Slingshot Racing (US$0.99)
The idea of a one-thumb racing game might fill you with suspicion, but Slingshot Racing works wonderfully. Set across dozens of icy tracks, you race steampunk sleds issued with grappling hooks that shoot out to nearby towers when you hold the screen. Momentum then speeds you along, beyond opponents, and, in some cases, mere inches ahead of terrifying contraptions out to crush you.
Thumbability: ONE THUMBS UP! One thumb’s enough for playing the game, but it’ll need to be a banana thumb to reach all the menus.
The ball here likes bouncing and moving on, but very much dislikes spikes, hence this game’s name. Press the screen and it scrolls. Time it right and the ball won’t get a spike up its… well, whatever a ball has for a bottom. Get really good and you’ll be awarded loads of combos and credits for unlocking new and bizarre game modes. For extra challenge, play in portrait, which gives you way less warning regarding nearby hazards.
Thumbability: TWO THUMBS UP! The interface is a bit of a dog’s dinner, but readily accessible in portrait or landscape.
Winter Walk (US$free)
Winter Walk finds a gent out for a stroll on a snowy, windy evening. It’s imperative that, as a gent, he not lose his hat, and so you have to hold the screen during gusts of wind. The longer you survive, the more of the gent’s thoughts are displayed. That’s pretty much it, but this is a sweet title with gentle humour, and a serious survival challenge is lurking beneath the charm.
Thumbability: TWO THUMBS UP! Hold anywhere to start and anywhere to play. Lovely.
Relic Rush (US$0.99)
Imagine Tomb Raider as designed by someone who owns an 8-bit home computer and a very broken joystick. You still have to speed through dusty environments full of traps and things out to kill you, but only your thumb can help you to victory. This one’s an auto-runner, with you pausing on holding the screen. At first, it’s easy to avoid the odd lazy (yet deadly) frog, but later on, your timing must be perfect to get you past lava traps, ghosts and snowball-lobbing yetis, and - importantly - to the idol before it turns from gold to tin.
Thumbability: TWO THUMBS UP! Big tappable buttons and you hold anywhere during the game.
Food Run HD (US$2.99)
Your gaming life’s incomplete until you’ve experienced the sheer joy of a burger with legs wall-jumping like a meaty ninja. But this happens often in Food Run, where fruit, doughnuts and other tasty treats make a dash for level’s end, avoiding various hazards along the way. It’s colourful, simple platforming fun, but with plenty of smarts in both level design and controls. You could say it’s very tasty, only then you’d be arrested by the pun police - and that would be bad.
Thumbability: ONE THUMBS UP! Chunky buttons, but they’re a bit of a stretch. In-game, everything’s one-thumb leaping though.