> This week's biggest mobile games reviewed
Platforms: 3DS (eShop)
Price: £4.49 / €4.99
Picross e2 is the latest game in the captivating puzzle series from Jupiter. For each individual puzzle, your aim is to colour in a grid, which can be as small as 5x5 and as large as 15x15, using logic and deduction to reveal a pixel art picture.
Both newcomers and the more seasoned players are considered. For first-time Picross players, a great tutorial runs through the rules and provides useful tips. Various hint systems also make the puzzles easier to complete. For instance, players can be guided to which rows or columns to look at next.
Of course, these hint systems are completely optional, so for longtime fans of Picross, it's another 150 puzzles to get stuck into. The gameplay remains as addictive as ever, and it will take perhaps a dozen hours to complete the whole lot.
'Micross' is a new mode in which completing a group of puzzles will form one large picture, resembling a famous piece of art such as the Mona Lisa. Although there are only a small handful of puzzles in this mode, it does provide a welcome change of pace.
Other than that, Picross e2 is the same 2D Picross you've known with a new coating of paint. The eShop title is, as you'd expect, not the best version of Picross out there (some might pine for the return of the 'create your own puzzle' feature), but for a significant number of puzzles at that price, Picross e2 comes recommended.
> Learn more about 'Picross e2' on Nintendo's website
No Time to Explain
Platforms: PC (Steam)
Price: £6.99 / $9.99
As the title suggests, No Time to Explain doesn't waste any time and throws you into the action immediately. After a completely random intro that sees a gigantic crab grab a time-travelling future version of yourself and flee, the platformer expects you to figure out how to play the game.
The core mechanics are simple enough (you can move left and right, jump and use your laser - which doubles as a jetpack), but it's the silly charm that's the strongest aspect of this indie release.
The game primarily consists of a decent amount of micro-levels in which you respawn immediately if you die. To that extent, it bears some resemblance to Super Meat Boy, but one difference between the pair is that No Time to Explain often respawns you at the last safe spot you were standing on rather than at the beginning of the level.
This is just as well, because the controls aren't anywhere near as sharp as Team Meat's well-regarded title. Granted, you're never really going to feel like you're in full control with a jetpack, but there's too much trial and error as you try to judge how to angle boosts to avoid an abundance of spikes and bottomless pits.
The generous respawning system feels like it was designed to counter the irksome controls, but while this means you should be able to force your way through each level, it doesn't stop the platforming from being tedious and tiresome.
Littered throughout the whole game are collectible hats, which completionists will appreciate, but ultimately, the controls in No Time to Explain are too imprecise and drag down the experience too much.
> Download 'No Time to Explain' from the Steam store
Chompston is a free downloadable game that can be described as a cross between Pac-Man and Bomberman. Similar to Namco's Pac-Man, the objective of each stage is to collect all of the pellets in the maze while avoiding ghosts.
However, rather than eating power pellets, you instead lay bombs to destroy enemies. Your bombs start off weak, but by killing ghosts you can collect power-ups to increase the range and number of bombs you can lay on the ground at any one time - mechanics heavily influenced by the popular Bomberman franchise.
All of this combines into something that is actually quite involving. Upgrading bombs on the fly is pretty rewarding - and near-essential if you want to progress past the first several levels. Later on, red and green ghosts are introduced - the former shoot fireballs while the latter are much faster than your typical ghost.
In a neat touch, collecting pellets plays sounds that sync to the background music, while all stages are generated procedurally.
There's no real reason to return to Chompston once you've messed around with it, unless high scores mean something to you. But it's an interesting diversion and one that is worth trying out, especially with its non-existent price tag.
> Download 'Chompston' from the Contralogic website
What downloadable releases have you been playing recently? Add a comment in the space below!