Each week, Digital Spy rounds up the biggest mobile gaming releases with reviews and trailers. This week's games include an adorable dreaming dog, a slot machine RPG and a frantic puzzle game in the clouds.
Reviewed on: iPad 4 Platforms: iPad Price: £2.49 / $3.99
Doggins is an absolutely adorable adventure game about a dog who dreams of going to the moon.
In his dream world on the moon, Doggins the dog must thwart an evil monocled squirrel by solving various puzzles.
The puzzles are never too taxing, with any necessary items no more than a screen away.
It keeps the game moving at a natural pace without any head-scratching snags from overly obtuse solutions, but perhaps Doggins could have used a few more roadblocks.
The brisk pace of puzzle solving makes Doggins a surprisingly brief game, rolling credits long before players will want to leave the game's imaginative world.
This is because Doggins is a charming game, almost to the point of excess, with a clean, borderless art style and fluid animations that infuse every inch of the game with personality.
While still immensely enjoyable for adults, between its short length, simple puzzles and gorgeous art style, Doggins is perhaps best suited as a substitute for a traditional storybook at a child's bedtime where the audience is far more receptive to hearing the same short story unfold night after night.
Each week, Digital Spy rounds up the biggest mobile gaming releases with reviews and trailers. This week's games include a haunting space odyssey, party animals at the zoo and challenging go-kart monsters.
Mechanically, Out There is a game of resource management, as you expend fuel, oxygen and hull integrity for every action, like travelling or mining a planet for gasses and metals to replenish your resource reserves.
However, that careful resource management also needs to be tempered with natural curiosity.
Do you explore or ignore an asteroid field that may or may not be a vast ore deposit? Do you engage with alien races in hopes of finding new technology, or steer clear since you don't know their language and may accidentally start a war?
While its premise is similar to FTL, there is no combat in Out There, with any violence that may occur taking place only in text and through your depleting resources.
The lack of combat shifts the focus squarely to your decisions as the ship's captain, and the unpredictable consequences those decisions may have.
Out There is a game about controlling what you can, and adapting to what you can't, as a new story unfolds with each jump across the stars.
Gaming's very own artful dodger Garrett made an overdue comeback this week in the Thief reboot, providing us with the perfect excuse to revisit the genre-bending original.
Developed by Looking Glass Studios in 1998, Thief: The Dark Project boldly challenged the conventions of PC gaming by offering a radically different first-person experience to that of the myriad Doom clones on the market.
The CD-ROM title was built around sophisticated stealth mechanics, using light and sound in a way that had never been seen before, and emphasised player freedom at every turn.
Players took control of the aforementioned Garrett, a master thief trained by a secret society who existed in a kind of steampunk version of the Middle Ages, an undefined medieval age where technology and magic feature alongside one another.
Working independently of the three factions that populated the in-game world, players took Garrett on a series of burglary quests as the protagonist became embroiled in an increasingly complex plot.
Players were forced to spend much of their time skulking around in the shadows, as Garrett had relatively limited offensive capabilities and gave up the ghost fairly easily too.
This made Thief a challenging game, where every action and its consequence had to be meticulously calculated, but a broad set of tools and abilities helped tip the odds in Garrett's favour.
Players were equipped with a blackjack for incapacitating guards and a bow and arrow that could be used as a tool, as well as for carrying out ranged attacks. For instance, it was possible to equip water arrows to extinguish torches from afar and cover your advance.
Garrett also carried a sword as a last resort for taking out enemies, but direct confrontation usually came with dire consequences as the clash of metal on metal drew the attention of other guards.
Thief blazed a trail for in-game AI, with non-playable characters reacting to unscripted visual and audio cues, such as footsteps on a stone surface or bloodstains on a wall. Guards would call out to their comrades for assistance, and servants ran off to seek help.
The development team's efforts to encourage us to use combat as an absolute last resort set it apart from its peers, and the emergent gameplay constantly challenged players to think on their feet.
Examining the differences between Thief on its various difficulty settings highlights the nature of the game, in the sense that players must complete missions without spilling any blood on the harder settings.
How many other games can you think of from the 1990s where the higher difficulty settings require you to kill less enemies?
Thief's in-depth stealth system set new standards for the genre, paving the series such as Hitman, Assassin's Creed and later entries in the Splinter Cell franchise to base themselves around similar mechanics.
Less than a year after the game's release, Looking Glass Studios and publisher Eidos Interactive pushed out a special edition version called Thief Gold, which included new missions, a level editor and numerous bug fixes, giving it the feel of a more definitive offering.
Despite the improvements that came later, the original Thief was greeted with positive reviews across the board, and went on to become Looking Glass Studios' bestselling game with half a million units sold by May 2000.
Two successful sequels arrived in the ensuing years, before Garrett went off on his extended hiatus, which finally came to an end when the Eidos Montreal-developed reboot arrived on PC and home consoles.
Although we found Garrett's most recent outing enjoyable, the original will always be of greater historic significance as the title that revolutionised first-person gaming and truly perfected stealth.
Do you have any fond memories of Thief? Post a comment below.
The play test will take place from 5.01am GMT on February 28 (0.01am ET, February 28; 9.01pm PT, February 27) until 4.59am GMT on March 4 (8.59pm PT, 11.59 pm ET, March 3), and can be redeemed by registering a beta account.
The Elder Scrolls Online will be released for PC on April 4 worldwide.
February is rounded off with three big releases, including two next-gen titles and the sequel to one of last gen's most surprising reboots.
Release date: February 28 (Europe), February 25 (North America) Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3, PC
A reboot of the acclaimed PC stealth series, Thief casts the player as master thief Garrett, as he intends to steal from the rich. Similar to previous games in the series, players must use stealth in order to overcome obstacles, with violence left as a last resort with limited effectiveness.
Each week, Digital Spy rounds up the biggest mobile gaming releases with reviews and trailers. This week's games include a gorgeous world of folded paper, a detective puzzle game and a strategic insect shooter.
Tengami transports players to a world of folded paper, using an origami pop-up book for inventive and eye-catching puzzles.
As you guide the samurai through caves, shrines and across the sea, you will also find glowing spots on the environment that invite you to tap and pull at them.
Tengami's origami world is beautiful.
Doing so can fold back a flap of paper on the landscape, usually covering up an obstacle or revealing a new path in the process.
But not all puzzles are based on navigation, and there is quite a range of both clever and frustratingly obtuse puzzles to solve.
One moment you may have to pay close attention for hidden symbols that only can be seen while turning a page of the pop-up book. But then the next moment you may encounter a puzzle of bells, and only accidentally solve it by rapidly bashing the screen in frustration.
There is very little explanation for any of the puzzles, which plays both to its advantage in establishing atmosphere and to its detriment since it is often unclear how to even begin solving some puzzles.
Tengami's dedication to atmosphere and aesthetics extends to its slow, meditative pace for movement.
Slow movement isn't a problem at first, allowing players to fully take in the gorgeous environments.
However, this can also become an annoyance once puzzles start asking players to backtrack through several screens at a snail's pace.
There is also the matter of Tengami's length, which is rather short with an unexpectedly abrupt ending that leaves an incomplete feeling to the whole experience.
There are moments of brilliance in Tengami, both in its wonderful origami visuals and some clever paper folding puzzles. But the plodding and confusion between those moments of brilliance undermine its splendour and the meditative tone the game tries to achieve.