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
iOS (iPhone/iPod Touch) $1.99 | iOS (iPad) $2.99 | iOS (Lite) FREE | Android (Universal) $1.99
I hadn’t heard of MovieCat before last week... but now that I know it exists, I’ve lost many hours to it. Yes, it’s old (it was released over a year ago); however, with Thanksgiving weekend upon us, many of us geeks will be relegated to spending it in the company of family. And if you’re like my family, we love a little competition.
MovieCat combines two of my favorite things in this world: movie trivia, and cats. Seriously. While that might seem completely insane, it somehow all works, and so well that I found myself wishing there were actual cat versions of some of the movie scenes and costumes you’ll see while playing the game. This game will charm the hell out of you.
With a two player pass-and-play mode, question packs, and just flat-out fun gameplay, pick this one up for the holidays and play with your friends and family. If you’re a movie trivia buff, you’ll go crazy for MovieCat, so don’t miss out on it.
iOS (Universal) FREE
There are a lot of people out there playing games like FarmVille and the like; however, there aren’t too many games out there of that ilk that have the machismo that Battle Nations does. This is FarmVille for guys, people, make no mistake; fortunately, it’s actually quite fun and adds some turn-based strategy fights to keep your interest.
In Battle Nations, you’re in charge of the Elite Imperial Army as they expand the Empire and fight various foes in the process. You’ll be tasked with building barracks, training soldiers, growing crops to feed them, harvesting resources, and then protecting all of those resources from would-be attackers. It’s time based, just like its brethren (five minutes to grow cabbage, etc.), and you can earn Nanopods to speed up any process you wish. Of course, you can buy them as well via IAP, which is what they’re hoping for, but you can play the game for free just fine if you’re patient.
I really enjoyed the turn-based battles in BN. As you build out your turf and expand the Empire, various enemies will attempt to thwart those plans and pillage your operations. You tap on them when they arrive, and get taken to a grid where you’ll take down those enemies and strategize based on your troops and their abilities. It’s a cool addition that keeps the game from turning into a snoozefest while you wait for tasks to complete.
iOS (Universal) $0.99 | Android (Universal) $1.10
First off, there’s so much beautifully done neon vector in Reflexions, I found myself admiring each carefully crafted level before beginning. This is one of those games you’ll lose yourself in whilst playing, and for good reason -- Reflexions is a puzzle game with gorgeous visuals, a trance-inducing soundtrack, and some killer challenges.
The goal of each level is to get your green ball of energy to the exit; however, you’ll have to perform two tasks to accomplish that: manipulate mirrors to move your energy around the map, and pick up all the diamonds to activate the exit portal. As easy as that sounds, it’s most certainly not in later levels. And while that kind of thing usually infuriates me, somehow Reflexions keeps my cool (likely due to the game’s soothing yet stimulating music).
Reflexions simply oozes retro cool, and offers over 40 slick levels for you to pore over. This is a puzzle game that’s not to be missed, and it’s one of the few that looks gorgeous yet retains great playability on both phones AND tablets, meaning you won’t be squinting or struggling with mirror flipping on a smaller device.
iOS (Universal) $0.99
It’s no secret that small kids aren’t exactly scholars when it comes to understanding pets. Ears get pulled, tails get yanked, hamsters get chucked. Little 7-year-old Mathilda doesn’t quite understand that her goldfish Yello can’t survive out of water but yanks him out of his bowl anyway. Yello’s got to make it back into his bowl of H2O before he runs out of time!
Saving Yello is a really fun, colorful physics game. In the same vein as Angry Birds and others like it, you basically slingshot Yello across Mathilda’s room to get him back into the bowl of water waiting at the end of each level. There’s a hilarious twist, though: Yello also gets to enact his vengeance on Mathilda for plucking him from his comfy underwater home by destroying her toys as he flies across each stage.
The combination of destruction, cuteness, and quick play sessions make Saving Yello a great choice if you love physics games and want something new to check out.
iOS (Universal) $0.99 | Android (Universal) $0.99
Before we get into this, Desert Bus isn’t exactly game in the most traditional sense. Allow me to explain:
There once was a very odd puzzle platformer called Penn & Teller’s Smoke and Mirrors that was supposed to come to Sega CD. It never (officially) made it, as the original studio went belly up, but the game did leak. In this game, there were these really weird mini games, and Desert Bus was probably the most infamous. It’s basically a real time simulation of driving a bus from Tuscon, Arizona to Las Vegas. For those of you who haven’t made that drive, it’s about an eight-hour trek... which Desert Bus requires you to complete in ONE SITTING. And then you get a point. That’s right. One. Point.
Oh, and absolutely nothing happens on this eight-hour trip. You just drive a bus.
Why release this seemingly pointless title to Android and iOS? A few years back, some absolute geniuses (or masochists, I’m not 100% sure) came up with the idea to make a marathon gaming session of Desert Bus and create a charity drive alongside it. This year, game studio Amateur Pixels hopped on board to make a mobile version of the game for people to purchase and contribute to Desert Bus for Hope.
For a buck, it’s a great way to support an amazing charity (Child’s Play) and hand your device to a friend for some pranking. Tell 'em it’s a simulation game and just say, “When it happens, you’re going to freak out.” And then watch as they drive (and drive, and drive, and drive that bus some more), eagerly waiting for “it” to occur. Yup, I’m a terrible person.
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!