Ah, it feels good to be back. The holidays kept me away a while, but now we’re in a new year with a brand new list of outstanding games. Superbrothers Sword & Sworcery is one of the most absurdly acclaimed games on mobile and is more than worthy of our top spot. We’ve also got a brilliant insect strategy game, a killer point and click adventure game, an artistic physics puzzler, a shamelessly awesome endless runner, and a unique memory style puzzler reminiscent of Indiana Jones.
Superbrothers Sword & Sworcery ($1.99)
Warning: I am about to praise this game to a nauseating degree. Superbrothers Sword & Sworcery from Capybara Games is a transcendent and original gaming experience that defies genres or labels. It’s an exploration adventure with action segments, with a heavy focus on the music and audio design. My lord, this is some of the best music you will ever hear in a video game. The detailed pixel art world is unique, exquisite, and worth exploring. It isn’t a particularly challenging game, as you can complete it very quickly if you know what you’re doing. If you just lost yourself in the experience (preferably with headphones), then you won’t regret it.
Ant Raid ($0.99)
This is a wonderfully frantic strategy title from HeroCraft, and technically it’s one of the most unique zombie games around. It involves defending your ant colony from all manner of zombified creepy crawlies, from slugs to bees to beetles. The touch-based unit controls are impressively precise and intuitive, and the game offers a surprising level of depth. Before long, you get various power ups to activate on your ants, and there are plenty of levels to enjoy, plus an endless survival mode. You can even use your own hand to squish enemies quite literally once you’ve charged up your power meter. It’s great fun.
Killer Escape (Free)
Here we have a port of a horror-themed point and click adventure game from Psionic Games. After you are kidnapped and locked up by a serial killer simply known as “The Burner,” you must escape the prison/boiler room by solving some gruesome puzzles. Gameplay is pretty standard. Look for the right items, solve some puzzles, find more items, but what’s really impressive is the horror atmosphere this game creates despite having no enemies or real danger to the player. This port is quite buggy, and crashes on many devices, but it’s a well done game worth playing as long as your stomach can handle the visuals.
This the most expected yet unexpected kind of release you’ll ever see. Officially branded after the arcade classic Pitfall (in celebration of its 30th anniversary), this Activision endless runner manages to shamelessly slap a popular name tag on a completely unrelated kind of game (typical big publisher fare). It also manages to be one of the most inventive and visually unique endless runners around. Seriously. The gameplay is fast and fun, with a lot of interesting perspective shifts that you don’t really expect. There is still a lot of content hidden behind a paywall, unfortunately. While I hate to say this, the game is actually pretty fantastic despite all that.
Contre Jour ($1.99)
Contre Jour, from Chillingo and developer Mokus, is probably the most artsy physics puzzler you’ll ever play. The Cut the Rope style gameplay is very intriguing, and involves the manipulation of a strange organic world, with odd tentacles, land that you can morph, teleporters, and much more. The name comes from a French term meaning ‘against daylight,’ which the stylish visuals personify with their unique lighting, grays, blacks, and blues. The music is subtle, relaxing, and ambient as well. This is a highly creative title in a very familiar genre, and it is more than worth the two dollar price point.
If you like memory-based maze games featuring an Indiana Jones aesthetic and brutal death animations, then you have oddly specific taste, but you’ll also enjoy Cognitile from Express Media. In the game’s sixty main levels, you’ll watch a series of death traps unfold, and must plan the path of your treasure hunting adventurer based on your memory of those traps. The visuals are cartoony and very well done, and the puzzles get surprisingly complex down the line. Once you’re done with the main game, you can build your own murderous levels in the game’s level editor. Definitely give this one a look.