Grand Prix Story
- Android - £3.08. Free Lite version also available.
After the brilliantly self-referential Game Dev Story, Kairosoft could either quit while it was ahead or just keep churning out slight variations on the theme and make lots of money. Plan B it is, then!
Following on from Hot Spring Story, the third in the series adopts many (if not most) of the same tricks that made us play long into the night, faces aglow with touchscreen illumination.
In Grand Prix Story, it's once again a moreish balance of hiring, training, researching and upgrading, as you aim to work your way up from a team of aspiring amateurs to all-conquering motor racing behemoths.
At first, you'll pour your limited resources into a fairly useless car and a small team of hopeless nobodies, and systematically prod them in the right direction via research points and cold hard cash.
Periodically you'll enter races and watch as your plucky losers inch their way up the rankings with every incremental update. It hooks you in with the micro rewards of bettering your race standings and lap times, and before you know it, you're actually capable of winning things.
And then off you go, developing new cars and parts, and bolstering your team with your winnings. Good performances then leads to sponsorship, and the chance to enter progressively challenging races, and so the cycle goes on until, inevitably, you have to tear yourself away from the damned thing.
In some respects, the ability to see the fruits of your labours in action only makes it more engaging. You're no longer just churning out some imaginary product - you're watching the product go out and perform, albeit in endearingly wobbly pixel art fashion.
Eventually Kairosoft will run out of things for us to manage, or just repeat the same ideas until the whole thing becomes utterly transparent. But right now, these are stories worth telling and games worth owning.
Storm In A Teacup
- iPhone/iPad - £0.59.
As someone who appears to employ games as some sort of perverse vent for anger, it's nice now and then to just float along in a teacup scooping up sugar lumps. No snarling irritation here, just the sweet escapism of flowing platform kleptomania.
Some of you might take one look at Cobra Mobile's twee visual style and mutter into your overpriced caffeine infusion. I pity you and your gritty realism. To these eyes, its Spectrum-era, two-dimensional surreality only adds to the game's charm.
And like a lost relic of our now-mythical past, it's a love affair with all things spiteful. As you guide your floaty man-cup through the 40 levels negotiating hazards, getting to the end of the level becomes an evermore taxing exercise as you deftly deploy your limited boost power. A boost here, a boost there, he could die soon, but he doesnae care.
Even in the throes of endless, savage death, it can't provoke a frown. You are, after all, a boy in a teacup, soaring defiantly through the clouds.