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
The original LostWinds stands as one of my favorite iOS platformers, with its whimsical gameplay, lovely environments, and fun characters. The impossibly adorable Toku is back, and so is Enril the Wind Spirit. This time, Toku’s mom is missing, and he must travel far and wide to find her. Along the way, you’ll encounter lots of new places to explore and new inhabitants within them.
Enril the Wind Spirit is still the driving force behind most of the puzzle-solving during the game, and there are some patently tricky ones out there as the game goes on. It keeps the game interesting, though I’ll admit every now and again the controls can get fickle, resulting in attempting a number of puzzles repeatedly until the controls finally “click.” Overall though, it’s a minor inconvenience that shouldn’t hamper your full experience.
LostWinds2 is another classic iOS platformer, and for the price tag, there’s plenty to do, see, and collect across one completion. There’s a lot of heart in Toku’s journey, not to mention the rest of the game’s incredible heaps of charm, making it a definite buy if you love games in the genre.
I don’t even know how I stumbled across Delver, but I think Android fans will be happy I did. It’s kind of a hidden gem, in my humble opinion, and I’m thrilled to get the word out about it. Delver is a game that’s still in development, so there are bugs... but the game’s already pretty epic, and deserves a shout out. This is an awesome dungeon crawler that takes its cues from 8-bit titles of yore, and showcases what’s so cool about action roguelikes. Your character must traverse the 3D dungeons and search for the Yithidian orb, taking down enemies, picking up loot, and navigating maze-like levels as you progress.
I was reminded of my old Wolfenstein 3D days as I wandered through the sparsely lit maps (which are randomly generated on each playthrough), and the controls rarely feel cramped, even on a phone’s smaller screen. Developer Chad Cuddigan is constantly adding new features and tweaking the game, making it a good investment if you’re looking for a game with dedicated creators. It’ll take a bit for Delver to truly blossom, but knowing what it’s capable of now only makes me even more excited for its future.
It’s fairly obvious BulletAsylum was heavily inspired by retro classics like Space Invaders and Mission Control. That’s a very good thing and makes for an excellent title for any Windows Phone user out there searching for a good time waster. You’ll feel right at home if you’re a Mission Control fan: your bases on the ground must be protected at all costs from an incoming horde of enemies looking to lay waste to your structures. But you’re not going down without a fight, are you? Of course not.
Long gone are the deliberate, controlled choices from the old days of the genre. Instead we find a heart-pumping soundtrack and frantic neon lasers controlled by the simple touch and drag of a finger. All your defenses shoot simultaneously if using one finger, but you can also split your fire by using a second digit to control one half of the screen. There are upgrades, Gamerscore points, achievements, and three modes available for you to attempt, giving BulletAsylum loads of replayability. It’s an absolute must-buy if you’re rocking a WP7 device. It ain’t your dad’s defense shooter, that’s for sure.
While attending the Diablo 3 launch event, more than one Blizzard developer raved about Gratuitous Space Battles, so I felt compelled to pick it up and give it a spin. It’s pretty obvious why any developer would love a game like GSB: it provides a great challenge for anyone obsessed with sci-fi, epic space battles, and truckloads of number crunching. This isn’t a tower defense, though; on the contrary, in GSB you’ll actually be setting up your battles and relenting control before one shot is fired.
That's not to say GSB is for everyone, though! In fact, it’s safe to say this game is for the most hardcore of tactics aficionados. I spent hours poring over outfitting my ships and calculating which weapons would work best in the challenge presented. Once you do all that decision-making, you get to see the gloriousand simply stunning space battles that result. Yes, Gratuitous Space Battles comes with a hefty price tag; however, it’s well worth the price of admission if you love true strategy.
I love games that transcend age ranges with their simplicity, art, and overall fun levels, and Pinch Peeps is certainly one of those great titles. It’s a saccharine romp with one main objective: get matching “peeps” together as they float around on screen. You’ll do that by using two fingers to pinch them together, and are scored based on how perfectly you can slam them into each other. It’s wildly charming in its own way, and I quickly found myself sucked into Endless Mode and enjoying mindless, cheerful fun.
Of course, if the game didn’t throw a few hurdles at you, it would get boring quickly, and Pinch Peeps does just enough to keep you involved (but never enough to frustrate completely). Bombs also float into the play area, and you’ll have to pinch those together to be rid of them. In addition, there are walls and other blocks you’ll be maneuvering your peeps around before you can match them up. For a buck, it’s a great quick play title with triple helpings of sunshine and joy.
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!