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
iOS ($4.99 for Episode 1; Episodes 2-5 via IAP)
The Walking Dead is one of the best shows on TV right now, and Telltale Games brings the horror, the personal relationships, and the consequences that come with both themes in Walking Dead: The Game. It's been out for a while now, but we've held off on including it here so that we could play through the entire five episode story arc -- and what a story it is. Protagonist Lee's journey takes us through a parallel timeline to the show's, offering a glimpse at a new band of survivors dealing with the walker infection.
You'll meet up with some familiar faces throughout your journey, but the greatest part of Walking Dead: The Game is that it focuses on the same thing the graphic novel and TV show does: how the hero's choices affect everything and everyone around him. You'll often have to decide who lives and dies, who eats, and who learns (or doesn't learn) your past, and those choices will change how folks in your group feel about you or someone else.
The writing is spectacular, presenting us with dynamic characters who simply feel real. There aren't any pure heroes or villains in Walking Dead: The Game, and by the end of all five episodes, you'll feel closure. You'll also feel emotionally exhausted, as you become truly invested in the survival of the little girl Lee promises to protect soon after the game's start, and yourself. If you love the comic, if you love the show -- hell, even if you just love zombies and contextual gameplay -- do not miss Walking Dead: The Game. It's a masterpiece.
QatQi seems like a game that should have never been made. That's not to say it's bad; actually, it's so original, we can't believe someone thought it up. We've never seen a word game like QatQi, but we're glad it exists, and it's absolutely worth a look if you love games like Scrabble. It's a beautiful, unorthodox word game, but it succeeds in its quest to bring you something different than what you've ever played whilst retaining a familiar feel. Oh, and it's free. Bonus!
Here's how the game works: every day, a new puzzle unlocks, and each consists of an invisible grid inside a blueprint/outline. You get seven letters at a time, just like Scrabble, and you'll use them to build words. Picking up coins and building upon previously made words offer bonuses, and you'll have to arrange your letters strategically in order to snake your way through the map. Puzzles range from the super easy to totally crazy, but if you're a word nut like us, you'll be more than happy with QatQi's difficulty spectrum.
iOS ($0.99) | Android (FREE)
Nun Attack made us realize how, deep down inside, we secretly wanted to be a kick ass nun with a gun. Seriously you guys, Nun Attack is like Die Hard... in a habit. You're Eva, and your sister Mortana's gone rogue. Now, you've got to rescue your other holy sisters Rosy, Olga, and Mandy, and stop Mortana's rampage of terror and destruction. And if you ever thought nuns couldn't possibly be fun... well, Nun Attack is about to prove you wrong.
The game reminds us a lot of Battleheart: you'll spend battles moving around, dodging hazards and drawing lines to move to a spot or attack enemies. Each sister has her own speciality, and with that comes an arsenal of guns at your disposal. Fortunately, IAP never feels forced (you can unlock pretty much everything without IAP if you have a little patience), and the slick cartoon visuals compliment the game's action-packed theme.
iOS (FREE - Limited Time) | Android (FREE - Limited Time)
Freeze's environments remind us a lot of indie classic Limbo: a dark fantasy presented entirely in black and white, serving up a host of macabre traps for our hero to get caught up in. That's not to say Freeze is a clone; on the contrary, Freeze is a puzzle game requiring some quick thinking and strategy in single-screen levels. The protagonist is an eyeball, ripped from his family and held captive by dark forces, and you'll be tasked with getting him to the portal in each level.
The cool part of Freeze is how you get the eye into each portal. Instead of controlling the hero, you'll instead be manipulating the world around him, swiping in order to rotate the area and control where/how the hero rolls (and falls) around inside it. In addition, you'll sometimes have the ability to freeze time and rotate the level around before unfreezing your hero. Freeze is a great twist on a genre filled with predictable games, and the price of free doesn't hurt, either.
iOS (FREE - Full Unlock $6.99)
Now this is freaking cool. Three decades ago, the Vectrex console hit the consumer market. Unlike its cousins (which were raster-based), Vectrex was vector-based, meaning it could look like the games at your local arcade. Now, Vectrex Regeneration is out for iOS, and it's one of the most true iterations of classic gaming on mobile today. It's a masterful homage to the original console, right down to the simulated vector renders on screen, and will send any retro gaming fan into fits of nostalgia. The game sets you into a room with all kinds of neat things to look at: an original Vectrex console, a blank corkboard for your future achievements, polaroids of concept art, and shelves filled with original Vectrex games.
The free version only comes with Minestorm, but for $7, you can unlock the entire library, including Pole Position and Starhawk. It's a throwback that's not for everyone, but if you lived through the first generation of console gaming (or you want to know what it was like), we'd definitely recommend picking Vectrex Regeneration up, as it's barely second to playing the real deal.
Ashley Esqueda is a host, cylon, and all-around mobile nerd who also works for Mobile Nations and runs an obscenity-laden tech podcast called 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!