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
Finally, someone gets it. With Swordigo, we finally get a hack-and-slash iOS deserves. That’s a pretty bold statement, I know, but developer Touch Foo earns it handily with their beautifully crafted game. There’s a lot to love about Swordigo: a plucky Link-esque hero, lovely environments, some satisfying platforming and collecting action, and plain old, fun-filled adventure.
The controls in Swordigo really sing, and rarely was I angry at missed jumps or laggy response. You’ll often forget you’re experiencing the game without analog sticks or tangible controllers, which is a very good thing. I’m not sure how, but Touch Foo managed to cram around 6-8 hours of solid gameplay into Swordigo’s main story. If you’re a completionist freak like I am, you’ll spend more time than that, and that’s saying something for an iOS game. Any time you can get 5+ hours of non-repetitive gameplay on your iPad or iPhone, it’s worth mentioning.
Swordigo often feels like territory we’ve covered in gaming before; however, that feeling is also a comfortable assurance we’re in a place we know and love. It almost feels like coming home: you know what’s inside, but that’s okay, because its welcome and warm embraces fills you with contentedness.
I put off checking out Coco Loco, mostly because it looked a little bit too much like Angry Birds. After finally being coerced into playing it, Coco Loco comes with a hearty thumbs up from yours truly. Don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of similarities to Rovio’s smash hit, but Coco Loco differentiates itself enough to be a lot of fun in a cool (and often hilarious) package. So what’s different?
For starters, Coco Loco is way more delicious: the soft, fluffy Marshies taking a little dip in a hot chocolate spring get captured by some very pissed off cocoa guardians. To make matters worse, the cocoa people have dressed the Marshies up in celebrity costumes. Each level offers some sweet (literally and figuratively) challenges, and the Marshies you launch toward the structures each have special abilities to help wash your enemies away and save your pals with tasty hot cocoa.
With over 75 levels and some creative physics choices behind some of the Marshies (my favorite being the one that expands into a gelatinous block), Coco Loco will draw you in with its colorful, fun visuals... and then keep you hooked for hours with its gameplay. Just don’t blame us if you end up with a couple of cavities.
There’s one thing I’m good for in shooting games like Bounty Bots: getting pumped full of lead. Yes, I’m an excellent meat shield in games like this, often because I never spend enough time to actually get good at handling controls, watching my back, and learning the maps. Fortunately for me, Bounty Bots was simple to learn, and I quickly found myself enjoying the six-man shootouts it provides. You’re a gunslinging robot in Bounty Bots -- an added bonus for a pro-robot activist like me.
Each match pits you against five other robots in an Old West environment. The entire goal is to collect coins and gems around the map whilst not being suddenly killed by another player... at least, until you can deposit the coins you’re carrying into a deposit box (thus making them off-limits to other players). Getting shot while carrying money will drop some of your coins, while a death resets your coin count to zero. There are also some really fun upgrades and other goodies packed into the game, making Bounty Bots is an unexpected gold mine of fun if you love a decent multiplayer shooter.
Mesmerizing. That’s just about the only way I can describe Spin Up if I only had one word. Thankfully, I have a lot more than that, so let’s talk about it. Your character is attempting to climb ladders to get as high as possible while avoiding (or busting up) evil aliens. Each tier is presented in a ring, and you’re able to swipe your finger to rotate the ring, subsequently moving the hero in the process and delivering him to the next short ladder.
If I could make one suggestion, it would be to play the game with headphones on. I am totally digging the super retro soundtrack and the adrenaline boost it provides. It’s almost as if the music pushes you to greater heights via hypnosis; it’s that good. There’s no discernible storyline in Spin Up, but since aliens are involved, I’m going to make up an epic story about the hero’s battle versus an evil extraterrestrial invasion that could potentially wipe out humanity, since they have a terrible addiction to human meat tacos. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
First off, I’m a sucker for good puns and witty wordsmithing, so Amoebattle was already getting bonus points before my first go-round. Second, there’s something about microbe-level combat that’s just freaking cool (blame the first Parasite Eve and those combusting mitochondria if you must). Amoebattle was predestined to catch my eye, but its stellar gameplay and intriguing mechanics make it even more enjoyable.
The story plays out thusly: you’re a budding microbiologist with the Amoeba Control System who’s discovered some rogue amoebas being total jerks to the ecosystem you’re studying, so it’s off to figure out where those renegade amoebas are coming from. The tutorial does a wonderful job of starting you off on the right foot (if amoebas had feet, that is). After that, though, the game chucks you into a straight up trial by fire, making some of the objectives tough. Don’t miss out on Amoebattle if you’re into RTS games. You’ll find a depth in it that might be missed at first glance, and some really cool elements that enhance your experience.
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!