With console sales tanking, 2012 has witnessed a proliferation of mobile games. Hundreds of new titles are coming to iOS and Android every week, turning the App Store and Google Play into impenetrable seas of Angry Bird rip-offs and Temple Run clones.
So to save you wading through the Top Free chart, here are the very best mobile games of 2012.
5. Prince of Persia Classic
Jordan Mechner's 1989 platformer has been lovingly recreated for iOS and Android, albeit with a couple of changes. The levels and physics are the same, but the whole thing's been repainted with a PS2 era gloss, swapping out the chunky pixels for a design reminiscent of the Persia reboots from 2005.
Already an extremely tricky side-scroller, Prince of Persia Classic is made more difficult by the iPhone's awkward touch controls, which still don't match up to the responsiveness of standard joypads. But those niggles aside, it's a fun and challenging game that rewards lateral thinking and quick reflexes.
If you can master it, Prince of Persia Classic has an ultra-hard Time Attack mode which challenges you to finish the game in less than an hour. Impossible it seems, but here's a video of someone beating the original in less than fifteen minutes.
4. Zombies, Run!
To anyone who thought playing videogames all day made you fat, here is Zombies, Run! a wonderful alternate reality game for your mobile.
A kind of audiobook, you start up Zombies, Run! before you go jogging and it livens up your exercise by telling a story. You are "Runner 5" a courier for the township of Abel, running packages and supplies between pockets of survivors besieged by a zombie apocalypse. As you run in real-time, Zombies, Run! encourages you by saying things like "they're coming up right behind you" and raising the volume of the zombie moans to make you pick up the pace.
You also "pick up" items while you run, with the narrator telling you that you just collected ten bullets, or a first aid kit when a clock a certain distance. When you've finished your jog, you access Abel on your iPhone screen and can build it up, RPG style, using the provisions you collected on your jog.
At £4.99 it's not the cheapest game on the App Store, but Zombies, Run! is a unique and entertaining game that genuinely helps you to keep fit.
3. Plague Inc.
A subversive twist on strategy games like Civilization and The Sims, Plague Inc. sees you trying to destroy the world rather than create one. The idea is to design and unleash the deadliest virus or bacteria possible, wiping out the human race as quickly - and as gruesomely - as possible.
It's wonderfully dark; you can't help but feel a bit proud of yourself when you wipe out an entire continent with "Bum Flu" or whatever you choose to call your virus.
The strategy element is very involved, too. You earn DNA Points for each thousand or hundred thousand people you manage to infect and can spend them on making your virus more deadly or easier to catch. An excellent tactic is making the disease highly infectious, but symptomless so you can carry it to every country in the world before pumping points into making it kill people.
Morbid stuff, but excellent fun nonetheless.
Read our full review of Plague Inc. here
2. Bad Piggies
Another year, another stellar game from Rovio.
A welcome change of tact from the wonderful but lazy Angry Birds spin-offs, Bad Piggies is a brand new, puzzle based IP from the biggest developer on mobile. As the eponymous Piggies, you've to build cars, planes, bikes and hang-gliders to transport them from one end of a level to another.
It's a hilarious game - your homemade vehicles have a wonderfully ramshackle look to them, and the dopey physics ensure that every crash results in a delightful tumble of debris.
It's dead hard, too, with each level taking dozens of attempts to get right. You can tune up your Piggies' cars with bottles rockets and fan blades to make them go faster and it's a case of getting the balance and placement exactly right before your vehicle will run smoothly. One slightly out of place rocket and your car will shoot up 50ft into the air.
Tough, funny and only 69p, Bad Piggies is a must have.
Read our full review of Bad Piggies here
1. Curiosity: What's Inside the Cube?
An enticingly simple premise: A gigantic cube, made up of 64 billion tiny pieces, that players from all over the world can log on to chip away at. What's in the middle? No-one knows, but it's promised to be life changing.
When we spoke to creator Peter Molyneux, he was keen to play down the idea that Curiosity was a game, preferring to call it an "experiment" instead. But at its core, this is a multiplayer experience like no other, pulling together users from all over the world to work together on a gargantuan, indelible task.
The real drive of Curiosity, though, is the mysterious centre of the cube, which will only be revealed to one person - the one who chips away the final piece. Only Molyneux and one other person knows what's there, and although players are working together now, sharing drawings on the cube's surface and what not, when they start to get near the middle, Curiosity will become a cannibalistic, dog-eat-dog race to the finish.
A unique and ambitious game, made possible by smartphones and the App Store, Curiosity: What's Inside the Cube? is the best mobile game of 2012.
Read our full review of Curiosity here.