Top 5 Mobile Games of the Week (Dec 28 – Jan 3)
This week saw the first round of 2013 new releases from mobile game developers and it’s clear they wanted to start the year off with a bang. From breathtaking puzzlers, to colorful rafting racers, this week’s new games do not disappoint. If they are any indication of what’s to come in the rest of the year, then it has never been a better time to be a mobile gamer. So without any further ado, here are my top 5 picks from this week in mobile gaming:
5. Touch Detective
Platform: Android | Price: Free
You may have missed out on the awkwardly charming point-and-click adventure game Touch Detective when it was first released on the Nintendo DS back in 2006. Since then, the game was ported to iOS in 2011, but now Android users finally have a reason to dust off their magnifying glasses and feed their bizarre pet mushroom Funghi as Touch Detective found its way to the Google Play marketplace earlier this week. In Touch Detective, you’ll be tasked with solving four amusing mysteries by searching for clues and (wait for it) touching things in your environment. With a very stylized and self-aware sense of humor, Mackenzie’s internal musings never fail to put a smile on your face and, aside from a slightly longwinded introduction, players will welcome any dialogue exchanges Touch Detective has to offer. Although Touch Detective can seem a little dated at times, it is still a must-have for detective and adventure fans of all ages. At absolutely no cost, there’s no reason for Android gamers not to give Touch Detective a try.
4. Catch the Ark
Platform: iOS | Price: $0.99
Most mobile gamers can agree that the endless runner genre has been done to death lately. We get it: running and jumping over stuff is cool. But what sets Chillingo’s new Catch the Ark apart from other endless runner clones, is that Catch the Ark looks and feels like an actual racing game, as opposed to a thinly veiled runner. The colorful jungle graphics and river-based rafting of Catch the Ark reminded me of the classic Diddy Kong Racing on the N64, with just as much heart and eccentric a sense of humor. The premise of Catch the Ark is a cute one, as you take control of three androgynous creatures, desperate to evade the flood and make it into the new world intact. But for one reason or another, Noah is dead set on leaving you behind: so much so that’s he’s even taken to throwing bombs in his wake, to really ensure you don’t catch up with the ark. Jerk. But luckily, Catch the Ark is much more inviting than Noah’s bad temperament, with incredibly smooth controls and fun gameplay mechanics. Dodging crocodiles and a giant purple octopus has never been more fun than in Catch the Ark.
3. Match Panic
Platform: iOS | Price: $1.99
The “panic” in Match Panic’s name is a real understatement, as I’ve never played a mobile game that made me panic so much and so quickly. In this deceptively simple match game, players must sort a series of quirky characters to either the left or right side of their screen. From panda bears, to smiling clouds, to prickly cacti, Match Panic will tell you which side of the screen you need to tap to get each of these critters to their respective homes. Sounds easy, right? Not exactly. As you can imagine, this simple concept gets more and more complex as additional characters are unlocked for you to sort simultaneously and each level of Match Panic forces you to move faster and faster as you race against the clock. It’s a real test of the player’s reflexes, not to mention your ability to stay calm in high stress situations. Match Panic’s 8-bit pixel graphics are also a really nice touch and provide the perfect backdrop for this little gem’s pound-your-head-against-the-wall brand of panicky fun.
Platform: iOS | Price: $2.99
If you’re a mobile gamer like me who follows the Top Charts on iTunes day in and day out, then you’ve probably already heard about the ethereal puzzler Hundreds, as it’s been taking the App Store by storm since its release on Thursday. From Semi Secret Software, the object of Hundreds is simple enough: tap and hold down on a series of bubbles to make them grow in size, until you reach a total bubble value of 100 to complete each, separate stage. Keep in mind that your bubbles in Hundreds turn red as they grow and any collision while red will result in an instant “Game Over.” When you add multiple moving bubbles, negative bubbles and whirling saw blades that slash your bubble’s number on contact, Hundreds quickly becomes one of the most briskly challenging (and incredibly rewarding) puzzlers available to mobile gamers today. At $2.99, it may be a little pricy for some (and this is even at its 40% off introductory sale price), but the amount of polish to Hundreds, along with the multi-touch facets that allow for seamless cooperative multiplayer on a single screen, makes the real value of Hundreds simply astounding.
1. Swing King
Platform: iOS | Price: $0.99
Chillingo is really stepping it up in 2013, with another amazing release in the first few days of the New Year. Their latest, Swing King, borrows the slingshot gameplay mechanic we all know and love from Angry Birds and uses it to craft an incredible physics puzzler that feels and plays more like a full-blown adventure game. The first thing you’ll notice about Swing King is the game’s gorgeous painted visuals, that bear a striking resemblance to Rayman Origins and its fantastic iOS spinoff, Rayman Jungle Run. You play as the Swing King, who (as far as I can tell) is some sort of white puffball in a gold crown, as he latches onto birds and other wildlife high above the clouds on a quest to save his kingdom. Each level of Swing King has you flinging him through gorgeous sky landscapes, picking up stars as you go and landing safely on your flying purple unicorn to continue on your way. Oh, and did I mention the unbelievably awesome boss fights at the end of each world? Do yourself a favor and get to swinging in Swing King today!