shooter. As the name subtly suggests, you'll be manning the titular MissileDancer, a state-of-the-art vehicle armed to the teeth with lock-on missiles. Once airborne you'll need to eliminate a gaggle of enemy fighters without being blown to smithereens. No pressure, then.
Bonfire: Forsaken Lands (£3.99)
Where there's warmth, you can survive. So gather around your bonfire and start figuring out how to thrive in the snowy wilderness.
Be careful though, because the weather isn't the only thing out to get you. The frozen wastes are filled with strange creatures and unfamiliar civilisations, so you'll have to think long and hard about how best to spend your valuable recourses if you're to build a stable community.
Rash decisions will get you nowhere, so take your time and play the long-game. Unless you want to become a human popsicle, that is.