App cruncher — artfully cool mobile games worth the download

Since my mornings tend to be spent staring at a screen, I've decided to write a column about my favorite apps that I stumble on. I'd like to focus on users who are not full on gamers or techies, who occasionally want to waste some downtime with an app that's recreational or functional. Let's start sifting through the haystack with a few graphically impressive mobile games.  

Monument Valley
 , $3.99
Developed and published by indie studio Ustwo
Monument Valley is a surreal puzzle/maze game. Some say art piece of fantastical architecture and impossible geometry, as if it was designed such that each frame would be worthy of public display. Guide the silent princess, Ida through mysterious monuments, uncovering hidden paths, unfolding optical illusions and outsmarting the enigmatic Crow People, sadly only through 10 brief levels. Inspired by minimalist concept drawings by company artist Ken Wong, who has drawn inspiration from M. C. Escher, optical illusions, palaces and temples from around the world. Some critics compare it to Echochrome and Indie games like WindowsillFez and Sword & Sorcery. Every monument is unique, with a hand-crafted feel to it, ready to be explored. Unfortunately is just not long enough for the average gamer. It won 2014 Apple Design Award and sold more than 1 million copies (July 2014.)

Batman Arkham Origins
(Google Play), Free
Available on iTunes
developed by NetherRealm Studios
With the upcoming film starring Ben Affleck, and tons of new versions for all game consoles expected Oct. 25, Batman Arkham Origins is a must try for mobile devices. DC Comics favorite bat-loving hero tackles criminals arcade-style, obviously sponsored by Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment. Gotham's criminal undertones come full force with spectacular graphics. Available for iOS since October 2013, but now Android users can engage in the action-packed swipe gameplay while facing-off DC's darkest villains. As you progress through the game, Batman gains new weaponry and unlocks unique rewards by earning in-game currency to become the most punishing crime fighter in the world. (Check out the unique Batsuits!)  

The Room Two
(Google Play), $2.99
Available on iTunes
Developed by British-based Fireproof Games
A series of interconnected rooms make this three-dimensional puzzle game easy to start and hard to put down. The much anticipated sequel to "The Room," recipient of a BAFTA award provides cryptic letters that show you the trail of an enigmatic scientist known only as "AS." Get lost inside a tactile 3D world wrapped in mystery and exploration.  You have to collect intriguing clues in each room or figure out a mechanism to unlock. The game uses the mobile device's touch screen in very neat ways. 

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