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 Time Geeks: Find All! was a super awesome, stylized Where’s Waldo for the digital generation (if you don’t have it, you’re missing out), and now, Ivanovich Games presents us with Time Geeks & Friends, an offshoot containing one of the most requested features for Time Geeks... multiplayer! If you’re wondering why the developers chose to make this its own standalone app, it’s not hard to see why once you get into it: this is a fully functional, asynchronous multiplayer app with a lot of moving parts.
The game still retains that ultra-hip pixel art from the original (altering it would be sacrilege), but now, instead of going from locale to locale searching for specific sprites, your finish times will be challenged by other seekers. There’s also a new coin system, requiring you to “pay” for each game you play, and power-ups can also be purchased before each round. The power-ups definitely give you a leg up (they can add time to the clock, clear the skies, and focus on where a target is), but they’re not so overly powerful that it would make a match lopsided if your opponent had keen eyes. Coins generate over time, too, so if you’re worried about a big IAP push, you’re okay there.
The free version offers up multiplayer mode with a slower coin clock, and the premium version offers a “Kids Mode” (read: single player seeking), and a faster coin clock. Either way, Time Geeks & Friends is a fantastic offering from Ivanovich Games, and well worth your mobile gaming time and budget.
iOS ($0.99 - Sale)
A word of warning: Super Hexagon might give some people motion sickness. It might make other people rage quit. And people with epilepsy should probably stay away from this one. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, it’s time to rave about how freaking much we’re digging Super Hexagon. It’s a game that screams “simple yet classic arcade challenge,” and we’re thrilled we can carry it around on our iPad... until we get really mad and want to bludgeon creator Terry Cavanaugh for making it so effing hard. (We love you, Terry!)
The game is deceptively simple: Guide a tiny triangle in the center of the screen through openings in the hexagons that shrink into it. Right and left side screen taps rotate the triangle clockwise or counter-clockwise, and there’s a killer soundtrack to help maintain your adrenaline and nerves. Did we happen to mention the game’s difficulty level starts at “Hard”? Yeah. Surviving more than 20 seconds is a feat in of itself, making Super Hexagon one of the toughest (and coolest) twitch-based games in the App Store.
iOS (iPad 2+ $0.99)
We can’t say we’ve met another awesome human who doesn’t love mini-golf. Everyone who’s everyone loves a little putt-putt action, and Damp Gnat’s capitalized on that love with Wonderputt, a brilliant, hyper-gorgeous take on the wondrous world of miniature golfing. This is no ordinary, goof ball course -- though there are some funny moments and features of the course -- this course is a visual delight filled with life.
There’s only one 18-hole course in Wonderputt, and you’ll spend your time guiding your ball through the various holes, with a simple pull-back-and-release mechanic. That’s not to say some of the holes have some serious challenge to them, though most are meant to be lighthearted and fun to complete (as opposed to more precision-based mini-golf games). Good replay value is there, with additional achievements and collection tasks. Without question, Wonderputt is a show-stopper if you’re looking for a game to show off the iPad 2 or 3.
The first VS. Racing was a big hit when it was released into the App Store back last year, and now we’re being treated to its sequel, VS. Racing 2. In the first VR, multiplayer was limited to local matches via Bluetooth or Wifi. This time around, so it’s great news to see VR2 expands upon that with the ability to send your ghost races to friends. If they don’t already have VR2, they can watch your race online. If they have it installed, they can compete against your race.
We’re huge fans of the fun, retro feel of the top-down racer, and VR2 nails it in terms of tone and tracks. With over 30 levels, there’s a lot of races here, and we love the way customizations work: you can either win races, earn coins, and buy customizations, or you can just buy your favorites for $0.99 each if you’re feeling impatient. It’s not a major deviation from the original, but we’re not complaining in the least.
Voyager is, without a doubt, one of the most bewitching, kitschy iOS games we’ve ever come across on the App Store. There’s something truly special about stop-motion, and Voyager uses it to great effect and creates a magical, sweet little game that will sweep you off your feet and transport you to another world -- one looks like it came right out of Michael Gondry’s brain. By that, we’re talking about that crafty, needle-felted wool from memories past.
The point of the game is to guide a spaceship through the sky, picking up stars as you rise into the stratosphere. The ship moves on its own, and it tilts left and right with the accelerometer. You can slow time by tapping and holding the screen, making it possible to catch those twinkling stars that are just out of reach normally. There’s so much whimsy in Voyager, augmented by an old-timey soundtrack straight out of a 1940‘s record, and it all comes together to create a soothing, pleasant ride through time and space.
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!