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 are our top five games this week:
GAME OF THE WEEK
There are lots of heavy hitters on the list this week, but Incoboto’s pedigree has had mobile gamers drooling over its launch for quite some time. It’s made by Dene Carter, who used to be a part of Lionhead Studios (Fable, anyone?), and the same care that went into that franchise oozes from Incoboto’severy nook and cranny. Inco is the last survivor of a terrible event that destroyed all the suns in his universe. With the help of a mischievous, adorable and star-hungry sun named Helios, Inco must traverse worlds filled with contraptions and collectibles to find answers and (hopefully) other humans.
Incoboto achieves both incredibly lonely and hilariously funny moments, which is rare to find in many a mobile game; in addition, the game’s soundtrack only enhances the haunting and whimsical Incoboto locations Inco visits. You’ll spend hours lost across worlds, solving puzzles, and wishing the game lasted forever after connecting with it. There’s no real way to describe Incoboto, but there are definitely inspirations ranging from Limbo to Super Mario Galaxy, which is no small feat. Oh, and one last thing: don’t miss reading every one of The Corporation’s signs.
I know we’re all experiencing a bit of Mass Effect 3 inducedspace crazies at the moment, so it’s only appropriate to mention Mass Effect: Infiltrator on this week’s column. This is a gorgeous companion game for iOS with some cross-promotional bonuses that factor into ME3 via your EA Origin account. You play as Randall Enzo, an agent at a Cerberus facility who’s gone rogue after the Director goes too far with the experiments happening within. It’s a nice parallel to the Shep storyline, and if you’re already a Mass Effect fan, it’s even more enhanced.
The gameplay is simple and straightforward: complete areas by gunning down enemies and collecting intel disks. Each area plays out like a mini-game, and at the end, you’ll earn credits to purchase various upgrades to assist you as you progress. The controls aren’t perfect, but they’re responsive enough to get the job done. For the hardcore ME3 zealots out there, those intel disks can be uploaded to Galaxy at War via Origin for a boost to your Galactic Readiness Rating in the console game.
Waking Mars is a gorgeously made game that takes us to Mars and presents different kinds of goal: learning instead of attacking, exploring instead of destroying. You’re Liang, a member of a small group of researchers investigating the red planet. When the team’s rover stops transmitting data, Liang must explore the depths of Lethe Cavern to continue their research (and find that robot). Along the way, you encounter “Zoa,” an indigenous, uh... plant growing under the surface of Mars, and interact with different types of it in order to progress.
Each Zoa has a specific life cycle, and you’ll perform various actions to learn how they feed, reproduce, die, and react to other life forms. Each area in the cave has a biomass level that must be raised by cultivating the Zoa and increasing the biological ecosystem. The atmosphere in Waking Mars holds a silence and emptiness that’s too beautiful to pass up, the puzzles are never impossible to complete, and the story is interesting (and ultimately satisfying at the game’s end).
Warning: Tobe & Friends’ Hookshot Escape is suffering from a serious case of awesome overload. In this vertical climber, you’ll guide Tobe (or one of his pals) skyward as you attempt to escape crumbling caves while picking up coins and chests. Credt for the assist goes to your handy hookshot, which launches you from one platform to the one above it. That’s not to say this is an easy ride; on the contrary, as you progress, the screen scrolls upward faster and faster, so you’ll have to get pretty good at shooting precision grapples.
One of the things Tobe & Friends’ does right is the unlockable system. Collecting and completing combos in-game will unlock various items, abilities, and characters, making an already highly replayable game even more addicting. I’d love to see developer Secret Base get this iPad- and iCade-ready ASAP, but until then, I’m perfectly happy enjoying this gem on my iPod Touch.
Every now and again, I stumble across a finding/puzzle game on iOS or Android that I really love, and Musaic Box is my most recent addition to that list. Not only does it marry the aforementioned genres, it also adds music into the mix. The premise revolves around your grandfather, who’s summoned you to his house. He’s not around when you arrive, though, and you must find pieces of parchment to create a page of sheet music in various rooms around his house.
Sometimes, parts of the ripped up page can be found in plain sight; other times, you’ll have to complete a mini-puzzle to acquire a piece of sheet music. Once you compile all the pieces, you’ll have to complete a Tetris-like arrangement that will play the song on that page. Musaic Box is a little bit different than anything I’ve played on Android before, which is always fun to discover. Unfortunately, the game does go by a little bit too quickly for my taste, but it certainly doesn’t detract from the lovely experience you’ll have (with the exception of wanting more).
Ashley Esqueda is a 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!