Seven Mobile Games You Should Be Playing Right Now

by Jeff Marchiafava on Jul 04, 2011 at 01:00 PM

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?

Pobs 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.

AirAttack HD
Despite 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.

If 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.

Farkle Dice
I'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.

Androminium 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.

Pocket Soccer
If 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.

Nano Panda
Similar 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 below!