If you're the gaming type, you probably didn't get much done this January. The month saw the release of plenty of addictive, time-wasting games that demanded players keep coming back to unlock one more achievement, or pick up a few more coins, or destroy just a few more blobs. If you weren't able to keep up with all of the Play Store's new entries last month, don't worry – we've once again rounded up a short list of last month's very best new games. The list covers everything from basic rhythmic games to chaotic bullet hell, to clever, beautiful physics puzzles, and should suit even the most discerning mobile gamer.
If you're a fan of "bullet hell" shooters, the day you've been waiting for has arrived: the celebrated arcade and Dreamcast title Ikaruga is now available on Google Play after a brief Japan-only period. But hold your horses, nostalgic gamers - it's also one of the more expensive titles out there at a whopping $9, with no demo available. Still, for those who love this gem of a shooter, it's worth the high price tag.
If you're unfamiliar with Ikaruga, it's an old-school space shooter made for the Sega NAOMI system (basically an arcade Dreamcast) and released to home markets in 2001.
Cold Beam Games' Beat Hazard Ultra, the fascinating rhythm-based shooter we covered a few days ago, officially came out of beta and into the Play Store today, offering to bring with it all the bullets and enemies you can handle while you supply the music.
For those who missed our initial coverage, Beat Hazard is a bullet hell-style shooter that uses your own music tracks to control just about everything in the game, from the frequency of enemy attacks and their movement patterns to the rhythmic pulse of your own weapons. In this sense, the pace and style of the game is up to you.
On the Venn diagram of gaming genres, shooters and rhythm games rarely intersect, with the exception of some oddball titles like Space Channel 5. But with Beat Hazard Ultra, shooter fans and music junkies now have something that they can agree on. With success on iOS, Steam, Xbox, and PS3, developer Cold Beam has created a game with stunning visuals and an impressive tie to music that everyone will love - their own. The beta/demo version for Android is available from Cold Beam's website now in a free APK file.
Most "bullet hell" 2D shooters look fairly similar, but Beat Hazard is nothing less than stunning.
ErnCon, an awesome game with a strange name, reached version 1.0 today, officially "going gold." The game could be described as a mix between the classic 'Asteroids' and any entry from the chaotic "bullet hell" genre, with some interesting multiplayer capabilities thrown in.
ErnCon's description urges users to "join your allies in the epic battle to retake the galaxy," which could be paraphrased as "shoot everything and stay alive." When first starting the game, a nameless, busty guide will help you learn how to play in a quick tutorial mission. After the tutorial, players can choose to either shoot through Survival Mode or Missions.
The developers at int13.net introduced Shogun Rise of the Renegades to the Android Market today, bringing "bullet hell" gameplay reminiscent of Japanese arcade games from the 1990s to the palm of your hand.
For those not in the know, the Japanese sometimes call "bullet hell" style games "danmaku," referring to insane shooters in which players can generally expect most of the screen to be filled with flying bullets.
Shogun definitely delivers on this reputation, providing a continuous stream of chaotic scrolling shooter action. One of Shogun's claims to fame is its dynamic, addictive gameplay - it's easy to get hooked on the manic action and crisp, retro environments offered by Rise of the Renegades, and the game keeps things interesting with hours of entertainment.