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Best iPad games: Polara

Canabalt meets Ikaruga meets dodgy dystopian sci-fi

CVG has sifted through the latest App Store releases to recommend the best and most innovative new iOS games. Click through the links to find our full list of best iPad and best iPhone games.


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iPhone

It's important to have an added twist if you're releasing a running game on iOS - Polara's is its ingenious Ikaruga-esque colour switching. Swapping the colour of the go-faster stripes on your hero's suit from red to blue and back again renders your avatar invulnerable to perils of the chosen colour.

There's jumping to worry about too, of course, making each stage in Polara a flurry of snap decisions. Ignore the silly plot and 'the future as imagined in the early nineties' aesthetic - Polara's short bursts of taps and jumps accumulate to overload the brain. Concentrate on leaping over insta-death pits too much, and you'll run into red-or-blue hued death; fret about the colour switching and you'll miss an important jump.

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Constant panic turns to relief at the end of each stage and, later on in the game, at each checkpoint reached. Polara is a ruthless game, and no concessions are made with things like health bars or shields - dead or alive are your only two states. Play is generally split into sequences of mere seconds before death visits once more. Good thing restarts are quick and checkpoints are regular, then.

The colour conceit gets more complex as the difficulty rises with springs, conveyor belts and even Mario Galaxy-esque gravitational trickery. Because they are only triggered if your wardrobe matches their colour, split second timing is paramount. Polara rewards a cool head and an ability to interpret how to cheat insta-death in a fraction of a second.

Successful runs are prodigious flurries of timed jumps and colour-swapping which, to begin with, might have seemed impossible. Like Super Hexagon it is extremely difficult, but reactions seem to quicken with each and every attempt. Polara is an excellent, as-yet unappreciated iOS release from Canadian studio Hope This Works Games.

Polara is £1.49 on the App Store. Download it here.

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