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
Caverns of Minos takes its cues from the old Atari classic Caverns of Mars. In the retro original, you would control your spaceship and navigate vertically downward through a twisting map in order to pick up a bomb at the bottom. When you grabbed it, you had to speed up and out of the map before it exploded. It was a pretty fun game, and Jeff Minter’s interpretation/homage Caverns of Minos delivers the same super fun gameplay with his uniquely bizarre twists.
You’ll still be piloting a spaceship, but instead of evacuating a bomb, you’re tasked to pick up a variety of items (underwear, cheese, and fantastic savings, to name a few), and deliver them to the mothership... which is a sheep head. It’s just as strange and whimsical as his previous title Goat Up (another of my iOS favorites), and the controls are precisely executed, making Caverns of Minos a must-have if you love retro shooters.
I’m always on the lookout for good music games to play while out and about, and Cytus is a great addition to the already stellar rhythm game genre on iOS. It’s a very straightforward gameplay: a bar moves up and down the screen, and you must tap the notes that spawn to the beat of the song. Graphically, Cytus is beautiful; in fact, it’s probably one of the prettiest beat games I’ve played on iOS. The sleek, modern lines and gorgeous design both during songs and in menus are commendable, not to mention how lovely the animations are when you actually tap the notes.
Cytus comes with 15 songs at the outset, and they’re all some form of enjoyable electronica (J-Pop, techno, synth). Plugging in headphones really makes the song choices pop, making this an excellent option for the urban traveler or college student taking a break between classes looking for a time killer.
I found Neon Zone to be an interesting puzzle game, in that it’s one of the few that found me rotating my phone around and truly strategizing how to attack the different areas. It has a very simple premise: tap the screen to spawn a white cube, and collect the dots littered around each puzzle. At first, it’s increidbly easy manipulating the cube, but then Neon Zone adds in jumps and tilting to the mix.
The cube is dictated by gravity; therefore, tilting the device is the way to move it around each maze-like level. As you progress, boxes become open, making it tougher to get around and collect the white balls of light. You’re also able to tap on the cube to make it jump, and can cross over barriers otherwise closed. The puzzles in Neon Zone will make you think, and there’s a quiet, thoughtful mood permeating the entire game that makes for a peaceful, entertaining experience.
I’m enjoying the heck out of Attack From Outer Space! right now -- I find it tough to discover games that play nicely on my Android phone (I’ve got a Galaxy S II on Sprint, and I tend to prefer tablets for gaming), but in AFOS!’s case, I actually prefer it in a more compact format. There’s a standard alien invasion story, and you’re controlling Sergeant America in his quest to to save the good ol’ U.S.-of-A. before the aliens win.
It’s a side-scroller with three sections per location, with a boss battle at the end of each. The controls are really well done and simple, with a slider on the left side of the screen to move Sgt. America left and right, and a circle on the right side that controls both firing and shooting direction of your mega gun. Powerups, combo points, and a great control scheme make Attack From Outer Space! a fun sh’mup for your Android device.
There’s a part of me that sometimes worries about getting zombie fatigue in the iOS market; after all, there are a truckload of titles featuring our favorite brain-eaters. Zombie Wonderland 2: Outta Time! is an iOS title that reminds me never to write something off because of the theme. This is an adrenaline junkie’s dream game: part real-time twitch, part defense, ZW2 puts you in the shoes of Chuck, a “zombie cleaner.”
Everything you do in ZW2 is tap-based: you tap a window and then the hammer to board it up; you tap the zombies to shoot at them; you tap the bullet icon to change to more powerful ammo. It’s all very easy to use, but you’ll find that managing some of the levels can be pretty challenging. You’ll also have to clean up the zombie mess you leave behind by mopping the floors post-kill, otherwise you’ll incur penalties at the level’s end. ZW2 is a lot of fun, and certainly a game worth having on your iPhone, iPod, or iPad.
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!