Every Friday, Pocket Gamer offers hands-on impressions of the week's three best new iPhone and iPad games.

Kingdom Rush Origins
By Ironhide Game Studio - buy on iPhone and iPad (£2.99 / $4.99)
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It often feels as though tower defence is all played out. Since Fieldrunners first marched triumphantly onto the App Store we've been assailed by wave upon wave of copycat efforts, most of which are doomed to mediocrity by the narrow, trench-like constraints of the genre.

But then a game like Kingdom Rush Origins comes along and you realise that most of them are just doing it wrong.

While it's a fairly standard tower defence game in most respects, Kingdom Rush Origins stands out thanks not to its subtly branching tower upgrades, nor its upgradeable hero, nor its variety of enemy types and approaches, but to its perfect balancing, which allows the gameplay to move along with a compelling rhythm.

Crossy Road
By Hipster Whale - download on iPhone and iPad (free)
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Crossy Road is basically Frogger for the smartphone generation, in the sense that rather than aiming for the other side you're just trying to get as far as you can, and in between rounds you get to do things like watch ads to earn currency to spend on other animals.

Of course, that means in some crucial respects it's worse than Frogger, because Frogger never involved watching ads. Though in another respect it's better than Frogger, as the infinite runner mechanic suits the game quite well.

But what matters most is that Crossy Road is fun, pretty, and accessible, with just enough in terms of presentation and gameplay to make it distinct from Frogger, but not so much that it loses any of its inspiration's unimprovable simplicity.

OffRoad Legends 2
By Dogbyte Games - buy on iPhone and iPad (£1.49 / $1.99)

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Good-looking side-on stunt racer Offroad Legends is basically Trials for the smartphone generation, in which respect it's got a lot in common with, well, Trials.

While the similarities are extensive and undeniable, it would be wrong to dismiss OffRoad Legends 2 as a complete Trials clone. Trials was about dirtbikes, whereas OffRoad Legends 2 features a number of different vehicles, which you unlock and tune as you make your way through the campaign.

There's also a Kids Playground mode, which is quite nice, and there's an enjoyable turn-based multiplayer mode. But otherwise, yes, fine, it's Trials.

PG Extras

Mark is away yet again, and so I'm free to play fast and loose with his precious three game rule. Here are some other games that are worth checking out this week.

Earn to Die 2
By Not Doppler - buy on iPhone and iPad (£1.49 / $1.99)
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OffRoad Legends 2 for the smartphone generation, this Sisyphean grindfest is strangely enjoyable.

Checkpoint Champion
By Protostar - download on iPhone and iPad (free)
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Punishingly difficult but nonetheless likeable top-down driving game in the mould of Skidmarks.

By 1Button SARL - buy on iPhone and iPad (£1.49 / $1.99)
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Unpronounceable, unspellable, and therefore commercially doomed, this puzzler is original and has a nice clean interface.
As ever, tell us what we missed!

Want more? Check out our 36 other Best new iOS & Android games articles!