Every Friday, Pocket Gamer offers hands-on impressions of the week's best new iPhone and iPad games.
Happy new year!
I hope you all had a terrific Christmas, a great New Year's Eve, and a restful break. We certainly had a nice break from playing a billion iPhone games every week, I can tell you.
But the App Store is open again for business, and the relentless churn of games has started up anew. So, while it's only January 3rd, we've already got six top new iOS games to highlight for you. Do let us know what you think of them.
Oh, and think we've missed a top new iOS game? Shout at us with all your might in the comments section at the bottom.
This week's top pick
By Armor Games - buy on iPhone and iPad (£2.49 / $3.99)
A super-smart detective game where you actually have to pay attention, figure out what's going on, and make deductions. At the centre of this is a clever system where you can snap together thoughts and clues to forge ideas in Grimoire's mind.
It's got a great cartoon style with full voice acting and terrific over-the-top animations. The game is also genuinely funny, with sharp comic timing and a great cast of wacky characters.
We'll have a full review of this game up on the site next week. But if you like games like L.A. Noire and Ace Attorney (and don't mind the odd Professor Layton-style puzzle here and there), you should jump on this right now.
Also out this week...
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
By Sumo Digital - buy on iPhone and iPad (£2.99 / $4.99)
We were very impressed with this Sonic racing sequel, with our review man Jon calling it "an incredibly slick kart racer that marks a new high point for iOS kart racers and stands as another exemplary console conversion."
It's got quite a few in-app purchases for a £3 game. But you can also play as Shenmue's Ryo, who drives an OutRun arcade cabinet like a car. And, well, who could ever say 'no' to that.
By Thomas Bowker - buy on iPhone and iPad (£1.99 / $2.99)
A slick minimalist puzzler about connecting up similar shapes. There's a nice gentle difficulty curve here, as developer Thomas Bowker slowly introduces new rules and obstacles that alter the way in which you must think about each level.
The game comes with a bundle of levels. And when you're done, new randomly generated stages will continue to be doled out every day. Until you die.
By Daniel Hjelm - buy on iPhone and iPad (69p / 99c)
Loot Hero is an RPG played in fast forward. Instead of selecting attacks from a menu, you just plough headfirst into enemies with a lance. You level-up every two seconds, buy new gear before you've even dented the last lot, and travel across lands in a heartbeat.
You still get all the thrills of boosting your skills, grinding for loot, and seeing your hero rise from scrawny peasant to buff knight. You just don't have to slog through all the boring bits.
Jet Car Stunts 2
By True Axis - buy on iPhone and iPad (Free)
Outlandish platforming racer Jet Car Stunts was a fond favourite of ours from the early days of the App Store. This long-awaited sequel is another barmy game about bouncing your jet-powered space car over impossible floating tracks.
All the important numbers have been bumped up here: there are more cars, more levels, and more challenges. Plus, it has controller support. Oh, and you can try the first batch of tracks for free (and then buy the rest piecemeal or in one £2.99 / $4.99 pack).
Feed Me Oil 2
By Holy Water Games - buy on iPhone and iPad (£1.99 / $2.99)
When we reviewed the first Feed Me Oil, we called it "an intriguing physics-puzzler that bodes well for a sequel".
Well, here it is. Feed Me Oil 2 is another game about plopping down barriers and tools to re-direct a sloppy great puddle of oil into the gaping maws of weird creatures.
For this one, Holy Water Games adds a beautiful mechanical look to the levels, new tools, fresh obstacles, and water. More perfectly good fun, if you're not kind of sick of physics-driven puzzlers at this point.