The Best Mobile Games - Week of September 11: G4's Knuckle Up

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Posted September 16, 2011 - By Ashley Esqueda

The best mobile video games can be hard to find, simply because of the sheer amount of titles out there. But, worry not! Welcome to G4's Knuckle Up, where we bring you a byte-sized view of our five favorite mobile games every week. The mobile 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's our top five games this week.


(iOS – iPad 2 only)
iPad: $4.99 

Do you remember the point-and-click adventures we used to love back in the 90’s? If so, you’ll love Machinarium, a game from Amanita Designs. It’s eccentric, gorgeous, and everything a point-and-click puzzle game should be. Machinarium revolves around an adorable little bot trying to rescue his friend from some fiendish metal jerks. Exploring the world consists of picking up objects, solving great (sometimes seriously mind bending) puzzles, and interacting with other mechanical beings.

Make no mistake, this game (ported from Flash to iOS via Adobe AIR) is a beast; unfortunately, because of the demands the game makes on memory and processor, it’s currently only compatible with iPad 2. In addition, I wish it were longer (I hope they have plans to release more chapters in the future).

Despite these shortcomings, Machinarium is a sight to behold, and a wonder to experience. There’s a free demo available on the developer website (the flash version of the game) if you’re on the fence… but be warned, Machinarium will suck you in faster than a Hoover.

iPhone/iPad: $0.99 
Android: $0.99 

There are a lot of asteroid-shooters out there, but recently, I’ve been having fun with A Game with Balls, a fun and pretty shooter that’s simple in concept and quick to pick up. Your cannon shoots bullets at the incoming hordes of balls, and you’ve got to keep them from hitting your cannon. Each level is survival based, so you only get one life to keep those balls from wrecking your streak. The game’s controls offer you either tilt or touch options (I preferred the touch option), and the music isn’t intrusive or overly boring, creating a balanced play environment.

The longer you can survive a level, the more balls you get to spend, unlocking other levels with various themes. They’re all very cool looking and each have their own soundtrack and feel to them. For a buck, AGWB is great fun if you’re into asteroid-shooters or artsy arcade-style games.

iPhone: $0.99
iPad: $2.99 

I’m a terrible virtual driver, but I love racing games. How do I find a balance between the two? Well, tracing a path on a racetrack seems like a pretty good compromise. That’s where DrawRace 2 comes in. The original Draw Race left little to be improved on, or so I thought… but DrawRace 2 somehow proves me wrong. DR2’s updated graphics leave DR1’s cartoonish tracks and cars in the dust, and looks stunning on iPad.

The concept of DrawRace 2 is easy enough: trace your path around a track before the race starts, and then watch as your car maneuvers about with the other racers. The only in-race control comes via a Turbo button, and the speed at which you take corners and drive is determined by the swipe speed while you trace your path.

It’s not a traditional racing game, to be sure, but DrawRace 2 is a nice change of pace from full-control race titles. The three different difficulty levels add a nice challenge to each track, making DrawRace 2 a great choice. One drawback, though: It’s not universal, a missing feature that seems glaringly obvious to me.

(iOS – iPad)
iPad: Free 

Strategy games are pretty hit or miss with me: Either they bore me to death or they captivate me for hours on end. Crimson: Steam Pirates does the latter; it’s a really cool steampunk take on naval strategy games that’s challenging and enjoyable to play. You take the helm as Thomas Blood, and the first chapter has eight missions to complete.

The game is a turn-based, light naval warfare strategy game, meaning it doesn’t get bogged down by complex minutiae and proves to be a good balance between strategy and pick-up-and-play mobile games. The first chapter is excellent, offering really cool at-sea battles with all sorts of steampunk ships (including submarines and airships), objectives, and abilities. There’s even a pass-and-play option for local multiplayer.

If you’re looking for a cool strategy game with a fun story, snag Crimson: Steam Pirates immediately. The best part? The first chapter is free in the App Store, with future chapters offered as in-app purchases. This one’s definitely worth checking out.

iPhone/iPad: $0.99
Android: $2.99 

There’s nothing I enjoy more than being the bad guy. In addition, I have a tattoo of the Beetlejuice sandworm that makes a cameo in The Nightmare Before Christmas. If these things seem unrelated, I thought they were too… until I played Death Worm.

Imagine being a gigantic killer worm with razor sharp teeth that can breach the ground like a killer whale, but instead of catching seals, you get to eat humans. Yup. That’s the game. It’s reminiscent of arcade classics (for some reason, I’m reminded of Rampage when I play it), and you get a campaign mode, mini games, and the newly added survival mode in the app. While simple, the physics are excellent and the basic controls make it very easy to pick up and play.

On top of eating civilians, you get to chew up cops, military (ground units and choppers), airplanes, elephants, and more. Death Worm is a slightly older game in the mobile space, but it’s still a game that you get huge amounts of replay value and fun factor with.

Ashley Esqueda is a semi-notable tech enthusiast and all around mobile junkie who currently covers mobile tech and hosts tech-related shows for sites like Android CentralTiPbThis Week In, and Tecca. She's thrilled to be booting up the Mobile Games Roundup here on G4TV.com, since mobile is a huge space with some incredible games. Every week, she'll round up her five favorite mobile games in every genre, and she's always on the lookout for the next big thing.

If you've got a game you think should be considered for the roundup, tell her about it in the comments or hit her up on Twitter@ashleyesqueda!

The Best Mobile Games - Week of September 11: G4's Knuckle Up


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