Keeping up with the mobile gaming scene can feel like swimming against a particularly pungent tide of detritus at the best of times - but that's what we're here for. We are the heroic lifeguards of mobile gaming, after all.
But, if you're prepared to pay attention and cast your net further than Angry Birds
and Words With Friends
, you'll find there's no shortage of sparkling gems to rescue from the murk of mediocrity.
Here are just a handful of games that haven't got their due during the iPhone's five years in existence. Yes, it's the iPhone's fifth birthday tomorrow (June 29th). Hurrah!
In celebration of this milestone, why not head to the App Store and buy the following five games forthwith. Thank me in the morning.Surveillant
By Recluse Industries - buy on iPhone
Recluse Industries's sinister CCTV-dodging puzzler went completely under everyone's radar upon release a couple of years back - ironically enough.
It is our sworn duty to rescue it from ill-deserved obscurity.
is "a bit like The Sentinel
" is unlikely to mean much to anyone under 35. So, for those born after 1977, you're up against an evil electronic eye, and you hop from block to block, trying to avoid a hot arc of death that sweeps the multi-layered play area.
Stray too close to its field of view and you'll be smoking harder than Wayne Rooney after penalty shoot-out heartbreak. Sneak through undetected, however, and you can get one over this unfeeling sentry of pain.Karoshi
By YoYo Games - buy on iPhone and iPad
Most game designers strive to find imaginative ways to kill you, but for suicidal salaryman Mr Karoshi
it's the other way around.
Faced with a life of unending drudgery, useless girlfriends, and predictable penalty shoot-out despair, the obvious answer is to throw yourself into the nearest pit of spikes. If only it were that simple.
More often than not, Karoshi
has to work bloody hard to be put out of his misery, as you'll find in 50 levels of grimly fiendish puzzle-platforming genius.jukebeat (a.k.a. jubeat)
By Konami - buy on iPhone and iPad
If you were lucky enough to frequent Japanese arcades circa 2008, the sight of a proficient jubeat
player tapping out crazed finger jives to demented J-pop isn't something easily forgotten.
With the game set on a 4x4 grid, the idea is to tap each square when prompted, but at the kind of pace normally reserved for hepped-up insect kind, not sleepy mammals.
But, this being Konami, different rules apply, and somehow its hypnotic light show nightmare stands tall as the best rhythm-action title available on touchscreen devices.Numba
By Cobra Mobile - buy on iPhone
Some puzzle games get all the girls, but sod them. They're probably awful in bed, spout dodgy political views when drunk, and have terrible taste in music.
You might not spot Numba
in a crowd, but what it lacks in head-turning looks and sharp one-liners, it more than compensates for in attitude and longevity. Basically, it will win your heart for life if you give it a chance.
Sure, this tile slider looks as generic as possible, but as soon as you're seduced by its insidious chain-forming ways, it's time to kiss free time goodbye. This should have been a super-hit for Cobra, so rescue it from down the back of the mobile sofa and buy me a pint later.Hector: Badge of Carnage Ep1
By Straandlooper - buy on iPhone
or buy on iPad
For point-and-click adventure junkies, the rise of touchscreen devices couldn't have come any sooner. That's because the iPhone and iPad (among others) have pretty much saved this entire genre all by themselves.
Case in point is Hector: Badge of Carnage Ep1
: a game that somehow manages to cram all that's crap about being British into one darkly amusing point-and-clicker.
Less of a game, more of an interactive documentary on vile cops and urban flotsam - as debuts go, you won't find a better one.
The fact that it's right up there with LucasArts's endlessly celebrated early '90s vintage should have you rushing to download this with unseemly haste.