GameCentral's monthly look at the best smartphone apps includes a remake of Hitman: Blood Money is one of the best puzzle games of 2023.
This month's mobile games include Agent 47's move to mobile in Hitman: Blood Money – Reprisal, the wonderful factory builder Shapez, and the classic Downwell+ coming to Apple Arcade. It may be dark as an inkblot at 4pm at the moment, but at least there's some new mobile entertainment to pierce the darkness.
Cube Quest – a QB game
iOS and Android, free – full game £4.99 (20 edges)
Swipe to roll a black cube through a maze, using special squares to make your way to the exit. Some bounce the cube over gaps, others destroy obstacles or collapse the square in front of them, impeding progress.
There's an unlimited undo button, which is a plus given the number of ways you can back yourself into a corner. It also allows you to keep trying different approaches without fear of starting from scratch.
Cube Quest is polished to a high shine, with many beautiful graphical touches and a wonderful tactile feel. Somehow it manages to maintain an atmosphere of relaxed experimentation even when you're really stuck.
Shadow & Bone: Enter the Fold
iOS and Android, included in Netflix subscription (Netflix)
Like Apple, Netflix has successfully expanded its subscription offering to games, which are also occasionally associated with programs on the streaming platform. Shadow & Bone is the most recent example, in this case arriving a few months after its second season.
Enter The Fold is a choose-your-own-adventure style role-playing game, offering a selection of two or three options in conversations and action sequences, but keeping things simple enough to play with one hand on the bus.
The action and illustrations are all dark and the interactions are thick and fast, but it suffers from bugs, sometimes failing to recognize completed objectives, ruining what could have been a great addition to its TV counterpart.
Hitman: Blood Money – Reprisal
iOS and Android, £12.49 (Feral Interactive)
Hitman: Blood Money, featuring the bald, barcode-headed Agent 47, was released for PlayStation 2 in 2006. Reprisal brings a slightly updated version for mobile devices.
As always, Feral Interactive has proven to be a safe pair of hands, adding a minimap that shows nearby guards, and Instinct Mode, highlighting useful items in the environment – both of which help ease your progress.
It has a well-designed touchscreen interface that's more than enough to handle the requisite stealth and occasional violence, even if the game's graphics and core gameplay are starting to look a little clunky 17 years later.
iOS and Android, free – full game £4.99 (Playdigious)
Extract different shapes to order, building conveyor belts to deliver them to a warehouse, with the increasing complexity of patterns you need to build, combined with new machines to cut, turn, paint, stack and distribute your creations.
Along with your main goals, there is a separate set of ways to deliver that upgrade your collection of machines, making them faster and more efficient; Balancing time between delivering the two sets of requirements is a fascinating and demanding process.
Taking place on a map that turns out to be absolutely vast, Shapez has been superbly reworked for touchscreen, offering a meaningful, long-term challenge that will have added appeal for anyone who enjoyed Factorio and its many imitators.
iOS and Android, free (Short Circuit Studio)
Sharing its premise and gameplay with Mini Metro and its sequel, Mini Motorways, Tiny Connections lets you connect electrical and water supplies to homes by matching the color of the utility to the buildings you're supplying.
As your network gets more complicated, so does the work of figuring out how to make new connections to the spaghetti junction of existing piping in your path and with a limited supply of wires and water ducts at your disposal.
There's an elegant simplicity to their interactions, and even when things get difficult, the ability to pause keeps them from becoming tortuous. Its only downsides are that it's delicately biased toward encouraging you to watch ads, and it's not as successful as the games that inspired it.
GUBBINS – It’s a word game
iOS and Android, free (Studio Folly Pty)
By placing letter blocks that come individually or in groups of two or three, you create words horizontally and vertically on a grid, while applying randomly occurring power-ups and reveling in the delightful music and art style.
Unfortunately, the game doesn't live up to its appearance, with letters being difficult to place accurately, power-ups providing confusing benefits – and often what appear to be obstacles – while the gradual reveal of letter tiles makes it difficult to plan ahead. or play tactically.
You get one game a day for free or unlock infinite play for £6, with various level packs available for between £2 and £10, making it quite monetised for a game that never looks all that appealing.
iOS, included with Apple Arcade subscription (Devolver Digital)
Originally released in 2015, the deceptively simple Downwell became an instant classic. Falling under gravity, your pixelated avatar has a downward-facing gun whose bullets destroy enemies and also temporarily slow your descent.
This is important because this is a game built around combos. Tactical use of your limited ammo helps ensure you don't inadvertently land on solid ground, instead bouncing from enemy to enemy, broadening your combos.
Addictive, complicated in the right way and much more complex and subtle than it initially seems, the Apple Arcade version arrives with everything perfectly intact.
Email email@example.com, leave a comment below and Follow us on Twitter
MORE: Best New Mobile Games on iOS and Android – November 2023 Roundup
MORE: Best New Mobile Games on iOS and Android – October 2023 Roundup
MORE: Best New Mobile Games on iOS and Android – September 2023 Roundup
Follow Metro Gaming on Twitter and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
To send letters from your Inbox and Reader Resources more easily without needing to send an email, simply use our Send Stuff page here.
For more stories like this, check out our games page.
Sign up to receive all exclusive gaming content and the latest releases before they're seen on the site.