Welcome to G4's Knuckle Up, where we bring you a byte-sized view of our five favorite mobile games every week. The phone and tablet 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
Oh, Burger Cat. You roped me in with your simple, adorable premise, and then held me (willingly) hostage with your elegant and fun gameplay. At first, you may write off Burger Cat as too simple. After playing through later levels, however, the game quickly becomes giddily complex, and you’ll retract your original mindset.
The story goes a little something like this: Burger Cat loves burgers (pretty obvious). He loves them so much, he decides to add a special ingredient to them to give them that extra kick. That ingredient is nitro glycerin. KA-BOOM.
You’ll spend your time in Burger Cat utilizing different tools to alter the landscape in each level, and then releasing your feline hero into that landscape after making those changes. The goal is to get him across the map to the delicious burger on the other side, and you get a finite number of pre-picked tools to do it with. Some remove/add squares of land, others change the direction the cat walks in; fortunately, Burger Cat encourages you to get creative with placement, often giving you more than what you need to complete each level and making the game incredibly enjoyable for gamers of all ages.
This is a game that slowly unfolds all kinds of measured, deliberate awesome on you, so take a chance. Plus, the “cat + cheeseburger” formula is a known winner (based on the entire internet).
Dedalord is back with Running Fred, the sequel to Falling Fred. And while Falling Fred was pretty fun, it suffered from what I call “Ghosts and Goblins Syndrome,” where a game can be so frustratingly difficult, you stop playing it. Fortunately for us, Running Fred isn’t so infuriating; in fact, it strikes a pretty good balance between casual and experienced gamers looking for something to enjoy.
You’ll be controlling Fred as he runs through various levels, dodging hazards, leaping over pits, and collecting “skullies” (coins). Sometimes, keeping Fred from the cold, clammy grasp of Grimmy the Grim Reaper isn’t the easiest task, but there’s a plethora of powerups and other items in the store to help Fred survive. The double jump ability saved me on more than one occasion and becomes mandatory about 2 levels into the game, and you’ll be able to buy costumes and new locations to traipse about in, too. Fans of games like Temple Run will quickly take to Running Fred, but new gamers will enjoy it just as easily.
I’ve lost countless hours playing Sid Meier’s Pirates! on PC and iPad, and now it’s come to phones (including Windows Phone 7), so now, we can all just wave goodbye to reality and sail the Caribbean looking for treasure, allies, and love from a governor’s daughter. As mentioend, Pirates! has been on iPad for some time now, and it’s a very true port of the PC game. That includes the longish load times, but generally speaking, they don’t detract from the overall experience enough to call it a problem.
The game surprisingly translates well to phones, especially the dance and duel gameplay; however, there were a few times I preferred the larger screen of the iPad to the smaller screen on a phone (most specifically during ship vs. ship combat). If you’re not familiar with Pirates!, you’ll create your very own Captain, choose your allegiance, and cruise around the tropics, all the while taking out other infamous pirates and building your very own armada. It’s an older title, but it’s still fun, with a lot to offer in the way of mini-games and an adventurous little storyline involving your kidnapped family.
If you haven’t guessed, I love words. I also love word games, so Spelltower ended up being right up my alley. Imagine a Tetris-like grid with letters in each square. The goal is to spell out a word to remove it (and surrounding letters) from the field of play, causing the higher letters to drop down and hopefully allow you to make more words. Words have to be at least 3 letters long, and you clear out entire rows for making words with special “blue” letters (often more difficult letters like Q, X, and Z).
While basic Tower Mode gives players all the time in the world to create words and use their noggins, additional modes like Puzzle Mode and Rush Mode add challenges like new rows when you complete a word and new rows over time make the game a delightful exercise in brain gymnastics. If you have a fellow word lover around with an iPad, iPod, or iPhone, Spelltower’s Debate Mode will test your puzzle solving limits and provide hours of entertainment.
Clearly, it’s “Burger Love” week here on Knuckle Up, because Star Sloth features the very same delectable dish as Burger Cat. As we all know, sloths are lazy; in fact, the only living land mammal lazier than a sloth is my little sister. That’s why we have to help our sloth friend deliver cheeseburgers to hungry customers. If we don’t help, he’ll just fall asleep at the wheel and everyone will starve. That would make for a pretty morose game, though, so helping him is our only option. Even better, this sloth drives a freaking rocket, and his customers are floating around in space.
Okay... so sloth never actually stays awake on his delivery rocket, meaning you’re going to have to take full responsibility for getting food to spaceman customers by swiping from the rocket to their floating bodies in order to shoot a burger their way. Sloth’s rocket is completely on rails, so you only have to worry about getting customers food and sending burgers into hazards to make them explode. And if the combination of space, cheeseburgers, and sleepy sloths aren’t enough to sell you on Star Sloth, there are plenty of upgrades you can purchase in-game like new environments, and accessories for sloth and his rocket.
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!