Fireman by Magma Mobile has the look of a simple and forgettable children’s game, but if you give it a chance you will find a challenging, rewarding and balanced 2D platformer that is not only free but keeps the completely optional IAPs out of the way, doesn’t hit you over the head with obtrusive ads and utilizes an interesting and fun water jetpack mechanic that instantly brings to mind a 2D Super Mario Sunshine.
It isn’t nearly as extensive as Super Mario Sunshine, of course. What Fireman is, is disgustingly cute. Nearly to the point of absurdity. Players take control of a large headed fireman looking kid, traversing levels, putting out fires and saving stuffed animals. That’s right, you aren’t risking your life and putting out fires in order to save living beings but instead ultra cute inanimate objects. I’m not really sure what message that is actually sending to kids but that isn’t really the point. The point is the fantastically tight gameplay that anyone of any age can enjoy.
The protagonist runs around levels, putting out fires and saving the stuffed animals before exiting through a door. There are a few fire enemies, walking flames, burning centipedes, things like that. The game never attempts to explain any of it, why fire has sprung up and is apparently trapping or attacking stuffed toys, or how this kid became a firefighter, or why he is risking his young life for the benefit of something likely made in a sweatshop in Vietnam, but it is all good fun.
There are currently 39 levels available for free spread across two worlds, with two more worlds available for purchase using either coins earned in the game or with actual money. The character can also be upgraded in the same fashion with the in-game currency being common enough to allow a reasonable amount of customization without actually spending a dime.
Fist of Awesome is an indie game developed by Nicoll Hunt of I Fight Bears. This Android game, which was funded through Kickstarter, is a beat-em-up beaming with personality and packs a heavy punch. My colleague previewed it before and was impressed with the initial build.
Injustice: Gods Among Us is an odd hybrid of one-on-one fighter with a deck building game, a combination that, against all odds, actually works very well. Released as a companion to the console game of the same name that saw DC superheroes duking it out in an alternative universe, Injustice does a good job of bringing what made that game so appealing to Android.
First of all the presentation is flawless. From launch you can be in a fight within seconds, especially as the load times are brief, which is remarkable as the game is powered by the weighty Unreal Engine. As you’d expect the game is gorgeous to behold, with assets being used from its console brother.
In the combat part of the game you take control of a group of three fighters, recruited from a huge roster of heroes an villains. The controls are hugely simplified: tap to strike, or swipe for a heavy blow. Additionally a meter fills up over the course of the bout allowing three levels of special to be unleashed. These dazzling signature moves require a little extra flourish to be successful, such as fast tapping to fill a gauge, or hitting targets in order. You lose when all of your three combatants have been knocked out, so it’s key to swap between them if they’re in danger. Fights are more about timing then dexterity and building up character stats is as important as the actual confrontation.
Like many deck building games there are a lot of options to make sure your team is running at full potential. Abilities can be added to cards representing each of the heroes, which will bolster existing powers or unlock new ones. The game encourages you to keep your team in rotation as those on the bench will not level up. Additionally each hero has a limited amount of energy which must be replenished, so you can’t rely on the one over powered spandex clad muscleman every time.
This is of course unless you want to dabble with the microtransactions which are handled more tastefully than most card games. There never seems to be any pressure for the player to artificially boost their game, rather it relies on the sheer wealth of unlockable characters to keep fans clamoring for more.
It’s hard to believe that it’s taken Sega this long to release a Sonic The Hedgehog endless runner. Most of the entries in to the 90′s gaming icon’s oeuvre since he left the confines of 2D platformers have essentially been runners--pressing forwards on the controller being little more than a formality at this point.
Sonic Dash is initially most reminiscent of Sonic Adventure from a visual perspective, with that series’ signature bright, bold and colorful sunny locales in full effect. The blue critter responds well to the swipes that shift him from lane to lane as he barrels head first down winding courses. A down swipe sees him roll into a ball to take down the various enemies and to avoid obstacles, or swipe up to jump. These basic commands are bolstered by a limited lock on ability for aerial attacks, and the occasional QTE when launched into one of the many bonus ramps.
Sonic Dash is one of the best games in the series for a long time, managing to recapture the feel of the original platformers, whilst adding something new. Graphically this is as good as anything on console, and certainly better than any number of other free to play runners available on mobile. The sense of speed is as thrilling as you’d expect, helped by the twists and turns of the courses that take you through loops and spirals and an ever changing back ground.You’ll also encounter boss sequences, which while simplistic, still deliver a welcome break from the normal flow of the game.
A host of powerups and boosters are at your disposal all of which allow you to rack up the points and keep running just a little further, which is essential if you want to compete in the Facebook connected leaderboards.
By retaining most of what made Sonic’s best outing so fun, and distilling that experience down to hard as nails runner (never has losing all your rings felt so painful), Sega have produced a contender for one of the best games in the genre.
Welcome back Sonic, it’s been too long .
When it comes to RPGs there are a lot of nuances that people either love or hate. I’m talking about the multitude of fetch quests or how strangers always seem to come to you for help. Like for any genre it is good to kind of poke fun at these points every now and again. Paradox Interactive seemed to take it upon themselves to do just that with their highly praised game Knights of Pen and Paper. While Knights of Pen and Paper has been out for quite some time and even has upgraded (+1 edition), the gameplay and humor stands as one of the most engaging and fun turn-based RPGs out there. In fact, it made our list for Top 5 best Android turn-based games which we published earlier this year.
Game developer, King, made waves and headlines when its game, Candy Crush Saga, topped charts and gripped teenagers and moms alike in its addictiveness. Since then, King has made a lot of different “saga” games and now has added another to the growing list. The game in question is called Papa Pear Saga and it is King’s version of mixing Peggle-like gameplay with its tried and true addictive formula. I suppose on that front Papa Pear Saga isn’t the most innovative or unique game but what it lacks in that aspect it heavily makes up for pure unadulterated fun and addictiveness.
Gameplay in Papa Pear Saga plays much like Peggle or any Pachinko style game. There is a cannon of sorts at the top of the screen and you drop little balls which bounce around eventually landing in a bucket or pot at the bottom. Peggle turned this into a fun game where the goal was to get your ball to hit a certain amount of orange pegs on its journey downwards. Papa Pear Saga expanded on this and actually made a few different modes of play. Some levels have you getting your balls into all the different pots to bring color to them, others have you clearing a certain amount of vegetable pegs (everything is food themed), others give you a certain point goal to reach, etc. This way of turning a basic concept like Pachinko or Bejewled into multiple different gameplay facets is King’s ingenious way of making things interesting and varied as well as keeping you coming back for more.
When it comes down to it, Papa Pear Saga is obviously no Peggle. By this I mean straight physics wise, Papa Pear Saga seems to lack and have a lot of oddball nuances you will have to get used to. Also, Papa Pear Saga seems to rely a lot on luck instead of timing and “skill”. As you progress through the levels you’ll begin to see level designs that are heinously unfair both in layout and balls allotted. I am sure this is King’s effort to nudge you to buy IAPs which is fine, I just wish they wouldn’t nudge so hard. Speaking of IAPs, the business model employed in Papa Pear Saga is the same you’d find in Candy Crush Saga or any King saga game. You get 5 lives and you can pay to refill them as well as buying various powerups/upgrades to help you in tight spots. In Papa Pear Saga‘s case this means you can buy bombs to explode obstacles and a line of sight beam to show you exactly where you’re balls will go.
In general, while I see that gameplay keeps getting more and more unfairly biased the further I go in an effort to sell virtual goods Papa Pear Saga is still an extremely fun and addictive game. I love Pachinko styled games and haven’t played a good one since Peggle so now that Papa Pear Saga is a thing I got hopelessly addicted to it. Graphics and music/sound effects are cartoony and well polished and give off a real enjoyable cacophony of color and sound. The variety in levels is also a great idea that King excels at in all their games and will keep you on your toes. King is slowly becoming the king of addictive mobile games and if they keep pumping out games as fun as Papa Pear Saga I may just be ok with that.
11 Bit Studios invented the tower offense genre with Anomaly: Warzone Earth. Originally released for the PC, this game made the most out of its friendly interface, responsive controls, and tactical brilliance; hence, we named it before as one of the best Android strategy games.
Skee-Ball is an American institution. According to Skeeball.com it was invented in Philadelphia in 1909 by J.D. Estes and went into production in 1914, soon taking America by storm. If you were born in the United States and don’t have fond childhood memories of sliding wooden balls into plastic holes then there is a high probability you were either neglected, your parents displayed communist tendencies or you are Amish (in which case, what are you doing on the internet, shouldn’t you be selling handcrafted furniture down the street from the outlet mall?). It is easy to see how, the soothing experience of gently rolling wooden balls down a polished wooden or plastic miniature alleyway and hearing the plop of the ball, succeeded in being both challenging and rewarding. While we are nearing the 100th anniversary of Skee-Ball’s commercial production, a new Skee-Ball game has been jumping up the ranks of google play, but is Skee-Ball Arcade any good?
There are few theme tunes that evoke such a sense of adventure as opening music of Dr Who, the BBC’s long running family sci-fi show. This game, a gem swapping battle RPG, does well to start with the stirring electro-orchestral music and gets you in the mood for a trip through the good Doctor’s past.
The concept for Legacy is very similar to a few recent titles, most noticeably Puzzle Trooper. On a standard grid of gems, each and any one can be moved in any direction to where ever you want. The path you take is important though as everything in your wake is shifted. At first it’s hard to work out just what effect you’re having on the board, but once you reconfigure you puzzling muscles, it becomes second nature and you’ll soon be chaining combos.
Each gem successfully matched goes towards the attack power of your heroes, including the Doctor and an assortment of companions, as they fight a ‘best of’ compilation of enemies past and present. There’s a very light RPG element that includes collecting new characters and leveling up their stats. In fact it the sheer wealth of collectables that adds depth to the game, and is enhanced if you happen to be a fan. You can unlock characters going all the way back to the Doctor’s original incarnation in the 1950′s.
The game takes a refreshing stance on the free to pay model. It explicitly makes sure you know that there is no replenishing energy system, rather you can have as many goes as you want and play for as long as you want. Additional adventures can be downloaded for a fee, although there will be free ones also in the near future.
This is a game for fans of the eccentric alien Timelord and his adventures in the TARDIS, with a well written plot and references to just about every episode in his 50 year career. The visuals are nothing amazing, but they capture the charm of the TV show and most of all the game itself is fun to play.