GameCentral takes a look at the best new mobile game apps, including construction app Builderment and shmup DoDonPachi Blissful Death.
From the heady delights of simulated manufacturing in Builderment to the freemium incarnation of Cave favourite DoDonPachi Blissful Death and the newly updated Doomsday Vault, the rain soaked British summer shows no sign of slowing down mobile release schedules.
Legends Of Kingdom Rush
iOS, Apple Arcade (Ironhide Studios)
Developer Ironhide is famed for making some of the world’s best Tower Defense games and while Legends uses the same charming cartoon artwork and jaunty sound effects, this is in fact a turn-based role-playing game.
Recruit party members and deploy them in lightly tactical combat, interspersed with encounters that offer a multiple choice action with a roll of the dice to decide your party’s fate.
It’s fun and polished as far, as it goes, but it feels as though more content might be due in future updates. It’s also seriously light on instruction, leaving the impression of having been rushed out to a tight deadline.
iOS, Free (Foredoomer)
Following the success of Factorio, the joys of constructing multi-tiered conveyor belt systems have been increasingly well understood. On mobile, Mindustry is probably the genre’s current champion, even if it also strays into Tower Defense territory.
Builderment is more of a genre purist, sticking to slowly escalating construction challenges that demand multiple stages of resource mining, refinement, and combination to meet its goals and fill the extensive research tree.
For the right personality type it’s endlessly satisfying, your perfectly engineered production facilities gradually expanding to take up entire landscapes. It’s also completely free with no advertising, and microtransactions that are entirely optional.
iOS, Apple Arcade (Icon Factory)
Frenzic: Overtime is a puzzle game about completing circles by inserting six segments, as you would playing Trivial Pursuit, but rather than answering questions your job is simply to match pie pieces against the clock.
There are three stars available in each level, in return for completing specific goals like making circles out of single colours only or processing a certain number of segments before your time’s up.
As puzzles get more involved you can deploy power-ups (purchased using in-game currency) to help extend the time limit or automatically turn all pie pieces the same colour, in this engaging and well-designed puzzler.
DoDonPachi Blissful Death AD
iOS, Free (Cave)
Coming from bullet hell heroes Cave, DoDonPachi Blissful Death AD is exactly what you’d expect: a vertically scrolling shmup that’s heavy on screen filling explosions.
This is essentially the same game as PlayStation 2 era arcade classic, DoDonPachi Dai Ou Jou, re-released as a free-to-play title; so you get a banner ad on the menu screen and a video when you die, both of which can be removed for a one-off payment.
The touchscreen controls work well enough and its flickery sprites and CRT-style graphics are a treat, even if it lacks the finesse of modern era clones like Sky Force Reloaded or Phoenix 2, both of which shamelessly borrow its mechanics.
iOS, £2.99 (Simon Höglund)
In Componut you assemble a contraption to trundle a doughnut back to its box, swiping an optional cup of coffee along the way. Grab enough coffees and you can unlock a set of bonus levels.
Puzzles require a degree of lateral thinking and in many cases are far from straightforward. However, possibly the game’s biggest obstacle is its interface, which requires you to hold down the build button with your right hand while your left does all the dragging, dropping, and fine tuning.
With accessible controls becoming such a talking point recently, creating non-configurable controls that are inconvenient for right-handed players is a peculiar design choice.
iOS & Android, Free (Jani Tantarimaeki)
Played like a twin-stick shooter with medieval weaponry and magic, Pocket Roguelike has you steering with one hand and aiming your attacks with the other, in a series of procedurally generated top-down 8-bit style levels.
Each run you’ll accumulate weaponry, magic items and armour, as well as unlocking abilities in a simple skill tree, with any loot you store in your faithful mule’s saddle bags automatically retained for subsequent attempts after you die.
The rough and ready hack and slash action is enhanced by a variety of enemies and bosses, and the fact that it’s entirely free-to-play, with neither ads nor microtransactions.
iOS & Android, Free (Locobit)
Collect Bits! is a clean ‘em-up, your character hopping around its 2D platform world hoovering up colourful ‘bits’ left behind by litterbug robots.
Trigger switches, ride lifts, collect special items, and hurl stuff at errant androids in your mission to effect neatness and tidiness. You can watch ads in exchange for power-ups, that start off as optional extras but eventually become essential to progress.
The gameplay’s relaxed pace suits the mildly offbeat subject matter, in a game that’s pleasant enough without ever threatening to keep you up at night for one more go.
iOS, Apple Arcade (Flightless)
Climate collapse has left the Earth a flooded, post-apocalyptic ruin. You control a small robot whose job is to sift through the wreckage in search of the last remaining plants.
Solve puzzles, find and plug in carbon eating machines, and recover seedlings that flourish on nutrients tucked away in secret areas. There may only be 14 plants to recover but getting all the nutrients in each level is a much bigger task.
Although Doomsday Vault’s been out for over a year it’s just been updated to add four extra pyramid-themed levels and a spruced up seed vault with a viewing platform to stand and survey your crops.
By Nick Gillett
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