With app stores growing more cluttered, it's getting harder to identify those actually worth downloading. That's particularly true in gaming, where there seems to be new "featured apps" and fresh selections from established developers just about every day. To help you sift through the endless options, here are five genuinely addicting and fun games I'm recommending this December.
Only OneUpdated in August, Only One isn't a brand-new game, but it's become one of my go-to addictive gaming getaways. The format is simple: you control a small character running about on a cliff top battling various enemies as they appear. In striking down your enemies or knocking them off the edge of the cliff, you can regain health and gather "power," which is actually currency to be used for upgrades. The design of the game has a great indie feel to it, relying on an intentionally retro look while the gameplay is addicting without being frustrating. Yes, there are in-app purchase options, but this is a rare freemium game that you can fully enjoy without buying anything. The purchases are purely for those who want shortcuts or simply want to experience all of the various upgrades you can get. Touch Arcade said it best: this is a game with "depth well bey ond what you would expect."
Designed specifically for iPhone 6, Vainglory has taken the title as the best mobile MOBA game out there. For those unfamiliar with this term, it stands for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, and that pretty much sums up the game. You compete in a battle format against other real players in real time to control the arena and, in this instance, destroy the Vain crystal of the enemy team. It's not only incredibly addicting (just try not playing again if you lose), but it's a beautiful game taking full advantage of the sharpness and quality of the new iPhone.
Betfair BingoI'm not typically one for casino apps, mostly because they're somewhat clumsy. The app version of the Betfair bingo platform, however, was updated for iOS devices just this November and it comes across in a clean and professional way. The design is sleek and sharp, the game offerings are clear (with real-money options for those interested), and it's altogether simple and easy to play. That's all that many people want from a casino game as opposed to the bells and whistles that complicate so many of the app options out there. It's obviously best suited for people who are already fans of bingo, but it's definitely worth a try for anyone.
A brand-new game and an inventive new sort of puzzle, Dwelp is one of the most engaging games in any app store at the moment. It does cost £0.69 in the iOS app store. However, it doesn't rely on in-app purchases and it's a pretty extensive game, so it's worth the cost. The game shows you dots on a grid and challenges you to link up those of the same colour without locking them in place too soon. It's almost like a bizarre blend of a match-the-dots format and a sudoku brain teaser. A YouTube preview of the game clarifies exactly how it works and shows the addictive potential.
I almost wanted to dislike this game because of its blatant attempt to become the next Angry Birds. But after giving it a shot, I have to say it's incredibly entertaining. Basically, you're presented with an area containing a number of "kiwis" (little cartoon bird characters) and challenged to contain them in as small a space as possible by drawing walls around them. There are more kiwis as you advance, and you benefit more from containing them in as few moves as possible. That makes it easy to continue challenging both yourself and the game. It's simple, and maybe not a game you'll stick with long term, but for a short binge here or there Kiwi Clapas is surprisingly engaging.
This is a guest post by Brad Jenkins.