The best new Android and iPhone games for 2018

Step away from Candy Crush with Altos Odyssey, Final Fantasy XV, The Room: Old Sins and more new mobile games to try

Altos Odyssey

iPhone, 4.99

Photograph: Team Alto

Altos Adventure, from 2015, was a beautiful-looking, endless snowboarding game, but developer Snowman has swapped snow for sand for the sequel, with a desert theme providing plenty more scenery to gawp at. Youll be swooping down slopes, flipping somersaults while airborne, and avoiding obstacles from rock-piles to chasms, taking in sunsets and storms. Its calming and meditative, with a zen mode that strips out the scoring aspect for an even more relaxed experience.

Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition

Android/iPhone, free (with in-app purchases)

Photograph: Square Enix

If you re familiar with Final Fantasy XV, its unlikely youll want to play it on a phone, but this edition is an excellent introduction for everyone else. It is a unique and endearing mix of road trip and Japanese fantasy, starring a boyband-esque group of friends who spend as much time tooling around in an open-topped sports car as they do battling monsters. Its simplified well for touchscreens: the characters fight for themselves, with you influencing the action through well-timed taps to dodge, block and use special attacks. Final Fantasy is an acquired taste, but try the first episode for free to see if you like it. The next two cost 99p each, and the final seven cost 3.99 apiece.

The Room: Old Sins

iPhone, 4.99

Photograph: Fireproof Games

The fourth in a series of super-tactile puzzle-box games, Old Sins bucks the law of diminishing returns: its the best yet. Exploring a ghostly dolls house, you solve a physical puzzles by manipulating the objects you find there, sliding open secret compartments, rotating statues and ringing bells. Experimental tapping will only get you so far: real progress (and intense satisfaction) comes once you tune in to The Rooms twisty logic.

Kitty Powers Love Life

Android/iPhone, 4.99

Photograph: Magic Notion

Kitty Powers is the drag alter ego of games developer Richard Franke and the star of 2014s Kitty Powers Matchmaker, which saw her (and you) matching cartoon clients for a dating agency. This sequel is about those successfully matched couples, who are now falling in love and you are a God-like figure in charge of their town. Getting up and running takes a while, but youll soon be learning your villagers likes and dislikes and enthusiastically barging in on their romantic lives. Its a nice twist on Sims-style, life-management genre.

Hero Academy 2

Android/iPhone, free (with in-app purchases)

Photograph: Robot Entertainment

This turn-based strategy game sits somewhere between Hearthstone and Clash Royale, because you battle with fantasy character cards. Theres a well-designed solo mode to teach you how to fight and build a decent deck, ready for taking on other players online. Theres a lot of scope to sculpt a deck for your preferred battling style, using archer- and spell-heavy ranged attack tactics to up-close brawny brutes, but the intricacies dont feel overwhelming.

Meteorfall: Journey

Android/iPhone, 2.592.99

Photograph: Eric Farraro

More fantasy deck building here, but Meteorfall is focused on solo play, with elements of dungeon adventuring woven in to its card battling. You choose a character, get a basic deck of attack cards, then swipe your way through fights with monsters, stopping off to expand and upgrade your deck and level-up your hero. Deaths are unavoidable, but you can save the gems earned by playing to unlock some new cards for the next time round. Its a tight, cleverly focused card battler which will likely have you missing your train or bus stop, such is its one-more-go factor.

Bring You Home

iPhone, 2.99

Photograph: Alike Studio

You control the level, not the character isnt an original twist, but in the right hands it can be inventive, as developer Alike Studio proves here. Your job is to guide alien hero Polo through a host of platform levels to find his kidnapped pet. Swipe vertical sections of the level up or down to swap in different obstacles and items before sending Polo through to see how he fares. Its a cross between a game and a childrens mix-and-match book: pretty tough, but rarely frustrating.

Death Squared

iPhone, 6.99

Photograph: SMG Studio

Already popular on consoles, Death Squared has you sliding two miniature robots through more than 80 levels, manipulating mechanisms and avoiding triggering traps to ensure both reach their end markers. You can play alone but Death Squareds main appeal is as a co-op game for two players, each controlling a robot with gestures on one half of the screen. Its less fiddly on an iPad, and one of the better family games of 2018, even though it wasnt especially designed for children.

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