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.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Sometimes, steampunk is really overdone these days; fortunately, Greed Corp manages to strike a perfect balance between a steampunk look and great gameplay on both Android and iOS. This is a fantastic turn-based strategy game with some interesting twists, and even if you’ve played it on XBLA, PS3, or PC, you’ll want to pick it up on your favorite mobile device.
There’s standard strategy fare like harvesters, cannons, and units to build, but Greed Corp ups the ante significantly by utilizing a land collapsing mechanic; that is, each time your harvesters pull resources at the start of your turn, the land crumbles a bit more. Run out of resources and that part of the grid falls into the abyss, taking any units placed on it, never to be seen again. It’s a relatively small tweak, but makes a huge difference in gameplay and strategy.
The single player campaign in Greed Corp is excellent, and offers a fun 1920’s style soundtrack to play to. In addition, the multiplayer provides local, online, computer or any combination of the three to face off against. You won’t regret this one.
iOS (Universal) $0.99
This is a pretty cool one - Raccoon Rising combines physics, platforming, and scrolling action into one whimsical, charming title. You’re a raccoon whose home in the Tanuki Forest is threatened by evil tree-cutting robots, and it’s up to you to figure out who’s behind it and put a stop to the destruction. Artistically, RR is flat-out cute; the parallax 2D lends the game just the right amount of dimension without feeling overwhelming.
As for the gameplay, I really like the direction Romper Games took: they chose to go for a vertical-scroller as opposed to a side-scrolling game. I think this gives the game that little something different that makes you do a double take while shopping in the App Store, and it’s certainly a fresh breath of air to go skyward instead of left to right.
There are some moments where the controls in RR make a couple of jumps a little frustrating, but overall, Raccoon Rising is a rich game filled with a lot of things that make the adventure platforming genre great. Also, bonus points for cribbing the Inception soundtrack in the trailer, which proved both hilarious and unexpected.
The very first time I saw a stick figure fight mini-movie, it blew my mind. Now, with the help of Cartoon Wars: Gunner, I can live out my stick figure killing fantasies to my twisted heart’s content. It’s a pretty straightforward concept: you’re the faceless hero, and you have to destroy everything coming at you before they kill you.
Fortunately, the game never lets that concept get boring via weapon upgrades. There are more mayhem-inducing weaponry in Cartoon Wars: Gunner than I can shake an Uzi at, making the later levels both challenging and fun as hell as you mow down bad guys with your favorite weapon of mass destruction.
It’s now free on both Android and iOS, and while the ads can be an annoyance, it’s worth a look, if only for the arsenal of attack at your fingertips.
iOS (Universal) $0.99
I’ve always been interested in germs and how the human body works; in fact, Fantastic Voyage is still one of my favorite movies. Tiny Invaders seizes on an offshoot of this concept, allowing you to play as tiny aliens attempting to take over Earth by infecting human hosts. Their ultimate target? Why, the President of the United States, of course!
The game’s very easy to play: you tap the main alien to release your germs, collect orbs, and spread the infection throughout the bloodstream in each level. You do this by utilizing the bloodstream like a train track, tapping a junction to “switch the track” and change direction. It’s a simple mechanic that really shines here, and you’ll definitely get your gears turning while figuring out how to speed through each level as quickly as possible. As in many mobile games these days, there’s a score of 1-3 stars given when you complete a level, rewarded based on time.
Newly-formed studio Hogrocket should be proud of their efforts, and even though it’s out with a good amount of levels (60) for you to test your infection skills at, I’m sure we’ll see even more really cool features and new hosts to infect in Tiny Invaders soon.
Defender is a game I thought I’d be playing for a short while and then walking away from, but instead I became addicted almost immediately, and I keep coming back to it for quick play if I’m waiting around while out and about. It’s one-touch gameplay that provides a perfect dose of gaming if you’re on the go: simply defend your castle from incoming intruders. How does one defend? Just tap the screen where you want to shoot, and your main weapon at the castle gate will shoot in the direction of your tap; long pressing activates auto-shoot.
You’ve also got some magic at your disposal, which acts as a welcome AOE damage ability for those tight spots. In addition to the basics, there’s a robust upgrade system available, including castle defense, weapon strength, and other options. Bosses shake things up just when you start getting comfortable, and you’ll find yourself giddy with joy at every potential invader you zap into oblivion or shoot down with your bow.
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 or circle her on Google+ and send it over!