“Made in Canada” is a term that often evokes concern, except when it comes to video game development.
Over the last decade, Canadian studios have released some of the most influential games of all time, including the Mass Effect series and Assassin’s Creed franchise, just to name a few.
Apart from big budget console titles, Canadian developers have also released a number of top tier mobile games.
Below is a list of five Canadian-developed mobile games you need to play today.
Alto’s Adventure | Developer: Built By Snowman
Polish is important when it comes to ensuring a mobile game stands out amongst the crowd of other apps on mobile stores. Saskatoon’s Noodlecake Studios Inc. recently published Alto’s Adventure on Android, a game developed by Ryan Cash the founder of Toronto-based Built By Snowman.
In Alto’s adventure, players glide down a hill on a snowboard in an attempt to hunt down escaping llamas. You’re tasked with trying to increase the distance you travel down the mountain while jumping over rocks, grinding on rails, and landing double backflips.
The key to the game, however, is keeping a keen eye regarding what’s ahead on the slopes. All too often I found myself plummeting headfirst into a rock because I jumped at the wrong moment. If you land that double backflip though, you’ll unlock a power-up that gives you a rock-blasting shield. Alto’s Adventure is a calming, beautiful, and charming game.
Related reading: Alto’s Adventure review: Mobile gaming at its best
Lara Croft Go | Publisher: Square Enix | Developer: Square Enix Montreal
The Tomb Raider series has been through a renaissance over the last few years. From the semi-successful 2013 Tomb Raider reboot, to Rise of the Tomb Raider this year, new entries in the series have shown a level of depth that many thought the franchise wasn’t capable of.
Lara Croft is back in the spotlight in 2016, but the latest next-gen entry in the series isn’t the only Tomb Raider game worth checking out. I really enjoyed Lara Croft Go on iOS and Android and I’m the type of player who tends to dislike puzzle games.
Developed by Square Enix Montreal, Lara Croft go tasks the player with solving a series of puzzles in order to rebuild long lost ancient artifacts. The game also improves on lessons learned from the studio’s other stellar mobile tittle, Hitman Go. Lara Croft Go offers up a maddening, addictive experience designed to tantalize the mind and tease your eyes with simplistic, yet beautiful visuals.
Related reading: Lara Croft Go is another hit for Square Enix Montreal
Storm Casters Ultra | Developer: GetSetGames
Although Toronto-based Get Set Games is more widely known for its Mega Run and Mega Jump mobile games, the studio has taken a different direction with their latest title, Storm Casters Ultra.
This top-down isometric game has players plundering dungeons in search of gold and treasure, while using Storm Caster abilities to blast skeletons. One of the major features included in the game has the player evolving their character slowly over time. Eventually, you’ll transform from the weak looking starting character to something significantly more powerful.
While finding treasure and powering up are the game’s two main tenets, I also really enjoy Storm Caster Ultra’s card collecting mechanics. Each time you complete a dungeon, you’ll receive treasure chests that sometimes contain powerful items. The luck of the draw is often what keeps people playing mobile games, but rarely do you find a game like this where the actual rewards are actually useful.
Download Storm Casters Ultra on iOS for free.
Asphalt Nitro | Developer: GameLoft
Asphalt Nitro is the latest instalment in the Asphalt series from Toronto-based mobile game developer GameLoft.
It’s a great looking racing game that isn’t particularly difficult, but also uses Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy and iPhone as the controller.
The game isn’t exactly revolutionary, but is significantly more responsive when compared to other racing games featuring motion based tilt controls. It comes with a wash of customization options and the ability to buy new cars. There’s also a lot available to players who simply want to drive around with the game’s starting car, unlocking new tracks as they progress through the game.
Download Asphalt Nitro on Android for free.
Bruce Lee: Enter the Game | Developer: Hibernum Creations
From Montreal-based Hibernum Creations comes a game about a man who could punch you so hard that you’d probably end up severely injured. While that joke might have fallen flat, Bruce Lee: Enter the Game certainly doesn’t.
The 2D action beat ’em up has great style, addictive gameplay, and most importantly, gets the look, the physicality and sound of Jeet Kune Do, the creator of Bruce Lee, just right.
Having watched many of his films, I appreciate that the game pays tribute to the martial artist its based on. Later levels in Bruce Lee: Enter the Game also become significantly more challenging, especially when bosses start taking powerful swipes.
The Walking Dead: Road to Survival | Developer: IUGO Mobile Entertainment
So I was very happy when I heard about The Walking Dead: Road to Survival. The mobile game, developed by Vancouver-based IUGO Mobile Entertainment, is part role-playing title and part world building game, where players create a base to fend off Walkers and Survivors in the small safe haven of Woodbury.
What I like most about The Walking Dead video games is their focus on story, and despite the fact its on a mobile platform, Road to Survival still places an emphasis on narrative. Players are forced to make a variety of tough decisions over the course of the game’s missions.
It’s no Telltale The Walking Dead title, but it’s still a great game.
Pull My Tongue | Developer: David Marquardt | Publisher: Noodlecake Studios
Once upon a time, I had some really spicy food and a little bump appeared on my tongue. Being such a smart individual, I thought the best way to deal with this painful little thing was to pinch it off with a pair of nail clippers; Bad move.
So you might understand why I cringe every time Greg the chameleon in David Marquardt’s Pull My Tongue finds has the character’s tongue binded, pinched, or electrocuted. In this cute game, you help guide Greg’s tongue around a variety of obstacle courses to help him get to his prize: a piece of popcorn.
iBiome-Wetland | Developer: Springbay Studio
It’s been a long time since I actually thought about Canada’s wetlands. Once upon a time, theses soggy patches of land were considered unsafe and somewhat unsanitary by the public. As a result a lot of these very biologically diverse areas were destroyed to make way for agricultural development or homes.
Today we have a much better understanding of the importance of these lands. iBiome-Wetland is an award-winning educational game designed by Springbay Studio, and although it’s very simple, I learned a lot about Canada’s wetlands.
The main game involves sorting cards into categories that then net you facts about animals, plants, and habitats. There are also four different areas in the game representing different kinds of wetlands like mangrove marshes and salt water.
It’s a great game for anyone looking to learn a little more about the environment around us.
iBiome Wetland is available on iOS for $3.99.
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP | Developer: Capybara Games
An oldie, but a goodie, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery remains one of the best looking mobile games of all time. Toronto-based Capybara Games‘ melancholic, musical, and muse-worthy game has you crossing a land of sights and mostly sounds.
The game’s audio-visual design really pulls you into the game. Although it was released back in 2011, Sword & Sworcery is still one of the go-to games for any tablet user.
It’s a beautiful title with a great story, which can sometimes feel like a rare find while searching through any App store. It’s also quite nostalgic for me as it was the first App I downloaded when I bought my iPad.
Blocky Hockey All-Stars | Developer: Gogii Game
Do you like hockey? Would you like hockey more if there were killer Zambonis, anthropomorphic beavers, and players would catch on fire when they go fast? Then you might like New Brunswick-based developer Gogii Games Blocky Hockey All-Stars.
The game has players skating by tapping left and right on their tablet’s display, while also dodging obstacles and completing goals. While Blocky Hockey All-Stars’ pace begins relatively slowly, after a few minutes of tapping, most players will learn how to gain speed and coast like a champ.
Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but my video game reflexes just aren’t what they used to be. The also game offers customizable option for your player and collectable cards. Rewards give you a brief cathartic moment even after failing spectacularly to dodge between two enforcers.