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 ($2.99 - Limited Time)
Hundreds is a perfect example of minimalist game design, and it’s a great way to kick off 2013 here on Knuckle Up. We’re loving this ultra simple game of circles, and you’ll love it too... at first. A little backstory before we dig into Hundreds: the designer of this game, SemiSecret, is the very same studio that brought us endless runner Canabalt, and at the most recent Indiecade, Hundreds was an official selection. It’s a strong pedigree, to be sure; however, does this puzzle game stack up against its competition?
The concept and goal of Hundreds is simple: touch floating circles to increase their size (and the number inside them). Get enough circles ballooned up to total 100, and you’ve beaten the level. Sounds easy, right? Each puzzle presents a scenario designed to make attaining 100 more and more difficult as the game progresses. Oh, and let’s not forget this critical piece of information: when you touch a circle, it turns red as it expands, and if you touch another object while it’s red, you’re dead.
Hundreds is a beautiful juxtaposition of simplicity in design alongside increasingly complex solutions. It’s no wonder folks are already raving about it on social media, and often, they’re playing with a friend due to the fantastic multitouch capabilities. Even though it may seem basic at first glance, Hundreds is anything but, and well deserving of our Game of the Week.
iOS ($2.99 - Limited Time) | Android ($2.99 - Limited Time)
In typical tower defense games, you place structures and hope for the best as enemy units come through and attack. In Anomaly Korea, 11 Bit Studios flips the concept on its head, requiring you to choose your path and become the moving part of a level’s equation, taking down stationary enemy towers as you go. This is the sequel to the wildly successful Anomaly Warzone: Earth, and it’s as good as sequels get, with expanded level mechanics, beautifully upgraded graphics, and a new “Art of War” mode that will test even master strategists.
Nothing’s groundbreaking here, but seeing as how the original was (and still is, to a large extent) beloved by the mobile gaming community, we don’t have many issues with the lack of major deviations to the Anomaly formula. If you haven’t played Anomaly Warzone: Earth on mobile, you’re missing out; and now, with Anomaly Korea, we think it would be crazy to miss, because it’s the best damn tower offense franchise available on phones and tablets.
iPhone ($0.99) | iPad ($1.99) | Android (FREE) HD ($0.99)
Pudding Monsters comes from ZeptoLab, the master minds behind the insanely popular mobile franchise Cut the Rope, so we already know they have a PhD in how to make a game fun and addicting. Pudding Monsters is a sweet little title that will be enjoyed by the whole family. It’s a puzzle game that takes place on a dining room table, and the goal is to swipe little puddings to and fro in order to rejoin them all.
There are all manner of puddings as you move along in game: standard pudding, slimy pudding that stops other puddings in its trail, hypnotized puddings that synchronize their movements until you link them, and more. It’s not too tough to link all the puddings in any given level together, but picking up three stars later in the game is a challenge and adds replay value. Pudding Monsters is as fun as it is cute, but there’s much more to the game than that, so it’s worth picking up.
THE GRADING GAME
It might feel like The Grading Game is an app designed to evoke the horrific memories of our school days and the dreaded red marks all over the writing we were so sure was a masterpiece, destined for the annals of literary history. We’d go so far as to say that’s probably true, but in this case, you’re wielding the red pen, and it’s your turn to exact grammatical vengeance on fresh meat.
The story’s sparse, but in a nutshell, you’re looking to pay off your exorbitant student loans by taking a teacher’s assistant gig for Dr. Snerpus, a professor who loves failing students. Different modes offer different playstyles, but you’ll basically be up against a short timer while you search for errors in poorly written student essays. Sure, some might hate the idea of grading papers for fun, but if you’re anything like us (insufferable grammar sticklers), The Grading Game hits the spot.
iPad (FREE - Premium Player IAP $2.99)
Deepworld’s already been around the block on Mac, but it hit iPad a few weeks back, which was an exciting development for this charming little game (and a treat for us sandbox aficionados). It touts itself as “a massively multiplayer steampunk crafting adventure” -- which is a mouthful of descriptors, to be certain -- yet it hits on all those marks, and does them with a unique style and execution. It takes place in a persistent online universe with other players, requiring you to have an internet connection to get into the game.
You’ll spend your time mining various objects like metals and textiles in order to craft different kinds of objects you can use to decorate and operate your world. As opposed to Minecraft’s discovery system, Deepworld offers a more beginner-friendly approach in that you’ll have a book of craftable inventory at your fingertips to get started, making it a great way for sandbox noobs to get in on the fun. Deepworld quickly engages tinkerers with its accessible gameplay and whimsically dark premise, making it a great free title on the App Store.
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!