The best mobile video games can be hard to find, simply because of the sheer number 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.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Yes, I’m aware that by making this my GotW, you’re all now aware of how big a geek I am. If you love the tabletop game Arkham Horror, you know how creepy and awesome good tabletop gaming can be, but with around 700 tokens, cards, and markers, it’s definitely time consuming to play out a full game. Creator Fantasy Flight Games recognized this and created Elder Sign, a more compact experience, and from that, comes Elder Sign: Omens, the most awesome tabletop-to-tablet translation of a game I’ve ever played.
Obviously, explaining the concept of a tabletop game is best left to tutorials and how-to videos on YouTube, but you’re attempting to keep Azathoth (one of Lovecraft’s Ancient Ones) from awakening. To do this, you’ll have to assemble a team of 1-4 members from a field of 16. Each character has their own bonuses, sanity, stamina, and other pros and cons, so choose wisely. The game is set in a museum, where you’ll take missions and attempt to complete them by rolling the virtual dice and matching the symbols.
Even if you don’t play tabletop games (or they intimidate you, but you’ve always wanted to try one), Elder Sign: Omens makes it fun and fairly easy to pick up and play. There are tutorial videos to help you get started (it definitely helped me), but overall, this is an absolutely brilliant translation of a tabletop game without all the pieces to clean up (or lose, which I’ve done). Fantasy Flight, you’ve got my permission to make more iOS versions of your games!
Global nuclear war, post apocalyptic Earth, and a group of survivors hidden deep inside catacombs named The Vaults. It all sounds exciting enough, but developer Art of Bytes went the extra mile and chucked zombies in there for good measure. GRave Defense HD is a tower defense game that puts almost every other game in the genre to shame, with its gorgeous graphics, fun and challenging gameplay, and gruesome story.
Each mission requires you to place all kinds of artillery along the path to The Vaults, keeping the legions of undead from laying the place to waste and killing off the surviving members of humanity. As you progress, you’ll get cash to upgrade your arsenal (the Vulcan machine gun is a personal favorite) to assist in mowing down zombies.
With a fantastic campaign mode with scores of missions, multi-screen levels that prove a challenge for even the most seasoned tower defense junkie, frequent updates, and a survival mode that never quits (at least, until you die)... you’d be crazy not to buy GRave Defense HD, especially considering it’s available on almost every mobile platform out there.
This one’s been out for a bit, but I’m still dying to share, as I keep coming back to it. Great Little War Game is probably the winner of “most accurate titled mobile game,” as it’s exactly as advertised. This is a fantastic turn-based strategy game that offers a lot of fun in a small (but powerful) package.
Each skirmish in the campaign mode pits your army against another enemy’s forces, and you must utilize different types of units to overtake them and win the battle. Each unit has their own range and movement limitations, making you choose wisely when shuttling them around the game board.
While GLWG would be excellent with the campaign mode alone, there’s plenty more to enjoy, including a pass-and-play local multiplayer experience, standalone skirmishes, and voice packs to customize your army’s voiceover during your battles.
iOS (iPhone/iPod Touch) $2.99
Even though there are some excellent ports of RPGs on iOS, it’s always a delight when a truly original RPG comes along. Fara fits the bill nicely, as it’s a grand adventure framed with comical moments across a memorable journey. Our protagonist washes ashore sans memory, and quickly gets recruited by the village elder to embark on an epic quest. It all seems pretty standard; however, a blue blob living on our hero’s arm makes for some witty, self-aware humor as you progress through the game.
Fara only takes a few hours to complete, but it honestly feels about right for the gameplay itself. On top of that, the creators of Fara, Pixel and Texel, is composed of exactly two guys who decided to make a game. Considering so many games crafted by such a small studio end up in development hell, Fara is an awesome feat that’s entertaining and will definitely make you smile.
If you harbor an obsession with K’Nex, Rube Goldberg machines, or the old school board game Mouse Trap, you’ll definitely enjoy what Apparatus has to offer. It’s a physics game that will see you organizing, connecting, and orchestrating a marble (or marbles’) descent/ascent into a plastic bin. You’ll be offered all manner of handy items to help create your contraptions, and while the early levels prove to be fairly simple, once you really get into the meat of the game the stages become pretty tricky.
The single player levels aren’t the best part of Apparatus, though. The game’s greatest strength lay within the sandbox portion of the game, where you can dream up and subsequently build widgets of all shapes, sizes, and types. You can share your creations with the rest of the game’s community, and that feature combined with the ability to actually play those peer-constructed levels make Apparatus a fantastic Android exclusive.
Ashley Esqueda is a semi-notable tech enthusiast, blogger, and all around mobile junkie who contributes to Mobile Nations, Techfoolery, and Tecca. If you're playing a game you think should be in Knuckle Up, follow her on Twitter