Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.
Looking for a new game to play on your mobile device? Here's our pick of the best released in October 2013.
(Credit: Playground Publishing)
Papa Sangre II
Papa Sangre, launched in 2010, was the first mobile game (that we know of) that removed visuals from the equation. Instead, you had to navigate using your ears (and a set of headphones), dead and seeking a lost loved one in the underworld. The sequel follows a similar plot, with updated audio technology, and it's a singularly eerie gaming experience. "There is no game called Papa Sangre. You are dead."
Following on from the Year Walk companion app, Simogo's latest project is an interactive text adventure — but quite unlike any you might have played before. Taking what it learned from Year Walk, the developer has created some puzzles that really force you to think outside the box — text that flows around corners, clues hidden within the narrative, within illustrations, within audio, within illustrations, all forcing you to turn your preconceptions upside down to solve them. Simogo was already on a winning streak from its very first game, but now it's really hitting its stride.
Bit-Trip is kind of the simultaneous seventh game in the Bit.Trip series, alongside Bit.Trip Runner 2 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Windows, Mac and Linux. Although we feel an endless runner would be appropriate, the game is split into five levels, over which you guide Commander Video on his brightly-coloured, bopping way, jumping, kicking and dancing to the finish.
Anomaly: Warzone Earth introduced a brilliant twist on tower defense: tower offense. Instead of building turrets to defend your base, you go on the warpath, taking the turrets down. Anomaly 2 is going hard on the upgrade, with some really high-performance graphics that look incredible, and the ability to transform your units mid-fight for some intensely exciting gameplay. It's not going to work on every iOS device, simply because the graphics are so intense, so check before you buy. It's also not available yet for Android, but there is a benchmark test you can download for free to see if your device will run the game.
Now this is novel. Street View Adventures takes something we're all familiar with — Google Street View — and turns it into a game. You're plopped down in one of 40 maps of famous places around the world, and have to find your way to a specific point of interest using only a map and the view of the street in front of you. Oddly, though, it's only available for iOS.
Did you like smashing up zombies in Dead Trigger? The sequel has landed for free, with a bunch of upgraded gameplay features. These include some pretty sweet graphics and some crazy giant boss-zombies, but also a radio you can listen to in-game, real-time story development, a choice of controls and a boatload of new weapons.
It must be sequel/remake month or something. Anyway, here's the follow-up to 2012's space combat simulator ARC Squadron. Redux — a remake of its predecessor — lets you take command of a customisable space fighter to defend the galaxy from the evil Guardians. It's a fast-paced, Star Fox-style on-rails hellion of a title with 60 levels of action.
We've all seen the side-scrolling platformer a million times, but few are as strange as Mimpi. It stars an adorable little white dog who is on a search for his owner — through a surreal dreamscape. And it's not all "collect the collecting things and stomp the bad things", either; you have to use the touch controls in some really interesting ways to solve the puzzles and get Mimpi to where he needs to go.
Indigo Lake combines first-person combat, puzzle solving and the supernatural in a deeply impressive open-world adventure. It's possibly the first mobile game of its kind to include cars that you can get in and drive, but it may also just give you the willies. A spate of suicides at Indigo Lake has led to a paranormal investigation, but when your friend goes missing, it's up to you, equipped with a hand gun and "smart glasses", to find him — and lay to rest any restless spirits you encounter along the way.
Duet seems to be based on death, in more ways than one. There is, of course, a little death in video games — where you crash and burn and have to start the level all over again. Duet, killingly difficult, has a lot of that. But if you look for the thematic clues, the game is crawling with it: from the very minimal snippets of dialogue to the strange, void-like atmosphere to the names of the levels — the Kübler-Ross five stages of grief (plus a few extra). It also forces you to think outside the box, requiring your spatial cognition to go into overdrive as you navigate the levels to avoid hitting the obstacles with your paired red and blue dots, which can only turn on a wheel at the bottom of the screen. It's this that fills it, in spite of its difficulty, with immensely satisfying "eureka" moments.
There seems to be a rising trend in games that include a beautiful soundscape. har•mo•ny is a treat for the senses. It's a puzzle game that sees you rearranging colour palettes by swapping tiles so that all the colours are in their correct places. Each tile has a set number of moves that have to be used, indicated by the number of dots on that tile; the puzzle is only completed when all moves are used. Meanwhile, a gorgeously ambient soundtrack plays, keeping the whole, untimed experience deeply zen.
Kickstarter-funded Fist of Awesome does not lie. You're a time-travelling lumberjack with a fist so awesome you can punch out bears, Double Dragon-style. We don't really know what needs to be added to that. It has some slick controls and power-ups, and great retro-style graphics, but dude. Punching bears. And dinosaurs.
If you like your JRPG with a bit of funny in 'em, Doom & Destiny is the game for you. It follows a group of four nerdy friends as they embark on a Dungeons & Dragons campaign, and you play out their adventure. The game was launched for Android and Windows Phone in July, and has made its way across to iOS.
It's a history lesson and a game in one! Type:Rider is a fun little side-scroller in which you have to control two little black dots (a sideways colon? Two thirds of an ellipsis? Two full-stops?) through a hazardous environment, collecting asterisks as you go. Each asterisk unlocks a chapter in the history of writing. A strange idea, but one, we think, that works.
Whether or not you liked the film Real Steel (it wasn't massively well received, according to Rotten Tomatoes), you gotta admit, the idea of robots beating up other robots is pretty fun. Real Steel World Robot Boxing lets you join the fight with your own customisable robots to take down the world champion.
A few years back, a game surfaced on the internet called Broken Picture Telephone — kind of a cross between Chinese Whispers and Exquisite Corpse. One person would write a phrase on a virtual sticky-note. The next person would draw that phrase. Then the next person writes what they think the drawing is depicting — and the next person draw that. When you get to 10 turns, you can see the entire game — to hilarious result. Broken Picture Telephone disappeared for a while, but now it's back on the web — with an Android version to boot.