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The Best Mobile Games - Week Of October 2: G4's Knuckle Up

AshleyEsqueda
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Posted October 7, 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.


KATAMARI AMORE
(iOS)
iOS: FREE

I go nuts when a new Katamari game is released. I don’t care what platform it’s on, there’s a general sense of elation for the Prince and his rolling ball of fun. Katamari Amore is a followup to I Love Katamari on iOS, and it doesn’t disappoint. If you’ve never played a Katamari game before, the concept is simple: roll a sticky ball around and pick up increasingly large things (start small with stuff like paper clips and work your way up to skyscrapers). It’s patently awesome in all the right ways: joyful, funny, silly, and weird.

This time around, instead of shelling out cash up front, you’re able to get Katamari Amore for free; however, the only thing available in the free version is one stage’s “Time Attack Mode.” If you want all the story modes, you’ll have to grab them via in-app purchase. While the camera can sometimes be annoying when you’re backed up against a wall, it doesn’t hamper your overall enjoyment of the game, and you can also customize the controls to your liking.

There’s nothing quite like the Katamari franchise, and Katamari Amore is another win for the series.


JELLY DEFENSE
(iOS/Android)
iOS: $0.99 (Launch Special)
Android: $0.99 (Launch Special)

I know, I know. I’ve been slacking on the tower defense games. This week, though, I’m crazy about Jelly Defense. It’s a visually stunning tower defense game that offers some cool mechanics and fun challenges; if you’re not playing it right now, you’re missing out on one of the best mobile games out there that’s great for everyone.

Your mission is to defend the Jelly nation from invaders, and you do so by spending coins to build various types of towers to fend off the incoming hordes. Your enemies drop coins when they die, funding your operation. The color of your towers show what color of invaders they can attack, and later in the game you’re really pushed to make intelligent and strategic decisions on tower placement.

Jelly Defense is definitely a straightforward tower defense game without any surprises, but the game’s look really takes it to another level, as does its simple gameplay controls and easy learning curve. It’s absolutely worth more than its current launch special price of $0.99, so grab it while it’s cheap, and start defending your Jelly citizens!


BLOCK BREAKER 3 UNLIMITED
(iOS/Android)
iOS: iPhone $0.99 | iPad $0.99
Android: $0.99

The original Breakout provided hours of entertainment at the dawn of the gaming revolution, and now, Block Breaker 3 Unlimited takes that concept to a whole new level. It’s a wild, colorful brick breaker with a lot of personality. Instead of a single wall of bricks to destroy, BB3U employs multiple levels of action in each stage and throws all kinds of things at you: crazy power-ups, enemies, and big boss battles at the end of every location.

If you’re wondering about the replay value of BB3U, it’s really high. Not only do you get 100 levels to play in the standard game mode, there are a whopping EIGHT additional game modes you’re able to unlock. There are also plenty of upgrades and enhancements you can pick up with in-game cash at the shop, and there’s even a level generator if you ever happen to burn through the rest of the game’s content. Don’t miss this one if you’ve ever loved brick breaker arcade games.


BURN THE ROPE
(iOS/Android/Ovi)
iOS: Lite FREE | iPhone $0.99 | iPad $2.99
Android: SD FREE | HD $3.03
Ovi: $2.99

I like to revisit an older game every week on Knuckle Up, and this week it’s Burn the Rope, a nifty little time waster that will keep you occupied for hours. The premise is pretty straight forward: touch rope to spark a flame, and keep the flame burning by rotating the screen around and ensuring the fire is always flaming upwards. But it doesn’t remain easy for long...

BtR throws some unique challenges at you, like colored ropes that can only be burned with the same color fire and a variety of bugs that react in different ways when they’re scorched by your fire. The puzzles can be devilishly tricky at certain points, and with a grand total of 117 levels, you’ll definitely be busy setting fires to ropes for a while. My favorite feature? The 1.3 update’s “Puzzle of the Day,” where you can check out user-made Burn the Rope puzzles (and submit one of your own, if you’re so inclined).


PIXEL RANGER
(iOS)
iOS: iPhone $0.99

Any reservations I might have had about Pixel Ranger went right out the window after the first time I gave it a whirl. This is a fun little shooter that’s got a lot of style; you’ll find yourself grinning as you tilt your 8-bit cowboy ranger back and forth across the screen, shooting down neon pixel monsters. It’s a very simple game with easy-to-use controls, but definitely offers a challenge as you progress.

Our hero’s looking to rescue his lovely lady and his steed from aliens, and he’s got to load up his gun with pixel ammo. You’ve got unlimited lives, but there’s a catch: if you run out of pixels, that’s the end of our intrepid gunslinger. Sometimes, conserving ammo and shooting down multiple fiends at once is the only way to get to the next level.

There are some fun power-ups and a kooky, goofy soundtrack to enjoy. Pixel Ranger is great fun for the price, and even though there’s only an iPhone version, the 2x mode on iPad looks pretty decent because of the 8-bit art style!

Bonus Round!

Knuckle Up

PSYCHONAUTS VAULT VIEWER! (iOS)
iOS: FREE

Okay, so it’s not exactly a *game* in the traditional sense, but I couldn’t NOT mention the Psychonauts Vault Viewer! I’m solidly in the camp of folks who believe Psychonauts is the greatest platformer of all time. Its humor, heart, and bizarre yet adorable artwork and design came together and made an indelible mark on my soul back in 2005, and the only regret in life I have currently is the fact that I’m not yet rich enough to shower Double Fine with riches so I can play the sequel.

So what is the Vault Viewer? In Psychonauts, our psychic protagonist Raz discovered slideshows of many of the game’s characters, offering a look into their psyche and how they became the broken minds he must fix. This is a simple app that allows you to view every vault available in the game, with an added bonus of absolutely hilarious audio commentary by gaming demigod Tim Schafer and uber-talented artist Scott Campbell.

Do yourself a favor and grab this app. Never played Psychonauts? First off, that’s criminal, and second, you can easily remedy that by hitting up the official Psychonauts site and grabbing a Steam or Mac App Store copy for ten bucks. Don’t hesitate, and enjoy the meat circus!

Ashley Esqueda is a semi-notable tech enthusiast, blogger, and all around mobile junkie who currently covers mobile technology and hosts shows and podcasts for sites including Android Central, Techfoolery, and Tecca. She's thrilled to be booting up the Mobile Games Roundup here on G4TV.com, since mobile games are proving to be compelling, fun, and constantly evolving. Every week, she rounds 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, hit her up on Twitter @ashleyesqueda!

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