Mobile Gaming Roundup #20

Platforms: Android | iPad | iPhone

Hello mobile device users! It’s time once again to delve into the app store and find out what delights can keep us mildly distracted from the thing we’re supposed to be doing, whatever that might be.

Hungry Cat Picross (iOS, Android)

With a little thinking, you can fill these (fe)lines.

I’ve been mildly obsessed with this brand of picture grid puzzle for a few years, but had yet to find anything on mobile that matched the superb collection of titles available on the 3DS. Fellow fans will be glad to hear this fat feline-fronted take on the game is well presented and possesses a hefty number of grids to get through. Adding colour to the mix provides some welcome variation, and HC’s magic paintbrush is on standby if you need a hint. If the picross phenomenon has passed you by, this is a great place to start!

The Westport Independent (iOS, Android, PC)

Speak truth to power, or in the corner you cower.

Freedom of the press, an indisputable right that mostly oils but occasionally wobbles the wheels of democracy. But what happens when that freedom is under threat? As the editor in chief of a small independent newspaper operating under an exceedingly authoritarian government, you must decide on the tone and content of your paper in the twelve weeks before the so-called ‘Public Culture Bill’ comes into force and threatens to stamp out any dissenting opinion once and for all. Gameplay involves perusing the articles being considered for publication and deciding to either put out the uncensored and untidy truth, or to slash through inflammatory phrases and issue propaganda in the name of safely towing the line. Your employees have their own political leanings and you must be careful not to ask them to write against their conscience. Of course, a great article is of no use if nobody reads it, so you must also tailor your content to the specific areas of the city in which you choose to market. The overall retro style and totalitarian overtones are very reminiscent of ‘Papers, Please’, but this is an equally insightful look into just how far you’re willing to stretch your morals to follow the rules and look after number one.

Pocket Mortys (iOS, Android)

Gotta snatch 'em all!

The twisted brilliance of Rick & Morty was crying out for a game adaption, and in keeping with the show’s depiction of the frank, egomaniacal mad scientist paired with his fragile doormat of a grandson and its flirtations with multiversal theory, this game imagines a grand competition where varying Mortys from across the multiverse are collected and used in battle by glory-seeking Ricks. Yes, it’s essentially Pokemon, but with frightened children. Ethics violations aside, there’s a competent battle system, plenty of material and oblique references to the show here to enjoy. Hey, if it’s all a bit too much for you, Jerry’s Balloon-Popping Game might be more your speed. Wubba lubba dub-dub!!!

Kill Shot Bravo (iOS, Android)

Got you in my sights.

In any FPS war game, it’s my nature to eschew the up-front might of the machine guns and shotguns or raw power of grenade launchers and rocket in favour of the precise, minimal exactitude of the sniper rifle. Luckily that’s precisely what devs Hothead Games have focussed on here, with a wide range of missions taking out a host of targets. It feels very polished, from the slick menu screens to the critical final shot of each mission, executed in visceral panoramic slo-mo. Unfortunately as is increasingly standard for the free-to-play sector you are begged for microtransactions to beef up your firepower every now and then, but if you can brush them off there’s some solid shooty shenanigans to be had here.

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