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Best iPhone games: Tiny Invaders

CVG hand-picks the greatest mobile games available to download right now

Mobile games are fun, simple and accessible, but that doesn't mean they are lightweight or insignificant. They have the ability to bend time and make commutes bearable; they transform idle moments into thrilling distractions. In a new series, CVG celebrates the most impressive examples of this exciting new wave of games.

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Best iPhone games: Tiny Invaders

Also available on:
iPad

Tiny Invaders is all about transformation. It used to be about trains, but now it's about aliens. It was created by a mobile studio, Hogrocket, staffed by former console developers. Its aim is to turn innocent humans into deadly virus-carrying husks. Its loving audiovisual sheen turns a robust core mechanic into a quality App Store title, too.

Your miniature invaders are rampaging through their hosts' nervous system, on the paths set down by their intertwining arteries. Set the invaders off from the mothership and they begin their journey around the screen, and you must tap where the veins intersect to change their course. The idea is to collect all of the orbs in each puzzle before dropping them off home again as quickly as possible. It's not difficult to see through the conceit to discover its 'on rails' origins.

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Of course, it gets much more complicated than that. White blood cells join the microbiological party to gobble up your invaders. Timing taps of the screen just right to speed your extra-terrestrial interlopers away from trouble is an important skill to be mastered, and gold collectibles add to your team and allow them to pick up more orbs in one circuit. First, you must mentally plan out your route through your host's maze of veins, then you must dodge enemies, and after that, there's the time limit. Three stars are awarded for quick runs, injecting a great deal of urgency.

It's a game of quick-wits and multi-tasking. Plotting a course, frantically switching gates this way and that and speeding up your troupe of invaders to scrape past white blood cells is genuinely stressful. While the machinery at play here might not be all that original, Hogrocket's console-grade execution marks this out as exceptional. There's barely a bump in its difficulty curve, and each stage is subtly different and slightly more complex. Its kooky '50s cartoon sensibilities raise a welcome smile, and importantly don't get in the way of the game itself.

The history of transformations which led to Tiny Invaders haven't confused or detracted from the final product one iota. This is a frantic puzzler-turned action game, and one which has been executed with console-grade class.

Tiny Invaders is £0.69 on the App Store. Download it here.

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