This week’s best new mobile games really serve to show us that adventures can be both big and small. Whether your idea of an adventure involves a tiny snail named Snailboy who has to hop around the forest in search of a shiny new shell, or a slacker white-collared man named Gary who has to sneak his way to his top-floor office to avoid being fired, or even a humorous romp through a magical talking cave with the most unlikely of companions, there’s no denying that the prospects for adventure are always waiting around every corner. So make you choice, and then get ready to embark on the journey that’s right for you, because here are Den of Geek’s Top 5 picks in mobile gaming for the week of September 27 – October 3:
Developer: Thoopid | Platform: iOS | Price: $1.99
At first glance, the titular character in Thoopid’s Snailboy creeped me out a bit: his goopy white body and grinning smile reminded me of some kind of rejected insect creature that never quite made it into one of those big-deal animated movies like A Bug’s Life. But then once I actually started playing the game, all of my initial first impressions were completely thrown right out the window, as I immediately rooted for the happy “mollusc” as he searched the big open world around him to find a shiny new shell. The presentation of the game alone well warrants a purchase, as the rich 3D environments and character designs really look like something straight out of a Disney Pixar movie, and it’s hard to believe that this is only just a mobile game you’re playing as you platform your way through 45 addictive stages set in the lush wilds of the forest. The gameplay of Snailboy itself is more reminiscent of an obscure Xbox 360 arcade game I once knew called Wik: The Fable of Souls, where you simply tap and hold Snailboy to drag him into position, before letting go to send him flying through the air and latching on to a number of other quite sticky surfaces before gearing up for his next strategic jump. Man, the things these snails will do just to get a new shell!
4. LEVEL 22
Developer: Noego | Platform: iOS | Price: $3.99
LEVEL 22 takes the concept of being late to work and magnifies it by tenfold: creating a purely stealth adventure that has your character, Gary, sneaking his way up an office building to his desk on the 22nd floor (I guess the elevator’s not working), all the while avoiding being spotted by any of his co-workers, or even worse, his boss! For you see, Gary has already been late to work one time too many by now, and so if his stealth attempts prove futile this time around, it could very well mean the loss of his job! What’s great about this game is the sheer amount of variety it provides as you gradually make your way up to your desk unnoticed: from slipping your co-workers laxatives just because, to evading booby-trapped photocopiers, and even luring security guards off your trail by smashing a vending machine and scattering donuts in the opposite direction. There’s some seriously cool stuff going on in this game, and I haven’t even mentioned the corporate-wide conspiracy that Gary unknowingly begins to uncover as he’s simply just trying to keep his job alive. The entire adventure is brought to life through wonderfully detailed cartoon graphics and animations, and it almost makes me wish I worked in a big office building myself, instead of right out of my home: sneaking around the water cooler in a cardboard box sounds like way too much fun!
3. NBA 2K14
Developer: 2K Sports | Platform: iOS | Price: $7.99
Real talk for a minute: I’m not the most athletic person in the world, but that’s certainly not to say I didn’t give it my all back when I was younger. In the summer before I started fifth grade, my parents enrolled me in a week-long basketball camp, so I could really show off my skills on the court and probably receive a college scholarship before I even set foot into middle school. But then on day two, I realized I just couldn’t sink a basket for the life of me, and singlehandedly lost every drill that my team and I went through. Needless to say, I never returned for day three of basketball camp. But today the joke is on all of my old elementary school teammates, because now I have NBA 2K14 sports to play right on my mobile device, and I can slam dunk all the baskets I ever could want! I’m also almost seven feet tall with tons of impressive muscles, but that’s neither here nor there. The game itself is pretty much what you would expect a 2K Sports experience to be like on a mobile device, with tons of real-world characters and licensed teams, and the no-holds-barred basketball sparring that will truly drive you towards becoming the king of the digital courts. And teaming up with NBA legend LeBron James, this time around NBA 2K14 has got just as much style as it’s got game.
2. Gunner Z
Developer: BitMonster | Platform: iOS | Price: Free
Oh boy, have I been waiting for this one for quite some time! BitMonster surprised everyone earlier this summer, when they announced that their second game, Gunner Z, was a stark departure from the bright and sunny 3D adventure world that we got to enjoy in their first game, Lili. But for every ounce of whimsical magic that Lili once gave us, Gunner Z replaces it completely with absolute terror: and I couldn’t be more excited for a horror-themed shooter on a mobile device. In Gunner Z, players will man the controls of a deadly war tank, as they roam the desolate streets in a post-apocalyptic world and take out every roaming zombie that gets in their way. But now here’s the really cool part that sets Gunner Z in a unique category all to its own: the use of your tank’s night vision capabilities, which renders the entire world around you in an eerie black glow, and makes the horrifying zombies even more frightening by showing their glowing skeletal innards as they’re rushing right towards you. Seriously, if you thought regular old zombies were scary before, then just wait until you play this game and get a load of the newfound hell of see-through zombies. Besides the wonderful and jaw-dropping NightVision imagery, Gunner Z also packs on the content, with over 30 high-octane missions and a vast array of tanks and weaponry to ensure you leave those zombies as nothing more than little piles of glow-in-the-dark bones and dust on the ground.
1. The Cave
Developer: SEGA, Double Fine Productions | Platform: iOS | Price: $4.99
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that almost everyone who’s reading this has already experienced the sheer puzzle-platforming gold that was Double Fine and Rob Gilbert’s The Cave: and if you haven’t, then what the heck are you waiting for?! Now that the whimsical and quite humorous adventure into the depths of your characters’ quirky minds has finally seen its long-awaited release on mobile platforms, there was no way this gem of an indie game could stand anywhere below the number one spot on our mobile games list this week! But if you happen to be new to the world of The Cave and the titular narrator’s comic observations, the game plays out as follows: you get to choose three different characters at the beginning of the game, whether a scientist, adventurer, or even a monk, and then use each of their special skills in accordance with one another to maneuver throughout an underground labyrinth that completely changes forms based on your current team selections. It really is quite wonderful, and often feels like you’re playing a cross between those perfect point-and-click adventures in the Monkey Island series and a true-blue puzzle platformer (or maybe that’s just because of all the “Grog” vending machines that you’re going to run into along the way). So get ready to face some of your internal (and hilarious) demons on the go, because The Cave on iOS is finally here!