We round up the ten best iPhone and iPad games that you can download to keep your kiddies amused this Christmas…
Christmas might be a great excuse to crack open booze at 8am and stuff your face with a kilo of meat, but for anyone with kids, it can be a bit of a trial too. If the little bleeders are all hyper on selection boxes, try sitting them down with one of our top ten iPhone and iPad games of 2014. Hopefully that’ll keep them quiet long enough for you to overdose on sherry and get through a couple of Bond movies.
If you’re old enough to remember the Psygnosis classic, Lemmings, then you’ll be familiar with the concept for Kiwanuka. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to guide the little Kiwanukan folk to their goal, overcoming increasingly difficult challenges. You can stack them, make bridges out of them and a whole lot more, to ensure they reach their destination.
It’s a beautiful looking game with a cool electro soundtrack, which works nicely on lower-end hardware like the iPod Touch as well as the top-end iPhone 6 or iPad, and it should keep even the hardest-to-please kid occupied for a while. When they finally give you back your iPhone, you’ll no doubt be addicted too.
Check out our full Kiwanuka review.
Disney Karaoke: Frozen
Disney’s Frozen was the biggest kids’ film of the year and most parents are now utterly sick of the sound of Idina Menzel and her cast mate’s voices. If, however, you’re not ready to poke out your ear drums with a knitting needle at the sound of ‘Let It Go’ then you could grab this for your little ones.
At £5.49 it isn’t the cheapest app around, but it lets your kids sing along to the popular songs from the film, record their voices, create galleries of their best renditions and even watch clips from the movie. If you can tolerate the caterwauling, your kids will likely forget you even exist for a few hours.
Think of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, and then mentally remove the skateboarder and put an irreverent goat in his place. That’s Goat Simulator in a nutshell, without a doubt the most bonkers mobile game of 2014.
Goat Sim allows you to guide your wayward caprid through the world, awarding you points for the increasing levels of destruction and chaos you leave in your wake, while setting you challenges to accomplish.
It’s pointless. It’s intentionally buggy. But most importantly, it’s extremely fun to play. Check out our Goat Simulator review.
No 2014 game list would be complete without mentioning Minecraft, the game which started off as an open world sandbox title, but rapidly evolved into a cultural phenomenon among young and old folks alike.
The ‘pocket’ version of the game is ultimately the same as its desktop and console sibling, but on a smaller scale, owing to hardware restrictions. Don’t worry though, you can still create, build, explore and adventure your way through plenty of territory – and it will definitely keep your kids occupied, if they’re a fan of the franchise, if they’re not they might want to expand into the far grander world of the full version after whetting their appetite though, so be warned.
Guardians of the Galaxy: The Universal Weapon
One of the year’s biggest movies was Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, and this tie-in title is something of a rarity, just like the movie that inspired it. No special permissions are required, no in-app purchases are offered, no network connection is needed (after you’ve downloaded the game files); you can just install it and have some good old-fashioned fun, blasting and beating the bad guys with Drax, Gamora, Groot, Rocket and Star-Lord.
The Universal Weapon uses simple tap and swipe based controls for its turn-based battles and allows you to unlock a bunch of other characters, weapons and power-ups as you progress. For a free title, it’s great fun and will likely keep fans of the movie (and even anyone who’s never seen the film) entertained for a while.
Mister Maker’s an ideal title for the more creative kids out there. The app is based on the CBBC show of the same name, and allows users to create fantastic works of art using paintbrushes, patterns, stickers, glitter and a bunch more to boot.
The app’s P2 Kid Safe, meaning there are no sneaky in-app purchases included, if you want to unlock the extra brushes and things, you just need to play the thing – just like games used to be!
Leo’s Fortune was one of the standout mobile games that hit the App Store in 2014, and with good reason.
This charming little platformer, which sees you guide Leo, a small, moustachioed ball, across a series of increasingly difficult levels in pursuit of a mysterious thief, is amazingly fun to play. A large part of that is down to the touch controls, which are blissfully intuitive and easy to pick up – a real rarity in mobile gaming.
If you’re after one of the best gaming experiences on iOS, then look no further.
Cut The Rope 2
The original Cut The Rope was an addictive, fun game and the sequel Cut The Rope 2 offers more of the same action. All you have to do is (unsurprisingly) cut various ropes with a swipe of your finger, to get the uber-cute Om Nom to his candy. Of course, timing and a bit of mental agility is required to beat each level.
On his journey Om Nom encounters a bunch of other, equally-as-sickeningly-cute characters and they’ve got their own special powers to help retrieve those sugary snacks.
Check out our full Cut The Rope 2 review.
Adventure Time: Ski Safari
If you’ve got kids of a certain age you’re likely already familiar with Finn, Jake and the rest of the characters who call Ooo home.
This game puts you in control of the main characters as they ski down a mountainside, trying to outrun an avalanche. Grab power ups, hitch a ride with other, well-known characters and try to collect as many coins as possible, while racking up the longest distance you can.
There are unlockables which can be earned as well as purchased in-app and, if you’re a massive fan of AT, you can grab all of the games in one bundle for £5.49. Bargain!
Toca Lab is a fun way for kids to explore science, introducing them to the periodic table, allowing them to experiment with lab tools such as a centrifuge or Bunsen burner, and also giving them the opportunity to mix liquids together to get a basic understanding of chemistry, without burning off their eyebrows or turning the cat purple.
It’s bright, fun to play and for younger gamers offers a lot of longevity.