A couple of days ago I fired out The best smartphone games of 2013 – part 1, noting that my shortlist contained no less than 22 games. Five today and five on Tuesday makes 10; Allah knows what I’m gonna do with the rest.
Anyway! I’ve picked another five at random, and it’s quite the eclectic bunch. Endless running? Racing? Star Wars? Two of the best games ever, period? They’re all here, baby.
Again, these five are presented in no particular order, though there’s possibly some sort of chronology in effect. In any case, go get ‘em.
When I think back over 2013, Sonic Dash stands out as one of the games I’ve spent most time with. Indeed, that’s evidenced in To delete or not to delete: Sonic Dash, I want Knuckles! A quick rant about Sonic Dash, and Sonic Dash: all characters unlocked, a celebration.
Essentially a Sonic-themed endless runner, Sonic Dash had me hooked with the promise of unlocking Knuckles the Echidna and Miles “Tails” Prower. Er, even though they’re ultimately just character skins.
Sega continues to update Sonic Dash on a regular basis, introducing new playable characters and features like boss battles, and you can also expect regular Global Challenges. And the best part? It’s now free to play (formerly £1.49).
I said: "Sonic Dash is a seriously good-looking endless runner. Not hugely original, but what is these days?"
In the world of smartphone gaming, we’re blessed with two highly popular racing franchises, namely Real Racing and Asphalt, the former being more of a simulation type affair while the latter focuses on “visceral thrills” (to use Dealspwn Jon’s favourite phrase).
Time was I would’ve considered myself an Asphalt man, but in 2013 I sided with Real Racing 3 over Asphalt 8: Airborne.
See, while both are free to play, Real Racing 3 is slightly more palatable, in the sense that it simply asks you to wait for upgrades and repairs. You can pay real money to speed things along if you like, but – for my money – it makes sense to jump in, play a few races, queue some upgrades then come back later.
Asphalt 8, on the other hand, wants you to grind, grind, grind, until you just can't be bothered any more and decide instead to pay up.
More importantly, Real Racing 3 is just a ton of fun to play. The sense of speed is spot on, it looks great, and there are tons of events, loads of real cars, and a handful of real tracks. Great stuff.
I said: “Real Racing 3 is as good as touchscreen racing gets, but be prepared for those controversial waiting times.”
Limbo touched down on the Xbox 360 way back in 2010, receiving abundant critical acclaim, with the price-to-length ratio being the biggest journalistic gripe.
Three years later, Limbo arrived on the App Store (and PS Vita, incidentally), with the iOS version costing just £2.99.
Price and length and everything else aside, as a game, Limbo is something everyone should play. It’s a freakin’ clinic in what you can do with just a Jump and Action button, and it’s creepy as hell.
I said: “Limbo is almost unanimously hailed as one of the best platform puzzle games of all time, and descriptions such as 'genius' and 'masterpiece' are entirely justified.”
Price: £2.99 @ App Store
I’m an absolute sucker for Star Wars. Seriously, give a game a Star Wars makeover and I’m sold, whether it’s Angry Birds or Zen Pinball.
Despite initially being cynical, I’m pleased to report that said logic applies to Tiny Tower and the Star Wars-themed Tiny Death Star. It shouldn’t. It really shouldn’t. But it does.
The core gameplay remains the same, but Tiny Death Star sees you working for the Emperor and his right hand guy Darth Vader, building shops and apartments and entertainment up the way, while evil Empire stuff (Interrogation Room, Tractor Beam…) brews below the surface.
The star of the show, however, is easily Tiny Death Star’s soundtrack, essentially featuring elevator music-style takes on the Star Wars classics. Brilliant.
I said: “Even if you’d had your fill of Tiny Tower, there might still be something in Tiny Death Star for you, and of course if you like Star Wars, it’s a no-brainer.”
What’s this? Only one of the most beloved games of all time, GTA San Andreas, now on smartphones and tablets.
Rather than being some shoddy half-assed port, GTA San Andreas is arguably better than the original, with re-mastered graphics, lighting enhancements and improved character models.
GTA San Andreas remains the most RPG-like of the series, and it’s available in its entirety (haircuts, gyms, submarines and all) in the palm of your hand.
I said: “GTA San Andreas has aged like a fine wine, and if the prospect of playing with touch controls has you screwing up your face like a professional lemon eater, go grab yourself an iOS-compatible controller.”