Every month, we like to look back at all the iPhone and iPad games that have come out in the past four weeks and pick out the very best of the bunch.
This has been a pretty rough month for iOS gaming. After a strong start to the year (with the likes of stunt biker Joe Danger, evocative wander-'em-up Year Walk, and Vlambeer's Ridiculous Fishing), April feels like a bit of a dud.
But we still managed to find ten iOS games worth playing. How? Well, by employing our awfully scientific process.
Which involves re-reading our reviews, checking the Quality Index, playing every iOS game money can buy, and having many in-house arguments.
Here, then, is the outcome of that process: a list of the ten best iOS games released in April 2013.Gemini Rue
By Wadjet Eye Games - buy on iPhone and iPad
The two sci-fi stories at the heart of retro point-and-click Gemini Rue couldn't be much different.
There's the Blade Runner-style detective story, with its sombre jazz soundtrack and moody rain-soaked city.
And then there's the dystopian brain-washing facility, with its sterile white cells and omnipresent administrator barking orders over a PA system.
But they have a few things in common: like inventive puzzles, logical solutions, and a delicious atmosphere. And when the two narrative strands ultimately converge, you get a fabulously thought-provoking story.Crabitron
By Two Lives Left - buy on iPad
When Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPad back in 2010, gamers tried to imagine what fresh genres this revolutionary new device might engender.
Bet you didn't foresee the "giant space crab simulator", did you?
In Crabitron, you play puppeteer to this hulking crustacean, and you use four fingers to control its pincers. This enables you to crunch cars, split apart school buses, and swat away missiles.
All this in a charming and challenging little package. You can also follow its sales figures on Crabstarter.Cut the Rope: Time Travel
By ZeptoLab - buy on iPhone or buy on iPad
Cut the Rope has always been a top-shelf iOS puzzler. That's thanks to its elegant single-screen puzzles, pleasing physics, and inventive new spins on that eponymous formula.
All of which makes Cut the Rope: Time Travel, a.k.a. 'More Cut the Rope', hard to refuse.
In this one, ZeptoLab mixes it up more than ever with two Om Noms and two sweets. Combine those elements with some inventive new toys (explosive mines and time freezing, for example), and you've got an Om Nom game that's just as creative (and charming) as ever.Badland
By Frogmind Games - buy on iPhone and iPad
It's hard to describe exactly what Badland is.
It's part-auto-runner, part-puzzler. It's a game in which you try to guide plump black birdies to the exit without them getting squashed, flattened, killed, or left behind as the screen mercilessly marches forward.
The real star is that eerie and evocative atmosphere, though, which is a blend of stark Limbo-like silhouettes and colourful, painterly backdrops. You just have to see this game on a Retina screen.Mr. Crab
By Illusion Labs - buy on iPhone and iPad
Looks can be deceiving. We all know that.
Here, for example, is a colourful and cartoony app about a googly-eyed crustacean in a bowler hat. It's a shallow 'casual game' for kids, right?
Once Mr. Crab gets going, and you're faced with complex obstacle-laden spiral stages, it sort of mutates into a demanding little one-tap platformer.
Getting to the top isn't too hard, but making it up there with your crab babies and a war chest of shiny pearls (and doing all that in a respectable time) will challenge even hardcore players.Slayin
By Pixel Licker Games - buy on iPhone and iPad
Slayin is a lightning-quick knockabout RPG, where battles last nanoseconds, level-ups occur every time you blink, and enemies swarm on you like zombies.
It's Final Fantasy played on fast forward, then, or Dragon Quest as if made by the Super Crate Box duo.
It gives you the all same thrills as any old skool RPG (levelling-up a hero, collecting loot, and visiting shopkeepers) does, but it's delivered in such a way that you can complete an epic adventure in the time it takes to microwave a jacket potato.Fish Out Of Water!
By Halfbrick - buy on iPhone and iPad
The members of the Fish Out Of Water! cast are plush toys just waiting to happen. That is the point, of course, but it doesn't make Finlay the dolphin, Olympus the goldfish, and Micro the whale any less cute and personable.
You'll skim these fish (and mammals) across an ever-changing ocean in order to finish missions and impress a panel of crabs.
It's not too taxing, and it's not too involving, but it's compulsive in all the right ways, has a smart social bent, and is charming to boot.Lumber Jacked
By Everplay - buy on iPhone and iPad
It's hard to ignore the similarities between Lumber Jacked and League of Evil.
In both games, you dash and double-jump through 20-second stages, then punch something so hard it explodes into a pile of pixels.
League of Evil's accurate and responsive controls are also 'borrowed' for this new game from Everplay. Oh, and so are those addictive 'just one more go' play sessions. You know, where you can't help but chase that three-star score.
Not massively original, then. But it's still fun, and it has beavers. Beavers you can punch.Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rooftop Run
By Nickelodeon - buy on iPhone and iPad
You know things are bad when we have to resort to an endless-runner to fill up this list.
But don't despair: the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rooftop Run auto-running experience is surprisingly fun, resulting in one of the best entries in the genre for a long time.
It's fast. It's furious. There are platforming thrills. There's scrappy combat. It's also far less frustrating than most endless-runners, mainly because your run isn't ended as soon as you take a single hit.PUK
By Laser Dog - buy on iPhone and iPad
PUK is minimalist. PUK is stark. PUK is utilitarian. PUK is a tactile physics-based flicker that has been stripped down so only its most essential elements - a puk, some targets, and a clock - remain.
This Hundreds-esque exercise in simplicity is a thing to behold. It's also a pretty fun little score attack game, and - thanks to an eternally ticking timer and an urgent soundtrack - curiously engrossing.
Previously...March 2013 - February 2013 - January 2013
December 2012 - November 2012 - October 2012