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Top 10 best iPhone and iPad games of February 2014

Cards! Spaceships! Black holes! Polynesian islands!

Top 10 best iPhone and iPad games of February 2014
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In February, we were witness to the dramatic death of Flappy Bird, the internet mob's campaign against Dungeon Keeper, and the start of the European Commission's crackdown on in-app purchases.

It was a good month for selling (digital) newspapers, then.

But February was also a month in which a string of top games really proved why iOS is a gaming platform to take seriously.

Every game on the following list walked away with a Silver or Gold Award from Pocket Gamer, and there was still a surplus of precious metal award winners we had to turn away for entry.

So, download any one of these ten games and you're guaranteed a good time. Promise.

Threes!
By Asher Vollmer and Greg Wohlwend - buy on iPhone and iPad Threes

With the exception of Flappy Bird, no game has managed to dominate my Twitter feed this month quite like the hazardously compulsive score-chasing puzzler Threes!

The idea is simple: you shift numbered tiles around a cramped 4x4 grid and squeeze identical tiles into one another to add their face values and dramatically boost your score.

It's heaps of fun. And by refusing to go completely minimalist, Threes! has a terrifically pudgy, characterful, and organic feel that helps it stand out from the pack.

Out There
By Mi-Clos Studio - buy on iPhone and iPad Out There

Space is a dangerous place. Your ship could run out of fuel, you could run afoul of a hostile alien species, you could be sucked into a vortex, or your finger could get chewed off by machinery.

All these things could, and probably will, happen in randomly generated astro-roguelike Out There. After one bad decision or just some dumb luck, your dreams of intergalactic exploration will be cut short.

But you'll be raring to start again with a new ship and a new sense of adventure in the hope of flying just a little bit farther and seeing something completely new.

Card City Nights
By Ludosity - buy on iPhone and iPad Card City Nights

Card games are so often po-faced affairs. They're filled with dragons and warlocks and verbose descriptions to distract you from the fact that you're laying rectangles of sun-faded cardboard onto a table.

Ludosity's Card City Nights revels in the absurdity of its concept. So, there are silly characters, a quirky sense of humour, and a knowingly over-the-top story at its core.

It's also a cracking card battler with an original idea about making cards point at one another and with some truly exciting battles.

Only One
By Rebel Binary - download on iPhone and iPad Only One

Jet Li's cult classic sci-fi flick The One failed to win over the critics. But its legacy lives on, namely as inspiration for this gutsy indie brawler.

Specifically, Only One plays on the movie's end credits scene, where Jet Li fends off hundreds of fighters on the top of a tower.

As such, your lanky pixellated hero has to do battle here with endless waves of baddies without accidentally toppling off into the abyss.

It's simple, low-fi, ridiculous, and really quite terrific.

Kahuna
By United Soft Media - buy on iPhone and iPad Kahuna

I'm sure you can think of more effective tools for winning a war, but in feisty head-to-head boardgame conversion Kahuna you do battle with bridges.

As warring Polynesian gods, you exert your dominance over the game's scattered islands by building bridges between neighbouring peninsulas.

In a vicious twist, however, if someone gets control of an island, all of her competitor's bridges that connect there are destroyed. This means one smart move (or one lucky card) can transform the game state in the blink of an eye.

Kahuna is smart, tense, and works wonderfully on iPad.

Calculords
By Seanbaby - download on iPhone and iPad Calculords

You might think that a card-battling lane-based strategy game with 8-bit graphics and maths puzzles would struggle to find an audience, but everyone I know has been utterly obsessed with Calculords.

In this comedy card game, you can only deploy a unit - whether that's a tank, an alien soldier, or a tremendous laser beam - if you manage to manipulate a pool of digits to arrive at the number on the troop's card.

It's wonderfully creative. And between that deep strategic backbone and the addictive thrill of toying with numbers, it will keep you glued to your iPad.

Eliss Infinity
By Steph Thirion - buy on iPhone and iPad Eliss Infinity

Steph Thirion's intergalactic multi-touch multitasker Eliss was one of the first games to make us sit up and pay attention to iOS as a new home for indie ingenuity.

Now, four years later, the game is back with a tremendous director's cut remaster. Here, the dev adds to the abstract original, and never takes away.

You're still spinning plates to split and separate planets before tossing them into black holes. Now, however, it boasts features like iPad support, retouched art, and a nail-biting endless mode.

Autumn Dynasty Warlords
By Touch Dimensions - buy on iPhone and iPad Autumn Dynasty Warlords

The series of battles you fought in painterly RTS Autumn Dynasty is just one pillar in 4X epic Autumn Dynasty Warlords. This series of battles is the fourth X: eXterminate.

This sequel pulls back the camera and greatly expands the scope so you have to look after en entire empire, explore China, forge unstable alliances, and generally be the biggest badass in the land.

Luckily, everything is made bite sized and mobile friendly, meaning you can sneak in a few minutes of warlording on the bus instead of needing to dedicate hours to the game.

Super Obstacle Boy
By Matthias Falk - buy on iPhone and iPad Super Obstacle Boy

Looking at this list, it's obvious that February has been a month for deep games. It's all epic RPGs, complex 4X strategy games, and gigantic space thrillers.

If that's all a bit much, try the simple thrills of pixellated platformer Super Obstacle Boy.

It's no walk in the park, mind you. This sketchy, skittish, rough-edged retro mess will test your mettle in every level with jumping challenges, giant spike pits, and surprising twists.

So, yes, buy a nice protective case for your iPhone before you start playing this.

Final Fantasy VI
By Square Enix - buy on iPhone and iPad Final Fantasy VI

Final Fantasy VI (Final Fantasy III if you're American, tough luck if you're British) is often considered to be the best entry in the entire FF series.

This is a massive RPG, with an epic storyline of subjugation and genocide which spans across two worlds and stars 14 playable characters. It's also a surprisingly emotional game - the mere mention of some scenes can turn 30-something men into blubbering wrecks.

So, while this iOS port might replace the iconic sprites with citizens from the blob dimension and may sport some new options that might rile purists, this could be your best opportunity to finally remove Final Fantasy VI from your 'I should probably play that...' list.


Previously... December 2013 December 2013 November 2013 January 2014 - December 2013 - November 2013