The lights are on
Are you stuck at a barbeque right now with a bunch of boring
relatives? Here are seven mobile games that will brighten your July 4th, even if
playing them makes you look like an antisocial jerk.
I'm one of the few editors in the office who doesn't have an
iPhone, and as such these selections are Android-based games. For more Android
games worth checking out, take a gander at this
list as well. Also, this list assumes you already downloaded and played Plants
vs. Zombies and Peggle
when they were free. You did, didn't you?
PobsPobs is an addictive puzzle game that's kind of a cross
between Chinese Checkers and Othello. Players take turns laying down colored
pieces (or capturing their opponents' pieces) on a board filled with hexagon
cells. The object is to have the most pieces at the end, but strategy varies
wildly depending on the layout of the board (there are 20 different combinations).
Most puzzle games featuring AI opponents are pretty easy to figure out, but Pobs
was one game that continually stumped me - and had me playing more matches long
after I had intended to quit. The main version linked above is free, but you
can also buy an ad-free version for $2.
HDDespite my love of shmups, I had a hard time finding an
Android shooter that was actually worth playing. Then I checked out AirAttack
HD. AirAttack is a top down shooter in the vein of 1942, and sports
surprisingly impressive visuals. It has a lot of the features you'd expect in a
full shmup - myriad enemy types, various upgradeable weapons, and plenty of
explosions - but the most important feature is the accommodation for different
control schemes. You can play the game with direct touch (i.e. the plane is
under your finger), a virtual joystick that can be placed anywhere on screen,
tilt controls, and relative touch. Relative touch is my favorite, as the plane
will follow the direct movement of your finger on screen, but your hand can be
anywhere. This provides the most accurate control over your plane without
blocking any of the action. The above link is for AirAttack HD Part 1, which is
a free demo of the full, $3 game.
ApparatusIf you like physics-based puzzle games, you'll want to check
out Apparatus. Bithack's puzzle game is more or less like the old PC game, The
Incredible Machine. Your goal is to set up Rube Goldberg contraptions to
deliver a ball into a bucket. Each level gives you a few building blocks to experiment
with, from planks and wheels to ropes and motors. Once you've built your
contraption, you press the play button and let the physics do the rest (i.e.
watch as everything goes horribly wrong). The above link is for the demo
version - the full version costs $2.
DiceI'm guessing you can probably figure out what this game is.
Yep, it's the dice game, Farkle. What? You have no idea what Farkle is? Then get learned. I've tried a couple of different mobile versions
of Farkle, and this is by far the best looking one, though I swear that the
jerk AI named "Smart Alec" cheats every time he rolls the dice. Jerk AI aside,
grabbing this one is an easy decision: it's free, easy to learn, and each game only takes a couple of minutes to complete.
AndrominionAndrominium is a mobile version of Dominion, a popular 2008 card
game that has won numerous board game awards, which Wikipedia assures me is a
thing that exists. Androminium is an unapologetically ugly game, but contains all of the
gameplay that makes Dominion so popular, and also contains cards from the
Intrigue and Seaside expansion packs. As a bonus, Androminion is free.
SoccerIf only real soccer was this exciting. Sure, Pocket Soccer
sounds like some kind of euphemism for pleasuring yourself, but the game
is like a digital version of air hockey with some interesting twists. Each side
has three players (discs) on the field, which they flick at a soccer ball in an
attempt to hit it into the opponent's goal (or frequently their own). However,
the game is turn-based; you have a few seconds to take your shot, during which
your opponent can't do anything, but the players and ball are still moving from the momentum of the last turn. Sound
confusing? Try it out and you'll understand. The game is free and contains
several modes and a bunch of unlockables.
PandaSimilar to Blast
Monkeys, Nano Panda is a puzzle game that involves shooting cute animals
out of a cannon. The difference is that you often have multiple cannons loaded
with multiple pandas. Timing each shot is key to navigating the obstacle-filled
levels, as the pandas are magnetized to each other and thus alter one another's
trajectory. The gameplay involves a lot of trial and error, which can sometimes
be frustrating, but it's hard to get too upset when you're shooting cute pandas
out of a cannon. The above link is the free version of the game - the full Nano
Panda experience will set you back $1.
Speaking of Blast Monkeys: Fans of the game will be thrilled
to know that more levels have been recently been added, with a new game
mechanic suspiciously similar to Portal 2's excursion funnels. Blast Monkeys is
still one of my favorite games, so check it out if you haven't already.
Know of any other
Android games our readers should check out? Share them in the comments section
Email the author Jeff Marchiafava, or follow on Google+, Twitter, and Game Informer.