Top 10 best iPhone and iPad games of May 2014

Rectangles! Frogs! Twigs! Dragons!

Top 10 best iPhone and iPad games of May 2014

This month, we've built bridges, invaded the Soviets, and saved our feline girlfriend from evil.

We've played as a red rectangle; a gun-toting amphibian; a vampire; and some twigs and feathers we found in the woods.

We've been to Moscow, visited medieval times, and spent time in the innards of a computer.

Video games are weird. But they are also cool. Specifically, the following ten iPhone and iPad games that were released in May 2014 are very cool. The coolest, if you will.

Thomas Was Alone
By Bossa Studios - buy on iPad Thomas Was Alone

Your first reaction to Thomas Was Alone might be something along the lines of "what's the big deal? This is just a bunch of rectangles!"

And you wouldn't be too far wrong. For the most part, this beloved indie game is little more than a gently challenging puzzle-platformer, populated by right-angled heroes in flat, monochrome levels.

But there's more to it than that.

This game has a smart sense of humour. And this memorable story about growing up just oozes personality and charm. And it's all backed up by Danny Wallace's cheeky voice-over and a wonderfully ethereal glitched-out piano score.

Table Tennis Touch
By Yakuto - buy on iPhone and iPad Table Tennis Touch

Table Tennis. Ping-pong.

Whatever you call it, we can all agree that this sport of champions and after-school clubs deserves a good iOS game. And now it has it... in the shape of Table Tennis Touch.

Not only does this game feature responsive and accurate controls and a whole gym-load of content, but it also boasts incredibly slick presentation. From the dingy garage in the tutorial to the sparkly sports centre interiors, this is one good-looking game.

By Studio Pixel - buy on iPhone KeroBlaster

KeroBlaster snaps and crackles like the best 8-bit blasters. It's fast, ruthlessly difficult, and requires pinpoint precision.

Thankfully, the game comes with a thoughtful control scheme that makes such accuracy possible. Instead of a fire button, there's an auto-shoot gear stick that keeps you blasting in one direction so you can focus on running and jumping.

The highest compliment you could give this game from Cave Story creator Daisuke Amaya is that in some parallel universe this is one of the best games on the NES.

By Amanita Design - buy on iPad Botanicula

In some ways, Botanicula reminds me of Czech dev Amanita Design's last game, Machinarium. And in others, it couldn't be any more different.

Unlike Machinarium's rusty metal world, Botanciula's hedgerow universe is organic and green. Your cast of characters are nature trail souvenirs. And environments are made of trees, mushrooms, and earthworm tunnels.

But like Machinarium, Botanicula tells its story and presents its puzzles without a single word. Once again, Amanita has conjured up a little universe in which you'll be more than happy to get completely lost.

Bridge Constructor Medieval
By Clockstone Studio - buy on iPhone and iPad Bridge Constructor Medieval

Sending Bridge Constructor several centuries back in time doesn't mean you just replace steel suspension cords with bits of twine and replace articulated lorries with horse-drawn carriages.

This change of era also results in some inventive twists on the formula, like missions where you have to protect your bridge from cannonballs or where you make an intentionally wobbly structure so enemy troops topple into the rapids.

By CMA Megacorp - buy on iPhone and iPad Kiwanuka

Kiwanuka is another bridge building game. This one, however, doesn't use bits of wood and string. Instead, you construct wobbly great rope bridges by building a tower of fellow tribespeople and then knocking it down with a nudge.

It's a weird game.

It's also fresh and innovative. And this playful one-finger control scheme is a gateway to a handful of clever little brainteasers. Plus, it's all wrapped up in a beautifully enigmatic and abstract world.

Dragon Quest VIII
By Square Enix - buy on iPhone and iPad Dragon Quest VIII

Here's what's different about Dragon Quest VIII on iOS...

It's missing the orchestral music and voice acting from the PS2 version. There are technical hitches. Oh, and being forced to play in portrait mode is frankly bizarre.

Here's what hasn't changed...

It's still a frankly ginormous game with at least 30 hours of stuff to do, an unbelievable number of side-quests, and a handful of mechanics to sink your teeth into.

It also did well to replicate the innocent and colourful adventuring of the old NES role-playing games when its contemporaries were faffing about with cyberpunk nonsense and guns with bits of sword on them. Lovely stuff.

By Ten Foiled Hats - buy on iPhone and iPad Darkin

We've seen no end of games that ask you to trace a finger across adjacent tiles, gems, coins, carrots, and other doodads. But it's rare to see that simple and satisfying smidgen of game design made more complicated.

Darkin turns the whole thing into a quick-fire RPG where collecting hearts boosts HP, scoring through coins earns cash, and snagging baddies in a string of match-up fangs lets you smash them off the map.

Darkin can be tough. Furthermore, it can be overwhelming with its various powers and clans. So, if you've found thing-matching puzzlers too shallow to snag your attention, try this vampiric gem.

Frontline: Road to Moscow
By Slitherine - buy on iPhone and iPad Frontline Road to Moscow

The year is 1941. You're a strategist for the German high command, planning to invade the Soviet heartlands. Good luck!

The ambitious Frontline can be an overwhelming game. Especially as you can buy units à la carte, which offers a huge amount of tactical choice. Thankfully, this feisty budget strategy game stars a smoothly streamlined interface that makes everything clear.

Frontline might lack multiplayer - and might be a little shallow compared to Slitherine's other games - but if you want something cheap and (mostly) accessible, jump in your panzer and head east.

Battleheart Legacy
By Mika Mobile - buy on iPhone and iPad Battleheart Legacy

The original Battleheart was great, but simple. It felt like a demo for a more advanced game. Well, two and a bit years later, and that beefy sequel is finally here.

Legacy is streamlined (you now control one character, and guide him or her through taps), but a million times deeper. There are wildly flexible stats and abilities, and a huge bucket-load of equipment to use.

And what about those massively non-linear quests, or the way decisions in conversation with NPCs can cause drastic changes in the story? It's all here.

Previously... April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 April 2014 - March 2014 - February 2014
Mark Brown
Mark Brown
Mark Brown is editor at large of Pocket Gamer