In the same way that public game companies announce their financial sales numbers every three months, the Quality Index (Qi) publishes its own quarterly figures.
But instead of assaulting your ears and eyes with talk of operating profit, ROI, and monetisation, this here Quality Index quarterly round-up ranks the top 20 best-reviewed iOS and Android games that were released during the period October 1st - 31st December 2014.
Simple as that.
As for the reviews themselves, the iPhone, iPad, and Android Quality Indexes boast over 650,000 (in total) of them from the world's leading online sources, including 148Apps, Slide To Play, Pocket Gamer, and AppSpy.
The final three months of 2014 brought forth some truly excellent iPhone games, as the Q4 Quality Index chart goes to show.
Banner Saga took up its grim Nordic stance atop the chart with an imaginative mixture of choose-your-own-adventure fantasy story-telling and strategic combat. But the star of the show had to be its beautiful retro-cartoon art style, which really sold the whole strange mix.
A rather more light-hearted take on epic fantasy can be found at number two with Kingdom Rush Origins, the third in Ironside’s brilliant tower defence series. Once again, the developer hasn’t messed with the core elements that have served it so well, instead providing an all-new roster of towers and enemies. That’s all we needed, really.
There’s no hint of epic warmongering in our next selection. Crossy Road took the number three spot with the simple premise of crossing the road. Of course, it’s made compelling through simple one-finger controls, charming unlockables, and that undefinable just-one-more-go magic.
Finally, at number eight is the much-anticipated Framed. Here’s a game that lets you physically rewire its stylish comic book world by sliding the story panels around. It’ll be tough to even look at another dull spatial puzzler after this.
Qi's Top 20 iPhone games of Q4 2014
As always, the Qi iPad games chart for Q4 2014 looks rather like the iPhone equivalent, but with a couple of notable exceptions.
Topping the chart is Papers, Please, the much-anticipated conversion of a modern indie game classic. If anything, this tale of a Cold War border guard and his crushing day to day responsibilities plays out even better on a tablet than it did on PC.
Down at number four, meanwhile, we have another iPad-only offering in Skylanders Trap Team. This unusual hybrid of downloadable app and full-price boxed retail product brings a polished console adventure experience to iPad, complete with physical control pad.
There’s another iPad exclusive at number five. Shadowrun: Dragonfall - Director’s Cut is a brilliant futuristic RPG with perfectly pitched difficulty and pacing. If you demand a little more meat to your mobile gaming, this (alongside the aforementioned Banner Saga) is the game for you.
Down at number 13, XCOM: Enemy Within isn’t an iPad exclusive, but Apple’s tablet really is the only iOS format you should be playing it on. It’s another prime slice of team-based strategy, this time with a glorious 3D engine, and it really feels at home on iPad.
Qi's Top 20 iPad games of Q4 2014
The Q4 Quality Index Android chart revealed that the big cross-platform winner for the final months of 2014 was Kingdom Rush Origins, which figures highly on all three formats. Ironside’s masterful tower defence sequel reached number three on Android.
We’re rather surprised that Rovio’s RETRY wasn’t another cross-platform hit for the quarter. As it stands, this slick retro-flier is flying high at number five on the Android chart.
Telltale had a very strong Q4 on Android, with two games making the chart. First up is The Walking Dead: Season Two, the developer’s second slice of zombie-infested interactive storytelling, at number 14.
Just below that at number 16 is The Wolf Among Us, an adaptation of a less well known graphic novel set in a grim neo-noir-meets-fairy tale world.
Qi's Top 20 Android games of Q4 2014
To qualify for a Quality Index rating, a game must have received three or more reviews from the 75+ sites that feed into the Quality Indexes's databases.
In the event of a 'tie', titles are separated in the first instance by number of reviews - the higher the total, the better.
Should the number of reviews also be identical, the Quality Index rating comes back into play. For while we only display the average score to one decimal place, the list is generated to further significant figures.
You can always keep up to date with the hottest-reviewed iOS and Android games at the iPhone Quality Index, iPad Quality Index, and the Android Quality Index.