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Best iPhone games: Ski Safari

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.

Click through the link to find our full list of the best mobile games.

The Best iPhone games: Ski Safari


Also available on:

iPad (HD)

Defiant Development's icy auto-runner is as good as the genre gets. It's a downhill race to stay ahead of an avalanche, careful to reward every risk you take en route. Simply evading obstacles isn't really the point; Instead, the game is constantly daring you to cram risky backflips into your jumps for a speedy payoff.

Tapping the screen will make our intrepid skier Sven jump a little, but hold down on the screen and he will begin a backwards somersault. Chaining consecutive backflips builds both speed and your high score, and misjudged landings or total wipeouts will break that combo. Tumble too many times and it's game over.

The terrain, sense of momentum and the importance of the angle of your landings means that it shares a little of Tiny Wings' magic. Andreas Illiger's bumpier courses are the Black Run to Ski Safari's gentler slopes, though. Defiant's title is the more accessible of the two because progress down Ski Safari's unending course is easier and, dare I say it, simply more enjoyable.

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A menagerie of alpine animals stops Ski Safari from becoming just speed and showboating. They act as upgrades from your humble human skis - hitchhiking on the back of a penguin extends jumps but slows down your backflips, for example. Hanging onto the back of a Yeti or riding him like a sled is faster, but flipping off jumps is ever harder, and that effect is multiplied further if Sven jumps onto a snowmobile. At around the 5,000 metre mark, grabbing onto eagles can send you airborne allowing you to claiming three, four or five daring flips on your descent.

Ski Safari is a great mobile game because its quick-fire thrills can distract for five minutes or swallow up far greater chunks of time. Defiant's sliding scale of rewards encourages extended, consistent play with head starts once the player reaches a certain distance, and collecting coins buys extra trinkets and power-ups in the now-obligatory in-game shop. My feeble high score is dwarfed by most at the top of the Game Centre rankings, showing that Defiant's accessible, arcadey iPhone game certainly isn't shallow or lacking in challenge (Though 34 people appear to have rather dubiously maxed out the game at 50m points).

It's great on iPhone, of course, but Defiant's vibrant artwork can be appreciated in greater detail on iPad's sumptuous larger screen. On either format, Ski Safari is slick, rewarding and relentless. Even months after release, it remains unsurpassed in its genre.

Ski Safari is priced at £0.69 in the UK and $0.99 in the US on the App Store. Download it here.

Ski Safari is 0.63p on Android. Download it here.