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The best new mobile games of 2012, so far

A screen shot of the Amazing Alex mobile

A screen shot of the Amazing Alex mobile game for iOS and Android. Credit: Handout

While smartphones and tablets can make us more productive and informed, they are also the greatest devices ever invented for gaming on the go. There is no shortage of great new games released this year for iOS and Android devices. Here are five of the best.

Amazing Alex (iPhone, iPod Touch, Android $0.99; iPad and Android tablets $2.99)

Physics puzzler Amazing Alex is about creating Rube Goldberg contraptions to complete a goal, like getting a ball in a basket. But not all the components are in place, which means players need to move around different pieces, like shelves, books, balloons and boxes, in order to complete the machine. Things get pretty complex across Amazing Alex's 100 levels. If you can grab all three stars in each level, you take down the highest score, but the machines get pretty complex and require some intense problem-solving skills. The game is a fun follow-up to Rovio Entertainment's Angry Birds and is definitely worth a look. Currently, there's even a free lite version for Android.

Fieldrunners 2 (iPhone, iPod Touch $2.99)

Fieldrunners is a well-loved tower defense game, and the arrival of its sequel should make a lot of players very happy. With some great graphics, lots of towers to build and upgrade, and three different difficulty modes for each level, there are plenty of bad guys to be dealt with. There are 20 different towers to earn, buy and upgrade, plus Apple Game Center support that lets you track your scores against tons of people all over the world. If you're into tower defense, this is a game you should check out.

N.O.V.A. 3 - Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android $6.99)

If you are a fan of first-person shooters, then this is the game for you. Developed by Gameloft, N.O.V.A. 3 moves and feels like a console game more than any other title available on mobile devices. The game has you blasting aliens and enemies across a number of planets (including a war-torn Earth). The multiplayer aspect of the game will have you sharing your battle with as many as 11 other players. Each beautifully animated level takes about 30 minutes to complete, offering a lot of bang for your seven bucks.

Spellsword (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad $0.99)

With furious and addictive gameplay, unique mechanics, and retro graphics and music, Spellsword is a fresh new platform game contained within a sword and sorcery environment. Use your single sword to strike down enemies, while launching fireballs along the way. As you proceed through the missions and maps, new spell cards will be introduced along with new enemies. The best thing about Spellsword, at least for more competitive gamers, is that it contains no in-app purchases, and all of the upgrades must be earned by the player.

Crow (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad $2.99)

If Crow isn't the best looking iPhone game I've ever seen, then it's certainly in the top five. This absolutely gorgeous adventure game takes players on a journey to an unknown land as they fly, in the form of a crow, to collect trinkets and gain strength for the game's tricky boss battles. Crow is about atmosphere as much as it is killer gameplay, though it delivers equally on both thanks to its immersing visuals and intuitive controls.

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