It is a good time to be a mobile gamer. Over the next few weeks, at least three of our most anticipated iOS games of the entire year will go live on the App Store and Google Play.
In the next month (or so), we will be muddling up comic panels, manipulating impossible geometry, making a theme park, and fending off aliens.
These, then, are nine awesome-looking games that should be out in April.
Or considering the unpredictability of indie schedules and Apple’s approvals, sometime this spring.
And before you shout at us, Android fans, yes, we know that there’s only one new game for you this month. It ain’t our fault that developers launch games on iOS first. Send a letter to your Member of Parliament.
Fairway Solitaire Blast
By Big Fish Games – heading to iOS and Android on April 3rd
The first Fairway Solitaire – that dangerously compulsive mix of golf, cards, and gophers – sapped more than a few hours of productivity from the Pocket Gamer team. This sequel hopes to steal even more.
The idea is the same: you want to clear all the cards on the screen by grabbing ones that are one number higher or lower than the card in your hand. Cue hours upon hours of rapt, feverish addiction.
This sequel will let you wield explosive power-ups that are capable of forcibly removing cards you don’t want to deal with. But do look out for some expensive new in-app purchases and an energy system.
By ustwo – heading to iPhone and iPad on April 3rd
Inspired by M.C. Escher paintings and toying with similar ideas to Fez and Echochrome, Monument Valley is all about exploring impossible architecture and bending it to your will.
What you see becomes reality, basically. So, even when two platforms are physically far apart, if they connect from your isometric viewpoint, you can cross them like a bridge.
This sets the stage for a handful of clever, intricate, and ingenious puzzles that we simply can’t wait to solve. And ustwo’s smart choices in colours, shape, and even the orientation of your iPad will make this one of the most striking games of 2014.
I Dig It: Journey to the Core
By Team Chaos – heading to iPhone and iPad in mid-April
I Dig It was one of my first loves on iOS. There was just something wonderfully rewarding about that simple feedback loop of digging down, finding gems, and then spending those gems on gear so you can dig down even farther.
It’s finally returning in April (or so) in the form of Journey to the Core.
Not only does this new game have swanky new cartoon graphics (thanks to new custodian Team Chaos), but it also boasts clever fluid mechanics that let you bypass lava by diverting its path or leading water straight to it.
By Loveshack – heading to iPhone and iPad in May or June
File this one under “I wish I’d thought of that”.
Loveshack’s ultra-inventive iPad game Framed is a graphic novel in which you have to shift the panels to change the outcome of the story.
Each page of this fancy digital comic starts with the protagonist getting caught or shot by the cops. Only by re-arranging the panels into a new order can you outsmart the police and help our hero get away.
Inevitably, things get more complicated as you move through the game, with the introduction of panels that can be spun around in chunky 90-degree increments to alter things even further.
By RocketCat Games – heading to iPhone and iPad in April
RocketCat absolutely nails the 16-bit style in this hardcore dungeon-crawler. If you didn’t know any better, you’d swear it was some long-lost SNES cartridge from 1993.
But it’s not: it’s the next game from the guys behind Punch Quest and Hook Champ.
Wayward Souls will feature six different characters; upgrades and equipment; a difficult combat system about timing and positioning; and the ever-present threat of permanent death hanging over your pixellated head.
FTL: Faster Than Light
By Subset Games – heading to iPad soon
Tense indie spaceship sim FTL is all about making smart decisions to keep your crew alive, your ship intact (and not on fire), and your noble mission underway.
You have control over numerous systems, and have to deal with dogfights and enemy invaders and mechanical faults – often, all at the same time. Luckily, you get a chance to pause the game at any time to consider your next move.
If you’ve already played this on PC, know that the iPad version will feature all the updates in FTL: Advanced Edition, including new events, ships, and equipment; new playable race, the Lanius; a clone bay; and a Hard difficulty mode.
Rollercoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile
By Atari – heading to iPhone and iPad soon
Rollercoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile could go one of two ways.
It could be a faithful re-invention of everyone’s second-favourite theme park simulator. Or it could be a monstrous mess of in-app purchases, wait timers, and unwanted social network badgering.
Okay, so we know that it does have IAPs for custom coasters. And it has wait timers for under-construction rides. And you can bother your Facebook pals for bonus currency.
It’s not looking good, then. But we will hold a lonely vigil for this game, on the million-to-one chance that Atari hasn’t completely gone off the rails.
By Cipher Prime – heading to iPad in April
Kids: drugs aren’t cool. Unless you’re blasting multi-coloured pills in an intoxicating combo-driven arcade game to the sound of a thumping dubstep beat. In which case, drugs are very cool.
Cipher Prime (of Splice, Pulse, and Auditorium fame) has already released this trippy shooter on PC. With its portrait screen and its multi-touch input, though, the iPad will surely be a more fitting home for it.
This frenetic game might seem simple at first, but between the combo system, the power-ups, and the challenge modes, there’s actually a lot of depth to this pill-popping romp.
By 1337 and Senri – heading to iPhone and iPad soon
The next game from Devil’s Attorney developers 1337 and Senri is a charming (and gosh-darn gorgeous) physics-puzzler about Leopold, a mustachioed ball of fluff with a Russian accent.
In the game, you’ll blob your way through a procession of tricky physics-based head-scratchers, using your weight to move levers and push platforms. Leo can also float to get about, and compress to fall back down with a thud.
This is intended as a deep game for dedicated gamers who grew up with platformers. As such, expect full iOS 7 controller support and no nuisance in-app purchases.