Top 5 Mobile Games of the Week (Apr 26 – May 2)

We duke it out in a cartoony Super Smash Bros.-style arena brawler, and stop a zombie outbreak at Don Eduardo’s Zoo...

This was definitely a time of modest mobile releases in the Den of Geek camp this week, but that certainly doesn’t mean the small-scale appearance of the App Store’s latest games makes our selections any less awesome or completely fun to play. So while you won’t be seeing a beautifully rendered 3D action game with some popular superhero franchise slapped onto its title, you WILL be seeing a dark and moody point-and-click adventure about a girl who’s trapped between worlds; a bite-sized puzzle platformer that tries to live up to one of console gaming’s greats; and a captivating space station simulator where you command your fearless shipmates from the safety of your starship helm. So here are Den of Geek’s Top 5 picks in mobile gaming for the week of April 26 – May 2:


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5. Emilly in Darkness
Developer: Daniel Halat | Platform: iOS | Price: $1.99
Who doesn’t love a little gloom and despair to start off your morning? Just listen to this: “Emily in Darkness tells the story of Emilly who, for reasons unknown, wakes up alone in a dark forest and after a few moments is fatally gunned down by an unseen assassin.” Now if that doesn’t get your immediate attention, I don’t know what will! So right off the bat, it seems like we have an instant “Game Over” situation on our hands, all thanks to some jerk assassin who apparently has nothing better to do on a Friday night than take out teenage girls who wander into the forest. However, Emilly mysteriously does not die. Why this happens, I couldn’t tell you. Maybe it’s because Emilly isn’t fully human, or maybe it’s just because she has that unnecessary second “L” in her name. Who knows? Instead, the girl winds up in a shadowy nightmare world somewhere between Heaven and Hell, and is forced to interact with all sorts of crooked and shadowy demon NPCs in fun point-and-click adventure gameplay to figure out what’s really going on. Stylistically, the game’s story and visuals loosely resemble the dark and gloomy world of Limbo, and there’s even a welcomed likeliness to one of our number one picks from weeks past, Year Walk.Download Emilly in Darkness on the iOS App Store

4. Oh My Heroes!
Developer: Triniti Interactive | Platform: iOS | Price: $0.99
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: we need more games like Super Smash Bros. on the App Store. Well right now, Oh My Heroes might be the closest thing we have to a quality multiplayer brawler to give our touchscreens a workout. From a visual standpoint, the sharp cartoon graphics and animations remind me of fellow mobile games like BattleHeart, except that in Oh My Heroes, you have much more hands-on control over your actions, and the simple controls lend their way to some very precise and challenging encounters. Oh My Heroes features five diverse heroes from witches to warriors, and lets players duke it out with their friends for control of the Magic Crystals in three different arena-based game modes: Death Match, Team Death Match, and King of the Hill. You can even make use of your environment for some more delicious K.O.s, by unleashing molten lava rocks or clouds of toxic green gas that cover the arena. The game is already great as it is, but Trinity Interactive has promised to take the experience even further in the months down the road, with future updates to Oh My Heroes that will add a full sidescrolling single player mode, additional heroes and skills, upgradable properties, and special gear and power-ups.Download Oh My Heroes! on the iOS App Store

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3. Better than Portal
Developer: POPS Worldwide | Platform: iOS | Price: $0.99
Unless you’re a self-absorbed artificial intelligence chip named GLaDOS, then you might have already guessed that Better than Portal takes some inspiration from Valve’s acclaimed Portal series: so much so, that its somewhat arrogant title openly asserts that the pupil has now surpassed the master. It’s probably a good thing that all video games don’t use a similar naming convention to reference games that they are better than, because if they did, then almost everything out on the market today would be known as “Better than Assassin’s Creed III” and things might get just a little bit confusing. But I digress. Obviously as a cartoony 2D puzzle platformer, Better than Portal is a much different game than the Portal we all know and love, but it’s still a whole lot of fun in its own unique right. In each of the game’s 60 stages that span different themes like Prehistoric, Ancient and Medieval, players will need to use a special portal gun to create parallel rifts and bypass many environmental hazards and obstacles like spikes and pitfalls. This becomes a lot more challenging given that your character is unable to jump (I guess he’s afraid of heights or something), and so the portals become your only lifeline to an otherwise quick and deadly demise.Download Better than Portal on the iOS App Store

2. Star Command
Developer: Star Command, LLC | Platform: iOS | Price: $2.99
 The pixelated, old-school Star Trek-inspired Star Command was actually supposed to come out way back in a galaxy known as 2011, but the game fell into one too many developmental black holes along the ride through the universe to crash land onto your touchscreen, and now here we have it almost halfway through 2013. Was that enough space analogies in one sentence for now? I think so. At its core, Star Command plays like an engrossing space station simulator, where you can create your own unique vessels and shape your floating community to serve any grander purpose you see fit. This overarching pathway includes harrowing missions that pit your crew up against some of the galaxy’s deadliest forces; but making enemies with neighboring space stations may come back to haunt you at later stages during your quest. The game invites you to “upgrade your ship, get out into the unknown and watch your crew die grizzly deaths all at your command.” All in a day’s work, right? But what I really like about Star Command is how in-depth the total package is, with such a deep storyline and rewarding slow-burn gameplay, like some of the most expansive Super Nintendo RPGs from yesteryear. Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for me to send a few more of my crewmates on a voyage to their inescapable space deaths.Download Star Command on the iOS App Store

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1. Zoombies: Animales de la Muerte!
Developer: High Voltage Software | Platform: iOS | Price: $2.99
Zoombies: Animales de la Muerte was originally supposed to come out a few years back as a virtual WiiWare title, and in a fairly different format than the action arcade masterpiece we have come to know today. But like most good things that are about to happen to Nintendo, something inevitably went wrong, and the Big N lost out on yet another killer app that could have really helped to move some consoles. Maybe the fathers of Mario didn’t take too kindly to all of the decomposing zoo friends and cartoony buckets of blood that slather every inch of this game. At first, Zoombies looks a little like PopCap’s infamous Plants vs. Zombies franchise: with your character, Marco or Maria, on the left side of the screen, and hoards of Mexican zombie animals inching their way across several horizontal tracks on the left. But the similarities stop there, as the game utilizes a neat “draw your weapon gameplay,” which lets you draw a line on the screen to determine the path that your weapons will be thrown to slash some undead monkey face. Your arsenal includes everything from hatchets to roman candles, and even chupacabras thrown in there as well, and special upgrades like slippery guacamole and stampedes of elephants will really keep those pesky Zoombies at bay!Download Zoombies: Animales de la Muerte on the iOS App Store