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
Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy was one of two games featured at the new iPad’s unveiling event, and that spotlight is well-deserved. This game is a great choice if you’re looking to show off the new iPad’s graphical capability, and it’s also a solid arcade flight game. I hesitate to call it a flight sim, because SG:AS cares not for the constraints of real life: you won’t find ultra-realistic gravity and physics in this title, but it doesn’t matter. You’ll have so much fun playing SG:AS that your brain will forgive and forget those choices almost immediately.
There are a couple low points, namely the atrocious story (or lack thereof), and the game’s seeming inability to deliver a decent tutorial. Some would argue the latter is an egregious error. Since the game isn’t a true simulator, it’s not too tough to pick up the controls fairly easily. There are also four separate types of control schemes to choose from, making it easy to get into the game at any skill level. If you have a new iPad, you must buy Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy. If you don’t, buy it because adrenaline-pumping shooters are freaking awesome, and because everyone loves a good old fashioned dogfight.
You can’t help but notice Flight Control Rocket; its ultra-colorful, slick graphics leap out at you from within the App Store (even the app’s icon is eye-catching). It’s a lovely ship guiding game with a sci-fi veneer: use your finger to guide each incoming ship into their respective landing area, and scramble frantically to prevent ships from colliding when the screen gets overwhelmed with would-be landers.
As mentioned, the graphics are flat out gorgeous. You’ll find yourself losing track of ships sailing into the field of play, if only because you’re admiring something about the other side of the screen. Oh, and the new iPad’s Retina Display makes this game look obscenely, gloriously magnificent. The IAP system leaves a bit to be desired with its overpriced items and ridiculous recharge limits, but Flight Control Rocket is worth the price of admission, especially if you love great design and fun gameplay.
The sequel to the insanely popular Cut the Rope is finally out for Android, so I figured I’d give it an official shout out this week. If you haven’t played the original, Cut the Rope consists of slashing ropes in to get candies into the mouth of Om-Nom, an adorable little alien. This time around, a mad scientist is conducting experiments to get to the root of Om-Nom’s candy obsession, and he’s come prepared with all kinds of wacky mechanisms.
Zeptolab offers 125 levels of gameplay over 5 different zones... but if you think the gameplay gets repetitive, think again. With the addition of the scientist’s experimental objects (rope guns, rockets, and more), you’ll never really find yourself bored; in fact, some of the puzzles can be pretty tricky. If you love physics games or loved the original, Cut the Rope: Experiments is worth picking up.
I’m enjoying the hell out of Rune Raiders right now. This is somewhere in the strategy genre, but definitely nothing like the standard entries you’re used to playing on iOS. The game’s various missions all take place in a corridor with a grid overlay; your task is to hire heroes and then guide them to the other side of the zone, taking down bad guys along the way. Each of the twelve available heroes have their own special abilities and range (not to mention their own hilarious personas), which you can upgrade with gold you pick up on the battlefield.
If you thought you’d just pimp out a few of the heroes and create a super group of bad asses to do your bidding, think again. The better your heroes get, the more expensive it becomes to hire them. So do you level up every hero equally, or power level a select few and hope they’re strong enough to collect the gobs of gold needed to keep hiring them? That’s up to you, which is what makes Rune Raiders so much fun.
Apparently, Robo Surf has been out for a while now on both Android and iOS, but it’s brand new to me, so I consider it fair game. As someone who professes great love for Jetpack Joyride (one of my favorite games of 2011), Robo Surf belongs in the same upper echelons of the “endless runner” genre. The gameplay is fundamentally similar: touch the screen to raise the wave our little robot surfs on, release to drop down. It’s a simple format that’s proven to be incredibly addicting, and this game is no different in that respect. Fortunately, there are some nice features in Robo Surf that add some great touches to encourage replays.
One of the things I love about Robo Surf is the inclusion of a checkpoint system. If you defeat a boss (by surviving through their onslaught), you have the option of starting your next game from there. It’s a great way to give players that little extra something to enhance their gameplay and keep them excited to give another round a shot. There’s also a collecting aspect (oil barrels) that procs a really fun turbo mode. Surf’s up, noobs!
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!