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 five favorite games this week:
GAME OF THE WEEK
We’ve been subjected to every type of Angry Birds theme and spinoff, but now, Rovio’s released Bad Piggies. It’s time to play for the other team, and instead of re-hashing the Angry Birds pull-to-slingshot formula, Rovio presents a fun, full title that compliments everything you love about Angry Birds and still manages to retain its own personality.
The pigs you’ve come to know and loathe in Angry Birds hatch a plan to (once again) steal eggs. Unfortunately, a gust of wind blows their blueprint into a sharply-bladed fan, ripping it up and blowing it all over the land. Instead of destroying pre-built constructs, Bad Piggies requires you build wacky contraptions for the pigs so they can collect plan fragments. As you progress, the grid of potential components widens, and you unlock all kinds of parts (propellors, balloons, fans, bottle rockets) to add to your little cars.
We’ll admit, we were skeptical seeing another game from this franchise (franchises sometimes burn out long before the installments stop), but we’re majorly impressed with Bad Piggies. It’s creative, funny, and a must-have in your mobile gaming library.
If you’ve ever wondered what a collection of 1970’s fantasy book covers would look like if they were brought to life, God of Blades will satisfy your curiosity, and do it in the coolest way. This is an auto-running side scroller that focuses its gameplay entirely on swiping to swing or parry. It sounds simple, but when you combine that core design with the artistry of the environment, God of Blades is a killer game on iOS. Also, it might mark the first time we prefer an iOS game on the iPhone, as opposed to the iPad.
Take up the mantle of either The Nameless King or The Whispering Lady, and then slice and dice your way to victory as you glide through levels, cutting down each approaching foe. Unlockable blades feel reminiscent of Infinity Blade -- each have their own back story and special abilities -- and really add to the dark, gritty fantasy atmosphere of God of Blades. It’s an electric, visual feast that delights the senses and sparks the imagination.
Electric Tentacle sounds like it should be a crazy Japanese manga, right? It’s not, but Electric Tentacle does provide the same level of crazy, loud, wacky fun you might find whilst wandering the streets of Akihabara. This one puts you in control of a panda and his animal friends, who’ve all been shrunk down after attempting to keep evil aliens from invading. Now that you’re pocket sized, you’ll have to escape the clutches of the tiny ETs...
The control scheme in ET is simple: tap the screen to pull the nano-animal toward that point, and release to let the animal float. Tapping farther away causes an almost slingshot-like trajectory, while tapping close makes moves subtle. You’ll quickly pick up how to fly around the screen, but you’ll realize how easy it is to get fed to an alien even faster. A hyper soundtrack and frantic pace lifts this little iOS game above its competition, and Electric Tentacle scores high marks with us because of it.
It’s been three decades since the original Zaxxon launched, and Sega’s bringing it back with Zaxxon Escape, an all-new addition to the franchise. This isn’t your dad’s Zaxxon, though: Zaxxon Escape is completely remade from the ground up, and it bears little resemblance to the 1982 arcade classic. In this version, you’ll be utilizing your device’s accelerometer (and potentially making your arms tired in the process), because rolling left or right requires full-on device turning.
The general game mechanics in Zaxxon Escape are similar to other endless runners like Temple Run: your ship perpetually moves forward, and you must swipe your screen and rotate your device to make the ship turn and roll, respectively. The graphics are lovely, stepping right out of something like Robotech, and should satisfy anyone looking for some eye candy. Overall, Zaxxon Escape is a worthy continuation of the original, and we’d love to see more from Sega’s archives. Oh, and Sega, if you’re listening, we’d also love the 1982 version as a playable Easter Egg!
We love Adult Swim, and we love their mobile games even more, so it’s no surprise to see Super Monsters Ate My Condo on our list this week. A little over a year ago, we covered the original MAMC (we loved it), so we’re happy to report that this successor is well worth the price of admission, and adds some new features to shake things up a bit. It’s the same basic match-3 concept: stack same-colored floors in order to feed them to like-colored monsters, and try not to let your building crumble.
New this time around are things like special unlockable floors and the removal of the original’s Endless Mode, but the major new changes come via an in-game shop, where you use earned game currency to buy boosts and a mission system, which allows you to complete challenges while you play (leveling up unlocks those special floors we just mentioned). They’re all solid tweaks that add to the game’s depth and fun factor, and for a dollar, Super Monsters Ate My Condo is packed full of enjoyment and glee.
Ashley Esqueda is a tech pundit, cylon, and all-around mobile nerd who hosts for Mobile Nations and podcasts about gadgets on Techfoolery. 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!