Pascal’s Wager key art

Best new mobile games on iOS and Android – February 2020 round-up

Mobile-Technology
Image credit: source

Pascal’s Wager – the Dark Souls of mobile games (pic: Giant Network)

GameCentral looks at the month’s best new mobile games, including Soulsborne Pascal’s Wager and one of the best word puzzle games ever.

Even though the year is only a few weeks old, the simple act of turning on the news is already providing an inescapable stream of awfulness. To help assuage the sense of futility inspired by 2020’s spew of dystopian non-fiction, it’s time once again to seek solace in mobile entertainment. Which in a welcome twist features only good news, from the sublime SpellTower+ to the devilish and long-lasting challenge of Maze Machina.

 

Maze Machina for iOS & Android

£1.99 (Tiny Touch Tales)

From the makers of the brilliant Card Thief, Maze Machina is another turn-based puzzle game that’s infinitely more challenging and thought-provoking than its simple set up would have you believe.

Taking place on a 4×4 grid, you need to hop your mouse protagonist to a key, and then to an exit tile, using as few moves as possible. The board is also populated with killer robots, who mirror every move you make, with the twist that both you and your enemies automatically use the randomised piece of equipment on each space each time you make a move.

The goal is to complete 15 levels, but even making it as far as 10 is a huge undertaking that will require both significant practise and a lot of luck. It’s a fascinating and constantly changing challenge.

Score: 9/10

 

Evelyn’s Farm – you don’t play it for the graphics (pic: James Senter)

Evelyn’s Farm for iOS

£1.99 (James Senter)

To raise money for college, you agree to help an old lady called Evelyn with the harvest at her small farm. Starting off with pumpkins, you soon move on to apples and corn, repeatedly hitting an on-screen bar to perform work in classic incremental game style, albeit presented in the form of a graphics-free text adventure.

Soon enough you hire a pair of employees to so some of the tapping for you, and it’s all quaint farming frolics until Evelyn hands you a gun, and you start getting attacked by strange men from the forest.

Evelyn’s Farm is a plot-driven idle tapper, with a steadily evolving story, which neatly incorporates the regular resets needed in incremental games. It’s engaging stuff, and pretty much unique in its approach to the genre.

Score: 8/10

 

Draw Chilly for iOS & Android

49p (Azamat Bayzulaev)

Vladimir, the hero of Draw Chilly, is beset on all sides by fierce monkey attackers. You fend them off, and dispatch the tougher bosses that appear every 10 levels, by hammering the melee button and through judicious use of recharging special attacks.

You’ll also rely on a slowly expanding team of fellow monkey exterminators, who automatically flock around you, attacking any simian antagonists within their limited range. Levels are prefaced by witty dialogue that regularly knocks through the fourth wall.

The story mode’s 100 levels offer a stern challenge, with the action quickly becoming frenzied but also a little repetitive.

Score: 7/10

 

The White Door for iOS & Android

£2.99 (Second Maze)

Sequel to the fabulously menacing Rusty Lake series, many episodes of which are free-to-play browser games, The White Door casts you as an amnesiac patient in a mysterious secure medical facility. Waking up in a room with minimal furniture and a barred window, it’s your job to figure out what’s going on.

Tap an item in the room and your character walks over to it, letting you explore and find hidden pieces of evidence that you’ll need as you work out how to break free from your strictly supervised daily routine.

Part room escape, part point ‘n’ click adventure, its subject matter, subtle puzzles, and graphic novel style line-drawn artwork make it a treat from start to finish.

Score: 8/10

 

Pascal’s Wager for iOS

£6.99 (Giant Network)

With its muttered dialogue, gothic setting, and weighty, dangerous combat, Pascal’s Wager is an attempt to bring Soulsborne to mobile. And even though it’s designed for touchcreen, to stand any chance of success, you’ll need to start by pairing an Xbox or PlayStation controller with your iPad or iPhone.

Rather than souls, you collect bones, and altars stand in for bonfires at which you upgrade, manage your character, and heal at the expense of resurrecting everything you’ve killed. But its biggest departure is that has small, discrete maps, in contrast to the Souls games’ labyrinthine architecture.

While it’s undoubtedly accomplished and has console-grade production values, it’s never as feverishly gripping as its inspiration. Its viewpoint feels too narrow, and it has a nasty habit of letting the controller go unresponsive at the worst possible moments. It also only shows Xbox button prompts even with a DualShock connected.

Score: 7/10

 

No Way Home for iOS

Apple Arcade (SMG)

When your tiny, circular spaceship is hurled far from Earth, your job is to find a way back, a task that requires blasting attacking alien spaceships in twin stick shooter style, as you worm your way through its maze-like, procedurally generated levels.

Enemies drop loot when they explode, which lets you craft and buy upgrades to your ship, gradually allowing access to more sectors, more quests, and more challenge levels that take place inside massive, mysterious stone heads.

It’s a good, solid game even if its central shoot/loot/craft loop begins to bore long before you’ve navigated your way home.

Score: 7/10

 

SpellTower+ for iOS

£Free (Zach Gage)

SpellTower came out in 2011 and if you’re even remotely interested in word games it’s probably still lurking somewhere in a folder on your phone. As in the original, SpellTower+ is a word search, where you can assemble letters not only upwards, downwards and diagonally, but also in crazy zigzags, as long as each letter is only used once.

It’s fabulously addictive, and this version adds a range of online features, leaderboards, and daily challenges that further ratchet up the desire for frequent dips into linguistic nirvana.

As ever, free really means ad supported, but in this case the infrequent and quickly skip-able videos are thoroughly inoffensive, the ad free version costing a very reasonable £4.99.

Score: 9/10

 

Grand Mountain Adventure for iOS & Android

£Free (full game £4.99) (Toppluva)

Skiing down courses in Grand Mountain Adventure requires a simple tap on the left or right of the screen to slalom in each direction. Swipe down to swish your skies sideways and slow down, and both sides simultaneously to hop.

Completing routes earns you ski passes that unlock fresh tracks and parts of the mountain. The mix of competitive skiing (or snowboarding when you unlock it) and exploration is surprisingly intoxicating.

It’s a well-designed game, with a rewind button that lets you instantly skip back to the beginning of courses, and clever use of music to let you know you’re in a challenge rather than just noodling about on the snow. The first mountain is free, with all the others unlocked for a one-off payment.

Score: 8/10

 

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(Excerpt) Read more Here | 2020-02-10 06:01:00

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