Best new mobile games on iOS and Android – October 2019 round-up

GameCentral looks at the month’s best mobile games, from the surprisingly good Call Of Duty: Mobile to the latest Apple Arcade gems.

With Apple Arcade now out in the wild, it’s proving difficult not to view the entire world of mobile gaming differently. In the past, free to download games, with their forced ads, cunningly insinuated in-app purchases, and subtle, psychologically-crafted hooks, seemed to be most people’s only option to get affordable mobile entertainment. No longer. For £5 a month you can delight yourself with the surreal joy of What The Golf or the strange fusion of role-playing and 1970s bar entertainment in The Pinball Wizard – and never be forced to watch another soulless mobile ad again.

That’s not the only show in town of course, and Android owners can also look forward to the polished and complex physics simulation of SimpleRockets 2, Inbento’s gentle and charming story-driven puzzling, and the majestic Call Of Duty: Mobile – the latest game to test the seemingly unassailable hegemony of Fortnite.

 

SimpleRockets 2 for iOS & Android, £4.99 (Jundroo)

The original SimpleRockets let you build, launch, and pilot spaceships. The process was simplified by putting the whole thing on a 2D plane, reducing the challenge by one whole dimension.

SimpleRockets 2 brings that dimension back, its fabulously detailed physics simulation allowing for multiple stages, a variety of engines, resizable fuel tanks, and a broad range of other add-ons that will let you put a craft into orbit, and eventually go way beyond that into the solar system.

If you’ve played Kerbal Space Program you know exactly what to expect (minus the cute characters), but for everyone not familiar with terms like periapsis, there are tutorials that guide you from novice to space flight professional. Having all that in your pocket is a salutary reminder that we live in a wondrous age.

Score: 9/10

 

Inbento for iOS & Android, £2.99 (Afterburn)

Here you play an endearingly drawn mother cat responsible for feeding your kitten in traditional Japanese style. That involves preparing a series of bento box meals so that they match the images in your recipe book.

You do that by dragging pieces of food onto a bento box, tapping to rotate them and layering different shapes until you get the requisite pattern.

The plinky plonky music and disarmingly innocent story, told through pictures-only, bely a challenge that gets steadily more interesting and testing.

Score: 8/10

 

Call of Duty: Mobile for iOS & Android, £Free (Activision)

From TiMi Studios, who made the touchscreen version of PUBG, Call Of Duty: Mobile is yet another battle royale game, and one that arrives with the weight of expectation that comes with one of the world’s biggest game franchises.

It doesn’t disappoint, and perhaps its biggest success is a control scheme that manages to recreate first person shooting in a way that won’t have you swearing like a navvy. The left side of the screen moves you around, the right side aims, and the very effective default setting makes the game pull the trigger automatically whenever there’s an enemy in your sights.

Along with the 100 to 1 Battle Royale, there are also the familiar Domination, Team Deathmatch, and bomb-disarming Search & Destroy modes. You can even do team chat via the built-in mic, not that COD’s frantic pace and shoot-everything-that-moves gameplay really needs it. And while there are microtransactions available you don’t need them, adequate progress coming through just playing the game.

On a phone, the screen can feel a bit cluttered with icons used to crouch, jump, lob grenades, and more, but on a tablet it’s perfect. Controller support is weirdly absent, but there’s very little else wrong with this excellent console conversion.

Score: 8/10

 

Dread Nautical for iOS & TVos, £Free with Apple Arcade (Zen Studios)

The splendidly named Dread Nautical is a turn-based roguelike set on a spooky, zombie-infested 1930s cruise liner. Choosing one of four survivors, you spend action points to move, pick things up, and attack, either melee or ranged depending on what makeshift weapons you’ve managed to purloin.

As you explore the ship, which gradually opens up as you cycle through repeated runs, you meet and attempt to recruit fellow survivors, whose relationship with your character and likelihood of them helping you is strongly influenced by your conversational choices.

You’ll also need to scavenge bandages to heal wounds, and food to feed each survivor at the end of every run. There’s voice-acting throughout, dozens of different enemies to dispatch, and a scattering of larger, trickier boss monsters.

Score: 8/10

 

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