This week has been a fairly big one for new releases, with the whole spectrum of game types on display. There’s the colorful cash grab, an inventive indie title or two, and of course the obligatory operatic Asian MMO.
There are some bargains to be had, too, our favorite being the excellent minimalist traffic-management game Traffix, though Sphaze is also a tempter at 99c.
Published by Zynga and developed by Harry Potter specialist Portkey Games, Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells is the kind of game that could, and probably did, come out about ten years ago: a free-to-play matching puzzler based on J. K. Rowlings’s magical juggernaut.
Golf really does seem to be the most malleable sport in terms of casual spin-off games. The simple action of hitting a ball into a hole allows for a huge amount of interpretation, and Golf Skies interprets the concept in a skyward direction, letting you steer your ball around clusters of gravitationally dense planetoids.
Grand Alliance is the first original IP from Crunchyroll Games. It sees you playing as a princess whose family has been sundered by a mysterious assailant. Collect heroes, level-up skills, form squads, fight monsters – you know the drill.
Swap-Swap Panda is the latest pixel-art gem from Neutronised. It sees you playing as two different species of panda, navigating a pixelated gameworld as you attempt to retrieve your stolen cupcakes from a ninja.
Sphaze has been out for several months already, but strictly speaking it was in early access. Now the full, proper, official version is available, complete with a whole new world consisting of 15 stages, some of them containing all new puzzle mechanics. The game has also had a price cut down to 99c for good measure.
Dire Wolf Digital has a reputation for putting out excellent board game conversions, and Root looks like the latest triumph. Based on the 2018 board game, Root sees you competing with up to three other players for dominance over a woodland world populated by adorable, scheming animals.
Traffix is an absolutely gorgeous, minimalist puzzler in which you have to direct traffic. In the world of TV this is generally considered the worst possible job in law enforcement, doled out by disgruntled chiefs to maverick officers who can’t play by the rules. But in the world of mobile games it’s a killer concept. And it’s half-price.
Developed by Jesse Makkonen, who brought us the highly acclaimed Distraint series, Heal is a stylish, thought-provoking, and inevitably depressing arthouse indie game about an old man succumbing to dementia in and around his home.
In the week that saw us welcoming one casual gaming golf spin-off in the form of Golf Skies, we’re also celebrating a modest reduction in the price of another. Golf Peaks sees you climbing a mountain by hitting a golf ball over tiles that stop it in its tracks, swallow it, bump it up, move it on in a particular direction, and so on.
For what feels like the 20th time this year, Crashlands and Levelhead – Butterscotch Shenanigans’s two most acclaimed titles on mobile – are on sale. You can pick them up for $4.75 each, which might not sound like much of a bargain in the supercheap world of mobile games, it could be all the excuse you need to take the plunge.