Mobile gaming is fast coming into its own. While I’m sure there are still some ‘hardcore’ elements out there that would disagree, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone games are every bit as legitimate as the AAA titles you’d find on an Xbox 360 or a gaming rig. Sure, some of them might not be as complex or deep as their counterparts, but at the same time none of that really matters if only for one reason:
If you’ve got a decent smartphone and are looking for a way to occupy countless hours of your time, you’d do well to check out some of the titles below.
Jetpack Joyride: When I first saw a friend playing Jetpack Joyride on his ‘droid, I thought it looked familiar. After looking into it, I realized that was because it was familiar. It’s developed by Halfbrick Studios, the folks behind great titles like Monster Dash and Fruit Ninja. The premise of JJ is very simple: you’re Barry Steak’n'fries (who’s pretty much become Halfbrick’s Mascot at this point) and you’ve stolen a Jetpack from a secret lab facility. You’re going on a joyride.
Gameplay-wise, Jetpack Joyride will have you careening through wild obstacle courses with a wide array of vehicles, collecting coins, completing missions, and posting your high score on online leaderboards. Controlling it is as simple as tapping the touch screen and like Halfbrick’s other titles it’s simple, chaotic, time-wasting fun.
Infinity Blade/Infinity Blade II: Truth be told, this series makes me wish I had an iPad. Powered by the UNREAL Engine 3, Infinity Blade looks like it belongs on a console, not a smartphone or tablet. Infinity Blade makes use of the iPad’s gesture controls and features a wide array of well-remembered, well-tread gaming tropes. A classical RPG/brawler, you’ll fight a sequence of enemies using the touchscreen, eventually coming face to face with the God King. Both games rank among the best mobile games ever made and are definitely worth a look if you’ve got an iOS device.
King of Dragon Pass: I’ve got to admit, this one intrigued me. A full-fledged strategy game originally released in 1999, it recently made its debut on iOS. The re-release shares a lot in common with the original – a fully interactive story that includes resource management and diplomacy into a masterfully crafted high fantasy world, complete with beautifully drawn art. With a pool of over three hundred random events, this one’s sure to keep you busy many an hour.
Groove Coaster: Looking at Groove Coaster, the first thing I’m reminded of is Geometry Wars…and that’s not a bad thing. The resemblance is mostly skin-deep, however, as Groove Coaster bills itself as a rhythmic action game crafted by the director of Space Invaders Infinity. Featuring sixteen tracks in all (plus five additional tracks as a result of a holiday update), players are required to tap the screen wherever the beats show up along a wireframe path. If I had to draw a parallel, I’d say the game Osu is the closest to Groove Coaster I’ve seen, though the latter’s a little more difficult.
Epic Astro Story: Hmm…how to describe the last entry on our list? Basically, you’re colonizing a planet deep in space and fighting off aliens…that is, until your colony gets epic enough to attract those same aliens as tourists, from the sounds of it. Basically, it seems to be Sim City with a healthy dose of Sins of a Solar Empire tossed in…though, I’d imagine, not nearly quite as complex. My guess is that fans of strategy games will pick this one up for a diversion while they’re away from their computers, while everyone else will play it because…well, it’s fun.
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