- iPhone/iPad £0.59 (universal binary)
For reasons that defy rational thought, Birds + App = instant win, and here's the latest to underline the commercial value of this apparently irresistible combination.
As the typically self-explanatory title hints, the tables have been turned on our feathered friends this time, and Namco wants us to engage in avian genocide via the magic of match-three mechanics.
To start with, the curiously buck-toothed birds occupy three power lines, and the idea is to swiftly zap three or more of a kind by tracing a line between them as they scroll past.
The quicker you zap them, the higher the score, and the greater chance of taking down the Taliban and forging a career as a commentator on Fox News. As an added bonus, you'll impress your friends and future lovers with your high scores and unlock those oh-so-tempting achievements.
That's the idea, anyway. In reality, you'll feel like a hapless Generation Game contestant, staring balefully at the conveyor belt as things don't quite go to plan. Maybe it's your sausage fingers again, but quite frequently the game fails to acknowledge your matching skills and minor irritation builds. You might fluke a few exciting-looking combos now and then, but eventually you'll run out of power and be left wondering what all the fuss was about.
Aside from the main Survival mode, you can opt for the curtailed Blitz mode, or dive into the no-pressure Zen mode, but the appeal quickly ebbs away. It might be cheap and considerately tooled for both the iPad or iPhone, but it's no Piyo Blocks. But hey, it has birds, and we all know that's all that matters.
- iPhone/iPad £1.19 (universal binary)
You've bounded your way through Papi Jump, you've missed your stop playing Doodle Jump. It's only fair to wobble your way through your spare time in the company of Namco's surprisingly adorable effort.
Having to bounce the hungry yellow chomper up an endless tower of platforms makes it entirely derivative, obviously, but don't let that put you off. For reasons almost certainly connected to primal nostalgia, Namco's shameless reskin quickly wins you over with its four themed stages and a familiar cast from its greatest hits of the early 1980s.
It kicks off with the daddy of them all, Pac-Man, and the seemingly simple task of guiding him as high as possible by tilting left or right (or via touch controls if you prefer) and bouncing on each platform. Eating any of the scattered dots propels him higher, while fruit and flags launch him higher still.
The ubiquitous power pills, meanwhile, provide the necessary invulnerability to the patrolling ghosts, but nothing can aid the greedy blob if you plummet to your doom. With only one attempt allowed, this score-chasing affair becomes another insidious time sink.
Once you've accumulated the required points to unlock the Dig-Dig stage, the whole teeth-gritting process repeats itself, before giving way to temporary Rally-X and Galaga-based relief.
Fortunately for your own psychological well-being, there are only four stages to worry about right now. But you can bet Namco will keep us coming back for more with future updates. The blighters.