‘Square Valley’, a sequel to Crux, and more ‘Hot Lap League’ – this week in mobile gaming

Welcome to a curated roundup of notable new releases, news, and abridged thoughts about what I’ve been playing. Keeping this week light, since it’s the first one I’ve done and I’m still exploring what to include. Bear with me, and enjoy the ride! And without further ado, here’s what this week in mobile gaming looked like. Enjoy the read, and have a wonderful weekend!

What I’m playing

Hot Lap League

So this week I’ve still been playing a TON of Hot Lap League, which is a time-trial lap racing game that I absolutely love. It remains fantastic, with the daily races and challenges taking up most of my time. Still working my way through setting gold medal times on each track.

Square Valley

Square Valley (which came out this week) took me absolutely by surprise. It’s my pick of the week, so head on down to that section read about what makes it so good!

Grammarian Ltd

Another new release, played this one because I had to. I’m literally an editor. Kinda mixed thoughts. On the one hand, it’s got an interesting story and is clearly well designed. On the other, the management parts aren’t deep enough to be interesting and for a game that’s all about grammatical mistakes, it sure has a lot of grammatical mistakes. The story has kept me going so far, but I’m not sure if that’s enough.


Redungeon (Free on iOS | Android) is a cute and simple… kinda-sorta-roguelite from Nitrome. I struggle to give it a genre, but you’re moving one tile at a time through an endless series of movement puzzles with a dungeon crawling theme. You’re chased by an endless wave of horrors and you need to be quick. Like many Nitrome games, it’s very polished and great for short bursts of gameplay, but I feel it lacks any real depth or longevity. Maybe I never got far enough into each run, but the wave chasing behind you never feels like a threat and I got tired of seeing the first few puzzles over and over again in each run.

Rust Bucket

Another free Nitrome roguelike (iOS | Android), except this one is more to my taste! Unlike Redungeon, this feels great. More in line with a roguelite, enemies move when you do, and it actually takes some skill to get through each level. It touts itself as endless, and I’m not sure how that works because so far every level has felt unique and hand-crafted.

Game of the Week

Square Valley!

Square Valley is a tile-placement world-creation game that is apparently an entire genre that I wasn’t aware of. Turns out I quite like it! The way it works is:

Each turn you have a couple of tiles to choose from, and a limited selection of the board to place them on. The eligible selection changes every turn, as do the tiles you can place. Your objective is to meet the level score goal in a limited number of turns. Tiles placed on the board interact with others in interesting ways to add (or take away) points. Creating favourable combos while avoiding penalties is the core of the game.

While I’ve played similar games before, what I find interesting about this one is that some tiles change the rules, in a way. For example, choosing one tile gives you an extra tile to choose from next turn. Others don’t use up a turn when placed, and so on. This is an interesting twist to how you plan and strategise.

It’s also got a very nice UI, lovely relaxing music and well implemented tutorials. I like it a lot.

Interesting new releases

Square Valley

rycekube | $1.99PuzzlePortraitNo in-app purchases

Available on: App Store | Google Play

An interesting tile placement boardgame-style game, where each tile placed interacts with those around it to score different amount of points.

Crux: The Great Outdoors

Mindgames Studios | $3.99PuzzleLandscapeNo in-app purchases

Available on: App Store | Google Play

Rock climbing in your pocket. You’re in charge of a climber, trying to get them across increasingly tricky climbs. You move their hands and feet separately between holds in a way that feels like an interesting blend of puzzle and action. I liked the first game (which is free) quite a bit, and this is more of that.


ginolabo | $4.99Card / RPGPortraitNo in-app purchases

Available on: App Store | Google Play

Haven’t played this one yet, but everyone I know that’s played it is raving about it. Looks like a unique blend of party-based JRPG and card collecting / deck building. You collect “souls”, which are then converted to data and used like abilities in combat.

Grammarian Ltd

Algorocks | $3.99PuzzleLandscapeNo in-app purchases

Available on: App Store | Google Play

Grammar Nazi: The game. It’s your job to review documents to find grammatical mistakes in your customers’ documents. If you do a bad job, they could go to jail. No big deal. It’s presented like an educational game to teach you about grammar, wrapped up in a simulation game a-la Papers Please, with an interesting world and story.