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Welcome to G4's Knuckle Up, where we bring you a byte-sized view of our five favorite mobile games every week. The phone and tablet space is filled with incredible games that will keep you busy for minutes, hours, or even days -- we'll let you know what we're playing and why we're playing it. Here are our five favorite games this week:

GAME OF THE WEEK

PUNCH QUEST

iOS (FREE)

No lie, Punch Quest is one of the best damn games we’ve played this year on any mobile device. This arcade-style action game is rocking us like a hurricane this week, and handily snags the Game of the Week title this time around. It might seem like a run-of-the-mill runner, but trust us, the second you punch open an egg and a raptor with lasers shooting out of its mouth pops out, you know this game is more than meets the eye.

The game’s concept is simple: run through levels, punch bad things/chests/environments, and collect in-game currency to buy upgrades. There’s something decidedly Double Dragon about Punch Quest’s art style, and we mean that in the most awesome way possible. Levels are fun to navigate, and (we’ll admit it) sometimes it’s just fun to punch the crap out of stuff.

While playing, you’ll realize that the more time you spend with it, the deeper it gets; indeed, from special moves to costumes, customizing your character is a huge part of Punch Quest’s appeal. And for a free game, you’ll never feel pressured to participate in the IAP, though we happily parted with our cash, just to support the developers at Rocketcat Games!

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Welcome to G4's Knuckle Up, where we bring you a byte-sized view of our five favorite mobile games every week. The phone and tablet space is filled with incredible games that will keep you busy for minutes, hours, or even days -- we'll let you know what we're playing and why we're playing it. Here are our five favorite games this week:

GAME OF THE WEEK

DON’T LOOK BACK

iOS (FREE) | Android (FREE)

The brilliant Terry Cavanagh (Super Hexagon, VVVVVV) returns with Don’t Look Back, a crazy good 8-bit game that’s atmospheric, challenging, and fun as hell. There’s no fluff here -- Cavanagh’s created a game that’s stripped to its core -- but even without all the bells and whistles a “cutting edge” mobile game might possess, Don’t Look Back does a stellar job of sucking you in and refusing to let you go.

There’s no story. You’re an 8-bit dude that appears on the screen next to a tombstone. Simple left-right controls dictate your movement and quickly add jumping and shooting to your repertoire. That’s it, though. No spells, no health bars, no silly IAP; in fact, the game’s environments are mostly crafted in shades of red, with generous portions of black/total darkness complimenting it.

There’s nothing truly easy about Don’t Look Back. Just like Super Hexagon, sometimes you’ll find yourself yelling at the screen as you try to shoot down a fast-approaching snake or jump off a platform before it disappears. But that’s really part of the fun of Don’t Look Back -- at least to us -- and it’s a solid (and completely free) game that anyone who loves old Colecovision games should grab.

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Welcome to G4's Knuckle Up, where we bring you a byte-sized view of our five favorite mobile games every week. The phone and tablet space is filled with incredible games that will keep you busy for minutes, hours, or even days -- we'll let you know what we're playing and why we're playing it. Here are our five favorite games this week:

GAME OF THE WEEK

DEVIL’S ATTORNEY

iOS ($2.99) | Android ($3.00)

Max McMann is a terrible role model, and our new hero. Devil’s Attorney revolves around the dashing, self-centered McMann and his quest to get the dregs of society off scot-free, while simultaneously furnishing his apartment, dressing well, and upgrading his sports car. It’s not always easy to get that “Not Guilty,” though...

If we had to describe the gameplay in Devil’s Attorney, we’d probably say it was like a simple card game, but with hilarious dialogue and a protagonist you hate to love (he reminded us a little of one Sterling Archer). Each case offers a funny intro, and then you’ll spend points over your turn chipping away at the prosecution, who trot out evidence, witnesses, and modifiers to them that complicate your plan to win.

There’s so much to love about Devil’s Attorney, we couldn’t possibly squeeze it into such a short review. It’s a “pure” mobile game, free of IAP and ads, making it a crime not to buy it. The gameplay is so solid and amusing, you’ll end up replaying it just to listen to Max’s banter with each prosecutor. The only thing we’re guilty of is loving this game too much.

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Welcome to G4's Knuckle Up, where we bring you a byte-sized view of our five favorite mobile games every week. The phone and tablet space is filled with incredible games that will keep you busy for minutes, hours, or even days -- we'll let you know what we're playing and why we're playing it.

This is a special edition, dedicated to our 5 favorite scary mobile games!

DEAD SPACE

iPad ($9.99) iPhone ($6.99) | Android ($6.99) | BlackBerry PlayBook ($6.99)

First, we would like to point out that we’re huge fans of Dead Space’s availability across multiple mobile platforms (shout out to our PlayBook lovers!). That being said, let’s talk Dead Space, and why it’s so damn good. We love the console version of Dead Space, and this is an extension of that title: you play as “Vandal,” and it’s up to you to exact vengeance upon the aliens who’ve slaughtered the space colony “Sprawl.”

In the grand tradition of sci-fi/horror franchises like Alien and Resident Evil, Dead Space crafts a universe that’s both claustrophobic, yet lonely -- a perfect combination for creating uneasiness, bolstered by superb sound mixing. Play this one in the dark with headphones on, and you’re guaranteed a horror experience on par with the best in mobile gaming. Don’t miss the back rooms for additional goodies (and scares). Dead Space is a must-buy for anyone who’s a fan of the genre.

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Welcome to G4's Knuckle Up, where we bring you a byte-sized view of our five favorite mobile games every week. The phone and tablet space is filled with incredible games that will keep you busy for minutes, hours, or even days -- we'll let you know what we're playing and why we're playing it. Here are our five favorite games this week:

GAME OF THE WEEK

THE LAST EXPRESS

iOS ($4.99)

Dot Emu is the team responsible for the fabulous port of classic Another World, and they’ve really impressed us with their newest effort, a port of the mystery/adventure classic The Last Express. The first time The Last Express was in gamers’ hands, it was back in 1997. Today, it translates well to the iPhone and iPad, offering a rich and intriguing story, hand-drawn animation, and solid voice acting.

The story takes place in 1914, on one of the most famous trains in history, the Orient Express. You play as Robert Cath, a mysterious man who’s boarded the moving train in order to meet up with his friend, Tyler Whitney. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but a few minutes into the game, it’s obvious things aren’t going according to plan.

One thing we love about The Last Express is that it takes place in real time, over a train ride from Paris to Istanbul. And we hope you’re a master sleuth, because events will happen whether you’re there to witness/hear them or not, so you’ll want to be sharp and efficient as you solve the mystery that unfolds around you. The Last Express is a wonderful port of a game; it’s tough, but that makes reaching the end all the more satisfying.

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Welcome to G4's Knuckle Up, where we bring you a byte-sized view of our five favorite mobile games every week. The phone and tablet space is filled with incredible games that will keep you busy for minutes, hours, or even days -- we'll let you know what we're playing and why we're playing it. Here are our five favorite games this week:

GAME OF THE WEEK

BAD PIGGIES

iPhone ($0.99) | iPad ($5.95) | Android (FREE) | WP8 (TBA)

We’ve been subjected to every type of Angry Birds theme and spinoff, but now, Rovio’s released Bad Piggies. It’s time to play for the other team, and instead of re-hashing the Angry Birds pull-to-slingshot formula, Rovio presents a fun, full title that compliments everything you love about Angry Birds and still manages to retain its own personality.

The pigs you’ve come to know and loathe in Angry Birds hatch a plan to (once again) steal eggs. Unfortunately, a gust of wind blows their blueprint into a sharply-bladed fan, ripping it up and blowing it all over the land. Instead of destroying pre-built constructs, Bad Piggies requires you build wacky contraptions for the pigs so they can collect plan fragments. As you progress, the grid of potential components widens, and you unlock all kinds of parts (propellors, balloons, fans, bottle rockets) to add to your little cars.

We’ll admit, we were skeptical seeing another game from this franchise (franchises sometimes burn out long before the installments stop), but we’re majorly impressed with Bad Piggies. It’s creative, funny, and a must-have in your mobile gaming library.

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Welcome to G4's Knuckle Up, where we bring you a byte-sized view of our five favorite mobile games every week. The phone and tablet space is filled with incredible games that will keep you busy for minutes, hours, or even days -- we'll let you know what we're playing and why we're playing it. Here are our top five games this week:

GAME OF THE WEEK

LILI

iOS ($4.99)

Lili is a beautiful iOS title we’ve been waiting for since Apple showed it off at the iPhone event earlier this month, and it’s well worth the wait. This is a gorgeous, whimsical adventure RPG with some very fine touches and compelling themes. Lili is also the name of the game’s heroine, who finds herself on a strange world named Geos -- home to some very odd inhabitants, indeed -- and must begin a journey that will change not only her life, but the lives of the creatures living there.

If you’re feeling tentative about a 3D game with touch controls, you’re not alone; we felt the same trepidation as we started playing Lili. Fortunately, the controls are really well executed, using a “tap once to auto-walk/run, tap again to stop” scheme, and you’ll rarely find yourself frustrated as you wander around and look at your surroundings. The game revolves around flowers (Lili’s studying them), and Lili will need to pick flowers off the backs of Spirits roaming around Geos. As always, as she progresses, those mini-battles become more and more difficult (but we think it scales nicely).

Lili’s themes of oppression and bringing down authoritarian regimes are beautifully done, with the game’s script striking a balance between too fluffy and too morose exceedingly well. Bitmonster (Lili’s creators) doesn’t pull any punches letting you know how cruel Spirits are to the lowly Constructs, and it’s incredibly effective at drawing you in and endearing you to the characters you meet.

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Welcome to G4's Knuckle Up, where we bring you a byte-sized view of our five favorite mobile games every week. The phone and tablet space is filled with incredible games that will keep you busy for minutes, hours, or even days -- we'll let you know what we're playing and why we're playing it. Here are our top five games this week:

GAME OF THE WEEK

RAYMAN JUNGLE RUN

iOS ($2.99) | Android (Sept 27)

Ubisoft finally made our dreams come true this week by releasing Rayman Jungle Run for iOS and Android, bringing the magic of the Rayman franchise to mobile and delighting legions of long time fans (and snagging some new ones, too). It’s not a “true” Rayman game in that it’s not a platformer. On the contrary, it’s a runner in the same vein as Jetpack Joyride or Canabalt. There are some key features that make it unique, though, and Ubisoft manages to retain all the gleeful personality of the franchise.

Rayman automatically runs in the game, while you’ll be in charge of controlling his jumps (and other movements later) as he speeds through each level. As Rayman runs, the goal is to collect all the Lums throughout an area. Collect them all, and you’ll be rewarded with a red gem that doubles as a tooth -- collect five gem teeth, and an ultra-tough level unlocks to challenge you.

As for the environment, it’s everything you’d expect from a Rayman title (i.e., it’s jaw-droppingly beautiful on the new iPad). We do wish there was a little more variety in the music section, but it’s a small price to pay for such an insanely good mobile game. If there’s ever been a more awesome console to mobile spinoff than Rayman Jungle Run, we’ve never heard of it, not to mention it’s an almost-perfect addition to the runner genre. And Android users, take note: Rayman Jungle Run got pushed back from a launch on Sept. 20th to the 27th, so don’t despair!

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Welcome to G4's Knuckle Up, where we bring you a byte-sized view of our five favorite mobile games every week. The phone and tablet space is filled with incredible games that will keep you busy for minutes, hours, or even days -- we'll let you know what we're playing and why we're playing it. Here are our top five games this week:

GAME OF THE WEEK

TIME GEEKS & FRIENDS

iOS (Free, $2.99)

The original Time Geeks: Find All! was a super awesome, stylized Where’s Waldo for the digital generation (if you don’t have it, you’re missing out), and now, Ivanovich Games presents us with Time Geeks & Friends, an offshoot containing one of the most requested features for Time Geeks... multiplayer! If you’re wondering why the developers chose to make this its own standalone app, it’s not hard to see why once you get into it: this is a fully functional, asynchronous multiplayer app with a lot of moving parts.

The game still retains that ultra-hip pixel art from the original (altering it would be sacrilege), but now, instead of going from locale to locale searching for specific sprites, your finish times will be challenged by other seekers. There’s also a new coin system, requiring you to “pay” for each game you play, and power-ups can also be purchased before each round. The power-ups definitely give you a leg up (they can add time to the clock, clear the skies, and focus on where a target is), but they’re not so overly powerful that it would make a match lopsided if your opponent had keen eyes. Coins generate over time, too, so if you’re worried about a big IAP push, you’re okay there.

The free version offers up multiplayer mode with a slower coin clock, and the premium version offers a “Kids Mode” (read: single player seeking), and a faster coin clock. Either way, Time Geeks & Friends is a fantastic offering from Ivanovich Games, and well worth your mobile gaming time and budget.

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Tags: iPad, iPhone, Mobile

Welcome to G4's Knuckle Up, where we bring you a byte-sized view of our five favorite mobile games every week. The phone and tablet space is filled with incredible games that will keep you busy for minutes, hours, or even days -- we'll let you know what we're playing and why we're playing it. Here are our top five games this week:

GAME OF THE WEEK

BASTION

iOS ($4.99)

“Wow.” -- That’s the first word out of our mouths after booting up the iOS port of Bastion on our iPads, and it’s well deserved. If you’re not already familiar with Bastion, it’s the first game from developer Supergiant Games, and it’s been showered in awards and accolades across multiple platforms (XBLA, Steam, Linux, Mac App Store, and even the Chrome Web Store). Now, it’s been brought to the iPad, and it’s just as transcendent.

We don’t want to give too much story away, so we’ll just say this: You’re a kid who’s world is shattered, and you’ll have to work alongside a mysterious stranger to help rebuild it. It’s simple, yet effective, and the interactive dialogue between you and the stranger as “The Kid” progresses through each level is masterful. Oh, and the voiceover for the stranger is downright incredible -- no joke -- and takes Bastion to another level of perfection. He’ll speak reactively as The Kid wanders through the world, offering exhibition and comments that set the mood of the world.

Bastion’s combat system and control schemes have been revamped for the iOS port; they’re very well done, offering a fluid and fun gameplay experience. There are also plenty of upgrades available for different types of weaponry, and any combination of items are viable in combat. Bastion is one of the best games we’ve ever had the pleasure of playing on iOS, so if you’re on the fence about picking it up, we’re telling you to take the leap. You won’t be sorry.

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Welcome to G4's Knuckle Up, where we bring you a byte-sized view of our five favorite mobile games every week. The phone and tablet space is filled with incredible games that will keep you busy for minutes, hours, or even days -- we'll let you know what we're playing and why we're playing it. Here are our top five games this week:

GAME OF THE WEEK

THE WORLD ENDS WITH YOU: SOLO REMIX

iOS (iPhone Only $17.99, iPad Only $19.99)

Another game making its way to mobile, The World Ends With You: Solo Remix (TWEWY) is the latest in a series of ports from Square-Enix, and it’s fantastically done. When Neku finds himself in Shibuya (an ultra hip sector of Tokyo famous for its fashion and nightlife) without any memory of how he arrived there, he comes to realize he’s been recruited to play the Reaper’s Game... and failure will result in “erasure.”

For those not familiar with TWEWY, there’s a lot going on, mechanics-wise. Pins act as your attacks, and you’ll use them to swipe and tap your way to victory in battles. Neku’s joined early in the game by a perky girl named Shiki who also provides attacks (with a nifty new Sync system that allows you to alternate attacks, build up a meter to 100%, and then unleash screenwide destruction on your foes.

The artwork and soundtrack alone make TWEWY one of the most compelling and deep titles on the App Store, and the gameplay compliments a touch screen perfectly. Some may balk at the price tag, or the iPhone edition’s incompatibility with the iPad (no scaling up allowed), but TWEWY is worth picking one device to play it on, and sticking with it to the end.

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Welcome to G4's Knuckle Up, where we bring you a byte-sized view of our five favorite mobile games every week. The phone and tablet space is filled with incredible games that will keep you busy for minutes, hours, or even days -- we'll let you know what we're playing and why we're playing it. Here are our top five games this week:

GAME OF THE WEEK

HORN

iOS ($6.99) | Android (Aug 2012)

We’ll be honest, we were a bit nervous when we heard Phosphor Games was announced as a Zynga Partner for Mobile for their newest title, Horn. Fortunately, it seems Zynga hasn’t interfered with the development of the game itself, and is lending its big name to help Phosphor keep themselves near the top of the App Store for a sustained period of time. But let’s get to the game, shall we?

Horn is the story of a boy named... well, Horn. One day, he wakes up to his world completely changed: his town is in ruins, there are some colossus-like beings wandering about, and he has no idea what’s happened. Of course, the best adventures begin thusly, and Horn sets out to make things right and get everything back to normal. The very first thing you’ll notice are the environments. In fact, you’ll keep noticing them; Horn has a visual quality reminiscent of Fable, and you’ll never cease to be amazed at the beauty packed into every detail. Everywhere you look, Horn is lovely. The voice acting is fantastic too, with some talented folks giving life to each entity you come across (Gourd’s is particularly great).

The combat mechanics are solid, with an Infinity Blade-esque feel to them. Unfortunately, the controls can be a bit unwieldy, with a “tap on a spot to move to it” scheme that’s mediocre at best and frustrating at worst, so we’re hoping Phosphor adds in a virtual d-pad to help ease the pain of invisible walls. Overall though, it’s a minor annoyance that tends to fade into the background once you get the hang of it, and it shouldn’t keep anyone interested from picking it up.

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Welcome to G4's Knuckle Up, where we bring you a byte-sized view of our five favorite mobile games every week. The phone and tablet space is filled with incredible games that will keep you busy for minutes, hours, or even days -- we'll let you know what we're playing and why we're playing it. Here are our top five games this week:

GAME OF THE WEEK

JACK LUMBER

iOS ($0.99 Launch Special Ends 8/19/2012)

We’ve been conditioned our whole lives to love trees. To protect them. To make sure nobody rips em outta the ground... until now. We’re talking about Jack Lumber, the newest game from Owlchemy Labs. You’ll be cutting down a bunch of lumber in this game, but we promise those trees totally deserved it. Jack’s a lumberjack -- shocker, we know -- and he’s out for revenge. You see, trees came around and crushed his granny, and now, Jack’s on a mission to take down those pine-jerks.

Jack Lumber offers an interesting twist on the swipe-to-cut formula we’ve seen in titles like Fruit Ninja: instead of objects in fluid motion challenging you to cut them before they leave the screen, Jack Lumber goes into slow motion to let you cut wood when you touch the screen. You only get one shot at creating a trail through each piece, it has to be a continuous trail (meaning lifting your finger off the screen ends the cut each round), and you can only slice the logs lengthwise.

At first, it’s a pretty simple task, but as the levels grow in difficulty, you’ll have to manage single-direction cuts, logs that require multiple passes, bombs, and avoiding innocent woodland creatures. Add in a funny (and solid!) story, hilarious power-ups, and non-intrusive IAP, and Jack Lumber is an easy shoo-in for one of this year’s best iOS games.

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Welcome to G4's Knuckle Up, where we bring you a byte-sized view of our five favorite mobile games every week. The phone and tablet space is filled with incredible games that will keep you busy for minutes, hours, or even days -- we'll let you know what we're playing and why we're playing it. Here are our top five games this week:

GAME OF THE WEEK

ORGAN TRAIL: DIRECTOR’S CUT

iOS ($2.99) | Android ($2.99)

Pretty much every older gamer out there has a special place in their heart for The Oregon Trail, a sim game that introduced legions of young schoolchildren to the perils of cholera, dysentery, snakebites, and fording rivers. Now, Organ Trail: Director’s Cut is out for Android and iOS... and it’s appealing to a new generation by replacing covered wagons with station wagons, and a trip to Oregon with a gruesome survival game featuring our favorite undead-izens: zombies.

There are a lot of elements that remain similar to the original Oregon Trail: a classic Apple II look and a delightfully old school soundtrack trigger the very best of PC gaming’s origins. You’ll still need to purchase supplies, keep your party from getting sick and/or bitten, and get your wagon from one side of the map to the next... but there’s a dark glee in Organ Trail that’s flat-out brilliant, and they’ve made some important changes to the game’s mechanics that prove distinct high points.

Other evils out on the road besides zombies also look to slow you down (or kill you). Bandits will sneak around and snatch supplies out of your station wagon as you travel the trail, and sometimes, they’ll even kidnap a member of your party, prompting you to rescue them. Bosses pop up on the shooting screen as you hunt down zombies, and jobs in towns can prove to be just as deadly as the rest of the trail. Your journey in Organ Trail is bleak, depressing, and often miserable -- but that’s what makes it so awesome.

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Welcome to G4's Knuckle Up, where we bring you a byte-sized view of our five favorite mobile games every week. The phone and tablet space is filled with incredible games that will keep you busy for minutes, hours, or even days -- we'll let you know what we're playing and why we're playing it. Here are our top five games this week:

GAME OF THE WEEK

TINY WINGS 2

iPhone | iPad

The best part about Tiny Wings 2 is if you purchased the original, you now have the full, upgraded sequel on your iOS device. That’s right, Tiny Wings 2 is a fully free sequel disguised as an “update” from its creator, as a thank you to everyone who made the original such a success. Sure, if you want an HD version, you’ll have to pick it up separately, but that’s a-okay by us, for reasons we’ll get into later in this short review.

It’s a brilliant sequel, playing to the strengths of the first Tiny Wings without changing the game too much (or not changing it enough). You’ll still have access to the first Tiny Wings via “Chapter 1: Day Trip,” so you won’t miss out on the charm of the original, but the real fun begins when you head over to “Chapter 2: Flight School.” Now, you’ll be able to choose from four birds to race as, and the ones you don’t choose become your AI opponents, flying and bobbing through the land and air. The maps are far more uneven and interesting compared to the first game, and it makes for a far more strategic experience as you attempt to keep your bird flying high.

Any iPad owners wondering why they should drop the extra $2.99 for the HD version of Tiny Wings 2 will be delighted to hear the graphics look extra stunning on a Retina Display, and even more importantly, you’ll receive a special iPad-only local multiplayer mode (“Chapter 3: Hill Party”). And let us tell you, there are few things more fun that playing Tiny Wings 2 against a friend.

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