Best new mobile games on iOS and Android – April 2023 round-up


Mighty Doom – Okay-ish Doom, more like (pic: Bethesda)

GameCentral reviews the most prominent new mobile apps of the month, including Mighty Doom and the excellent non-city builder Terra Nil.

If you have children or happen to be one yourself, the Easter break comes with all the excitement of free chocolate and no school.

Those in search of touchscreen entertainment are also in luck, with Netflix’s unexpected gem of a puzzler, Terra Nil, proving to be a quality freebie and the highly anticipated release of Mighty Doom.

We also have a review of Sid Meier’s Railroads! this week, although that embargo isn’t until 3pm on Wednesday, so we’ll update this article then.

Terra Nil

iOS & Android, Netflix subscription (Netflix)

Billed as a reverse city builder, Terra Nil presents you with a barren patch of poisoned earth. Your job is to turn it into a flourishing ecosystem by installing windmill turbines for power, toxin scrubbers to clean the water and soil, and irrigators to turn everything green.

The next step is to adapt the climate using controlled burns to raise the temperature and cloud seeders to increase humidity, changing the land’s conditions to favour different biomes, which soon enough start to attract populations of animals.

That may all sound incredibly worthy, but it’s a really good game. Each region’s effectively its own puzzle, and even in the training level it’s highly unlikely you’ll be able to complete all the goals, recycle your buildings, and take off in your airship on your first attempt. It’s got a meditative pace, but with so many possibilities to consider at each stage you’ll be glad of that.

Score: 8/10

Mighty Doom

iOS & Android, free (Bethesda)

Like the recent and mostly terrible, Tomb Raider Reloaded, Mighty Doom uses the well-worn Archero template, this time to somewhat more interesting effect.

Your chunky little cartoon slayer enters each screen by smashing through a wall at the bottom, before automatically shooting nearby enemies. Unlike its inspiration, you’re no longer forced to stop moving to shoot, instead unleashing a steady stream of fire, punctuated by special ability cooldowns.

Upgrades come thick and fast, but by world 4 you’ll find the difficulty curve strongly encouraging you to watch ads to revive yourself after your first disembowelling in each engagement. The game also suffers from the tightness of its gameplay loop, which starts to feel samey despite the reasonable sense of progression.

Score: 6/10


iOS, Apple Arcade subscription (Apple)

Taking place in some sort of primordial soup, you control what looks like a cell bobbing across a microscope slide by tapping near it, each touch emitting a tiny portion of the cell, propelling it minutely in the opposite direction.

Using that incredibly simple technique, you need to run into and absorb smaller cells, while avoiding larger ones that will do the same to you, as you swiftly learn that tapping too much is generally a mistake.

First released in 2009, the Apple Arcade version is unchanged, and remains a masterclass in minimalist touchscreen interface design, even if its slow pace and singular focus may put off adrenaline fans.

Score: 7/10

Left Turn Legend

iOS & Android, free (Raymond Lin)

Apparently it doesn’t take much to reach legendary status these days, as evidenced by Left Turn Legend, a portrait racing game played with a single thumb.

Your car auto-accelerates around an oval track, while you tap to tilt your front wheels slightly to the left. You’ll need to do that to avoid the crash barrier and other cars, while attempting to steer into coins, loot crates, and power-ups to help you take down fellow racers.

It has a pleasantly blocky look, there’s plenty to upgrade, cosmetic customisation, and the game itself is gripping, if somewhat throwaway, mobile entertainment. The issue is the volume of ads you’ll need to watch, each of which seems to have been hand-picked for its soul-crushingly poor quality.

Score: 6/10

Production Chain Tycoon – it’s not as complicated as it looks (pic: Robert Grzybek)

Production Chain Tycoon

iOS, free (Robert Grzybek)

Build a woodcutter’s hut on top of a forest, a warehouse to store his output, and a carpenter’s shack to turn the wood into boards, and you’ve got the start of a lengthy and tangled supply chain that takes in ores, metallurgy and, soon enough, energy.

Built across a series of tiny islands, your first challenge is space, which is always at a premium, your landmasses crowded with quarries, road networks, and obstructions to be removed by watching ads. The other issue is resources, which continually fall out of balance leaving you, short of one or more necessary items.

Its idle game leanings mean these problems can be sorted out by closing the app and returning several hours later with a fortune to spend, even if that technique doesn’t help with the fact that its pixel art icons for iron bars and wood boards (amongst others) look near identical.

Score: 6/10

EXIT: Trial Of The Griffin

iOS & Android, £5.99 (USM)

Sequel to the excellent EXIT: The Curse Of Ophir, Trial Of The Griffin is similar in that it’s effectively a series of escape rooms, this time set in a wood panelled gothic German Schloss.

Although all the brass and wood are reminiscent of The Room series, puzzles here don’t involve as much physical tinkering, instead offering more cerebral challenges, getting you to unpick written and pictorial clues, connecting props spread across different parts of each room.

It also makes imaginative use of your mobile’s accelerometer in a set of conundrums that can be pretty taxing. Fortunately, there’s a hint system, but for anyone who enjoys having their brain teased this will be a delight.

Score: 8/10

Alienated 2: Zombie Survivor

iOS & Android, free (Rince)

Since the BAFTA winning Vampire Survivors started taking over our lives last year, there seems to have been a twin stick shooter mini-renaissance, which Alienated 2 is a part of.

In it you’ll be steering your survivor away from flocks (if that’s the right collective noun) of zombies as you slowly pick them off with underpowered weaponry, which you very gradually upgrade into something more useful.

Your movement and aiming is solid enough, but the turgid pace and the appalling puniness of your arsenal make it feel like an uphill battle against boredom right from the start. For the moment, at least, Vampire Survivors’ hegemony is safe.

Score: 4/10

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