The best iOS and Android games of December 2016

Welcome to our monthly round-up of the best games on iOS and Android from the preceding calendar month.

1.Super Mario Run By Nintendo

Genre:Arcade Developer:Nintendo

Undoubtedly the biggest game of the month of the year, Super Mario Run brought autorunning joy to the world over the festive period. Unless you owned an Android phone, that is. Super mario is the full marketing weight of two of the biggest giants in the industry behind it since its announcement, with Apple even going so far as to introduce a new notification system to allow players to pre-order it. That hype is there for good reason, of course. This is a historical moment for the video game industry. It’s the first time a Mario game developed by Nintendo has released on non-Nintendo hardware since, I think, the original Mario Bros.Super Mario Run is a stage-based auto-runner that sees the plumber doing his usual bit to rescue Princess Peach from King Koopa. The game includes three modes and gives you a fairly small slice of each for free before asking you to pay a single IAP to unlock the remainder. The mode that will likely be of immediate interest to most players is the Tour Mode. Here, you’ll run and jump your way through 24 stages spread across 6 worlds. I use ‘worlds’ simply in the grouping sense here, as unlike other Mario games, there’s no real theme to each world. Each stage takes a couple of minutes to clear, which makes for a fairly short game on initial playthrough. Collecting all of the special coins in a stage will unlock another set of coins along with some new enemy arrangements, and if you manage to snag all of those, there’s one more set waiting for you. Figuring out how to reach all of the coins and executing the necessary maneuvers helps extend this mode past the one or two hours it’ll take to rescue Peach.

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2. Silly Sausage: Doggy Dessert By Nitrome

Genre:Arcade Developer:Nitrome

Game Silly Sausage developed by Nitrome More twisty canine fun from Nitrome. Once again, you’re stretching a dog through mazy levels, collecting gems and avoiding pitfalls. You’re still stretching a dog through a series of puzzling levels, but this time everything is dessert themed instead of meaty. And yes, before you ask, you still get an achievement for sniffing your own butt. So it’s basically the best game ever, part two. If you didn’t play the original, the game sees you controlling a sausage dog. You swipe on the screen to start stretching in that direction. You can change the direction of the stretch while it’s ongoing, and even go back on yourself. And you’ll stop when you latch onto a piece of the wall. There are gems to collect as you work through the game, and you can spend these on the checkpoints that break up the levels. You can also unlock them by watching videos. You’ll need to navigate around a variety of obstacles, from spikes, gnashing mouths, flying knives, and a bunch of different styles of gates.

You’ll find yourself enjoying almost every second of the game, munching your way through cake, dodging past all the things that want to kill you, and grabbing gems.

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3 Glitch Fixers – The Powerpuff Girls By Cartoon Network

Genre:Strategy Developer:Cartoon Network

Game Glitch Fixers developed by Cartoon Network Continuing a string of really-very-good Powerpuff Girls games, Glitch Fixersis a quirky platform-puzzler that has you programming in your leaps and punches ahead of time. Glitch Fixers – The Powerpuff Girls could have just been another simplistic platformer. Cute but forgettable. Thanks to an unique control method, however, it’s far more endearing than initial impressions suggest. It’s a particularly great tool for encouraging youngsters to learn the basics of programming – something you really wouldn’t expect to learn from a platformer. The idea behind Glitch Fixers – The Powerpuff Girls is a simple one. Negotiate various levels by beating up baddies and leaping around platforms. Rather than simply moving left or right with a virtual joystick, you use a series of commands to tell your Powerpuff Girl what to do next.

Glitch Fixers – The Powerpuff Girls soon gets a little more complex too. It adds the ability to loop your moves through a special ‘repeat’ button that can be programmed independently. New moves open up too, with monsters requiring different forms of attacks and strategies in order to have any chance of defeating them. Each new method is slowly introduced, so you’re not overwhelmed, but it’s fun figuring out what needs to be done. New attacks tie in well with the new enemies, with each weapon offering a quirky, cartoon-style like touch to proceedings.

If you’re looking for a challenge this weekend, then this is well worth picking up. It might not offer the razor sharp platforming challenge that we’ve come to expect from the App Store, but it does toss new ideas around.

 

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4.Galaxy on Fire 3 – Manticore By FISHLABS

Genre:Strategy Developer:FISHLABS

It’s fair to say that Galaxy on Fire 3‘s shift to a freemium structure hasn’t pleased everyone, but it remains a beautiful and content-packed space blaster.In a way, Galaxy on Fire 3 – Manticore could be called a step back for the series. It’s a more streamlined, more mobile friendly experience that twists the space battling of the series into a slightly more welcoming shape. And for the most part it works. In fact for the most part it works really well. The game borrows ideas from other shooter genres and laces them through its spectacular, explosion-filled, deep-space dog fights. Once again you’re playing a pilot flying through the galaxy, shooting the right stuff and making sure the wrong stuff doesn’t get shot. There’s a story here, but it’s broken up into bite-sized chunks and scattered around the missions you’re tackling.

And make no bones about it, there’s a lot to do here. You can explore, fly sorties, start your own mercenary guild, and push the story further on. And you’ll have a pretty damn good time while you’re doing it.

 

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5.Apollo Justice Ace Attorney By CAPCOM

Genre:Adventure Developer:CAPCOM

The fourth game in the Ace Attorney series comes to iOS, providing more improbable cases, methodical guess-work, and one of the most brilliantly twisted villains in the entire series. Sees you placed in the shoes of a lawyer defending innocents, and provides an often intoxicating combination of detective work, visual novel, and soap opera. You play as the titular Apollo Justice, a novice lawyer who gathers evidence and clues around the crime scene to defend his clients in a gleeful war of words with the opposing prosecutor.

It looks incredibly crisp and clear on the high-resolution iPhone screen too, although perhaps it looks a little too clean at times – revealing some of the more basic elements to the character animations.

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6.The Walking Dead: A New Frontier  By Telltale Inc

Genre:Adventure Developer:Telltale Inc

A new season brings an interesting shift in perspective to a completely new protagonist for the Walking Dead series. You’re still indulging in the same light puzzles and dialogue trees, but fans will lap up this fresh tale nonetheless.The newest and most interesting change in A New Frontier is in its protagonist and focus. Seasons 1 and 2 were very much centered around Clementine, from both Lee’s perspective in the first and then from Clem herself in the second. But A New Frontier introduces us to Javier, “Javi” to friends and family, a young man struggling to keep his family safe.

It’s through his eyes and story that we enter A New Frontier‘s story, meet new friends and foes, and encounter Clementine once again. Except this is an older more withdrawn Clem, with secrets of her own from the time between Season 2 and 3, and interacting with her from Javier’s outsider perspective rather than trying to protect her and play as her makes for a compelling twist on The Walking Dead’s story.

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7.Island Delta By Noodlecake Studios Inc

Genre:Adventure Developer:Noodlecake Studios Inc

Game Island Delta developed by Noodlecake Studios A late entry to the list, Island Delta is an accomplished third-person action-puzzler. It plays a bit like a twin-stick shooter, but with a gravity gun in place of any conventional firearms.Island Delta is sort of like a shooter. But there’s not that much actual shooting going on. Instead you’re working your way through a series of puzzles using a gravity gun.There are guards to get past, doors to unlock, and plenty of secrets to uncover, and it’s all wrapped up in a control scheme that just about gets things spot on.

It might not be particularly violent, but it’s a great experience all the same, and it’ll keep you on your toes for a good few hours.Island Delta is sort of like a shooter. But there’s not that much actual shooting going on. Instead you’re working your way through a series of puzzles using a gravity gun.There are guards to get past, doors to unlock, and plenty of secrets to uncover, and it’s all wrapped up in a control scheme that just about gets things spot on. It might not be particularly violent, but it’s a great experience all the same, and it’ll keep you on your toes for a good few hours. You play a pair of scientists who are trying to retrieve an AI from a diabolical villain. And to do that you need to lift things up with magical science guns. Just like real life. You control your boffins by sliding a finger around the screen. Tap on objects and if you can pick them up with your orange glowy grav cannon,

Island Delta moves and shakes in most of the right ways. It’s not revolutionary by any means, but it’s an enjoyable and really well put together diversion.

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8.Bully: Anniversary Edition By Rockstar Games

Genre:Adventure Developer:Rockstar Games

 

Bully is a bit of a cult classic from the minds that brought you GTA. Rather than tearing up a whole city, you’re running rampant around a stuffy prep school. This smaller, more intimate scale gives the game a unique charm. For Rockstar, Bully is a bit of a cult classic. It still holds a special place in a lot of people’s hearts, but compared to the likes of GTA and Red Dead, it doesn’t have the same sort of gravitas. But there’s still an excellent game here. It’s well written, well acted, and shows the panache and spirit that Rockstar has become known for.
It’s a little rough around the edges, as you’d expect from a game of this age, but it’s still an intriguing and impressive glimpse back at the history of one of the world’s foremost devs.

The game tells the story of a student at Bull worth Academy. He’s already troubled, he’s dumped there by his mum and her new husband, and then he’s basically left to fend for himself. And that’s where you come in. Punching, stealing, pranking, and chasing your way through the school-life of a boy with a severely shaved head and an impressive problem with authority.

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9.Fieldrunners Attack! By Subatomic Studios, LLC

Genre:Adventure Developer:Subatomic Studios, LLC

An interesting, Clash of Clans-inspired change of approach from the Fieldrunners team. This is familiar casual strategy, but with a bit more tactical depth.Fieldrunners Attack! is a departure for the series. But it’s a departure that’s been a long time coming, and it feels like it’s a step in the right direction. Rather than following the same tower defence template that the series is famed for, this is sort of a light strategy outing with some resource management thrown in for good measure. And it all gels together really quite well. It’s not that revolutionary, but it throws in some neat ideas that mean you’re going to have a blast while you’re playing it.

The game keeps things fresh by adding new heroes and giving you more options when it comes to fights. It all gets a bit grindy after a while, but it’s fun before it does.

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10.Dawn of Titans By NaturalMotion

Genre:Strategy Developer: NaturalMotion

A technically impressive real-time strategy game with the headline feature being that you have hulking Titans supplementing your tiny troops.The game is all about This is a midcore strategy game with more interaction, more action, and a little bit more spark than you might be used to. There are still buildings to build and wait-timers to wait for, but the scraps themselves require a little more nous than you might have become accustomed to. The game sets itself up pretty well. You’re playing the king of some floating island kingdom, and you can call upon the services of a titan to fight for you against your enemies.Dawn of Titans is a solid, close to brilliant package that threads old and new ideas together to create something that’s likely to appeal to a massive variety of players.
There are some other interesting twists here as well. You can destroy or capture places you raid. Capturing them costs more energy, but you then add them to your kingdom and they’ll generate resources for you.

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