High Rise is a minimalist merge puzzle game by smpl Games. The concept of the game is very simple – place coloured blocks on a grid, place 2 same size blocks next to each other and they’ll merge. Keep placing blocks around the merged ones and they’ll keep merging provided the number of surrounding blocks matches the height of the already merged block. Sometimes you will get 2 high blocks with 2 different colours so you have to be even more strategic with where you place them. The game offers a variety of grid sizes to play in with the smallest being a 3×3 and the largest being a 7×7. There are also a variety of colours to play in and the largest setting allows a zen mode. The game is lost when you have filled all possible positions and no more merges are possible.
The game is very aesthetic and beautifully simple. It also includes a “pay as much as you want” option to purchase which is a nice touch. The ads aren’t overly intrusive on the free version, but for as little as £1.99 you can support the developers and purchase this great time killing game. It’s a perfect fit for portrait mode and works well offline as well. It’s a great game for short stints when you need to kill 5-10 minutes or if you want a slightly longer session you can play on the 7×7 grid. It’s a very relaxing and quite addictive concept and definitely worth checking out.
Avoid placing blocks in the middle early on
Plan ahead and think about how you can chain a merge
Keep blocks of the same colour in the same area of the grid – avoiding mixing too many colours in close proximity
When given the option to remove buildings prioritise tall buildings or ones blocking you from making a merge
VampireSurvivors developed by Poncle is a roguelike bullet hell survival type game for mobile, PC and Xbox. Similarly to a lot of the other such games you try and survive against endless waves of enemies (well around 30 minutes of them) and you collect and upgrade various weapons and equipment as you do so. Get a specific weapon and it’s corresponding piece of equipment and you can upgrade the weapon to an ultimate version. There are 5 main levels and as many bonus/challenge ones. As you play the game you can find and rescue other survivors which become characters you can play with. Each character starts out with a specific weapon but will be able to acquire other weapons as they level up.
In each level you can collect gold coins, these will let you get upgrades that apply to all levels and characters. As you work your way through the achievements list more and more of the game will be unlocked. You will find new characters, new weapons with new ultimate versions, new levels and challenges.
A simple but effective survival bullet-hell game with some really fun and well hidden surprises. There is also a good deal of humour in the naming of weapons and items (like the Candelabrador candelabra). The game is free on mobile and also ad-free (unless you want an additional life when you die). On PC it will set you back around £3.99 and there some DLC which will give you access to new levels and characters.
The collection of characters and the methods by which you unlock them are quite addictive and make you want to try each and every one of them out. The sheer amount of items there are to unlock – from game modes to weapons and additional features give the game a great amount of replay value. Each level usually lasts around 30 mins, which is a touch on the long side and sometimes the game might not save your progress if you close the app if you’ve had to do something else. However, the game works perfectly in offline and also in portrait, making it perfect for time killing. Overall if you’re a fan of bullet-hell survival games then this is a great one to add to your collection.
Learn the weapon evolutions and collect items/weapons accordingly.
Destroy torches and braziers for food and coins.
Upgrade your permanent upgrades using coins.
Some levels will have items on the floor, use these to get your ultimate weapon upgrades right.
Find the Milky Way Map in order to unlock the pause menu map which will show you the locations of items in the level.
In order to get to the coffin in Gallo Tower, look out for a glowing mirror on the left side of the level (around the area where the arrow points you to) that will get you through to a small room where the coffin is.
Life in Adventure is a text based D&D RPG fantasy game by StudioWheel available for mobile. The game uses familiar D&D mechanics and delivers an experience with a surprising amount of depth and good storytelling. You start out with a randomised character (in the free version) as a person who is tired of their boring day to day life and set on becoming a famous adventurer. You progress through random encounters, each with a detailed description and a variety of options – some encounters spanning several pages or even in several non consecutive parts.
Each encounter will test your skills (through dice rolls and RNG) and you may come out victorious and stronger or you may lose health and sanity. Lose all your health or sanity and the adventure is over. You will also gain EXP and find better loot and equipment as you adventure through the world. Survive for long enough and you will become a renowned adventurer and essentially win the game. There are 4 types of starting equipment – Fighter, Ranger, Wizard and Warlock, but you can build your character however you see fit depending on your stats. Character stats are standard D&D ones such a strength, dexterity, intellect, charisma, constitution and wisdom.
The game can be played completely for free, but there is also an Adventurer’s Guild premium option which will set you back £3.99, the main advantages of this option are the ability to customise your new adventurers, a free dice reroll and the ability to speed up or skip fights. A lot of these perks can also be purchased using in game premium currency (gems). The game is quite generous with giving out gems which you can also spend on new encounters, background stories and storylines and traits. The premium option isn’t needed, however it’s a nice way to support the developers and also helps speed up the gameplay. Overall I’d recommend it for any D&D or text based fans out there looking for that nostalgia factor, the game plays in portrait mode making it ideal for mobile.
For detailed in-game tips and info check out the comprehensive guide linked below.
Avoid battles (especially early game) – trying options that will get you out of combat and events can still give you EXP.
Items like Rope, Lantern, Pickaxe and similar are very useful – hold onto them as you may need them in your adventure.
If you are Very Superior to an enemy or better you can skip the dice roll to get a 10 and avoid a critical fail or rolling less than 10.
Isle of Arrows developed by Gridpop is a card based tower defence game made by a single developer. The game presents a fairly simple concept of randomised cards that allow you to place new paths or towers onto your island (also randomised each game) and defend against the incoming waves of enemies. There are 5 different classes that can be played, each with different abilities or lack thereof. Aesthetically it’s a pleasing simple low poly and pastel colour palette.
Between each wave you are presented with a new free card to place and can purchase more additional cards for an extra 2 gold. Some cards will have water tiles attached which require some forethought and strategy when being placed as removing them isn’t always easy. There are also random events and relics that can help or hinder you as you progress through the game. As you build up your reserve of cash, every 10 gold, you will earn an extra 1 gold per wave (ie if you have 10 gold, you will get +2 each wave, if you have 30+ gold you will get +4 each wave). There are 3 main game modes to play: Campaign which features 4 main areas, Gauntlet which presents increasing difficulty and challenges and a daily defence challenge.
Isle of Arrows is both an an aesthetically pleasing and beautifully simple game with a good amount of depth and some potential for further development and features. The PC version will set you back around £10, whereas the mobile version is around £5. The game has a few core levels and the gauntlet and daily challenge give some additional gameplay options after you’ve completed those – it would be nice to see even more cards and areas added in the future. Some more customisable game modes would also be interesting, for example custom card/event/relic selection or increased random event frequency. There is a slight issue when trying place paths that may end in a solid block (or blowing them up with bombs).
Overall the game is nicely balanced, providing a good challenge while also remaining fun and interesting. There’s a good deal of gameplay to get stuck into, the game can be played offline and in portrait – making it a perfect mobile game and definitely worth
Try not too spend too much money until you reach around 30 gold, then you can spend each turn provided you don’t dip under 30 gold, so you can ensure you’re getting +4 gold per turn.
Think about where you’re placing towers and paths and how they’ll be affected in by future cards.
When you get a 2nd or 3rd spawn point added, you can get away for 1-2 waves before you need to add more towers or paths to them – just ensure you don’t overinvest in them, but also be weary of leaving them unprotected – in an ideal scenario you want them to come close to your existing towers and paths.
Try and place traps on corners where they can hit at least 2 paths, likewise try and maximise the number of paths that each tower hits.
High ground can be very useful with most towers to increase their hit areas.
Not all cards are worth placing – gardens or cards with water tiles can make the late game quite difficult if you don’t have enough bombs to remove them.
Townscaper is a city building game like no other, made by developer Oskar Stålberg (creator of Bad North as well). The game allows you to build a procedurally generated city. The game is set on a warped grid allowing for some interesting curves and narrow streets as you build your city. The building process itself is also remarkably simple – just tap to add a block, short hold to remove one and long hold to change its colours. The rest is all up to you. There is no objective, pressure or complexity to the game just an open sandbox for you to create your colourful (or monochrome) island city. As you add different pieces existing ones will change leaving behind houses, terraces, gardens and all sorts of little details to discover. You can choose from 15 beautiful pastel colours spanning the colours of the rainbow and make some truly fantastic creations.
Generally speaking, the game will set you back around £4.99 which can seem a little bit steep for what’s essentially a city painting app. However, when you observe the detail and appreciate the effort that has gone into the game you appreciate it more and more. It is a great mobile game and perfect time killer. You can spend hours perfecting and tinkering with your city and 5 mins can quickly turn into 20-30. The decision not complicate the game with actual “gameplay” like resources and management does leave you with a slight sense of longing, but equally helps it preserve its truly zen vibe which will leave you feeling relaxed. It would be interesting to see this with different architectural styles, colour pallets, vibes and building variations – for example a spooky abandoned building or medieval castle. The concept feels like it has infinite potential. If you can get it on sale you can save around 15-20% on it, but either way it’s money worth spent for the zen garden that Townscaper is.
Tap to add block, short hold to delete a block, long hold to change colour to the currently selected one.
You can turn on the grid to see what certain positions may look like – look out for the ones that form the centre of certain warps.
If you don’t interact with the screen for a bit the UI will hide (if you have the toggle on).
Check night mode and mess around with the position of the sun.
You can make a lighthouse by building a standalone tower of 3 or more blocks.
You can make grassy areas by surrounding an area with houses and having the middle free, do so with different colour houses and you will get some nice walls and fences within the green area.
Marvel have joined the world of online multiplayer card games with their entry – Marvel Snap, published by Nuverse. The game is card collection and battling game which lets you collect all your favourite Marvel superheroes and villains and put your skills to the test against other players. The actual battles are quite simple and most importantly for a mobile game – quick to play. Each game has 3 locations at which players put their cards. All 3 locations start out hidden with one revealing each of the first 3 turns. Each location will be randomised and have some sort of modifier that can apply to specific cards, the entire location or even the entire game. Players need to try and win 2 out of 3 locations to win the game where each card’s power contributes to the player’s score at a specific location.
The stakes are then raised even more with the snap mechanic – this allows players to up the amount of rank points they get from each game or to force their opponent to retreat early. Winning a normal game would grant 2 points towards the next rank, if one player has snapped that doubles to 4, if both players have snapped it goes all the way up to 8. The game features daily missions that are drip fed every few hours, all sorts of card variants and the ability to upgrade the appearance of your cards. Upgrading cards is also the way players can progress their collection level allowing them to unlock new and powerful cards.
The game concept and mechanics are brilliantly simple yet effective. The duration of the game is probably it’s strongest point – 6 turns (around 3 minutes) present an excellent challenge and even though you sometimes feel like you could do with a turn or two more, pulling off the perfect combo in 6 turns is highly satisfying. The game is extremely fast paced and can turn in an instant. The Snap mechanic also adds an element of player tactics and mind games. There are a few areas where some improvement could be made like access to stats, new mission frequency, perhaps a 30/30 weekly missions target, ability to add and battle friends or view and compare collections. There is also potential for some more weird and wacky weekly game modes with crazy combos – similar to the tavern brawls in Hearthstone.
Overall it’s a great addition to mobile card games and is a truly mobile game in terms of game length – giving it an edge against competition like Hearthstone, Legends of Runeterra or Gwent. While there’s no explicit pay to win, paying for Season/Battle Pass can help speed up progress towards upgrading and unlocking new cards, although at £8.99 it is fairly difficult to justify. The visual upgrading of cards is a nice reward for using them more frequently and the rainbow variants ensures there’s always something to be upgrading and grinding for. The game’s high production value and addictive gameplay make it ideal for both long grinds or quick time-killing sessions.
Try not to fill a location too early in the game, especially if you have no way of buffing those cards
You should be able to create an early Ongoing deck quite quickly to get you through the early ranks
Only spend credits on upgrading your cards (getting them through the shop is more expensive)
Spend your gold on credits
The higher tier the card upgrade the more it will cost and the more points it will give you
Theme decks around key mechanics and 1-2 really good synergies, and a couple smaller ones
You can sometimes snap on the last turn if you’ve already ended your turn but the opponent hasn’t – particularly useful if you have forgotten to snap
You can copy and paste deck codes to share with friends (share button in deck creation)
Play with different decks, experiment – don’t feel precious about ranks (unless someone has snapped)
The higher your collection level the rarer the cards you will get – Collection Level 486+ is where the Series Five/Ultra Rare cards are found
Once you have fully upgraded a card you can infinity split it for a new variant (aka a foil) you can keep splitting your new variants for even rarer foils – check out the guide linked below for more information.
Survivor.io is a game by Habby in which you survive and onslaught of enemies while upgrading your weapons and equipment. Similar to most other survival roguelike bullet-hell type games you kill enemies, collect XP and pick from 3 possible weapons or equipment. You can only carry 6 weapons and 6 pieces of equipment so choose wisely, especially when it comes to the equipment because nearly every weapon is paired with a piece of equipment allowing that weapon to be evolved when it’s reached it’s maximum upgrade level. Evolved weapons are extremely powerful and very useful for beating levels.
The game progresses through levels – each lasting from 6 to 15 minutes of progressively harder enemies and bosses. There are also additional challenge modes that will make past levels even harder and push you to the limit. These will give you evolution points which allow you to unlock some really useful upgrades. As you progress in the game your character will also level up and allow you to upgrade their stats with cash. The gatcha element also comes in with your characters equipment – you open loot boxes and merge duplicates as you try to improve the quality of your equipment from common to legendary. There are unique seasonal and daily challenges and over 50 chapters to the game with more being added.
Overall the game is really addictive at the start with lots to try and quick progress. As you progress through the levels you will also gain access the new weapons giving the game even more variety. The concept is something we’ve seen done plenty of times and Survivor.io does it quite well – limiting the time for levels and regular bosses. The game also throws some challenge levels your way which are a great way to unlock additional abilities and also push yourself a little harder. The game has a variety of elements to keep you logging in regularly – coins, daily challenges, login bonuses etc, although after the initial 7 day bonuses there is a bit less there to keep you coming back. Premium currency gems are fairly easy to gain from achievements and daily tasks which is a nice touch, meaning you don’t need to spend real money. The merging mechanic on gear only really starts to pay dividends after you’ve opened quite a few crates (definitely a worthy investment).
The game is good for slightly longer play sessions with most successful runs lasting 8 to 15 minutes, but the game does do a good job of recovering previous play data should you need to cut your session short. Overall it’s a fun game and quite addictive with a lot of levels to unpack and skills to upgrade, it has a nice difficulty scale. Ultimately it does get a bit repetitive after some time, but will definitely keep you hooked for some considerable time.
Consider what items you will need in order to evolve your weapons
The guardian/force barrier is extremely useful early game against enemies with lower health
Some weapons share an evolution item, this can allow you to carry extra items that don’t evolve anything
Avoid and kite large groups of enemies
Look out for bombs and magnets from crates
Spend gems on S grade supplies, gems are quite easy to earn through regular play
The fully upgraded drill is very good for hard bosses as it will target them non stop
You can grind 8min levels for gold as they complete faster and you get good gold from bosses
Graveyard Keeper developed by Lazy Bear Games and published by tinyBuild is an indie game that revolves around managing a graveyard (much like the title suggests). The game is comparable to Stardew Valleyin many ways: the aesthetic, the fun characters, the crafting, combat to name few. Graveyard Keeper starts you off in a world you are unfamiliar with (you’ve come from present day) , it seems you are stuck in some sort of medieval fantasy world and you need to figure out how to return home to the present day. As it turns out you are the new keeper of the village’s local graveyard, after the previous one mysteriously disappeared. You are introduced to various characters in and around the village and their weekly schedules and quests (the game has 6 days with various events or NPC appearances being tied to each one).
Over time you develop and fix up the old graveyard and your house, you unlock farming, beekeeping, wine and beer making. As the graveyard gets nicer and filled with better “quality” people you will unlock the church which is where the game really takes off. You will be tasked with doing a weekly prayer, this will help you generate faith which leads to the most powerful unlocks in the game. Doing tasks and work generates points – there are three types of points – red (generated by wood/stone/metal work), green (generated by doing farming work) and blue (generated by researching things and high level item crafting). These 3 types of experience points are used to unlock things in the research trees, and there is quite a good amount of things to be unlocked.
The game is incredibly addictive. It has that typical element of “just one more day” or “just one more task” that keeps you on it for crazy amounts of time. What makes the game even more clever is the way the days work – often times quests will require you to do something that’s basically 5 days away, meaning that you have to wait almost an entire week to complete a phase in a quest (during that time you’re obviously doing other quests or tasks). This has the effect of keeping you super busy all the time, following NPCs schedules and working around having a corpse delivered to you every so often as well. The game’s aesthetic is well delivered and can be very eerie at times (especially when the fog roles in). It’s perfectly matched by the sound design of the game and some of the rather dark and funny humour.
Graveyard Keeper will generally set you back around £10, which at first may seem like quite a lot, but the game really offers quite a lot, it’s also cheaper than competitor Stardew Valley. If you can grab it while it’s on sale for around £5, then you’ve got yourself a steal; it’s worth noting the game is also free with PS Plus Extra. While the game’s ending leaves a lot of questions unanswered and there are 3 DLCs that attempt to answer those, each of the DLCs will set you back around £7-8 and add a variety of new stories and gameplay mechanics (like being able to make zombies to automate tasks). The game is highly addictive and will keep you hooked for a considerable amount of time – overall the story can take around 40 hours to complete, but that could easily stretch towards 50-60 depending on what you end up doing.
Get the teleport stone from the Dark Horse tavern as soon as you can afford it – it makes moving around the map so much easier
Try to only put high quality corpses in your graveyard, red skulls reduce the appeal of a grave
Focus on opening the church in the early game so you can unlock the weekly prayers – these will generate faith for you and unlock the church basement where you can do alchemy and craft new types of items
Meet Clotho to unlock the alchemy workbench and skill tree
For a perfect 12 skull corpse you will need to have unlocked and use the various embalming injections
Blood and fat always remove 1 red skull, organs will account for a random amount of red/white skulls in each body, flesh will always remove 1 white skull
The Quarry lets you set up a little base where you can mine iron, stone and marble for extended periods of time – just make sure you have enough materials to build the workstation and storage there
Save blood – there’s a late game quest (and speed potions) where you will need quite a lot of it
The dungeons save your progress – so if you’ve killed half the mobs on a floor and exit it, that will be saved when you return
Throwing bodies into the river is ok, but if you have a poor quality body you’re better off burning it as you still get the burial certificate
Once you unlock alchemy and the tier 2 bench get speed potions – but only take them after you’ve had a sauerkraut (as it increases the duration of buffs)
Gravestones and fences generate a lot of blue points when being researched
You can purchase books containing a specific number of red/green/blue points from the astrologer
Melvor Idle developed by Games by Malcs and published by Jagex brands itself as a Runescape inspired idle game. The premise of the game is quite simple – a huge variety of interconnected skills that you can level up in various ways. The list of skills includes things like woodcutting, mining, smithing and farming with even more being available in the premium version. You can grind these while you afk or idle, as each skill level increases you can unlock more aspects of it. All the various skills are interconnected – the items you get from one may be used on another skill, which then in turn will impact or allow you to do something in yet another. From crafting items to fishing there are plenty of ways to make money in the game.
The premium version will unlock quite a few additional skills that will allow you to develop even further, explore new areas in combat as a Slayer. It adds some pretty interesting elements like summoning which can give you the ability to enhance the yields from other skills each time you complete them. The combat also has a surprising amount of depth with a variety of enemies and areas to fight in, dungeons to take on and even Slayer quests that challenge you to take on specific enemies.
The full version of the game will set you back around £8.99 but for that you do get quite a good amount of new skills to level up. Getting the premium version early in the game pays off as a lot of that early loot can be used to level up a lot of the other abilities. While it does feel like it is a bit on the expensive side it does provide quite a lot of additional gameplay so it can be somewhat justified. 15-20% cheaper would make it an obvious choice.
Overall the game is highly addictive, the sheer amount of skills to level up and the way they are all interconnected make for a really good idle experience. The combat also adds another layer to the game, especially for more active play. The game is well thought out, simple and really delivers in terms of depth. As far as idle games go, this one is definitely worth checking out and will keep you coming back for ages.
Sometimes you need to scroll down once you’ve selected an option to see more details
Mining is a good skill to focus on initially as it links to smithing, which is a great way to make money, armour and other useful items
Coal is really important in a lot of smithing recipes
You can get coal from firemaking or mining
You can get seeds for farming from woodcutting (via bird’s nests) or from fighting farmers in the farmlands
Check what upgrades you can use your bars (or other items) for before selling them off
Don’t bother with armour upgrading until you’re at least with Mithril armour or higher level
You can view your pets and their bonuses from the completion tab
If you need to improve your block/attack rating for new gear you can just grind an easy mob for an extended period of time
Try and get the Amulet of Looting as early as possible from the Spider Forest dungeon
The Sea of Death is an adventure puzzle game developed by HoitStudio. The game has a nice pixel graphic aesthetic and features a large variety of puzzles as you embark on a rather mysterious journey in which you attempt to figure out what exactly is going on in this world. You start the game out on a ship during a storm, but after a rather mysterious turn of events you wake up in a strange and dark world and begin trying to piece things together and to find your way out of there. The slightly dystopian world seems to focus on doing various menial jobs and talking to some rather strange people.
The core gameplay loop gets you completing various tasks for people in order to progress “up” in this unfamiliar place. You take on various jobs which involve solving puzzles, collecting items and talking to strangers. The puzzles are all quite different and unique (the game has over 50 different ones) – some of them will really challenge you. As the story develops you begin to learn more about this world and how it works, its social class system and hierarchy.
Overall the aesthetics of the game are quite appealing and it does a very good job of creating a dark and sombre atmosphere. The puzzles the game offers are quite unique and there is a good variety of them to keep you busy for a while. The dialogue is ok, can be improved in certain areas grammatically, but the story does really make you wonder what is going on and figuring out how you ended up where you did.
The full game will set you back around £3.99, which isn’t too bad given that it will give you unlimited actions to continue your adventure. Prior to that the only way to get more than your initial 500 actions is by watching videos (each one gets you 100 actions). For those of you who enjoy a good puzzle mystery game then this one is worth checking out. The game works for both shorter stints where you just do an odd quest, but is much more suited to a mid to long term session as it allows you to engross yourself much more in the story.
Pay attention to what people say or their roles – these will give you hints when someone else mentions them
Use and pen and paper – as some of the tests get more complex or involve you keeping track of numbers or even doing some calculations
Tap on the text get the entire dialogue to print out