Monument Valley is a beautiful game. Apple’s game of the year 2014 shouldn’t need too much of an introduction. You play as Princess Ida and navigate a twisting, turning world of Escher-esque impossible geometry.
Tapping anywhere in the world sends Ida over, while a variety of visual indicators tell you what parts you can influence with your tapping.
Wrapped around the story of friendship and change is a game that, at the time of its release at least, is completely unique and full of ideas.
You might finish the game’s ten levels in an hour, but you won’t regret blasting through this one in a lunch break or after dinner, because the experience will sit with you for a few weeks afterwards.
Downwell is probably one of my favourite games from the last year, and something I really wish I’d paid more attention to when it launched.
Bizarrely it’s also the only game I’ve ever played that feels more at home on a mobile than on my PC, the Steam version sitting largely unplayed in my library.
Downwell is a game about, if you’ll excuse the laboured pun, going down a well. It looks like it’d run on the NES and with its simplistic controls (you can move left and right or use the single button to jump or shoot contextually) it could play on one too, but this roguelike handles like a particularly well-realised dream. The mobile controls are great on a touchscreen too, which for an action game is essential.
Reach the bottom of one section of the well and you’ll get the choice of a random upgrade. Reach the bottom of the next section and you’ll get another. But as you grow stronger, so do the beasties infesting Downwell’s vertical battlefield’s, and death is easy.
Price: Free, but with in-app purchases.
Okay, so it’s free to play and it’s from Supercell, the team behind Clash of Clans, the game your annoying friend on Facebook goes on about all the time, but stick with me.
Clash Royale is actually one of the best strategy games I’ve ever played for a five-minute burst, even though the free to play mechanics do hit it where it hurts a little.
In gameplay terms, it feels like a two lane MOBA. You’ve got three towers, your opponent has three towers, and you want to be tearing theirs down before they tear down yours.
You’ll be fighting real opponents from all around the world in frantic struggles lasting 4 minutes. This is a proxy war, with you sending out different troops based on cards in your deck. It’s hardly Hearthstone, with the cards being an infinite resource and decks functioning solely as a collection of cards you’ll be taking into battle. The cards cost different amounts of elixir and, like a tower defence game, elixir regenerates over time.
Really, it’s fantastic. I’m worried about its future as a competitive game because of the free to play element, but it’s a lot of fun and there’s no energy system: you pay only to unlock chests early or to buy other chests and it’s not as pushy as some other free to play titles.