I think I can safely say, without causing too much distress to our fine readers, it is a truth universally acknowledged that Chillingo makes pretty good iOS games. They also make chuffing loads of iOS games - seriously, I've not even finished Pro Zombie Soccer yet - so it can be pretty hard to keep up with what's happening at the prominent mobile publisher.
During gamescom 2011, however, Chillingo took residence in a corner of EA's frankly gargantuan business area - EA acquired Chillingo last year for a rumoured $20 million - to showcase five of its upcoming mobile highlights.
This enticing puzzle-meets-platformer borrows the aesthetic of Limbo and mixes it with elements of Cut the Rope and World of Goo. The goal is to guide a cute little eyeball/blob/thing from point A to B - hoovering up as many gleaming blue orbs as possible, naturally - but the twist is that you indirectly control the character by manipulating the environment.
You can push and pull the scenery to ping the little guy forward and back, for instance, as well as stick him to ropes and tentacles which inevitably must be used to guide him in the right direction. Later levels promise other features, such as wind tunnels.
There will be 60 levels available at launch, with a trio of blue orbs to collect per level - which must surely be a fundamental design tenet of iOS gaming by now. Getting to the exit in the initial batch of levels never proved particularly problematic, but actually snagging all the orbs proved to be a feat beyond me.
Oh, and the whole monochrome world seems to have some sort of eerie eyeball obsession thing going on. If you frequently partake in shady hallucinogenic substances I would give it a pretty wide berth, to be honest.
Roll in the Hole
So many iOS titles revolve around consuming items, but Roll in the Hole takes it to its next logical step: you play as a panda so impossibly rotund that his only viable form of movement is to roll his bulbous physique down a myriad of traps, chutes, and platforms, all while gorging on lollipops along the way.
I can't help but feel that perhaps he should be laying off the lollipops? I'm also fairly sure it's an eerie premonition of how I'll end up in my forties, actually. What kind of a message is that?
Still, the momentum-based levels provide some amusement, though Roll in the Hole follows the conventional structure of short levels with three collectibles each. Like I said, that's basically the first law of iOS development.
I do find controlling the panda a little difficult, though, but I think that's the point - he's very sensitive, and even a couple of misplaced flicks will cause him to roll off the edge of the platform and to a presumably certain death.
Swing the Bat
It's a joke, you see. You're not swinging a bat, but you're a swinging bat, in a game that's a bit of a mix between Tiny Wings and one of those rope swinging titles.
As it happens, then, you're swinging forwards to avoid the sun - which, thinking about it, actually makes a lot more sense with a nocturnal bat than it did with Tiny Wings. Still, Swing the Bat's inspirations are painfully obvious to see: complete certain tasks, for instance, and you'll level up in a manner essentially identical to Tiny Wings' nests.
The actual movement, though, is more about effective grappling than sliding across terrain, and the traversal of the environment has a nice physical heft to it.
While its inspirations are plain to see, Swing the Bat might just have enough individuality to stand apart from the games it's desperately looking to emulate.
I won't lie: at first glance you'd be forgiven for thinking Gum Drop was some kind of child's edutainment game.
Your little gummies speak words, and you need to find the corresponding icon on the adjacent grid. The red gum wants ice cream? You find the picture of an ice cream, and then you look for the centaur that the blue gum seems to fancy.
Get the desired item and the gummies, which rapidly puff up after making their request, will shrink back down to regular size. The enemy is the clock, then, with you racing to spot the items before the gum tower swells to the top of the screen and results in a game over.
The cutesy graphics and infantile concept belie the fact it becomes bloody hard after a couple of minutes, and you'll have to spot items quickly and tactically - items fall down in blocks, and if you pop a block above another you'll automatically clear the screen of everything beneath.
Pixel Ranger was originally designed as a Facebook game, but has now made the shift to iOS with various gyroscope-based additions. You're shooting down ambiguous invaders, but the real enemy is your ammunition - run out and you're completely boned.
Your character is controlled by tilting the iDevice left or right, and you can fire anywhere across the screen. Bullets are fired in a wide spread, and enemies make a bee-line to your character.
Advance past the first couple of levels and you'll be met with tougher enemies, including foes that creep across the ground, but you'll also be able to get your hands on bigger and better weaponry.
It's fairly standard stuff, but Pixel Ranger is made more enjoyable thanks to the endearing neon-8bit aesthetic. If you remember the NES, you'll probably fancy giving this one a couple of goes.