30 best iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows Phone games this week

Humble Bundle, Real Boxing, Skylanders, Arranger, Verticus, Words With Friends, Draw Something and more

It’s starting to get a little crazy now. The longlist for this week’s “best games” post included more than 60 titles – and that’s after filtering out uninteresting releases to leave just the notable ones. More than 60.

It’s a sign of the bustling mobile games market, but also slightly unsettling: how many of these games will sink without trace on the app stores, even though they’re good?

Anyway, making the hard decisions to get that kind of longlist down to 30 is what this weekly post is all about. Here’s this week’s selection:

Real Boxing (£2.99)

Already receiving rave reviews from critics, Real Boxing is a beat ‘em up starring beefy 3D boxers, gestural punching controls, online multiplayer features and lots of fighter customisation. The spiffing motion capture and deep career mode are worthy of the praise.iPhone / iPad

The Humble Bundle for Android 4

No price on this one, because like previous Humble Bundles, you pay what you think the games are worth. This is a compilation of five Android games: Splice, Eufloria, Waking Mars, Crayon Physics Deluxe and a beta version of Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP. Pay more than the average price – $6.38 at the time of writing – and you get more games: Machinarium, Canabalt, Cogs, Swords & Soldiers HD, Zen Bound 2 and Avadon: The Black Fortress. Innovative games, super value.Android

Hunters: Episode One (£2.99)

Ported from iOS, this turn-based strategy game puts you in charge of a team of mercenaries in the future, kitting them out and upgrading their skills for a series of missions, with a new one delivered every day. The XCOM series is the most apt comparison, and one that Hunters isn’t overshadowed by.Android

Skylanders Lost Islands (Free)

Activision’s Skylanders have been a big hit with younger gamers (and have made a big dent in many parents’ wallets thanks to their use of toy figures too). Now there’s a new Skylanders game for iOS, which involves building your own Skylands islands CityVille-style, completing missions and – if you own the toys – importing those characters into the game.iPhone / iPad

Arranger (£0.69)

Arranger is a quirky, musical mini-game collection that’s fizzing with ideas. Sporting pixelly retro graphics, it’s part RPG where you’re exploring a magical land, and part WarioWare-style surreal mini-games – all with a focus on music. It may be an acquired taste, but fans won’t be able to get enough.iPhone

Ingress (Free)

Here’s a curveball: an ambitious location-based game with quests, codes and multiplayer features that gets you capturing real-world territory within the game. The developer? Google. Well, the Niantic Labs division within Google. It’s launched in closed beta, but invites can be requested from its official website.Android

Words With Friends (£2.29)

Zynga’s popular multiplayer word-puzzler Words With Friends has made its way to Windows Phone, with Scrabble-esque gameplay that sees you making words from tiles. The hook, as on iOS and Android, is that you can be playing several separate games against friends at once, taking turns at your leisure.Windows Phone

Draw Something (£2.29)

It’s been a good week for Windows Phone when it comes to well-known social games: Zynga has also ported Draw Something to Microsoft’s platform. If you missed its initial success earlier in the year, it challenges you to draw pictures to illustrate words, then watch friends try to guess them. And vice versa.Windows Phone

Candy Crush Saga (Free)

Talking of popular social games… Candy Crush Saga has been a big hit on Facebook, where it has more than 5m daily active players. It’s a sweetie-themed puzzle game by King.com which follows its Bubble Witch Saga onto the App Store: 100 levels, lots of power-ups, and friends’ scores to outdo.iPhone / iPad

DragonVale (Free)

Backflip Studios’ DragonVale has been an enormous hit on iOS, but now it’s available on Android too. The gameplay is all about breeding and raising dragons, before setting them racing to win prizes. Lots of customisation and social features provide depth to all this virtual pettery.Android

Dream of Pixels (£0.69)

“Tetris in reverse” would be the high-concept pitch for this game, where you have to unpack lines of tetromino blocks from the sky rather than just slot them into place on the ground. It’s actually one of the most relaxing-to-play mobile games released this year, in a good way.iPhone / iPad

Coaster Crazy (Free)

Our enduring fascination with theme parks and rollercoasters has made itself known in a variety of games down the years. This new game comes from Frontier Developments, which has form having made RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 for PC back in the day. This new game sees you building rollercoasters in 3D to satisfy customers, while unlocking pieces and cars to fuel bigger and better ones in the future.iPhone / iPad

Shadowgun: Deadzone (Free)

This multiplayer third-person shooter is available for the first time on iOS this week, and emerging from beta on Android. It offers 12-player online deathmatches, a good choice of maps and characters to play, and a hatful of weapons with which to blow the bejaysus out of rivals.Android / iPhone / iPad

Waking Mars (£3.15)

Tiger Style’s wonderful grow ‘em up is included in the latest Humble Bundle (see earlier entry), but can also be bought on its own from the Google Play store. It sees you bringing Mars back to life by growing plants and aliens, experimenting with different combinations to create an exotic ecosystem.Android

Gear Jack (£0.69)

Here’s more space-action, albeit this time not on Mars. You play Jack, a robot who has to save his spaceship from being marooned in a Black Hole by running, jumping and sliding along 30 platform levels. A nice touch is the way you can customise his abilities, better at running, rolling or jumping according to how you like to play.iPhone / iPad

Sonic CD (£3.99)

The release of Windows Phone 8 seems to have kicked off a flurry of game releases, with Sega’s remastered Sonic CD game joining Draw Something and Words With Friends on Microsoft’s Marketplace. It’s a faithful recreation of the classic game, and hardcore fans will love the inclusion of its Japanese soundtrack as an option.Windows Phone

Chip Chain (Free)

This is also a good week for accessible puzzle games – a genre that tends to do well on mobile phones. In this case, you’re trying to match poker chips in quantities of three or more, with combos and lots of power-ups to spice up the gameplay.iPhone / iPad

Beat Hazard Ultra (Free)

Another example of music being used as a key gameplay element, rather than just background. Beat Hazard Ultra is a frenetic shoot ‘em up that constructs its levels from your own music collection, something that’s as hypnotic on Android as it was on iOS when the game was released for that.Android

Bastion (£2.99)

Well-loved action-RPG Bastion has been iPad-only until now, but it has just been updated to be a Universal app so iPhone gamers can join the fun. It’s a lush, engrossing adventure with beautiful scenery and music complementing the challenging gameplay.iPhone

My Little Pony (Free)

Yup. My Little Pony is riding high as a brand for children and adults (including bronies) alike in 2012. I featured the iOS version last week, but the Android edition has since gone live too. It’s part FarmVille (well, Ponyville in this case) but with mini-games thrown in starring the My Little Pony characters.Android

Bloons TD 5 (£1.99)

The Bloons series of tower-defence games have been very popular on iOS and Android, with iOS first to get the fifth title in the series. It sees you building towers, hiring defenders and seeing off enemies with a variety of weaponry, with more than 250 random missions to work through.iPhone

Sky Burger (Free)

NimbleBit is best known for its Pocket Frogs, Tiny Tower and Pocket Planes games, but Sky Burger was around before all them on iOS. Now it’s got an Android port, as you catch ingredients falling from the sky and build huge, wobbling burger stacks.Android

Guess! (Free)

The flippant way to describe this game from TinyCo would be “Draw Something without the drawing”. Which means an asynchronous multiplayer word game where you have to describe a word without using a set of “banned” words, then a friend has to guess it correctly.iPhone / iPad

Predators (£1.87)

You can’t keep a good Predator down (let alone a very bad, slavering killbeast Predator). This game brings the infamous movie villain to Android, with you playing as the Predator rather than as the humans trying to kill him. It’s a neat twist, with an array of weaponry to help.Android

RPG End of Aspiration (£3.99)

Not a brand new Android app, but available in English for the first time this week. It’s the work of Kemco Games, which already has a fine reputation for making the kind of lovingly-crafted Japanese RPGs that make fans of the genre go moist-eyed. Expect lots of battling and a suitably epic storyline.Android

Ruby Blast (£0.69)

This is Zynga’s latest game: a colourful jewel-puzzler that sees you digging through a site of ancient treasures, collecting power-ups as you go. Social features are, as ever, a big part of the gameplay, as you compare your score to friends.iPhone

Anger of Stick 2 (Free)

This is fun from casual games firm Miniclip: an action game starring a stick figure who at various points wields a baseball bat, UZI gun, grenade launcher, flamethrower and sword. Oh, and helicopters and robots are thrown in for good measure as you fight your way through stick-enemies.Android

FreeSkate Xtreme (£0.69)

Aiming for “A Kinect-like experience on iOS devices”, this is a skateboarding game that gets you tilting your iPhone to steer, but also moving your head – the game uses the front-facing camera to detect your movements and translate them into controls. It could be a gimmick if the game wasn’t fun, but this has plenty of legs.iPhone

QatQi (Free)

Just when you think there can’t be much more new ground to be broken in the word-games genre, along comes something like QatQi with an inventive take on letter-based puzzling. It’s hard to explain in a paragraph, but the game sees you exploring maps by laying tiles, scoring points for the words you make. Social features, daily new levels and characterful music and visuals make it stand out.iPhone / iPad

Lazy Raiders (£0.69)

And finally this week, another brainbending puzzle game, this time with an archeological theme. It sees you hunting down relics and avoiding traps with Doctor Diggabone, as you move the world around him, rather than the actual character. Namco Bandai’s 60-maze puzzler looks good fun.iPhone / iPad

Phew. That’s this week’s selection of 30 games, with apologies to some good titles that didn’t quite make it in (Pocket Festival, Word Wonders, Animal Academy: Fairy Tails, Icy Tower 2, Scrubs, Max Awesome, Word Bird, Gem Smashers, Total Recoil and others would all have made the list on a normal week).

What have you been playing on your smartphone or tablet though? Make your recommendations or give your views on the games above by posting a comment.




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Stuart Dredge

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