I don't play mobile games. I avoid them, and have the same reaction to the term as some behind-the-times people who stick their noses up at videogames in general. But the latest few releases have me spending a lot more time than I'd like on the Tiny Screen.
It's not so much that I avoid mobile games in a PC Gaming Master Race elitist way. There's a little bit of that — why waste time on this little thing when there are cooler, more in-depth games on PC? But it's more that when I'm on the bus, train, or ferry, that's my quiet time. Time to sort out my thoughts. And when there are people in the room, I'm making a conscious effort to actually talk to them. Mostly.
But now my precious, sacred meditative moments are being invaded by thoughts of games that are in my pocket. Games that can be played anytime, with one unlock swipe and a tap. And for some reason, they're all Aussie made. This isn't me just blatantly preferring the home team, I swear — I've been giving the latest Cut The Rope and Angry Birds versions a go, too. But it's the Aussie ones that stick in my head like a barbed spear tipped with dopamine, and I think it's because the focus is on the fun and not by-the-numbers progression systems.
This one comes from the makers of Crossy Road, who've taken a similar approach — though instead of making an endless Frogger, it's now an endless Pac-Man. Let's ignore the temptation to compare it to its predecessor, because nothing was going to match the addictiveness or quality of Crossy Road, with its 100 million downloads. But Pac-Man 256 is super enjoyable and addictive anyway.
Like Crossy Road, the back of the screen is constantly chasing you, this time represented as the 256 glitch from the old Pac-Man. Levels go on indefinitely, and each ghost has more distinctive behaviours. The black ghost will wake up when you're near, and chase you until it sleeps again. Pinkies will always be moving downwards, but will always turn towards you. Reds will just chase you until you or they die.
If I have one gripe, it's that one could argue that Pac-Man 256 is slightly pay-to-win. Kinda-sorta. Game credits spawn every 10 minutes, or you can buy them. Playing with a game credit (as opposed to the normal Free Mode) means there will be power-ups which aren't normally there. These vary according to your build, and when you've munched a power pellet, they turn into more power pellets.
That's kind of a big deal, because the game is all about munching multipliers and chain-biting ghosts. It's a lot easier to chain together those items with extra power pellets here and there. That makes it less competitive for folks like me who care about high scores, but it hasn't stopped me from doing score battles with workmates.
This one's pretty simple. Drag the character down to create tension, and then sling them upwards to the next point they can grab. Avoid the buzz saws, of course. Easier said than done.
It's another game that's inspired score battles between my workmates and I, but we've agreed to not "revive" when we die, because the opportunities to do so seemed too random.
This one is a bit of a spin-off game, inheriting most of its style from One More Line. The trouble is, One More Line was really damn hard. I was lucky to get a score of over 100.
One More Dash is a little easier, but still very fun. It's a fantastic toilet game. Not too mentally demanding, and very quick. If I'm to criticise, it probably could ramp up the difficulty a little more as you go along, but I wouldn't change much. It's a good, simple game.
This is another one that's managed to stay on my phone, which is quite the feat, considering I like to keep my phone very lean and, if possible, devoid of games.
We've talked about Skiing Yeti Mountain before. It's a reboot of the old Ski Free game, complete with a Yeti and everything, but the gameplay is a lot more interesting. Keeping your thumb on the screen, you turn by moving it around to one side or the other, while trying to clear the flags and get the shortest time.
This is made a lot more difficult and interesting, however, by the fact that momentum is decided by how vertical your skis are. Turn from one side to the other, and there's a brief moment when you're facing directly downwards — which means there's a brief moment when you're going a lot faster than you expect.
It's a free game with a ridiculous amount of levels and worth your time, both because it's fun and because almost half its money goes to support those affected by the earthquakes in Nepal.
Hopefully I've passed on all the obsession and procrastination that comes with these titles, and pleased the Dark Gods of mobile gaming. You hear me, Shadow Lords? I've spread your message, now release me!
Top Image via Shutterstock