It's been a while since we did one of these month game round-ups. The typical end-of-year shenanigans took up all of our list-writing capacity for December.
But we're back for the first monthly mobile game summary of 2021. And there have been some absolute treats already.
We've been enjoying all sorts of sweet treats on our iOS and Android devices, and the theme seems to be 'cute'. There's an Apple Arcade treat with an adorable premise, a kawaii puzzler, a bouncy platformer - even the tactical RPG we've included has a bright and breezy art style.
Have you been playing anything different in January? Do share in the comments below. With potentially a long stretch of dead time ahead of us, half a dozen game recommendations might not cover it.
We're used to mobile Dragon Quest games being rather safe ports of what were already deeply traditional JRPGs. They look and play great, as always, but they're not exactly fresh or particularly mobile friendly.
Enter Dragon Quest Tact, a made-for-mobile tactical RPG with plenty of zest. It's all about assembling a crack team of combatants and leading them into enthralling grid-based battles. There is a heavy gacha element - it is a 2021 mobile RPG after all - but this doesn't come at the expense of depth or polish.
The creator of Super Cat Tales, Snow Kids and Yokai Dungeon returns with another cute time waster. Picnic Penguin is a Sokoban-style puzzler that sees your adorable penguin pushing blocks around tightly packed levels in order to reach delicious snacks.
Stray outside the levels, as is sometimes required, and you'll have to avoid pesky enemies. There's little that we haven't seen before in Picnic Penguin, but it's been executed with considerable charm and style. As you'd expect, really.
Here's that knock-out Apple Arcade game we mentioned in the intro. Nuts is one of those classy walking simulator-type games that we've grown used to enjoying from the comfort of our couches. So why the devil not do so from the comfort of your bed, or the toilet, or the back garden?
Especially when the results are this polished. Nuts sends you deep into the woods to shoot (in the photographic sense) squirrels. Which all sounds very benign, until the boldly coloured art style, tactile puzzles, and underlying ecological mystery draws you into the screen.
We're suckers for a good Metroidvania at PG, and Micetopia has got a number of ingredients that turn out head. You get the expansive 2D platforming you'd expect, along with a side-order of retro-tinged charm.
You know the drill - fight enemies, explore new areas, collect abilities that enable you to fight more enemies and explore more new areas. It's a beautiful thing when done right, and here it's rendered with Classic pixel art graphics and a chiptune soundtrack.
This challenging platformer sequel sees our titular dad-radish setting out to find his missing sproutlings following a disastrous Bring Your Kids To Work Day. Without anything to defend himself (hey, he's a radish), it's all about evasive action and pinpoint jumps.
If you've played the original, or either of the two Super Fowlst games, then you'll know what to expect on the presentation front - crisp, quirky pixel art with bags of personality. Developer Thomas Young has a knack for achieving an awful lot with some simple sprite work.
Questkeep is a simple tile-based roguelike of uncommon quality and rare, heart-warming humour. The mechanics are dead simple - traipse through to each randomised dungeon exit, one lateral tile-hop at a time.
But Questkeep jumbles the formula up a bit by, well, jumbling things up. You can't plan your path too meticulously, as the battlefield is bound to change on you, and some health-decimating abomination will come along to wipe you out in one swipe.