February is always kind of a funny month. It’s the outcast at just 28 days (yes, 29 on leap years) and thus has to squeeze the same goodness we expect from the rest of the calendar into less time.
Did that affect the output of the mobile games industry this year? Not really! Gamers on the go were treated to the same mix of quantity and quality you’d expect in any month, leaving us with the usual task of identifying the true gems and putting them out in the open for all to see.
And as Will Smith once said in a movie where he dressed in monochrome fashion, you’re looking for the “best of the best of the best, sir!” We think we’ve found them from February.
Sometimes a game concept is just genius from the start and should be recognized as such. As evidence, I present Slayaway Camp, a puzzle game that traffics in horror movie cliches. As in oblivious victims, masked killers, ridiculous numbers of sequels, you name it. Also blood. Somehow Blue Wizard Digital stirs all of those things up, mixes in a heaping helping of legitimately challenging puzzles and comes out with a stew that is both entertaining and hilarious. Highly recommended, even if you usually get the jitters from things that go bump in the night.
- Slayaway Camp Review (5 stars)
The Warlock of Firetop Mountain
Hey, this game was already on mobile years ago! What gives? A lot, actually, since this is a complete re-doing of the original game, which in itself was an adaptation of the classic physical gamebook from even further back. Tin Man Games spreads its wings a little more here, blending its core competencies with gamebooks and expanding into tabletop miniatures-style combat. The mix turns out to be really compelling whether you have some familiarity with the source material or not.
- The Warlock of Firetop Mountain Review (4.5 stars)
Tiny Striker: World Football
I think I read somewhere that soccer is the world’s most popular sport. There have certainly been enough mobile soccer games to back that up, but they tend to naturally self-segregate into action and simulation categories. Tiny Striker threads the needle between them by featuring simple but addictive gameplay and also adding in a surprising number of management considerations. You’d never the expect the latter if you just looked at this game for a few seconds, but that’s why it’s worth investigating further.
- Tiny Striker: World Football Review (4.5 stars)
RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch
What a time to be alive for RollerCoaster Tycoon fans. First, the original games come to mobile, in not quite exact port but nevertheless faithful form. Then Atari cooks up a new vision of park-building specifically for phones and tablets and manages to avoid the mistakes it made last time. Touch packs in a lot of options for laying out the theme park of your dreams while making it simple to do so, and it even lets you dig into details like laying out roller coasters exactly to your liking. It falls back on some current F2P tropes too, but not enough to recommend against trying it.
- RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch Review (4.5 stars)
Game over folks. When there’s an endless driller out there, you can feel pretty secure in the notion that everything endless has been done. But hey, at least Digby Forever is taking it out with a bang; it gives you some Dig Dug nostalgia and smacks you right in the grill with a drill thanks to challenging game mechanics that go on … well, forever. Plus the graphics are superb and the F2P elements nicely balanced. Sounds like something you should be playing, yes? Yes.
- Digby Forever Review (4 stars)
Hidden Folks is one of those games that demanded your attention from the first time its developers started spreading the word about it. The game simply looks like a work of art, and it is thanks to its carefully hand-drawn, black and white environments. The object is to find specific people in its densely populated scenes, but there’s a lot more going on than just that since the backgrounds are highly interactive. If you’re looking for a bit of whimsy to insert into your mobile gaming mix, this is what you seek.
- Hidden Folks Review (4 stars)
Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet
One of the great parts of the mobile gaming boom of the last few years is that it’s helped great but overlooked franchises and characters find new life. That’s definitely the case with Nelly Cootalot, who brings her unique pirate style effortlessly from PC to touchscreens. The result is an interactive adventure that’s fun for all ages, brought to life with stylized visuals and and excellent voice cast. When one of our reviewer’s main concerns was that the game was too short, you know it’s hit upon something good.
- Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet Review (4.5 stars)