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 best part about Tiny Wings 2 is if you purchased the original, you now have the full, upgraded sequel on your iOS device. That’s right, Tiny Wings 2 is a fully free sequel disguised as an “update” from its creator, as a thank you to everyone who made the original such a success. Sure, if you want an HD version, you’ll have to pick it up separately, but that’s a-okay by us, for reasons we’ll get into later in this short review.
It’s a brilliant sequel, playing to the strengths of the first Tiny Wings without changing the game too much (or not changing it enough). You’ll still have access to the first Tiny Wings via “Chapter 1: Day Trip,” so you won’t miss out on the charm of the original, but the real fun begins when you head over to “Chapter 2: Flight School.” Now, you’ll be able to choose from four birds to race as, and the ones you don’t choose become your AI opponents, flying and bobbing through the land and air. The maps are far more uneven and interesting compared to the first game, and it makes for a far more strategic experience as you attempt to keep your bird flying high.
Any iPad owners wondering why they should drop the extra $2.99 for the HD version of Tiny Wings 2 will be delighted to hear the graphics look extra stunning on a Retina Display, and even more importantly, you’ll receive a special iPad-only local multiplayer mode (“Chapter 3: Hill Party”). And let us tell you, there are few things more fun that playing Tiny Wings 2 against a friend.
We checked out Knights of the Round Cable at E3 this year with the folks at Chillingo, and it was readily apparent they had a bona fide hit on their hands. It was close to impossible to tear ourselves away at the show. Now, KotRC is out for everyone to enjoy. If you’re a high score junkie, we’d like to officially warn you: this game will chew up hours of your life while you attempt to go just that little bit more, grab just a few more gems this time around. You know the feeling.
We’re really digging the main mechanic of KotRC, which revolves around a knight using anchor points scattered across the screen to swing in circles. Holding the button on the right side of the screen grapples the knight to an anchor, while releasing your touch lets him fly toward another target. You’ll be collecting gems, saving princesses, and constantly avoiding bad guys flying around. It’s a deceptively simple game that proves difficult to master, especially in later castles. A good IAP system, great gameplay (and obscene replay value), plus fun unlockable items make Knights of the Round Cable a future iOS arcade classic.
It’s always great to see new and different games on mobile devices that we haven’t quite seen before, and Elemental certainly falls under that category. It’sa fresh spin on a familiar type of game. The game offers a relatively simple concept at its core: drop elements (air, fire, etc.) into a grid to create other elements (steam, dust, etc.). Here’s where it gets tough, though... you’ll need to arrange those requested combos specifically so that they don’t repeat in any row or column in each level’s full square grid. Think Sudoku, but with elements on the grid instead of numbers.
At first, you’ll have four simple elements and a 4x4 grid to work with, but as the game progresses through its many (many) levels, the grid expands and you’re given a handful of new elements to work with. It’s a game that’s exceedingly simple to pick up and learn, but pretty tough when you start getting into later levels. Fortunately, if you’re feeling particularly useless in any given puzzle, there’s a reasonable help mechanic that shows you where to place one tile. In the end, though, Elemental is a fantastic pick for any and all puzzle game aficionados.
Recently, Adult Swim made Major Mayhem free across iOS (and just released a free Android version), so we figured we’d swing around to it. Once again, Adult Swim created a game that’s so much fun to play, it should probably be illegal in some states. Given it’s had a lot of time to mature and expand on iOS, Android users will be delighted to know they’re getting a wildly robust title with a lot of depth. With new game modes (Timebomb, Arcade, Survival), unlockables, powerups, weapons, and more; this is a game that’s screaming to be downloaded no matter what mobile operating system you’re running.
Major Mayhem begins with our protagonist’s lovely girlfriend kidnapped. It’s obviously up to you to save her, so you head off, guns a-blazing -- and we DO mean a-blazing. This is an on-rails shooter, so you’ll spend your time watching your hero automatically run through levels while you tap on enemies to shoot them. While that sounds simple, Adult Swim is excellent at taking a simple concept and elevating it to an entirely different level of fun, and Major Mayhem is no exception. The artwork alone isn’t your typical “shooter” fare, and when you combine that with truly clever gameplay and a truckload of options and upgrades, Major Mayhem is more than worth its price tag.
Where does one even attempt to begin with Cthulhu Saves the World? If you’ve ever played the Steam or XBLA versions of this title, it’s now been lovingly ported to both iOS and Android, offering mobile gamers the chance to be one of the most famous H.P. Lovecraft characters around. After Cthulhu wakes from his slumber, he’s determined to do all the typical Cthulhu things: make people go insane, destroy the world...all the good stuff. But some jerk seals Cthulhu’s power, and now, in order to regain those powers, Cthulhu must become a true hero. To wreak havoc on humanity and reign destruction upon the world, you’ll have to save it first. We never said global annihilation was easy...
It’s presented in a 16-bit RPG format, and if you’ve ever loved a 16-bit RPG, you’ll love how Cthulhu Saves the World looks and plays. There’s never been a more lovable evil than this version of Cthulhu, as the dialogue is funny and silly in all the right ways. As you play, you’ll need to inflict insanity upon your opponents (which makes them take more damage but hit harder) and take them out with your team. Old school RPG fans will take a huge liking to Cthulhu Saves the World and its tongue-in-cheek attitude.
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!