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.
GALAXY OF PEN & PAPER (₹400)
The year is 1999, and somewhere on Earth a group of friends are about to go on an intergalactic adventure of a lifetime. Fancy joining them as they take to the stars in search of fame, fortune, and favourable dice rolls? Oh yeah, we forgot to mention that Galaxy of Pen & Paper is a turn-based meta RPG, which means its an RPG about the pen and paper RPGs of days gone by. Now there's a description Christopher Nolan would be proud of.
In case you're still a bit miffed, the only thing you really need to know is that Galaxy of Pen & Paper is an absolute riot. Spaceship battles, galactic exploration, customisable classes: it's all here. So, gear up and prepare for launch. There's a galaxy in dire need of saving, and we like the cut of your jib.
Linelight is a minimalist offering that asks what would happen if we reduced a video to its simplest form? It's the sort of pseudo-deep soundbite you'd expect to hear at the start of an Apple advert, but that's a transgression we're willing to forgive, because Linelight actually delivers the goods.
As the tagline suggests, this elegant puzzler takes place in a two-dimensional maze that'll stir the senses as you guide a luminescent line through its murky depths. Helped along by a calming ambient soundtrack, you'll have to ensure your chirpy blip of a companion survives the trials and tribulations hidden in the game's 200 levels. It's a simple premise that lives long in the memory thanks to some flawless design work - and we mean it when we say that Linelight is one of the most gorgeous mobile efforts we've had the pleasure of playing this year. Don't miss it.
ROME: TOTAL WAR - ALEXANDER (₹400)
It might be almost as old as I am, but the Rome Total War series remains as engrossing and strategically satisfying as ever. You'll no doubt be thrilled to hear the original game is already available on iPad, and now the Alexander expansion pack has also made the leap on to tablet screens.
The chunky add-on puts players into the shoes - or rather, sandals - of the legendary Macedon king Alexander the Great, and serves up a more focused campaign than the base game. Much as the real Alexander did, you'll have to conquer the seven kingdoms to forge a new Greek empire, reliving and rewriting history along the way. Only the bravest, most shrewd commanders will succeed. Think you've got what it takes?
FIGHTING FANTASY LEGENDS (₹400)
Fighting Fantasy Legends is a new card-based RPG from renowned authors and Games Workshop co-founders Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone. Set in the sprawling, magical world of Allansia, the rogue-lite lets players tackle three iconic gamebooks: City of Thieves, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, and Citadel of Chaos. And if they sound familiar to readers of a certtain age, that's because they were among the first books Jackson and Livingstone wrote back in the 1980s.
The twist this time around is that each location plays host to a shuffled deck of cards packed with fiendish creatures, powerful objects, and dramatic events. Players will have to build up their own armoury of treasures and tricks if they hope to survive the challenges ahead. And for those who laugh in the face of danger, there's a permadeath mode that'll keep even the very best on their toes.
LAYTON'S MYSTERY JOURNEY (₹1,250)
Layton's Mystery Journey is the first in the series to make its debut on mobile. Arriving just in time to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the popular franchise, Level-5's latest puzzler follows Katrielle Layton as she becomes wrapped up in the quest to find her missing father.
It's a smart, pitch-perfect title that features the largest collection of puzzles in any Layton game to date, and keeps things fresh with a new cast of characters and bonus daily puzzles. I'm sure the ₹1,250 price tag might have some of you rubbing your eyes in disbelief, but this is a bonafide Professor Layton game that's worth every penny.
BRAINFUL (₹FREE + IAP)
Colourful brain trainer Brainful is a trickster of a game that's as bemusing as it is brilliant. On the surface, the goal is simple: pay attention to the buttons cascading towards you and tap where they tell you. You've only got to stay one step ahead of the game, so how hard can it be?
Well actually, when the going gets tough, the once-simple game becomes a manic, sweat-drenched nightmare. What colour did you see last? Are you meant to go left or right? Oh Jesus, the clock is ticking. Choose. Choose. CHOOSE. Those are just some of the thoughts that'll swirl around your cranium before you see that all too familiar "Game Over" screen.
But don't worry, you'll be hooked by then, so just get ready for round two… hundred.
PROJECT MALLOW (₹FREE + IAP)
Super Mallow Boy, ahem, I mean Project Mallow is a whip-smart 2D platformer about a cutesy sentient marshmallow who's had the misfortune of growing up in a world that's clearly been designed for one singular purpose: to destroy mallowkind. If you think that's dark, well… it is. And unless you can successfully guide your gooey companion through more than 100 levels filled to the sticky brim with traps and tricks, you'll have to get used to seeing poor little mallow getting maimed time and time again.
But wait, it's not all bad news, because you can customise your squishy sidekick with collectable hats and accessories. So, at least they'll look dapper while they're being turned into a s'more.