Sam Leith Sam Leith

I’ve finally shaken my Candy Crush addiction

A round-up of the best new games for mobile

Most of us, once we pass the age when we wash our own underpants, don’t play games on a PC or a console. We think ‘Twitch’ is what you get when your spouse stacks the dishwasher and ‘Discord’ is what comes next. But you bet we play Candy Crush on the commute. Mobile gaming is still gaming, and it’s a big deal. Problem is, most of it’s crap.

This is true even when the games are OK. Take the new Strange Horticulture, which ports a well received PC/console original to mobile. It’s a cartoon-gothic puzzle game (you identify plants apothecary-style; there’s a murder plot; vibes abound) which is dragged from a solid B+ to a glum C by the fiddly interface on an iPhone. Peer angrily at the tiny script; stab clumsily at the screen with your Homer Simpson thumbs; give up.

Much more like it is another recent port, Loop Hero. Eight-bit-style graphics, blippy old-school sound, intriguing and original gameplay. A little dude circles a track whacking monsters on the head and collecting loot. You don’t control his movements or fighting; you control his gear and the landscape through which he moves, dropping geographical power-ups to spawn just as many monsters as you think he can handle, and trying to get him safely home with his goodies.

Speaking of goodies, Marvel Snap is an older game but it’s new to me and it’s a gem. A native-to-mobile deck-building card battler (think: superhero Top Trumps as played in the best of all possible worlds), it’s ad-free, excellently designed, simple to pick up, insanely moreish, and doesn’t nag you to spend money to progress. Games take just a couple of minutes, and it’ll keep you going for hours. Adieu, Candy Crush.