In 2014, mobile gaming is now the number one time killing activity for commuters worldwide – as you will have probably noticed as you’re on your daily number 55 commute.
Only a few years ago the regular practice to kill time on the bus would be scrolling through Twitter or reading an email from Amazon telling you to buy all the things you don’t need. However mobile gaming has changed this, and many commuters now spend their time blissfully catapulting birds at castles or excitedly matching three jelly beans of the same colour.
But maybe this craze isn’t for you? Maybe you’re the type of person who finds a match three or your bog standard endless runner just as uninteresting as the concrete jungle speeding by the window.
Well we’re here to convince you that there are mobile games out there which are very much worth you time. These five charming, beautiful and mindbending IOS and Android games will give you an immersive and challenging experience to rival the likes of any console game – and with any luck, help make your daily schlep to work that tiny bit less awful.
Year Walk – IOS
Year Walk is a first person horror/adventure game developed by Swedish developers Simogo. Understandably you may be questioning the effectiveness of such a game on busy public transport, but with some decent headphones at your disposal, Year Walk will do its best do draw you into its dark universe. The game features an incredible and haunting soundtrack, consistently unsettling sound design and a rather disturbing but beautiful art style.
Set in 19th century Sweden, Year Walk is based on an old Swedish tradition known as the Arsgang or annual walk. You navigate through the game in a similar style to turning pages on a book, which is rather fitting as the game is extremely narrative driven.
The main objective of the game is to solve mysteries by completing puzzles. Your incentive to progress and complete the game will be matched only by your reluctance to move on due to its many surprises and disturbing twists ‘n’ turns. If that isn’t enough Year Walk for you, there is also a free companion app to be used with the game, which will provide you with some suitably terrifying background information on the various creatures and characters you encounter. Year Walk is a tight and immersive experience -if a little short weighing in around three hours.
But then again, who cares if those three hours are this pant-wettingly good?
Monument Valley – IOS
Monument Valley is an experience that is emotional, beautiful and utterly mind boggling. This M.C Escher inspired puzzle based platformer was developed by UsTwo games and is a strong case for high quality gaming experiences being possible on mobile devices. The objective of the game is to rotate the buildings you find yourself on, activate their switches and navigate the world in order to open new sections of the map and progress to the next level. The game’s simple mechanics quickly become increasingly difficult and utterly addictive, and you’ll find yourself sitting there scratching your head on more than one occasion.
Monument Valley is again – like most mobile games – relatively short, and the ten levels on offer here can be completed in nearly 90 minutes. However everything you invest into the game – be it time or emotion- Monument Valley will give back and then some. The touching story is told through small snippets of dialogue with characters you find in the game world and also organically through the player’s own exploration.
As well as its unique mechanics and intriguing story, it helps that the world itself is very aesthetically pleasing and your every movement is complimented by a stunning soundtrack.
Monument Valley may be short, but every moment you spend in the game will leave you wanting to experience more.
Hitman Go – IOS/Android
Hitman Go is a top down, turn- based puzzle game – although weird board game may be more of an apt description.
While this is based upon the popular Hitman franchise, you certainly won’t find any of the series typical tropes here, but yet, Hitman Go certainly isn’t any worse for it. The objective of each map is to either kill your target or simply reach its conclusion as both you and your enemies take it turns to make moves. Agent 47 must move behind guards in order to silently assassinate guards, and you can even pick up sniper rifles and dual pistols to take up multiple enemies at once. Yet what makes this great, is that Hitman Go is by no means a run and gun game.
Like any good board game, Hitman Go is a game made from simple mechanics – making it quick and easy to learn, and perfect for those shorter commutes. The game’s board game theme extends to the Go’s pleasingly minimalistic art style. This title simply oozes cool, and with each level ending in 3 star rating it might just be the perfect gateway into the rest of the IOS/Android market.
Gemini Rue – IOS/Android
Gemini Rue may be a first experience for many gamers and it might just be the mobile game that many an aged gamer have been crying out for. Gemini Rue is a classic click and point style adventure game set in an enthralling dystopian future – meaning that any fan of Bladerunner will feel right at home here.
The game has some simple puzzle solving mechanics and even an interesting combat system that relies more upon timing than accuracy. As with most adventures games however, the main draw of Gemini Rue is unravelling its mystery and progressing through its gripping narrative. Gemini Rue quickly immerses you in a fascinatingly bleak tale featuring political corruption, gangland warfare and even a dramatic prison breakout. You initally take control of grizzled ex-assassin turned cop Azriel, who lands on the planet of Barracus to solve a particularly perplexing murder.
Gemini Rue can be tackled in short or long sessions, but be warned – you won’t want to put this game down until the case is closed.
The Room – IOS/Android
The last game on my list is quite possibly the pick of the bunch (well, or so you’d hope).
The Room is another puzzle based adventure game, stealing Gemini Rue‘s thunder with an arguably stronger narrative and even more enthralling mystery. The developers Fireproof Games have crafted quite simply a stunning world dripping in atmosphere, which is good because no doubt you’ll be spending more than a few bus journeys testing your grey matter against The Room’s more devious puzzles.
The objective of the game is to work your way toward the centre of a mechanical box. Sounds simple right? Well its not. Each layer of the box you unlock reveals a puzzle more challenging than the last,and within each layer you’ll find notes and journal entries that progress the increasingly creepy narrative. Both the visuals and story in The Room are extremely enjoyable, but the gameplay is where this game really shines. The Room is a very kinetic experience and I can’t imagine working on anything other than a touch interface and the sequel is just as good.
These few games are some of the most intuitive and immersive experiences to be found on a phone ( no, Tinder doesn’t count).If in the past you’ve found yourself put off by the mind-numbing repetitive nature of the endless connect 3’s currently plaguing the app store, then I suggest you give a few of these a try.
We can assure you that terrifying yourself in Year Walk or solving a gruesome murder in Gemini Rue will be the perfect way to escape from that sweaty bloke on the underground.