Each week, Digital Spy rounds up the biggest mobile gaming releases with reviews and trailers. This week's games include a cyberpunk strategy game, explosive felines and a quick trip to a public restroom.
The PC strategy game Frozen Synapse arrived on iPad this week with a fantastic tablet conversion.
The simultaneous tactical battles have both players and their opponents planning out their squad movements at the same time, then letting the action play out in five-second bursts.
Setting waypoints is intuitive with the new touch controls, complete with actions like crouching behind low cover, waiting for a set amount of time and aiming in a particular direction.
Anticipating your opponent's actions, and watching those actions play out at the same time as your own, has a profound effect on strategising, as do the different unit types, with shotgun, assault and sniper soldiers each offering their own tactical advantages and disadvantages.
The iPad version includes the full campaign from the original on PC, featuring randomly generated maps through a lengthy story. Though the terrain changes each time, the objectives in each level do not, which leaves much of the game up to chance as a fortuitously-placed wall can make the difference between getting shot immediately and having room to move your squad.
The full host of five multiplayer modes is also available, all of which can be played cross-platform with the PC version.
The downside is that new players may become overwhelmed with all the tactical options that need to be accounted for. Video tutorials try to teach players, but much of it comes down to trial and error. Thankfully, you can also test all of your moves before confirming each turn, so experimentation is encouraged.
Frozen Synapse on iPad offers everything that made the PC original great, along with multiplayer support between the iPad and PC. Those looking for deep strategy on the go need to look no further.
This week features new versions of two critically-acclaimed adventures, as well as a new downloadable sequel in the Call of Juarez franchise.
Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D
Release date: May 24 (worldwide), May 21 (North America) Platforms: 3DS
This 3DS title will be a port of the acclaimed Wii platformer first released in 2010. Developed by Retro Studios, Donkey Kong Country Returns took the series back to its side-scrolling roots. The port also features an easy mode, providing players with expanded health bars and new special items.
May 16 2013, 17:00 BST | By Ben Lee, Entertainment Reporter
Platformer F**k This Job was created as part of the latest Ludum Dare challenge.
Ludum Dare is a regular competition that gives developers just 48 hours to make a game from scratch. Each contest usually comes with a compulsory theme, such as 'You Are the Villain', and people vote on their favourite at the end.
In fact, an early version of Evoland is a former winner, crowned after playing around with the theme of 'Evolution'.
The difficulty gradually ramps up
Levels are very much timing-based
Participants this time were asked to stick with 'Minimalism', and F**k This Job features basic, blocky visuals and one-button controls.
In each level, players are tasked with reaching the exit door, avoiding obstacles including gears, enemies and projectiles. The character automatically runs forward, leaving you only with the power to make him jump.
It only takes a split second to respawn, similar to Super Meat Boy, and in a neat feature, an instant replay is shown presenting all of your attempts simultaneously when you finish a level.
The game isn't long at all, but thanks to enough variety in the 20-plus levels, reaching the end is enjoyable.
The bright red of blood stands out when you die
Instant replays of all your deaths are a lovely touch
Developed by Jay Robin, F**k This Job is only just lightly scratching the surface of the vast number of hidden gems out there being produced by the indie community that make games because they love doing so.
There were nearly 2,400 entries for this Ludum Dare - it might be fun having a look around.
Each week, Digital Spy rounds up the biggest mobile gaming releases with reviews and trailers. This week's games include two new strategy games for both naval and airborne battles along with an attempt at online FPS domination for smartphones.
The game's remarkably deep strategy revolves around players taking simultaneous turns in two phases. The first phase has all players and computer opponents planning out their ship movements and actions.
Players chart their ship courses by dragging a marker with their finger, letting you set waypoints for a path that could span multiple turns. You can also rotate your ship so the cannons are facing the right direction, specify cannon targets and activate ship abilities like shields for a great degree of tactical control.
The second phase is when the action plays out, with all of yours and your opponent's ships moving at once. It forces players to plan very carefully several moves in advance, especially since the ships behave realistically with momentum so that you can't perform sharp turns and quick changes in direction.
Ships can be customized with a variety of armaments, allowing players to create their own fleet for battle. A point system is also in place to ensure that each player's fleet is relatively balanced, making each match about tactical skill rather than just who has the best cannons.
There is a nine-mission campaign, along with four challenge missions, all of which can be played alone or co-operatively with up to four players. Players can also dive into competitive multiplayer matches, in two different modes, letting them pit their customized fleet against others online.
While matches take place in real-time, you can set the timer for the planning phase of each turn to take anywhere from 30 seconds to 7 days, so it can be played like an asynchronous multiplayer game if you don't have the time for a full match in one sitting.
The game is also cross-platform compatible between the iPad, Android, PC and Mac versions, letting you take on opponents online regardless of what device they play on.
Leviathan: Warships has some issues in its controls, with buttons that can be slow to respond and ship menus that can get cluttered if you zoom out, but the game's solid strategy foundation still makes it a great pick for armchair tacticians.
This week sees one of May's biggest releases with the anticipated Metro Last Light, while the 3DS gets a new Pokemon adventure.
Metro: Last Light
Release date: May 17 (Europe), May 14 (North America) Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Set within the underground train stations of post-apocalyptic Moscow, the Metro 2033 sequel will see multiple factions fight to secure a doomsday device hidden inside a vault. It features the return of the original's bullet currency system, but made clearer and easier to use.
First released: 1987 (Famicom Disk System, NES) Now Available On: Virtual Console
Nintendo's Legend of Zelda series is easily one of the greatest gaming sagas of all time, continuing to this day to set new standards in the action-adventure genre and stake a claim for 'Game of the Year' on an almost annual basis.
But every family has a black sheep, and in this case it's Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link.
First released in Japan in 1987 for the Famicom Disk System before coming to NES consoles worldwide, The Adventure of Link was a direct sequel to the original Legend of Zelda, yet it marked a radical departure from its predecessor in many respects.
The top-down perspective of the original was dropped in favour of side-scrolling platform action, and the game introduced role-playing elements, multiple lives and a more complex combat system.
The Adventure of Link had more in common with RPGs like Faxanadu or action-driven titles such as the Castlevania or Metroid series, though some aspects from the original Zelda were carried over.
An overworld map view reminiscent of its predecessor's visuals was used to journey between locations, and core Zelda concepts such as dungeon-crawling, magical items, swordplay and interaction with non-playable characters were retained.
The storyline saw pointy-eared protagonist Link seeking out the Triforce of Courage to awaken Princess Zelda from a powerful sleeping curse, with the forces of Ganon attempting to thwart his efforts and use his split blood to revive their fallen leader (whom Link slayed in the first game).
With its levelling-up component, strategic combat and platforming, The Adventure of Link was a very different experience to The Legend of Zelda before it, or indeed any of the instalments we have seen since (unless you count the Philips CD-I spinoffs, which we most certainly do not) - and it didn't quite catch on in the same way among fans and critics.
One of the most frequent complaints about the The Adventure of Link is that it does not have the same feel as the other entries in the series. While that is true to an extent, it should be noted that Nintendo had released only one Zelda title prior to this, so the company should not be criticised for exploring new avenues for the series.
Suggestions that it is the weakest entry in the Zelda series are perhaps unfair, given that the developers went for such a fundamentally different approach; but one thing is for sure - The Adventure of Link is easily the most difficult chapter in the saga.
Right from the off, players would feel like their enemies had a significant advantage over them, and while this lessened towards the end of the game after Link was levelled-up, there were difficulty spikes sharp enough to impale you. Anyone who has suffered through the horrors of Death Mountain will know exactly what we are talking about!
Although Nintendo took the franchise back to its overhead roots for the sublime Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past four years later, many of the concepts introduced in The Adventure of Link went on to become series staples.
For instance, Link has always possessed a magic metre since its introduction in the original sequel and the game's final boss Dark Link has made numerous subsequent appearances - yet was never more challenging to defeat that in his debut.
Looking back at the game today, it holds up better than so many NES titles, and is a worthy addition to the Zelda series for the variety it brings to the franchise.
We recommend hunting down a copy of The Adventure of Link or downloading it on Virtual Console if you are a fan of the series, but don't expect an easy ride. The world of Hyrule has never been more brutal than it was in 1987.
Do you have any fond memories of Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link? Post a comment below!
May 9 2013, 08:00 BST | By Ben Lee, Entertainment Reporter
Candy Box starts off with just a counter as it keeps track of how many sweets you have in your possession.
You get one every second, and seemingly have two choices - to eat them or nonchalantly throw them away. At first, there doesn't seem to be much to the browser-based game.
But save up enough candy, and you can buy lollipops and soon swords and scrolls. It turns into an RPG with ASCII art. It completely flips your expectations, and the joy of discovery is rather delightful as more and more elements open up.
Save enough candies and...
...meet the candy merchant
Taking on quests will make your character stronger, but there will be several occasions where you'll hit a wall. One mission will be too tough.
However, eating candies will increase your health, while your farm will eventually provide a good, steady supply of lollipops which can be used to purchase upgrades.
Candy Box doesn't parody anything in particular, but it's not unlike a social game in that you'll often have to wait for your candy and lollipops to accumulate in order to become strong enough to progress.
The novelty initially keeps Candy Box fresh and a fun little diversion. But when you get to the midway point, the surprises run out and bosses require cheap strategies to defeat. It begins to get tiresome. The second half lacks enough charm or depth to remain engaging.
Buy upgraded weapons
Start a lollipop farm
And although the ASCII art is quite novel, at the same time it can be quite difficult to see and react to what's going on - annoying especially since a split-second can be the difference between survival and death.
Completing the game doesn't have much payoff, though there are a couple of quirky unlockable extras. Still, Candy Box is an interesting little project that's free to try out.
Each week, Digital Spy rounds up the biggest mobile gaming releases with reviews and trailers. This week's games include travelling the stars, a zombie zoo, a haunted strategy game and the sequel to one of the iPhone's most addicting games.
Star Command Platforms: iPhone, iPad Price: £1.99 / $2.99
After two Kickstarter campaigns Star Command has finally arrived, bringing the much-anticipated space sim to iOS.
Players can build and customize their own ship, and set off to explore an ever-expanding galaxy of planets and alien encounters.
Ship customization is somewhat limited to only certain ship blueprints, though there is still flexibility in the types of weapons and science rooms you equip in the pre-determined spots.
Your crew is where the real customization comes in, as they can be assigned to different rooms for science, engineering and weaponry, which both power that ship function and grant secondary abilities to the crewmates.
For example, weapons specialists can attack invading forces while engineers can repair damage to your ship. However, using crew to attack invaders could mean leaving your weapons unattended and unable to attack the enemy ship.
Your crew will level up in these specializations as you use them, and can be reassigned at will, giving players great flexibility when it comes to having the right crew combination available for any situation.
Where Star Command falters is in its difficulty curve, which frequently throws enemy ships at you that are more powerful than you can reasonably prepare against.
Part of the issue is the dialogue system, which almost always seems to lead to battle rather than diplomacy, with the only difference being whether or not you take damage before the battle begins.
You can upgrade your ship with tokens earned after each battle, but the number given does not adequately prepare you for most enemies, so it feels unbalanced that most situations do not provide the option to also obtain tokens through non-violent negotiation.
Even with the spikes in difficulty, Star Command is still heaps of fun on a mobile device.
FTL did the punishingly difficulty space-faring genre better last year, but for that type of experience on the go Star Command is your best bet.
A much quieter launch week this week, which finally sees the release of Persona 4 Arena and for those that missed it on downloadable services, the release of Telltale's Game of the Year-winning The Walking Dead at retail.
Release date: May 10 (Europe), out now in North America Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3
Released last year in North America, Persona 4: Arena is a spinoff for the series that sees characters from both Persona 3 and Persona 4 battling in a 2D fighting game. It was developed by Arc System Works - known for both the Guilty Gear and BlazBlue fighting game franchises.