As the days grow shorter and the weather gets ever colder, you’ll be less tempted to venture outside of an evening – which naturally restricts opportunities for gaming on the go. But the beauty of mobile games, of course, is that you can play them anywhere. In fact, we love nothing more than curling up on the sofa and settling down for a good, long session with our latest smartphone addictions Spymouse and Jetpack Joyride. So here are ten forthcoming mobile games (across a selection of operating systems) from Splinter Cell: Conviction and Battlefield 3: Aftershock to Super Crate Box and Sonic CD, which should help warm you up during those long winter nights.
Android/iOS out winter
Battlefield might not quite achieve console-quality graphics, but Madfinger’s forthcoming third-person shooter will – on high-end Tegra devices, at least. Having already wowed consumers and critics with pre-release footage, Shadowgun could represent a significant moment in the history of mobile gaming. Not because of its gameplay – though as shooters go, it’s suitably meaty and action-packed – but for setting a technical benchmark for portable play. Madfinger already has an enhanced version in development for the next generation of Tegra chips – and if you want to demonstrate to friends exactly what your shiny new phone is capable of, there’s no better showcase than this.
Windows Phone 7, out autumn
Microsoft recently announced 14 new games for its mobile service, of which this portable refit of the Xbox 360 hit is one of the most anticipated. Kinectimals Mobile allows users to select a furry pet – from a selection of wild cat cubs – to feed, pet, and teach tricks while on the move. Those who own the console version can even import their favourite cub onto their Windows Phone by holding the device up to the TV screen and reading the unique QR code. With full Xbox LIVE integration, including Achievements and online leaderboards, this should keep pet-lovers happy this autumn.
iOS, out winter
This unusual 2D adventure comes from Tiger Style, developer of the superb Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor. Lost Mars takes its cues from classic side-scrolling titles like Nintendo’s Metroid series, but has apparently also been inspired by 1970’s sci-fi and gardening, according to its maker. You play as a mineralogist, who is trapped within a network of hazardous caverns on the red planet. Your job is to revive and cultivate life in order to discover the secrets of this mysterious environment. Early signs suggest Lost Mars will be another atmospheric blend of exploration and storytelling from this very talented team.
iOS out Sept 8th
This sequel sees a welcome return for “the App Store’s most malleable hero”, with 100 new levels to bounce the titular To-Fu around. Like the first game, players use their finger to stretch and release the soy-based protagonist, pinging him around intricately constructed stages to collect orbs of chi before cracking the fortune cookie at the end of each level. The follow-up introduces a series of new hazards to test even the nimblest fingers, with a new Time Trial mode upping the ante even further. Meanwhile, optional in-app purchases allow players to customise their experience, adding new costumes and themes. Best of all, it’s out this week.
Android/iOS/Windows Phone 7, out autumn/winter
Those who get nostalgic for gaming’s early years – when Sonic the Hedgehog was Mario’s rival rather than his Olympic team-mate – will be delighted to hear of the imminent return of this under-appreciated gem. Sonic CD was originally released for Sega’s unsuccessful Mega CD add-on, which meant it didn’t get the exposure of the spiky hero’s other games, but retro connoisseurs rate it very highly indeed. This new version of the game features a significant visual upgrade and special features exclusive to each version, so whichever smartphone device you use, you shouldn’t feel left out.
iPad 2, out winter
Adventure masters Telltale Games are behind this exciting tie-in, which is a little too technically advanced for most iOS devices, hence its exclusivity to iPad 2. It’s a blend of investigation, puzzles and thrilling interactive action sequences; at one stage you’ll have to free yourself from the grip of a dinosaur’s slavering jaws. In other words, it’s quite the departure from Telltale’s familiar ‘point and click’ style. The action follows a number of familiar sequences from the film, but also ventures further into the lore, including areas only briefly mentioned in the original narrative. It’s set for release in episodic form this winter.
Splinter Cell: Conviction
Windows Phone 7 (out October)
With Microsoft keen for Windows Phone 7 to provide Xbox-style experiences, it’s no surprise to see Tom Clancy’s stealth-action franchise make its mobile debut. Set to be the first M-rated title on the platform, Splinter Cell Conviction – ported by experienced smartphone developer Gameloft – will contain many of the features that defined the home console versions. The ‘mark and execute’ system allows hero Sam Fisher to tag multiple foes and eliminate them with a single tap, while ‘last known position’ shows where enemies believe Fisher to be, making it easy to sneak up and surprise them. WP7 is looking like a more attractive proposition for serious gamers by the week.
iOS, out October
This handsome racing game sees you driving around a series of neon-lit tracks, avoiding traffic and collecting bonuses to prevent your time running out. It’s a familiar idea, but the game’s real draw is its track editor, which allows users to draw their own routes with their fingers before sharing creations with other players. As the title suggests, the roads must be endless, and so the game cleverly combines every user-generated track into one continuous route. It’s a freemium title, which means real-world money can be spent on in-game credits, though players can also unlock upgrades and new cars through simple skill and patience.
Super Crate Box
iOS, out soon
Independent developer Vlambeer has had a few troubles with the App Store, with its title Ridiculous Fishing being gazumped by Gamenauts’ clone Ninja Fishing. Yet it hasn’t put off the Netherlands-based team, which aims to release its celebrated PC title Super Crate Box on iOS very soon – with a little help from US studio Halfbot. The game pays homage to classic arcade titles, with the objective to simply achieve enough points to make the high-score table. On PC, it’s a fast-paced and hugely addictive title, which should translate well to a touchscreen interface. It’s due out by the end of the month.
Battlefield 3: Aftershock
iOS, out October
It’s a sign of the times that gaming’s tentpole releases are being converted to smartphones, but even more so that publishers are taking care to play to the strengths of mobile devices. So it is with Battlefield 3: Aftershock, which adopts a completely different approach from the console game. Eschewing the standard first-person shooter campaign mode, instead Aftershock asks the player to shoot down increasingly difficult waves of enemies – a structure that is far better suited to portable play. And while it may not look quite as good as on HD consoles, the difference is not as significant as you might think. It’s a potential iOS chart-topper in the making.