1. Dots (free)
Proving the notion that simpler is better on mobile, Dots is stupidly, almost patronisingly simple, with players just drawing lines between coloured dots. Link them up and, as coloured things tend to do in games, they disappear, So more fall in. And it carries on like this, getting more and more compulsive as you chase bigger and better dot combos.
2. The Simpsons Tapped Out (free)
EA’s game based on the inhabitants of Springfield is surprising in a few ways. It’s free, which is quite the thing, plus, although what many would deride as a ‘freemium’ game, it’s more than possible to keep it going in the background, pottering away, slowly unlocking all of its content for free. Free-to-play done right, for once.
3. Angry Birds Space (free)
Developer Rovio has done quite a lot of aggressive whoring of the Angry Birds franchise, but this space-based fork of the simplistic physics game series is really worth a try. For one, it introduces some new play concepts, with the planet-based levels requiring different tactics, plus the puzzles generally need a bit more of a thoughtful approach than the chuck-it-and-see of the originals.
4. Badland (free)
Has a bit of an ‘indie’ vibe about it this one, with Badland offering a weird, dark and gloomy world, in which you fly about in control of a… blob thing. Your blob gets bigger and smaller, splits into loads of mini clones, and generally baffles you about what might lie around the next corner. We like a bit of a surprise, and this is full of them.
5. Stick Cricket (free)
Stick Cricket is a fantastically simple little game that reduces cricket to its core values – you just smash every ball as hard as you can. There’s no worrying about field positioning, just a bat and a ball coming at you very quickly. Initially it seems impossible to do anything other than make a complete mess of things and having your little man smashed upside-down, but it soon clicks.
6. Monument Valley (£2.49, $3.99, $AU4.90)
A very, very pretty game, this. Monument Valley is based around the weird sort of impossible geometric shapes popularised by artist M. C. Escher, with its colourful maps bending and rotating in ways that appear to defy the laws of nature. You walk on walls, flip them, turn them into floors, avoid crows and marvel at how beautiful it all looks. A short game with only 10 multi-layered levels, but a joyful ride.
7. PewPew (free)
The developer calls this a “multidirectional shoot them up” presumably because describing it as a “Geometry Wars clone” might have got him in a bit of legal trouble. Regardless of its origin, it’s a superb shooter with some bizarre game modes and controls that work exceptionally well on touch devices.
8. Super Bit dash (free)
One of the best examples of the new wave of retro-inspired platformers,Super Bit Dash is a scrolling platformer where you don’t control the scroll — but you do have a say in the jumping. It’s a case of learning the levels and playing them again and again and again, until you have the required muscle memory to smash through without thinking about it.