New Puzzle Bobble
- iPhone - £2.99 (iOS 3.0 or above required)
The trouble with making something so incredibly perfect the first time around is that any attempt to meddle with the formula invariably falls flat on its arse. That's certainly been the fate of the Puzzle Bobble (a.k.a. Bust-a-Move) series ever since its inception way back in 1994.
And here's perhaps the most alarming revision to the game yet, with a whole host of 'innovations' seemingly designed by people with absolutely zero understanding of what made the game so great in the first place.
Top of the list of face-palming changes is the control system, which now allows you to point directly at the bubble you want to hit, therefore removing any semblance of aiming skill.
But if that wasn't already enough, the new Jump Shot allows you to hold your finger on the place you want to hit, and effectively drop your bubble from above on it. Ruinous.
All manner of other game-spoiling additions have been needlessly injected as well, such as the ability to swap out the bubble in your launcher for another one, or bomb bubbles which allow you to 'solve' stages with minimal effort.
Perhaps the most serious omission is the absence of a multiplayer mode, which was and always will be by far the most entertaining way to play the game.
If Taito had had the good sense to include the classic version in this release, it would be an obligatory purchase. Instead, we're bemoaning yet another tiresome remix of a game that needs meddling with about as much as chess does.
- Windows Phone 7 - £2.49
- Android - £1.86
- iPhone (ad-supported free version, or £0.59 ad-free)
- iPad - £1.19
It's usually a good sign when a game hits every smartphone platform going, and Tiki Tower's recent arrival on Windows handsets does little to disprove my homespun theory.
Fêted back in 2009 as one of the finest casual games around, it instantly gets my vote for including three of my favourite things: bananas, monkeys and bridge-building.
Very similar in principle to the numerous other construction games out there (check out X-Construction on Android, or the wonderful World Of Goo on iPad for two choice examples), the idea is to try and fashion a sturdy bridge for a posse of expectant simians to get from A to B. With only limited resources available, it's all about placing each strut wisely to get them across safely without your bridge collapsing like a cheating Premiership prima donna.
Shore up one side at the expense of the other, and you'll notice the tell-tale red stress points on the weaker areas, and have to painstakingly meddle with your creation until it eventually takes the strain from all the leaping chimps.
As if that wasn't enough of a challenge by itself, you'll only get to scoop the gold medal if your cheeky monkeys also manage to pick up all the bananas en route.
With its jolly vibe and intuitive, responsive controls, Tiki Towers is timelessly engaging. If it passed you by the first time around, don't make the same mistake twice.