Put together by a team of students attending this summer's 'Nokia Student Innovation Lab', Cosmos Conquest looks like a typical up the screen shooter from the screenshots, but it's actually a very subtle arcade maze game. Your ship can move anywhere on the screen, but if it is pushed off the bottom by an obstacle, it's game over. Thread your way through the passages, picking up weaponry (that lasts for a very short time) to help tunnel your way out of tricky situations, pass the checkpoints, and reach the end of the level. It's a great concept, which takes a long time to get going, but shows promise both in design and the clear fast-moving graphics.
Find Cosmos Conquest in the AAWP App Directory; free download.
Here's another interesting one that has kept my interest. Yes it's very heavy in terms of advertising, both in banners and pop-ups between the levels, but this is a game that shows just how unfair life can sometimes be. Set on a farm that is all hex based, either the farmer can completely enclose his wayward sheep, blocking one hex per move, or the sheep makes it off the edge of the hex grid. The great twist is that you can play either the farmer, or the sheep. And it won't take you long to realise that the farmer has a much harder task! A nice slice of black or white gaming depending on what side you want to play.
Find Woolensheep in the AAWP App Directory; free download.
The Light Game
Not sure you can get any simpler than this. A ribbon of light scrolls past you on the screen, and you need to keep your finger in the middle of the digital road or you lose energy. While it takes time to get to crazy-fun speeds, with missing light patches to 'jump' over and some wicked corners, this is a nice diversion that is infinitely more fun after a few glasses of Christmas cheer.
Find The Light Game in the AAWP App Directory; free download.
The Square Puzzle
Every Christmas needs a horribly simple but infuriating puzzle. Since before the Rubik's cube, the period between Christmas and Hogmanay for me has featured something logical, with an evil twist. On Windows Phone that's going to be provided by Square Puzzle. From the same developer as Logic Blocks, you're given a jigsaw of small coloured squares. Simply fit them into the larger shape, and have the colours on each edge match up. Sorry, did I say 'simply?'
Find The Square Puzzle in the AAWP App Directory; free download.
3D Marble Tracks
And finally for our boxing day feisty five, it's 3D Marble Tracks. Using the accelerometer controls to tilt the half pipe track to try and contain the speeding sphere, and the touchscreen to flick your marble back into action when it comes to a halt, this mixes in a little bit of planning and strategy (it's not always smart to flick at full power) with arcade reactions, 3D Marble Tracks has that 'one more go' that all good games should have. It's perhaps less successful when measuring your progress with a simple online leader board of distance and throws, but the customisation of your marble and some one hundred tracks to race down should mean that it takes you a lot of good gaming time to finish.
Find 3D Marble Tracks in the AAWP App Directory; free download.
Now it's over to you, which games off the beaten track would you recommend for the holidays? Let us know in the comments.