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
Another game making its way to mobile, The World Ends With You: Solo Remix (TWEWY) is the latest in a series of ports from Square-Enix, and it’s fantastically done. When Neku finds himself in Shibuya (an ultra hip sector of Tokyo famous for its fashion and nightlife) without any memory of how he arrived there, he comes to realize he’s been recruited to play the Reaper’s Game... and failure will result in “erasure.”
For those not familiar with TWEWY, there’s a lot going on, mechanics-wise. Pins act as your attacks, and you’ll use them to swipe and tap your way to victory in battles. Neku’s joined early in the game by a perky girl named Shiki who also provides attacks (with a nifty new Sync system that allows you to alternate attacks, build up a meter to 100%, and then unleash screenwide destruction on your foes.
The artwork and soundtrack alone make TWEWY one of the most compelling and deep titles on the App Store, and the gameplay compliments a touch screen perfectly. Some may balk at the price tag, or the iPhone edition’s incompatibility with the iPad (no scaling up allowed), but TWEWY is worth picking one device to play it on, and sticking with it to the end.
We’ve seen McPixel on various platforms, and it’s finally made its way to mobile. If you recall a hilarious and fun game called WarioWare: Smooth Moves, McPixel has the same kind of manic gameplay across quick mini sequences, and it’s just as fun and hilarious as its inspiration. You’re McPixel, an antisocial “hero” who loves kicking people between the legs, guzzling beer, and defusing bombs. See? Already kind of amazing, and we haven’t even talked about how the game works.
Each chapter presents sections that encompass six sequences. You’ll need to guide McPixel, point-and-click style, to figure out how to diffuse the explosive device (and fast -- each sequence only gives you 20 seconds to figure it out). Mess up, and everyone gets blown sky high; fortunately, you get to keep trying until you figure it out. But the most fun McPixel offers is actually in the trial and error: you never quite know what McPixel will actually do with a given object, and it’s a riot to watch him interact with each environment in his signature, inappropriate way. You must download McPixel. It’s the only way to enlightenment.
There’s a stereotype in the puzzle genre: puzzle games generally have (at best) a flimsy story. Supermagical manages not only to defy that convention, they flip it upside down and turn it into a walking hot dog wearing a bedazzled sweater. Nina’s a witch who’s a little bit clumsy, and she’s accidentally unleashed her evil sisters from the Underworld. Oh, and she seems to have also accidentally bound each of her teachers to a different sister. Whoops! The gameplay in Supermagical is very similar to the Bust-A-Move series: you beat each level by matching 3+ like-colored “Minix” creatures before they get too close.
In addition, when you rescue your teachers, you can have two beside you in battle for special attacks. The story is rich, funny, and accompanied by some seriously gorgeous artwork, not to mention the fun little mini-games and unlockables. If you’re seeking a lighthearted romp through a whimsical world (but want some good challenges along the way), Supermagical is a must for your iOS library. Just heed this warning: don’t spend all your coins on upgrades right out of the gate, because you’ll need to buy specific items in order to progress... and some aren’t cheap!
iOS ($0.99) | Android (TBA)
Admittedly, we have a weakness for logic and puzzle games, making The Curse an easy pick this week for our top 5 games. This is a fantastically made game containing a veritable smorgasbord of puzzles presented via a story that’s cohesive and ties them all together in a proper way. When you begin, you open a book that unleashes an evil magic, and you’ll need to solve 100 puzzles in order to seal away the curse once more. This curse is personified through a snide, condescending mannequin, who thinks you’re far too stupid to complete the puzzles.
The voiceover on that mannequin is frustrating, cruel, and perfect; the actor playing it hits just the right notes throughout each puzzle. It’s a performance worth noting, as it smooths out the flow of the game and provides a (begrudging) companion as you complete riddle after riddle. The puzzles themselves are classics, ranging from tangrams to riddles, but The Curse presents them in such a great way that it’s definitely worth the price of admission, especially if you love the genre.
iOS ($0.99 - Limited)
If we had to describe Brainsss, we think we’d put it squarely in the “Pikmin meets the undead on iOS” category, and that’s pretty awesome. It’s been out since May, but this little game is worth swinging back around for. We get it: the zombie genre is pretty played out right now; however, this game shakes it up a bit and lets the zombies have all the fun by making them the... uh, heroes? Yes, in Brainsss you’ll be working against humanity, but that’s what makes the game so much fun.
There are two main modes in Brainsss: Casual Mode, where you have basic movement control over a horde of zombies that gets bigger as you take out the living; and Strategy Mode, where you can control specific units to flank and outwit the humans in each level. If this sounds a little Starcraft-esque, it most certainly is (they even have a zombie called the “Burbling,” a nod to the Zerg), but the rounded, adorable faces of the characters balance the darkness of the concept. Kudos to this little indie game that could -- now go chew on some neighbors!
Ashley Esqueda is a tech pundit, cylon, and all-around mobile nerd 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!