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
There’s a lot to love about Slingshot Racing, easily launching it to the top of the list of games this week. Some of my favorite games on mobile are simple, fun, and addicting racing titles like DrawRace 2,so it’s nice to see a game that not only enters the genre with aplomb, but also has the gameplay and gorgeous visuals to back that bravado up.
What makes Slingshot Racing something special within the genre is the game’s namesake: the slingshot functionality used to whip your racer around corners. You’ll tap the screen to cause little towers to grab hold of your car and sling it around each turn. You have the option of playing Career Mode, but the real fun begins when you find a couple friends and fire up the Multiplayer. Each corner of your iPad can be used as one player’s control, and there’s something really amazing about playing against a friend in person. It’s something online multiplayer can’t really match in terms of experience, and it’s worth the price of admission alone.
Overall, Slingshot Racing is an incredibly good racer with some really cool mechanics in it, and Snowbolt Interactive should be proud of the excellent game they’ve created. This one’s a must-buy, especially if you have an iPad.
When Charles Darwin came up with his evolution theories, you can bet he never imagined they’d be used like this. Extinction Squad is another homerun iOS game from our friends at Adult Swim (Snoticles, Robot Unicorn Attack). The story’s unsurprisingly insane: Good old Darwin realizes an island of previously-thought-extinct dodos are emanating an odor that makes all the other creatures leap to their deaths. Not wanting to upset the circle of life, Darwin sends out his team with a jump net to save them as they jump.
It’s nutty, but it’s also terribly fun. The main control is simply swiping back and forth to move the guys holding the jump net, and as each animal comes plummeting toward the ground, you’ll use the net to bounce them to safety. If you miss an animal, its carcass splatters on the ground gloriously. Each run is spent racking up saved animals and avoiding bombs, which will garner you coins to spend on powerups and unlocks in the shop. There’s IAP, but it’s not too tough to unlock everything manually if you have decent reflexes and some patience. There’s a ton of wicked glee in Extinction Squad, and developer PikPok has delivered another winner to Adult Swim (and us!).
Penny Time is, at its core, an advertisement for Penny Skateboards. Fortunately for us, though, it’s also a really, really cool game! Your Penny skateboard has come hurtling down from the skies, and is rocking some mystical power that lets you stop time. Of course, stopping time makes pretty much everything in sight a nice skateboarding obstacle. Did I mention there are weird conjured animal spirits helping you along in the form of a dodo, a pig, and a porpoise? Because there are.
As your skater rolls along, markers on the ground tell you when to swipe up, right, or down to make your skater react accordingly. Miss, and you start the section over. It’s simple to play, but tough to perfect. Completing jumps ups your score in one section, and raises your multiplier in another. Lastly, the soundtrack elevates Penny Time to another level, and you’ll often find yourself grooving to the electronica it provides as you skate along to the beat. The kitschy art style (very Swag-esque) only add to the game’s charm and uniqueness.
The Sandbox is an interesting title on this week’s list, as it’s not exactly a true “sandbox” game (as you would see in Minecraft or the like), but it does offer some really interesting gameplay that’s a little bit different than what you may be used to picking up. It’s a 2D game where you play a god tasked with creating different elements and scenarios, and the (delightfully low-res) simulations are a lot of fun to experiment with.
In the beginning, you’ll do things like turn the heat up to grow trees (and then create ash by making it too hot for them to survive). Later, you’ll get to play with distillation, electricity, and even viruses, opening a complex string of actions and combinations that are a blast to experiment with. Story Mode is a perfect way to hone your skills, and Free Mode lets you put those skills to use and create a world/item of your choosing. The Sandbox is definitely one of those games you’ll come back to over and over again, because the possibilities are endless.
Another racing game graces Knuckle Up this week! Mini Motor Racing has been out on iOS for some time now, but it’s recently been ported to Android, and developer The Binary Mill also updated the game with a much-requested online multiplayer feature. Before you get into competing online, though, you’ll have to hone your chops on the single player content... and there’s a lot of it. This top-down racer is filled with gorgeous tracks/environments and a soundtrack that matches the high energy visuals.
Each race offers cash for a win, which allows you to then upgrade and customize your car to give you a better chance of winning in later races (IAP also allows you to upgrade and unlock content quickly). If you’re not keen on the default steering wheel controls, you have a smorgasbord of other options available to find just the right steering for your taste. With quickplay, career, and multiplayer (local and online), Mini Motor Racing is a fantastic choice with lots of content for racing enthusiasts and casual gamers alike.
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!