Come one, come all, to the greatest show on this side of the internet: Den of Geek’s Top 5 mobile games lists! We have plenty of attractions for you and your family to enjoy, from a harrowing escape of the undead in Ancient Egypt, to a heartwarming adventure about two punctuation marks that travel through the history of typography, and to even the most impressive Pokémon and Legend of Zelda crossbred adventure that our performers have ever seen! And as you might have guessed from the way this introduction is written, we even have a circus-themed game to round out the whole package, so grab some popcorn and keep your eyes peeled for the bearded lady, because here are Den of Geek’s Top 5 picks in mobile gaming for the week of October 4 – October 10:
5. Ring Run Circus
Developer: Kalio Ltda. | Platform: iOS | Price: $3.99
Perhaps the very first self-proclaimed “ring-former” on the App Store today, Ring Run Circus is a colorful puzzle platform game that takes place high above the grounds of a bustling circus: on a number of dangling rings that are just begging to be traversed with the greatest of circus performer ease. Players will take control of three different fearless acrobats, Nina, Ned, and Nelson, each of whom have their own unique abilities to help them reach the goal at the end of each stage. But be careful, because you’re not going to be the only ones up there jumping around on those circus rings: a number of other regular circus performers and sideshows have managed to find their way up there as well, from elephants, lions, and monkeys, to magicians, motor-bike riders and even the strongman. I know that in the circus world it’s usually called “the big tent,” but these guys must have some serious room under that tent for everyone to be able to fit under there so well. With challenging puzzle-oriented gameplay, and a constant barrage of colorful graphics and circus sounds, this will definitely be the most fun you’ll have since the last time you went and saw a lion-tamer in person: it’s also significantly safer as well!
4. Escape from Doom
Developer: Trigger Happy | Platform: iOS | Price: $1.99
I’ve managed to escape from a large number of undesirable situations throughout my short life, from graduating a 4-year liberal arts school that was practically crawling with outspoken hipsters in thick-rimmed glasses and Moleskin notebooks full of poetry and other pretentious observations, to getting out of an early freelance writing job that paid me a whopping $17 for 20 feature-length articles in a single month. But never before have I had to escape from a situation so dire that one could only label it as pure “doom.” This is definitely the case with Trigger Happy’s Escape from Doom, as after your ruthless treasure-hunting character robs one Ancient Egyptian-pyramid too many, the undead pharaohs and mummys begin to rise from the dead and take back from you what was originally their own. What’s great about this game is that it takes the traditional conventions of a first-person shooter, but fuses it together with some basic endless running elements: resulting in a frantic and action-packed adventure that has you running across the desert sands directly at the oncoming hoardes of undead enemies, and firing away at them while you’re always on the move. It’s a wonderful mash-up of different genres, and the graphics are seriously impressive as far as mobile games are concerned these days. Who knew zombie pharaohs could be so frightening?
Developer: BulkyPix | Platform: iOS | Price: $2.99
It’s been no secret around these parts that I’m a huge fan of atmospheric puzzle-platformers like Playdead’s iconic Limbo. But when you take that shadowy style of the indie classic about death and purgatory, and you fuse it with some of the more finer details about writing, fonts, and typography, well then I might as well just hand over my wallet right now, because to me that sounds like a match made in Heaven (or, uh, limbo I guess). In Type:Rider, you take control of two black punctuation dots and help guide them through a captivating vista that reflects some of the biggest monumental changes in the world of typography. For instance, you’ll first roll along the prehistoric times and admire some early cave paintings, and before you know it, you’ll be taking a tour of the oversaturated Pixel art that has seeped its way into the 2000s, all the while running into your old friends Times New Roman, Comic Sans, and Helvetica. That’s right, this game actually has you solving riddles via some of the most well-known fonts in history, and I don’t think there’s anything else quite like it on the App Store right now. If only the game’s title stylization of “Type:Rider” didn’t cause Microsoft Word to spit out those annoying green grammar lines every time I type it!
2. Monster Adventures
Developer: Foursaken Media | Platform: iOS | Price: $1.99
Now, it’s almost a given that everyone this week is going to be drooling over Nintendo’s new Pokémon X & Y, and rightfully so: those games are really shaping up to bring the popular handheld monster catching series into the next generation of gaming. But while everyone else is off trying to “catch ‘em all” the old-fashioned way, I’ll be taking my iPad out instead, and going after some different kinds of monsters in Foursaken Media’s wonderful Monster Adventures. And don’t let the concept of an iOS Pokémon clone fool you: because not only does Monster Adventures bring some exciting new ideas to the genre as a whole, but it’s also made by the same folks who brought us Heroes and Castles, so you know that there’s some serious quality going on in this one. From the insanely creative monster designs, to the colorful 3D visuals, this is easily a game world that you’ll want to get sucked into and never come out. But the coolest part about Monster Adventures is the actual structure of the single-player campaign, which follows a Legend of Zelda make-up of sorts, in that you’ll be using your team of monsters to clear a number of challenging and action-packed dungeons. Add in a deep monster creation and customization component, and an online battle arena, and you’ve got a real formidable contender to the genre that could even stand up to the big P in some regards.
Developer: Kumobius | Platform: iOS | Price: $2.99
The word “duet” is often accompanied by thoughts and feelings of pure beauty, as the camaraderie and synchronization it takes to perform a gorgeous musical number in a pair is largely unmatched in the artistic world today. But Duet from Bean’s Quest creator Kumobius proves to be just as whimsical and mesmerizing, as you guide two simple colored orbs around a circular orbit and avoid running into any of the falling rectangular obstacles to make it to the end of each stage. Similar to games like Super Meat Boy, when you make a mistake and accidentally splatter one of your colored orbs against a floating obstacle, the paint of your past defeats will remained splattered exactly where you left them, so each stage becomes more and more colored in like a Spin-Art gone wrong the worse you do at the game. And given how fast reflexes are the absolute key to progressing through the game, don’t be surprised if you become an unintentional painter in Duet before long. Also, I just realized that the protagonists of this game are two small circles, just like the protagonists of Type:Rider! Is this the beginning of a new era in gaming that features intricate narratives based upon the simplest character types imaginable? Probably not, but I’m sure gaming heroes like Pac-Man would have something to say about that!