Whether you’re a casual player or hardcore elitist, we’ve got some essential gaming apps that everyone across the spectrum should experience. Mobile gaming has never been better, and while it continues to soar to new heights, let’s take a moment to be sure no one missed a few of our favorite highlights and hidden gems.
Plants Vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time (iOS)
Seattle-based PopCap Games just dropped the sequel to Plants Vs. Zombies this past week. Although everyone worried about it’s freemium-ness, the game is ridiculously enjoyable and playable without engaging in microtransations. The cleverly named Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time is at once a joke to the fans who clamored for the sequel… and also about time travel. Turns out Crazy Dave ate the most amazing taco ever. Instead of simply ordering another taco, he wants to go back in time and eat that exact same taco. Solid plan. So he recruits a friend with a time machine (like you do), which takes him back a little farther than he expected: Ancient Egypt. Now players are charged with fighting back through different themed worlds to fulfill Crazy Dave’s dream of the perfect taco. With new plants, new zombies and a Super Mario-esque overworld map, PvZ2 is a mobile tower defense must-have.
Block Fortress (iOS)
Developer Fours4ken Media has combined three serious addictions into one super game by mixing Minecraft, tower defense and first-person shooter into Block Fortress. Building a killer tower now means you gotta defend the crap outta it, because the menacing Goblocks are out to tear it down. Build, fight and survive as long as you can. Pro note: The time of day and cycle of night will affect your gameplay, so make sure to prepare yourself against evening raids. And, if you want to involve friends, team up in a 2-4 player multiplayer co-op.
The Walking Dead: Season One (iOS)
Telltale Games took home the 2012 VGA “Game of the Year” for this stunningly emotional game. The console version was insanely good, and the iPad version is crazy immersive. This is definitely one of those games you need to play with the same level of respect you’d give to a book. For those of you new to the series, it’s about a group of people from southern Georgia trying to survive a zombie outbreak. In a five-part graphic adventure, your choices and actions will change the fate of the characters. In other words, your choices make a tangible difference, and after spending some time in protagonist Lee Everett’s shoes, they’ll start to matter to you as well. Highly recommended for the iPad, but not suggested for the iPhone.
Tentacles: Enter the Dolphin (iOS)
This bizarre little Platformer is brought to us by Press Play and The Microsoft Corporation. In Tentacles: Enter the Dolphin, you get to play as a microscopic tentacle guy named Lemmy who escaped an experiment by jumping into the mouth of a dolphin-headed scientist. Your maze is Professor Phluff’s flesh and guts, so it’ll be just like that episode of The Magic Schoolbus, but grosser! While you’re swimming around the insides of a mostly human body and clawing on for dear life, we think you’ll find it horrifically adorable.
The Room (iOS/Android)
Fireproof Games designed an intimate, haunting puzzle game about an ornate box full of mystery. Much like The Walking Dead, The Room is an immersive experience. Inspecting the box will reveal an unusual story line about a person with the initials A.S. Everyone wanted this game to be longer, and thankfully Fireproof is finally releasing the new chapter on August 29th, The Room: Epilogue. Both trailers are presented here for your wonderment.
World of Goo (iOS/Android)
Even though this masterpiece once claimed an iPad “Game of the Year” title along with an insane amount of accolades, it never ceases to amaze how many people don’t know about it. With only $10k and a coffee shop Wi-Fi connection, 2D Boy created World of Goo, a gorgeous, physics-based puzzler about the adorable, likable Goo. Divided into 5 chapters, the main idea is to get Goo balls from point A to point B by building towers and bridges for travel without toppling. Although the game was originally released on PC and Wii, the iOS and Android versions proved World of Goo to be the perfect pick-up game without losing its art.
Yelling at your friends has never been so much fun! Brought to us by independent developer Henry Smith, Spaceteam is a cooperative sci-fi game between 2 to 4 players about a ship falling apart. Your screen will prompt commands with increasingly absurd “technobabble”. As a team, you’ll need to master the art of shouting and listening to complete the objectives and advance sectors. Inevitably, your Spaceteam will fail and a flaming mass will consume your ship. It’s a stupidly fun, proximity-based party game played via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The dude who created it charges nothing, but sells add-ons if you’d like to donate to his continued work. This YouTube video doesn’t really do the gameplay justice, so you’ll just have to trust us on this one. Android version coming soon.
Ambient and challenging, Hemisphere Games created a truly awe-inspiring, physics-based game. In Osmos, the goal is to grow and survive. Absorb “motes” and move around by ejecting matter behind you. Losing some of your primordial ooze will shrink you however, so you’ll need to chill out and not get too crazy. Regaining your size is always possible, but beware of the other motes. They’re trying to grow too. The bigger the mote, the more motes it can absorb. Don’t be the smaller mote.
Starting out as a furry little animal in a silhouetted world of vibrant colors, Badland takes you on a puzzle platforming adventure. This game is definitely challenging, and you’ll have to think quick to escape certain death. When you want a change of pace, try the hilarious multiplayer. Up to four friends can compete against each other, all on one screen (tablet obviously recommended).
Ridiculous Fishing: A Tale of Redemption (iOS)
That’s right… fishing! Damn right! Consider how many PC/console games require us to fish. It’s a basic skill! But not in Ridiculous Fishing. This app raises the bar. Straight from developer Vlambeer’s media kit, Ridiculous Fishing: A Tale of Redemption is “a handcrafted game about fishing with guns, chainsaws & toasters.” Need we say more?
Did we miss any of your favorite apps? Let us in the comments below or let me know on Twitter!