With well over 200,000 apps now available on the Google Android Marketplace, it can be a little daunting to track down exactly what you want. Combined with Google’s decision not to regulate what gets uploaded to the service, things can start to resemble the wild west at time. Despite recently introducing editor’s picks and having had top sellers lists for a while, the task of shifting through the inevitable knock offs and trash just to find the hidden gems remains an awkward prospect. To this end, we present you with the top games currently available on the service.
Cut the Rope
Price – £0.62
Having debuted on iOS devices in late 2010, this charming little puzzle game finally found its way onto Android devices last year. Having started out at an already generous 125 levels, the game has almost doubled in size since launch, keeping all the bonus levels and extra content that had been added to the original iOS release. Each level may only take a few seconds to beat, but earning the full 3-star rating may take much longer with devious tricks and techniques introduced in the end-game. While this Russian developed title is at its strongest when dealing with logic based puzzles and not the timing/reflex dependent solutions it adopts later on, the wonderful art style, quirky sense of humour, and intuitive controls still make it a must buy.
Price – £1.85
A unique mix of RTS/RPG and action game, Battleheart places you in command of 4 heroes and tasks you with surviving increasingly difficult arena-based encounters. Each hero has unique abilities based on its class that work on a cool down timer. These can be deployed to help your party directly through dealing damage, or indirectly by healing your allies or increasing strength or defence. To keep you coming back for more, the game adds a light-RPG progression system. Heroes earn experience and can level up to improve their abilities and stats. New weapons and armour can also be bought and equipped and new heroes can be recruited once unlocked. Unfortunately, the touch screen controls are prone to confusion when trying to select specific units once they become layered over each other and the battles don’t require too much tactical finesse. That said, it’s still a fun game and well worth a look into, as long as you don’t expect too much in terms of depth.
Price – £2.64
Not quite a game in of itself, but rather a way to increase the library of titles available to you. Although pricier than most others on this list, this app makes up for that by almost turning your Android phone into a portable console (more specifically, a PS1). Just copy any burned Playstation ISO files (from a legally owned original copy of course) onto the phone and you’re ready to go! From Crash Bandicoot to Final Fantasy and Metal Gear, It boasts a wide list of compatible games and the touch screen controls do a decent job of emulating the classic Playstation controller. Although, if the touch input leaves you wanting, you can always tether a PS3 pad onto the device via Bluetooth and take control via that for a more precise, and authentic, experience.
Price – Free (with additional transactions to ease progress)
Built within the framework of such games as Canabalt, this medieval platformer has your armour-clad hero running from left to right of his own accord, with your role being to help him jump over, roll under and slash any obstacles that get in his way. Despite its incredibly simple premise and controls, the game creates a layer of depth by scattering coins throughout each of its many levels which can be used to purchase new equipment. This can be either stronger armour or flaming swords that increase your damage. However, the cost of each new item is usually a little steep, so expect to replay previous levels before being able to afford the shiniest new objects unless you’re willing to turn some real cash into the digital kind to speed up progress. Technically sharp 3D graphics and a good sense of style make it worth a try, even if you decide not to invest any more time, or money, into the title.
Hard Lines HD
Price – £1.99
If Tron and that old monochrome Nokia classic Snake were to meet, this Technicolor baby would likely be the result of such a union. It combines the multiple light cycle confrontations of the former with the dot collecting and ever increasing length of the latter with a simple swipe to change direction control system. It features a couple of different game modes to keep things varied but they all pretty much amount to either avoiding the other AI controlled players, maximising your score, both of the above, or doing so while under a time limit. The price is likely a little steep for what it offers and the video game humour sprinkled throughout may not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s ideal for short bursts.
Price – £3.49 (For Tegra 2 or Tegra 3 version)
Jealous of all your iPhone carrying friends wow-ing you with Infinity Blade? The Android marketplace may have found its answer to iOS’s flagship graphical showpiece. Available in two formats, ShadowGun is a Gears of War inspired Third Person Shooter, with a heavy focus on cover mechanics. In terms of art design, it’s a little soulless and derivative, with its murky brown corridors and Cortana-based AI companion. That being said, it’s still a fun ride and the touch screen controls work surprisingly well, with a generous amount of auto-aim afforded to your character when shooting. Owners of newer, Tegra 3 equipped, devices can feel proud in knowing that the newly released ‘THD’ version of the game will provide them with better lighting, textures, particle effects and physics.
Vitor de Magalhaes