10 games to make you not regret buying an Android

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Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery

Weird and oddly calming, Superbrothers is the ultimate in indie gaming right on your Android tablet or smartphone. It's got an engaging story, a lush soundtrack, beautiful background imagery, and a female protagonist without boob physics. Who could ask for more?

10000000

Want to play a real match three game with a twist? So many app developers claim to bring something new to the table, but 10000000 (pronounced "ten million") sweeps the entire table clean with RPG mechanics and a retro pixellated look.

Kingdom Rush Frontiers

Tower defense had a mini-glut a few years back, but Ironhide Game Studio rose above the rest to give us a lasting experience in the genre. Perhaps the best iteration of Tower Defense anywhere, Frontiers will challenge your strategic and quick reflexes in every level.

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The Room 2

Puzzle boxes and creepy atmosphere make up one of our favorite games on any platform: The Room 2. Developer Fireproof Games has iterated on it's beguiling blend of touch-based three dimensional puzzles and some of the best visuals we've seen on a tablet or smartphone. Find your way to the various solutions to complete a haunting, poignant tale.

Aerena

A great mix of board game mechanics and gorgeous digital graphics, Aerena mashes up the strategy of a game like Chess and the addictive "just one more match" joy of a game like League of Legends. Level up your hero and take down your enemy's heroes and massive steampunk airship to save the day.

Anomaly Korea

Intense military tower offense action awaits in Anomaly Korea, the follow up to Anomaly Warzone: Earth. Korea once again puts you in the drivers seat of tanks and mechanical war machines to take down the aliens bases. All your base are belong to US, now.

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Heroes of Dragon Age

EA's got a good thing going with Dragon Age, a game that's seen two iterations on console and PC, with another coming soon. This mobile version lets you play in the Dragon Age universe with squad-based battles and collectible-card-game-like combat with others around the globe.

Machinarium

If you like finding hidden objects but can't stand the romance-filled plots of most of them, Machinarium might be the game for you. In addition to finding stuff in a gorgeous environment that looks like it's been painted by hand, you'll need to use those gadgets to make your way through each cunningly designed level.

iOS still beats Android when it comes to quality apps and games. But lots of us use Android tablets and smartphones for one reason (price) or another (freedom), so we might as well make the best of it.

You can find some great games on the Android platform, many of them free or low cost, too. So don’t settle for the same old free-to-play crap — download these great Android games today.

A list of links and prices follows.

Stop what you’re doing and play these iOS games now

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All the game and math nerds love Threes, and it's easy to see why. This sudoku-meets-sliding-puzzle game requires just the right combination of zenlike concentration and sharp addition skills to keep you playing long into the night.

If you're looking for classic gaming nirvana, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City has it all: an open world full of social parody and a style that's straight outta the '80s. You can't get a better glimpse into the early potential of video games than this.

Like exploring a more colorful version of an M.C. Escher illustration, Monument Valleyproves that mind-bending spatial puzzles can go hand in hand with minimalist story telling quite easily. It's another iPad game that begs to be explored and treasured long after all the levels have been beaten.

Sonic The Hedgehog 2 is the cult classic 16-bit speed-platforming game that most fans point to as the ultimate Sonic experience. With lovingly recreated graphics, sounds and controls, this remastered version hits all the right notes to make it the best Sonic game on the iOS platform.

Tetris is the old-school Game Boy craze from Alexey Pajitnov brought to the modern era of touchscreen devices. It's every bit as addictive and delightful as the original with a few new modes and flashy graphical updates to interest non-purists.

Device 6 is quite easily the most innovative game we've seen on the mobile platform, making you tilt and turn your device around to follow the text and audio clues that pull you through a pretty fantastic dystopian sci-fi tale.

Smooth pop-up book animated storytelling at its finest, Temgami will turn your iPad into a lush world ripe for exploration and environmental puzzle-solving. The delicious, soothing soundtrack is a fine addition to the gorgeous Eastern-influenced level design.

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The Room 2 pulls creepy and puzzle-y off with equal abandon, letting you dig deep into a horror story without any actual jump-scares. Spend some time with this one in a darkened room, headphones on and iPad in lap. You can thank us later.

Mobile gaming is an ephemeral thing.

The unending stream of iOS games runs too fast and too fat for any individual to figure out which ones are worthy of your time and/or money. Freemium games? Check. Casual games? Sure. Hardcore games ported to your iOS device of choice? Plenty.

But which ones should you sit down and play right now? Our crack team of reviewers took a moment to call up the games they return to, day after day, when they feel like experiencing the finest the mobile gaming world has to offer. Above are the eight best iOS games you should download at this very moment.

The Room Two Is Our iOS Game Of The Week [Editor’s Pick]

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So pretty, and scary, too!
So pretty, and scary, too!

Sure, The Room Two is a sequel to Fireproof Games’ original effort, The Room, but more of the same, with bigger and better puzzles is most definitely not the worst thing in the world.

Check out our video of the tutorial level of The Room Two below to get a sense of the game, and decide whether you’ll want to purchase the game right away.

Wait, what am I saying? Of course you’re going to want to.

Play This, Not That: Better Alternatives To iOS Games That Fall Short

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Alpha Zen

Look: We know that not every iOS game is perfect. They all have their little quirks and irregularities and some are flat-out broken. But among those that are actually playable, some contain a core mechanic that stumbles somewhere along the way. And maybe it’s a cool idea, but it feels like it could just be executed a little better.

That’s where this series comes in.

We round up games that are not necessarily bad but just fall short in some area, and we suggest other titles that do it better — so your brand-new iDevice become a gaming machine that you’ll never want to put down.

Culprit 1: Alpha Zen
The Issue: Wasted potential.

Alpha Zen is a cool enough idea: It’s a puzzle game that has you fitting words together crossword-style to fit within a defined space. But that’s basically it.

It’s not so much that it’s too easy to put the words together. It’s that your payoff for doing so is really small. You got those words to fit into that box, and now what? I guess it’s on to the next set of words and the next oddly shaped box. It doesn’t give you much to admire or appreciate, and no sense of progress.

It’s not a bad game, though. It’s just short on satisfaction.

The Solution: The Room and The Room 2

The Room 2

These puzzle games, on the other hand, are about nothing but payoff.

The Room and its sequel have you solving mysterious puzzle boxes, examining clues, and always wondering what the hell is going on, and while you never quite figure it out (I don’t think; it’s actually kind of vague), it’s the process of getting there that’s so satisfying.

Some rooms start you off with a simple box, but after you’ve spent 20 minutes prodding it and examining its various secret compartments, maybe it ends up as a pyramid. Or it’s opened up to reveal intricate and beautiful mechanisms. Or a freaking laser comes out of it.

All of these things are awesome, and maybe it’s not fair to expect “words in a space” to live up to that, but I do know which one I’d rather spend an hour on.

Culprit 2: The Simpsons: Tapped Out
The Issue: Cynical and imagination-stifling

Simpsons Tapped Out

The Simpsons: Tapped Out presents players with an interesting scenario: What if the entire fictional town of Springfield were suddenly and unceremoniously wiped off the map? How would you rebuild it?

And then you start playing it and you find out: You’d rebuild it one building at a time and with massive delays in between. Tapped Out is one of those dreaded “freemium” games which attempts to extract money from players by refusing to let them play it. Restoring a building takes time, and players can run down the clock with an in-app purchase. Or they can wait or just delete the app like I did.

Even outside of that chicanery is the fact that what you’re really building is another person’s world. You might decide where the Kwik-E-Mart and the nuclear power plant go, but they’re still prefabricated pieces of an already existing world. So whatever your configuration, you’re building Springfield.

And if you’re going to start with a blank slate and build a world, why not make it your own?

The Solution: Minecraft: Pocket Edition

Minecraft-Pocket-Edition

Yeah, I mean, this is pretty obvious.

The biggest world-building game since Sim City is almost the exact opposite of Tapped Out‘s ready-made building blocks. It has blocks, sure, but what you build with them is up to you.

Minecraft in all its various incarnations is basically what I hoped the Lego tie-in games would be: “Here are some blocks, go make whatever you want. And also, look out for monsters.” Because you need monsters, you know.

While both games promote patience, the types they encourage are diametrically opposed. Tapped Out teaches the patience of refusal: “If you wait, you’ll get this.” Minecraft, on the other hand, gives you the patience of creation: “If you take your time and plan, you can make this world exactly how you want it to be.”

Which sounds better?

Culprit 3: The Infinity Blade series
The Issue: Repetitive and grind-crazed.

InfinityBlade3-7

The Infinity Blade series is a mobile juggernaut because of its slick production values, epic plot, and simple gameplay. It’s also incredibly boring, and the series’ overarching plot, which involves generations of a family attempting the same quest over and over and a battle against beings that can die repeatedly and still come back, actually serves as a metaphor for the experience of playing it.

Success in Infinity Blade requires proper gear, and getting proper gear demands that you fight the same battles several times with little variation. You can speed things up by exchanging real money for in-game currency, but that just makes you better equipped to do the same thing.

The combat is at least interesting, though; it requires pattern recognition and a sense of rhythm and timing. But it’s all you do, and it doesn’t offer much variety because that’s more or less how that whole “infinity” thing works.

The Solution: Bit.Trip Run!

Bit.Trip Run

I didn’t cut developer Gaijin’s running-based rhythm-game-in-disguise a whole lot of slack when I reviewed it last month, but an update with new control schemes means it’s worth checking out again.

Run! tasks you with guiding the brave, perpetually running Commander Video through a bunch of colorful worlds rife with obstacles and hurdles to overcome. Like in Infinity Blade, timing and rhythm are crucial, but where Bit.Trip wins out is in its variety. The Commander must run, slide, kick, jump, and use a shield to keep moving forward, and the individual levels provide enough different barriers that it keeps you focused and challenged.

Plus, the narrator is the guy who does the voice for Mario, and that’s just straight-up awesome.

Culprit 4: Draw Something
The Issue: Neither social nor cooperative

Draw Something isn’t nearly what it used to be, but when it came out last year, it seemed like everyone was playing it. If you aren’t among “everyone,” here’s how it works: One person chooses one of three objects and draws it and then their friend tries to guess what the drawing is. It’s like playing Pictionary without having to be at a lame party.

People were crazy about this game, but they missed its critical flaw: Despite being a game you could play with your friends, it contained no social interaction or any real need for cooperation. You’d be looking at a crappy drawing of a gorilla with your friend’s name on it, but the fact remained that for all the “fun” you two were having “together,” anyone in the world could have drawn that half-assed gorilla.

It’s also hard to think of a game for which the cost of losing is lower than this one’s. If the other person guesses correctly, you earn coins that you can use to unlock more colors to draw with terribly. If you lose, the next round starts. That’s it. Draw Something tries to trick you by including a “Winning streak” counter, but it really doesn’t mean or do anything.

The Solution: Spaceteam

Just look at this.

Do you see all those people in the same room working together to complete a task? Doesn’t that seem, I don’t know, pretty social? Don’t they all look happier than any Draw Something player you’ve ever seen in your life?

Spaceteam is a multi-player extravaganza in which a team of players take the roles of a spaceship crew. Everyone has his or her own oddly named control panel on their screen, and the game displays adjustments that need adjusting. When the instructions appear, the player calls them out, and the person with the appropriate console flips the switch or turns the dial or whatever. Every once in a while, everyone has to shake or invert their devices to avoid imaginary wormholes.

Is there any part of that that doesn’t sound like a good time with your friends? Next to that, is there any part of Draw Something that does?

You Can Buy The Room 2 Right Now, And That’s All You Need To Know [Review]

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The Room 2

In my review of The Room a few months ago, I said it was the best mobile game I’ve ever played, and I meant it. The Room 2, the iPad-only sequel to the puzzle-box escape title, is out now, and it’s more of the same.

The Room 2 by Fireproof Games
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPad
Price: $4.99

And I have absolutely no problem with that.

It’s really good. It’s really, really good. If you played the first one, you should play this one immediately. And if you didn’t play the first one, you should play it, and then you should play this one, and then you’ll be all set.

So, yes. You could say I am a fan.