Feature

Ten Great Android Games To Play On Holiday Break

by Jeff Marchiafava on Dec 24, 2014 at 07:03 AM

The holidays are filled with family gatherings, gift exchanging, mistletoe smooching, and – most importantly – brief respites from the festivities that are perfect for a little mobile gaming. Daniel Tack already has our iOS fans covered, but if you're looking for a good Android game, look no further.

Looking for even more awesome Android games? I've done so many of these round-ups that this sentence has to be absurdly long just to fit all the links to previous entries and I'm still not done! How's that for creative hyperlinking? Now onto the games:

Alter Ego
Normally, the thought of playing a platformer with touch-screen controls is enough to make me throw my smartphone into a wood chipper (I've lost so many phones – and really dulled the blades on my wood chipper). However, I'm willing to make an exception for Alter Ego. First of all, it's not really a platformer; you don't actually jump, but use ladders to navigate the stages. Second, the transfer mechanic – which swaps your position with your glowing outline that you also control – is really clever.

Codeword Unlimited
And now for the obligatory word game, since I am an editor and words are my business. Codeword Unlimited is kind of like a crossword puzzle without clues – you fill in all the entries for a given letter at the same time, and deduce which letters go where based on the process of elimination. It's not the flashiest game on the list (actually, its interface is downright ugly), but if you like word games you can't go wrong checking out the free version (linked above).

Help Me Fly
This unique puzzle game from Funtomic is a perfect example of why you shouldn't judge a game by its stupid title. The goal is to charge up a toy plane by connecting it to a battery with differently shaped pieces. In true mobile game fashion, you can improve your score by also connecting up to three stars. Unlike most mobile games, however, the extra ratings actually enhance the puzzles. I've been left scratching my head on more than a few levels, which is enough to make me recommend Help Me Fly even if I can't stand the title.

Just Three Words
This entry comes with a sizable caveat: Just Three Words commits the unpardonable sin of charging players for hints, selling them coins via in-app purchases. You get a cache of free daily coins and earn more by solving puzzles, but the game is still geared towards getting you to shell out real money for help. If you resist, however, you get a fun, free word game that tasks you with guessing the common word that links the three seemingly disparate clues.

Coming Up Next: Ice slicing, galaxy hopping, and monsters made out of pudding...

Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage
I'm a fan of physics-based puzzle games, and Icebreaker provides a novel new twist to slicing through objects via your touchscreen. You help a Viking fill up his boat with ice by shearing through bergs (and other objects in the environment) and watching the pieces (hopefully) slide into place. Icebreaker features a fun, cartoony art style and a good sense of humor as well.

Pudding Monsters
Like Help Me Fly, Pudding Monsters has a crisp, cartoony art style that far exceeds the visuals of most mobile games on the market. Puzzles require you to push various blobs around the screen, each of which behaves in its own quirky way. You improve your bonus rating by covering up special star squares, which – also like Help Me Fly – makes the puzzles even trickier and more entertaining.

Out There
There's not a lot of actual gameplay in Out There, but the sci-fi themed strategy game does a good job of selling your trek through an unknown, hostile galaxy. Players hop between solar systems while contending with ever-dwindling fuel, oxygen, and hull levels, and must make the best of their limited inventory space. Along the way flavor text fleshes out the journey, and tasks you with making some life-threatening decisions.

Rune Raiders
While technically classified as a puzzle game, Rune Raiders also incorporates strategy and role-playing elements as well. Players recruit various party members who employ their own unique abilities during battle. You take your party through massive dungeons by positioning their tiles on a vertically scrolling grid, taking on various enemies in turn-based battles as you approach them. Between raids you can upgrade your characters and equip new loot.

Braveland
Similar to Rune Raiders, Braveland sends you on an epic adventure that involves recruiting and leveling up an entire party of travelers. The turn-based combat plays out on a hex grid, and each character features a unique ability, providing a bit of depth to the admittedly RPG-lite affair.

Trionix
This strategy game isn't the most visually impressive title on the list (actually it's one of the worst-looking games), but that doesn't make it any less interesting. Trionix is kind of like Reversi, but the rules for taking control of the board are completely different. Players take turns placing triangles down next to their adjacent pieces, while trying to flip their opponent's triangles to their color. For solo play, Trionix features a variety of different board layouts and variable A.I. to test your skill on.

Got any favorite Android games we haven't covered yet? Share them in the comments below! Seriously, I want more games to play...