Mobile Gaming Roundup #18
Hello phone fans! There are more mobile games than ever, but we must always remember to be vigilant and discerning, lest we wind up pumping vital hours into some shameless money-grabbing Skinner box contraption that's addictive in all the wrong ways. Don't worry, we'll steer you right!
Suckers for puns may find this challenging, innovative traffic management game will ‘drive’ them insane!!! (I apologise for nothing.) Possessing a sensibility lifted from ‘50s Americana, number displays eliciting a warm orange tube-like glow and the crackle of instrumental surf-pop from the radio, it puts you behind the wheel as you chauffer citizens of a small town to their various appointments. It starts off easy, but each time you complete a journey your path is recorded, requiring you to avoid your previous attempt. When the number of vehicles reaches double figures it quickly becomes a whirling dervish of near-misses and cursing yourself for not minding that corner five minutes ago. Constant do-overs aren’t an option either; each fender-bender and subsequent retry docks a second from your time limit, so you better stick to the highway code, sunshine.
With amusing descriptions of the drivers’ escapades and a really polished look and feel, this ought to be ‘right up your street’. Yes? Yes???
From clever wordplay to a flat-out command, this match-three affair with distinctive RPG overtones (there has to be a term for these - match RPThrees?) comes from the same people who brought you 10000000, with which it shares many elements.
There aren't any radically new elements here, just a shift in location from the dungeon to the titular aquatic vessel, which you gradually populate with helpful friends rescued during your exploits. The unique sliding style of the puzzles and the smooth progression curve are a pleasure to revisit even if you played the previous game. More of an 'expansion pack' than brand new original entry, but definitely worth a look. After all, that boat's not gonna build itself!
The neon underworld of '90s hacktivism and the imagined cyberpunk dystopias it once projected have proven fertile ground for gaming, from the classic Deus Ex to indie favourites like Introversion's wonderful debut, Uplink. The haunting sound of a autodialer sending out DTMF signals is enough to instantly set the scene, and it's this particular aspect of the experience that developers Mike Boxleitner & Greg Wohlwend have honed in on with Touchtone.
Recruited as a spy by a shadowy totalitarian state, your task is to connect phone signals to their intended destinations by manually placing waveguides onto a grid. Each solved puzzle provides another layer of access to a secret rebel plot.
Full of intrigue and most authentically presented, Touchtone is a solid puzzler that you'll find hard to put down. Dark shades and trenchcoats optional.
While not the first notable title where you inhabit the starring role of a plant (that honour goes to thatgamecompany's very relaxing Flower), Prune is a worthy successor, cross-pollinating gentle vibes with a puzzle challenge that is time-dependent but never feels rushed. A little seedling stretches for a narrow shaft of sunlight so it might flower and disperse, but it only has so much energy and needs your help to snip off the parts of it that will never achieve that goal. Blockages must be circumnavigated and other perils avoided if you are to stand a chance of blossoming. A welcome bouquet of soothing and original gameplay!