Stuff Gadget Awards 2014: Monument Valley is the Mobile Game of the Year

The Escher-inspired puzzler is the finest phone or tablet-based diversion of the past 12 months
Monument Valley is the best mobile game of the year

Although we love our console games, you can’t take them with you on the bus.

So we turn to our smartphone games to keep us company on our commutes, to kill time when we’re queuing and to generally block out the cold grey world. And what better way to escape quotidian mundanity than the mind-bending trip into a magical world you undertake in Monument Valley? It's our favourite mobile game of 2014.

READ MORE: See all the Stuff Gadget Awards 2014 winners

Winner: Monument Valley

If you like aimlessly moving coloured blobs around your screen it’s unlikely the brief but brilliant experience of Monument Valley will interest you, but in a world that’s normally about little more than tapping players for cash, this Escher-esque puzzler stands out like a perspective-warped thumb. Conquer its optical illusions and guide the princess to the end of each level for one of the most memorable mobile gaming experiences in years. It’s not exactly difficult but sometimes it’s the journey rather than the destination that makes a trip worthwhile.

READ MORE: Monument Valley review

Runner-up: BioShock

Everyone’s favourite Libertarian underwater dystopia has been rebuilt for your iPhone this year, bringing gunplay, gorgeously decayed Art Deco settings and philosophical pondering to your commute. Yes, the touchscreen controls take a bit of getting used to (though you can always connect a gamepad), but the fact that they've managed to cram a previous-gen console title into your pencil-thin iThing is frankly mind-boggling.

READ MORE: Bioshock iOS review

Runner-up: The Nightmare Cooperative

With flesh-eating giant snails, pools of acid and many more ways to die, The Nightmare Cooperative is a scary place to spend your commute. A sliding puzzler similar to Threes! the aim is to raid dungeons without unlocking too many monsters. The gameplay, although uniquely brilliant, can be rather cruel and may involve sacrificing your teammates ‘for the greater good’.

READ MORE: The Nightmare Cooperative review

Runner-up: Eliss Infinity

This one’s for you, organisational ogres and neat-freaks. Eliss Infinity puts you in charge of a small section of the universe to keep tidy, and then lobs planets, vortexes and space storms at you at an alarming rate. Your success relies on a gold medal-winning performance of finger gymnastics, plus sheer determination to keep going despite the deluge. 

READ MORE: Eliss Infinity review

Runner-up: Hitman GO

If you’re after a bloodbath, look elsewhere. But if you’re partial to a bit of strategy or Cluedo, this chin-stroking reworking of the Hitman series may be just the thing. To work your crafty way around the board game-like grid, sneak up on the bad guys or distract them by throwing rocks. There are no time limits, so there’s no need to get flustered.

READ MORE: Hitman GO review

Runner-up: Threes!

The Stuff team is so addicted to Threes! that it’s a wonder we get anything done at all. On the face of it, it’s pretty simple: you merge number cards to get as higher total as possible; with new cards added each time you make a move. Add in some cute catchphrases and you’ve got yourself a 4am mad swipe-fest.

READ MORE: Drop everything and try Threes!

Runner-up: The Room Two

The most exciting game you'll ever play that involves opening a box, the much-anticipated sequel to The Room challenges you with more ambitious environments and multi-layered puzzles than its predecessor. Now there are multiple rooms with clues scattered throughout and each chapter is set in a particular location such as a ship or jungle. You can manipulate artefacts using swipes, pinches and double-taps, although it’s easy to fumble – the oppressive atmosphere puts you on edge.

Runner-up: The Walking Dead season 2

Unlike most zombie-infested games, in The Walking Dead you'll have to put down your gun and get out your tissues; things are about to get emotional. A brilliant extension of the Walking Dead universe, this episodic game focuses on the difficult decisions young Clementine has to make in order to find safety and survive, now that she’s all alone. Sob. Or not…

READ MORE: See all the Stuff Gadget Awards 2014 winners