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
I’m going to go out on a limb and predict Lightopus will be a future Hall of Famer for the App Store. It's a mix of colorful environments, simple yet challenging gameplay, and upbeat soundtrack make for one of those “lightning in a bottle” games you can’t stop playing. You’re the last fully grown lightopus, and it’s your job to protect the baby lightopus (called “bulbies”) from certain annihilation. Each area has bulbies to collect, and bad guys to destroy.
Here’s where things get interesting. Instead of ramming those creeps head-on or performing some kind of attack, the bulbies that follow in your wake are your offense. You’ll have to maneuver around the bad guys in order to allow the bulbies to destroy the evil things headed your way. It makes for a fresh spin on an old concept, and powerups only enhance the twist.
Just about everything in Lightopus is designed for fun, including its environments. The dazzling neon landscapes and animated backgrounds are simply marvelous, and you’ll never tire of the sights you’ll see as you progress through the game. Now all I need is for developer Appxplore to give me this game in glorious retina display on my new iPad!
It’s the new craze that’s sweeping mobile devices everywhere -- Draw Something combines the social aspect of Words with Friends and the gameplay of Pictionary to form one of the most addicting multiplayer games ever. Even if you have just one single pal playing on the other side, this is one of those games you will lose hours to. If you and your friends are crappy artists... well, you’ll have even more fun.
Draw Something connects you with friends (or random strangers) and presents you with a word to depict. Using your skills of an artist, you’ll draw whatever image you can to get your buddy to guess the answer. Up front, the game only comes with four colors, so things get creative fast, and it’s just as fun drawing images as it is guessing others’ works of art. Coins accrued by correctly guessing pictures can be used to purchase color packs so you’re not hobbled by a lack of variety, and for the level 3 phrases (“Bon Jovi” was one of mine), they come in very handy.
I’ve got a thing for adorable monsters, so when I checked out Monster Flip, I immediately fell in love with the cute little mutants developer PikPok Games created. This is a really fun, simple puzzler with some serious thinking required. It’s a match-three format with some puzzle cube flavor sprinkled in. You’ll have to match three of the same monsters horizontally or vertically, and to do so, you must rotate rows or columns to line them up. You can’t just swap one or two monsters at a time, though; instead, you must rotate a minimum of three monsters at a time, making some swaps tricky.
There isn’t a time limit in Classic Mode, but “mad” monsters drop into your grid, and they’ve got a specific number of turns before they go supernova...and at that point, it’s game over. In addition to the Classic Mode, Monster Flip features Puzzle, Countdown, and Sequence Modes, each with their own objectives and challenges. Oh, and the hilarious Flipzopedia adds a bit of detail that’s welcome and original to the game.
When I first got my iPad, I wasn’t a huge fan of tower defense games; however, with the recent spate of excellent TD games, I can admit that I’m a bit hooked now.That said, I’ve got loads of enthusiasm for iBomber Defense Pacific, the sequel to the critically acclaimed iBomber Defense. It’s another incredible tower defense title for iOS, and if you love micromanagement... well, you’re gonna love this game.
iBDP has all the standard TD elements: towers, upgrades, repairs, and so on, but there’s also a killer new mechanic called “Dig In,” which allows you to burrow your tower a bit deeper and increasing your armor, range and damage. That sounds pretty great, but your tower also takes a hit on its vision, so your 360-degree attack turns into a frontal cone. It’s a seemingly small change that deepens the gameplay tremendously, and the rest of the game’s just as polished, even in the smallest nooks and crannies. Sometimes, sequels best their predecessors in all the right ways.
Skater Boy is currently #2 in the Top Free Games list, so I figured I’d give it a whirl. While it’s definitely nothing groundbreaking in terms of gameplay or mechanics, it’s an excellent time killer that I find myself opening up whenever I’ve got a few minutes to spare and my cell phone’s handy. The objective is pretty straightforward: skate, don’t hit anything, and jump to collect stuff. Each level has three stars, which you gain by completing the following goals: one, don’t lose any lives; two, collect all five trophies; and three, get the high score.
There’s not much to the controls, as you move automatically, but you can jump with the lower right button and tap your turbo boost on the left if you’re feeling particularly saucy. With 90 levels (30 in each area), there’s a lot of ground to cover in Skater Boy. Sure, it can get repetitive, but it’s enjoyable enough (not to mention free) that Android users ought to give it a spin.
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!