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
THE WALKING DEAD: ASSAULT
What's this? Another licensed Walking Dead game for iOS? Yup, but this time, it's not an alternate timeline with choices to be made. The Walking Dead: Assault is all about the main characters in the comic book and shooting/hacking down walkers. This isn't a touching, moving story about survival and humanity; on the contrary, you'll spend levels in Assault collecting supplies, keeping yourself alive, and rescuing other survivors.
This game's story more closely follows the comic books (there are some minor continuity errors with team members able to go back to areas before Rick recruits them). You'll control a party of up to 4 in each area and will be tasked with things like killing all walkers and rescuing new party members. Each member has a special ability, so there's some strategy in choosing who goes/stays in later missions. It sounds crazy, but Assault makes you feel like you're playing a top-down, living version of the comics. Bonus: Shane's "Freakout" special actually helps in this game, as opposed to just causing drama between Rick and the group.
Walking Dead: Assault is a fantastic little pick-up-and-play game from Skybound. They're the same company that publishes the comics, so it's no surprise they flat out nail the gritty, dark tone of the books. While the IAP gets a bit more insistent in later levels, it's nothing a seasoned mobile gamer can resist. For a couple bucks, it's a great investment if you love The Walking Dead.
Before it was an iOS game, Mutant Mudds was a critically acclaimed game available on PC and the Nintendo DS via the eShop. It's a charming platformer we're thrilled to see land on iOS, and there's a lot of depth to it, despite its self-proclaimed "12-bit" visage. You're in control of Max, a kid with his very own water cannon and jetpack (jealous!). You'll be shooting water to rid each level of, you guessed it, mutant mudds. There's more to this seemingly simple platformer, though.
Imagine our glee as we happened upon a platform and shot into the game's background. Yes, Mutant Mudds is that awesome. Max will need to leap into both a level's backdrop and foreground in order to complete a level 100%. It's one of the game's most awesome features, and there's way more depth (literally and figuratively) than we ever thought possible upon first firing Mutant Mudds up on our iPads. This one's a must if you love platformers. It's too good to miss.
BLADESLINGER: EPISODE 1
iOS ($2.99) | Android (TBA)
A lot of mobile gamers have been foaming at the mouth anticipating Bladeslinger, so seeing it hit the App Store last week certainly made a lot of them happy. Set in a dystopian future with a decidedly Western focus, gunslinger William Glaston arrives home after fighting in a war, only to discover it's been overrun by a bunch of creatures he's never seen before. As any hero does, Glaston sets out to kill the demons and stop whatever force is unleashing them on his hometown.
First thing's first, and that's the fact that Bladeslinger is jaw-droppingly gorgeous. The Unity engine fires on all cylinders here, offering you an expansive, luscious universe in which to wander. The controls can be a little loose when up against more than a couple enemies, but overall, it's nothing to disqualify Bladeslinger from being in your iOS library, if you love Westerns or action games like Infinity Blade.
HEROES OF ORDER & CHAOS
iOS (FREE) | Android (FREE)
Heroes of Order & Chaos proclaims to be the first MOBA (short for "multiplayer online battle arena") game on mobile, and it's a fantastic foray into the genre. It's got the standard bells and whistles you'd expect in a fantasy title, but with an additional PvP element mixed in, Order & Chaos really ups the ante in terms of lane defense games. You'll choose a hero (free heroes rotate every week, giving you variety, but you can pay to unlock characters as well), and enter either 3v3 or 5v5 battles.
Each battle's goal is simple: take down the enemy base. While you're fighting, killing soldiers fighting for the other side gives gold and experience, which in turn is used to pay for character upgrades (which come in handy if you want to survive on the PvP pitch -- some players are really good). With both single player AI matches and PvP available, both beginners and seasoned players are catered to, and overall, Heroes of Order & Chaos is a stellar entry on both iOS and Android.
Android (FREE, $4.95); CrossMe Color (FREE, $4.95)
CrossMe is one of those Japanese puzzle games that will turn into an hours-long sinkhole of play, if you let it. This is another Nonogram game, and this time, it's a game of logic and unlocking pictures. Imagine an unholy union of Sudoku, logic puzzles, and crosswords, and you'll have CrossMe. It's a simple presentation, but the puzzles are the real star of the show in CrossMe and its color variant, CrossMe Color.
Each puzzle presents you with a grid of varying size. On the outsides of the grid, there are numbers indicating how many squares in that row or column that need to be filled in order to discover the picture solution. You'll need to use every bit of logic to solve these puzzles, especially as they increase in difficulty. We'd love to hear some music behind the actual puzzles instead of just in the menus, but it's a minor inconvenience. Any puzzle lover will likely really get into CrossMe... just know that you'll probably lose hours to its deceivingly simple looks, as the puzzles are anything but.
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!