Dear readers: I have a confession to make. I completely forgot about our monthly best-of games series, because when the event came up on the calendar I was busy drooling over the new SHIELD set-top box and other Game Developers Conference-related stuff in San Francisco. Here, belated but hopefully still appreciated, are my picks for the top seven Android games of last month and a few honorable mentions.
LIMBO is a platformer and puzzler favorite among the Steam and console download crowd. And it's creepy. Super creepy. So creepy that it will give you recurring nightmares about a tiny big-headed boy and the various awful ways that he gets monochromatically disemboweled. But the atmosphere and puzzles are great, and at $5 for what has quickly become a minor classic, it's also a pretty good deal.
Uncertain of his sister's fate, a boy enters LIMBO.
If you're old enough, you might remember the "pirate math" games on the PC that had you trading goods from port to port for fun and profit. This game takes that basic idea and expands on it with a few RPG-style storylines and some fantastic 2D art. It's a pricey game by mobile standards, but includes no IAP (and it would be so easy in this kind of title) or advertising. If you like a little math in your strategy, give it a go.
Regain your riches, restore your honour and punish those who have wronged you. Merchants of Kaidan is a challenging trading game fused with lots of RPG elements. You start very humble, one cart, a purse of gold and silver coins is all that you have. Your task is to roam the world and search of opportunities to score some profit. Buy low, sell high - a merchant's motto is easy to grasp. And yet the job is harder than it seems.
Evoland is part video game, part history lesson (about video games). While it's ostensibly a traditional Japanese-style RPG, the graphics and game mechanics shift as the story progresses, going from an ancient black-and-white portable game to a modern 3D action-adventure. It's an interesting and decidedly meta take on the genre. Eventually the game just devolves into over-the-top battles that can only be won by buying in-game items with real money.* Like an increasing number of high-profile Android games, Evoland got its start on Steam and console download services.
*That isn't true at all. There are no in-app purchases in Evoland. But it would be an accurate representation of current games, now wouldn't it?
Evoland is an action adventure game which takes you on a journey through the history of classic adventure and RPG gaming. As you progress through the game, you unlock new technologies, gameplay systems and ever-improving graphics. From monochrome to full 3D graphics and from turn-based battles to real-time boss fights, Evoland makes you live the evolution of adventure gaming – all with plenty of humor and nods to moments from classic games.
The kaiju-style monsters have invaded Earth with destruction in mind, and our only defense is... sheep. The idea is to fling sheep into the monster's mouth until it's so full that it can't move, and fling the hapless humans out of the way at the same time. That seems less effective than, say, flinging bombs into its mouth or something, but then you wouldn't hear the adorable "baaaa" sound effects. Monster vs Sheep is one dollar with no in-app purchases.
The monster is hungry and on the attack. Can you stop the monster from destroying the city? Monster vs Sheep is a fun-filled arcade, free-throw extravaganza. Toss fluffy sheep into a giant monster’s mouth to save a coastal city from impending doom. Your mission is to stuff the monster full of sheep and stop his rampage. Up to 32 levels of increasing difficulty. Compete with players around the world with global leaderboard through Google Play Service.
It's not often we see traditional fighters come to Android, with the exception of those from SNK. Most of these have been re-releases of the well-known King of Fighters series, but Garou: Mark of the Wolves is actually a pseudo-sequel to Fatal Fury. This $4 Android port of the 1999 original includes support for multiplayer over Bluetooth and external controllers for proper button-mashing. Also, it's both French and Japanese, so playing it makes you cultured! (No, not really.)
This latest installment in the legendary series from SNK welcomes a new hero with Rock Howard, the posthumous successor of Geese Howard who was raised by the "Legendary Wolf" Terry Bogard, and a host of all-new charismatic characters with their own unique background story and goals. "GAROU: MARK OF THE WOLVES" renews the series with the "T.O.P. SYSTEM", a revolutionary game mechanic that can be set anywhere on the character's lifebar and gives access to a unique attack and significantly increases the character's hitting power.
Third-person shooters on consoles are legally required to offer at least two sequels - violating developers can actually be jailed for releasing only one or two games in five years. Mobile gaming seems to be following suit. Overkill 3 is aping its console predecessors with a sci-fi storyline and high-end graphics. Speaking of which: check out the screenshots below. Notice the lack of guns? You can blame that on Apple's crazy new anti-violence crusade and developer Craneballs' laziness, since they didn't bother to take Android screenshots. Overkill 3 is free to play with pricey in-app purchases.
Welcome to the future. It's grim and dark. The ever oppressing Faction wants everyone to follow and obey. They will stop at nothing. People are scared. Demoralized. The few who fight back are painfully outnumbered. They need hope. Someone to show them the way. Will you stand up for humanity and fight for its future? Step into the action of the audio-visual spectacle that is Overkill 3. Lead the Resistance into victory over the evil Faction forces and their brutal killing machines.
Dear Magic Touch enemies: far be it from me to question your balloon-based conveyances, but I would like to offer you a suggestion. If you didn't paint magical symbols onto each of them, it might be harder for wizards to draw that magical symbol in the air and pop your balloons, keeping you from landing in their castles (and incidentally killing you). Just a suggestion. I'd also like to extend a thank you to whoever decided to make the game free with a single $3 IAP to remove advertising.
Wanted, wizard required for defence duties. Must be proficient in spell casting to pop varying balloon types that may be utilised by intruders. Must be confident working alone and comfortable facing aggressive hordes. Advanced magic techniques desirable but can be learnt on the job. Applicant expected to provide their own spell book and potion bottles. They also may be required to make tea and answer phone calls. Applicants should send CVs and potions portfolio to firstname.lastname@example.org
That's all for February. Expect a lot of mobile titles to come out after being shown off at events like GDC and PAX East, both of which are/were taking place in early March. We've also got some interesting gaming hardware on the horizon, like the aforementioned SHIELD set-top box, Razer's Forge TV, and a pair of decent Mad Catz controllers. As always, check our bi-weekly game roundups, the Bonus Round, and daily coverage for even more new titles.