Is it that time already? Apparently so. And it's another improbably decent line-up of games determined to suck up all the time that you definitely don't have.
It's definitely a good sign that two of this week's roster gobbled up about 12 hours of my time between them. It could have been even more, but then you wouldn't have a roundup this week, and we couldn't have that, could we?
As a personal plea to all the mobile game developers out there, I'd be extremely grateful if you could just stop releasing games for a couple of weeks. Just a couple. The 'to-play' list is getting ridiculous, and it's not fair on all those great games I'm not telling you about.
- iPhone/iPad - £0.59.
Mr Karoshi has no princess to save, no dragon to slay; just a hollow, repetitive life as an anonymous salaryman who has a wife he doesn't love and a soul-destroying boss he's powerless to fight. It's time to turn the platform game on its head and put salaryman out of his misery!
But the respite of grisly death doesn't come easy in YoYo Games' latest 2D platformer. You have to plan his demise with military precision and careful timing if you're to make the pain end.
Each of the game's 50 levels offers one or more ways to top yourself, and it's up to you to seek them out if you want to move on to the next 'test'. Some offer a simple spike pit for you to throw yourself into, while others require more elaborate chain reactions and the unwitting co-operation of Karoshi's simpering wife and growling boss.
What starts off as a fairly tittersome piece of social commentary quickly morphs into an occasionally brain-breaking trial and error test, where nothing is ever as straightforward as it initially appears. With traps often requiring precision timing and a fair degree of forward planning, it's unlikely you'll have ever celebrated death with quite so much gusto.
Lost the will to fight The Man? Then let black humour and pixellated decapitations brighten up your Monday lunchtime.
- iPhone - £0.59.
Pinball-air hockey-breakout probably wasn't what Groundbreaking Games had in mind when conceiving Puckerz, but that's the net result.
Set against the clock, it's up to your waggling fingers to catapult a puck at just the right angle and trajectory to smash everything in your path.
But such is the way of these things that the further you get, the more evil and time-gobbling obstacles are thrown in your path. Fling with careless abandon and your careering puck flies straight into the abyss, or is blown to smithereens by a mine - boom! But line that puck up with dead-eyed precision and those glittering jewels will all be yours.
The only snag comes from not being able to see the whole playing area at once. On an iPad the game could work superbly well, but the default zoomed-in view forces a large amount of guesswork - unless you fancy panning around the course in advance.
But for a trifling 59 pence, I'd be a misery guts if I moaned too much. It sure plays a mean pinball-air hockey-breakout.
I Dig It
- Windows Phone 7 - £2.49 (free trial available).
- Previously released on iPhone as 'I Dig It Expeditions' - £1.79.
Dark forces must surely be at work for such an unassuming-looking game to consume quite so many hours.
You're sent off on the hunt for buried treasure, guiding a converted bulldozer into the choking subterranean depths. The next thing you know, hours have past; your glazed expression lit only by the glow of your smartphone. Worried friends periodically check on your whereabouts.
Like other all-consuming mining games before it (Miner Disturbance, for one), I Dig It grabs you with a formula that's hard to shake. You start off in search for mere trinkets, scoop up a few odds and ends, and find the thing the professor is looking for. But you might have known that it wouldn't end there...
With money to spend on upgrades, you're able to dig further into the depths and seek out even more valuable treasure until eventually you're plucking out the QE2, or thereabouts. Each time you'll stress over your fuel reserves, hull damage and bin storage, wondering how InMotion managed to drain your spare time so effortlessly.
The only problem is I Dig It's inability to disable the god-damned search button on the (HD7) handset - something that you'll almost certainly accidentally press. Assuming they can remedy that with a patch, then I Dig It will absolutely definitely take over your life.
Jet Car Stunts
- Android - £1.25 (Lite version free).
- Also available for iPhone - £1.19.
If Geoff Crammond still had any interest in making games, we'd probably have already seen an iPhone version of the awesome Stunt Car Racer. But worry ye not, as True Axis has done the job for him, with this equally accomplished "platform racing game".
Similar in spirit to the 1989 16bit classic, you blast around a series of fiendish courses designed to test your ability to handle an eccentric car-jet-thing.
Armed with turbo boost and air brakes, simply keeping your craft on the track for seconds at a time becomes a near impossible task as you zip from platform to platform, shoot up ramps and spin through mid-air corkscrews.
But with slick tilt controls and super-smooth circa 1990 polygonal visuals to warm your cockels, the stop-start trial-and-error gameplay quickly burrows under your skin in a way reminiscent of the peerless Trials HD.
Given the accolades Jet Car Stunts commanded on iOS in 2009, anyone of the Android persuasion should race to the Marketplace right away to snaffle this superb conversion up.
- iPhone - £0.59
If you're aiming to be numero uno on the App Store these days then basing your game around flinging birds at high speed through the air is a good place to start. Tiny Wings maker Andreas Illiger agrees.
This is the latest bagillion-selling success story, and it flaunts the kind of one-touch simplicity that keeps people busting for the John while you set high scores on your throne. Bombs away!
As night rapidly draws in, your challenge is keeping your little feathered friend ahead of the setting sun for as long as possible through fast, skilful flight. Delaying a good scorching is all about building and maintaining momentum by folding your wings (touching the screen) and swooping down at exactly the right moment.
Judge it correctly and you'll hit the slope perfectly and catapult into the clouds - but keeping the run going involves almighty anticipation and a just a teensy weensy smidgen of luck. The faster you go, the more islands you'll be able to visit, and the greater the chance of basking in the warm glow of high score glory.
Tiny Wings is hideously addictive, supremely cute, and at 59 pence you'll play it for hours and never really know why. Such is the way atop the cloud-hidden peak of the App Store.