We'll all be living in futuristic tower blocks by the year 2050, if only to create enough room to park our flying hoverships out front.
Not that spaceships feature in Tower Bloxx, the latest one-thumb casual game from Digital Chocolate. They're saving that for the sequel, probably.
Instead, the goal here is to build traditional skyscrapers, albeit in a very non-traditional way. On-screen, a crane dangles a tower block from side to side and you press '5' to drop it onto the block below. Time it right and your tower stays bolt upright. Get it wrong and it starts to lean. Do that too often, and your tower starts swinging about like a reed in a gale. This is the core of the game, and it's as addictive as Pringles crisps.
However, there's more to Tower Bloxx, than that. The straighter your tower, the more people move in. Only they don't turn up in a Pickford's van - they parachute in, which is refreshingly random. The game also includes a combo meter, which fills up whenever you make a perfect drop. You get extra residents for every drop made while the meter is ticking down, with bonuses piling up if you can string together a series of perfect drops.
If you misjudge a drop too badly, the block will bounce off and tumble to the ground spewing tents, taking a few other blocks with it depending on how wayward your tower is. Do this three times and it's game over. Quick Game mode, then, is all about building your tower as high as possible, and stuffing it with people to beat your high score.
That said, watching your building swing about like a half-cut sailor is half the fun, so every once in a while you'll want to deliberately mess things up to remind yourself of how loony it looks (and why you should never hire the game's developer Digital Chocolate to build your second-storey extension).
Like all good mobile games, you can play Tower Bloxx in short bursts – fire it up, play a Quick Game for five minutes while waiting for a bus or train, and then pocket your phone when you leap aboard. But like all excellent mobile games, it's just as suited for half-hour sessions (or longer), so it will fill longer commutes too. Be warned: it's engrossing enough to make you miss your stop.
All this is great, but the real meat of the game comes in the Build City mode, which adds in elements of the famous town-planning game Sim City. Your aim is to fill a whole town with towers, starting with residential units that are ten blocks high; as your city's population grows, they develop into 20-block commercial towers, 30-block office towers, and eventually 40-block skyscrapers.
There are restrictions, however, on where you can place the different towers on your city grid - for example office towers have to be adjacent to a residential and a commercial tower. Trust us, this mode will keep you going for many weeks.
There's been a lot of talk about casual mobile games in recent months, as game makers have realised what we already knew, that pocket gamers aren't all hardcore console-heads! Tower Bloxx – along with games like Skipping Stone, Midnight Pool and Mr. Goodliving's Playman series of sports games – shows that publishers are getting their heads around appealing to a wider audience without necessarily lunging for a high-profile movie or celebrity brand.
More to the point, Tower Bloxx is quite simply a marvellously fun game, which takes seconds to grasp and weeks (if not months) to master.
People often wonder when the mobile games industry will come up with its own Tetris – a super-addictive original game that truly breaks into the mainstream. It's not overstating Tower Bloxx's charms to say it's the closest any publisher has come yet to that holy grail.