The best platform game for iPhone and iPad: Drop Wizard
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.
Miles & Kilo
Although this one initially resembles a sweet-natured platform game from the 1980s, Miles & Kilo has a vicious streak that’d sooner take your face off. With its auto-runner controls and carefully choreographed levels, there’s a whiff of Super Mario Run. But this effort’s faster, tougher, and better than Nintendo’s.
Mostly, this is down to Miles & Kilo regularly shaking things up. One minute, you’re darting about in typical Mario Bros. fashion, but then you’re pelting along on a mine cart, or clinging on for dear life as your leashed dog zooms after a black cat. It’s giddy, intoxicating fun – albeit with a dollop of masochism given the difficulty level.
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.
We usually wear our suspicious look when faced with platform games on iOS, because most of them are terrible; even more so when they’ve been punted across from another platform.
Amazingly, LIMBO loses nothing in its translation from consoles. The spooky, grim, creepy experience, akin to Groundhog Day in hell, remains a nightmarish vision of genius on the touchscreen, whether your tiny adventurer is being impaled by a giant spider or inching his way past deadly blades.
Are you the kind of person who finds Canabalt a bit too simple? Reckon you could play two leapy games at once? Kalimba will deflect such bluster right back at you.
In a game at times almost akin to juggling, you simultaneously control two totem pole pieces. At first, you’re just jumping over the odd hole, but before long you’re switching colours to speed through mystical barriers, while being chased by a terrifying screen-high demon.
When you finally – and smugly – somewhat master all that, Kalimba wryly grins, adds further complications (totem ‘stacking’; flying totems; up to four totems in the two-player split-screen mode), and leaves you a gibbering wreck. And you thought mobile platformers were supposed to be easy!