Every Friday, Pocket Gamer offers hands-on impressions of the week's best new iPhone and iPad games.VVVVVV
By Distractionware - buy on iPhone and iPad
(£1.99 / $2.99)
The much celebrated VVVVVV
is very old-fashioned game. Not only is it presented in a (rather ugly) pixel-art style reminiscent of the Spectrum era, but its gameplay harks back to the same primitive and brutal age, when deaths in platform games occurred approximately as often as jumps.
The game is made up of single-screen levels, and completing each level can feel like a feat of memory as much dexterity. You enter, jump, land on row of spikes, die. Enter again, jump a bit later, land on sweeping platform, jump off, land on a row of spikes, die. Enter again... and so on until you stagger through the exit.
There is one modern innovation: tapping the screen sends you up to the ceiling, and tapping it again dumps you back on the ground.
The stages are all built around this concept, leaving you to flip onto the undersides of platforms, reverse your polarity to avoid spike pits, and generally do platform things but in a tight, inventive, meticulously designed, and profoundly befuddling universe.Lex
By Simple Machine - buy on iPhone and iPad
(69p / 99c)
There are more word games that there are words, and Lex
is about the best of them to arrive this week. Unusually, it doesn't involve finding words on a grid – instead you have to assemble them with letters arrayed randomly along the bottom of the screen.
The longer a letter goes unused the redder it turns, and once it reaches a state of total redness it's game over. The temptation is to desperately search for words that will enable you to dispatch these hazardously reddening letters, but this approach dramatically limits your options. Most games end in a a moment of flustered paralysis about 15 seconds after they begin.Lex
isn't exactly revolutionary, but its fast-paced gameplay and brutal difficulty distinguish it from many of its peers in the leisurely word game genre. If you fancy yourself a bit of a Boggle
-god, prepare to be humbled.Fluid SE
By Radiangames - buy on iPhone and iPad
(£1.49 / $1.99)Fluid SE
seems relatively straightforward at first: all you have to do is use a virtual stick to glide around the neon stages, hoovering up glowing pills and avoiding the deadly red orbs they leave behind. The pills are magnetically attracted to you, so you don't even need to get that close to them.
Then you finish the first batch of five stages and try to start playing the second batch, only to discover that you need to have 15 stars and you've only got nine. Your times weren't good enough. So you'll go back and redo all the stages ostensibly without making any mistakes and pick up another two or three stars. But you're still three short.
At this point you may search for any power-ups you may have missed, and check the instructions to see if there's a 'boost' button that has somehow eluded you. There isn't. Finishing stages exquisitely quickly is all there is to it, making Fluid SE
the bestl-disguised top-down racer on the App Store.