Canada's booming game industry came under the spotlight at the fifth-annual Canadian Videogame Awards in Toronto in November 2014, and mobile games were given centre stage.
More than a dozen games for smartphones and tablets were among the nominated finalists, with three taking home four of the show's major prizes – including the coveted Fans Choice Award.
Read on to see which mobile games Canada's video-game critics chose as the best made in the Great White North.
1. Skylanders Trap Team – Winner: Best Game on the Go
App is free, Starter kit with figures and portal costs $84.95
Quebec City-based Beenox changed the way we look at console-to-mobile ports with Skylanders Trap Team. The tablet edition looks exactly like the blockbuster toys-to-life action game made for consoles that lets kids teleport collectible physical figurines into the game. More than that, it plays just like the console game, thanks to a small, proprietary wireless controller that automatically connects to your tablet when you start the game and connect the portal. You can download and try the game for free, but you'll need to buy the starter kit – which comes with a couple of figures, a portal with a built-in tablet stand, and that awesome controller – to get the full experience.
2. Hitman GO – Winner: Best iOS Game and Best Game Design
This wonderfully innovative puzzle game from Square Enix Montreal earned a pair of trophies and deserved both. Artistically designed to look like an ornate wooden board game, players move a “hitman” token across paths toward a target, timing their movements to either avoid, or stealthily take down, enemies and hazards. Working out the proper and most-efficient sequence of movements can be a real challenge, not to mention pleasantly gratifying. And the squeamish have no reason not to play – despite the titular theme and the franchise's history of super-violent games, this one is surprisingly tame: assassinated tokens simply get knocked over, like the king in a game of chess.
3. Dragons: Rise of Berk – Winner: Fans Choice Award
Actual gamers picked this one, proving that city builders are as popular as ever. Based on the How to Train Your Dragon books and films, Dragons: Rise of Berk has players designing Hiccup's village, while raising and training a flock of familiar dragons to reveal their powers. It's more complex than you’d expect of a game made mostly for a younger audience, with all the features and modes you’d hope for, including missions, battles and lots of things to collect. Made in Montreal by Ludia Games, it’s one of prettiest village managers around thanks to vividly colourful 3D environments and detailed dragons given animations to match those in the films.