Considering the shortness of February and the general malaise that is the entertainment industry between January and March, it's impressive that Android received so many high-profile games during the month. And indeed we did: JRPG fans have no less than three new classics to check out, there's a new chapter of The Walking Dead for horror fans, and plenty of titles for more causal players to try. Below in no particular order, you'll find our picks for the seven best new Android games of February, plus a few honorable mentions.
To celebrate the release of Rise of the Tomb Raider on Xbox consoles, Square Enix is discounting its Lara Croft GO game by 60% on the Play Store. It's a flash sale though, so you might want to hurry and grab it if the game seemed appealing to you or if you liked its spiritual predecessor Hitman GO.
Lara Croft GO is a turn-based puzzle adventure, where you play your turn moving your character along predefined paths, then wait for your opponents to make their move. There isn't a lot of urgency in the game, so you can take your time exploring the 75 different levels and figuring out the best way to finish them, all while listening to a nice soundtrack and enjoying the smooth animations and low-poly-like designs.
The classic Final Fantasy RPG you've been waiting for is finally available on Android! No, not that one. Or that one, or that one either - it's number nine. This morning Square Enix published Final Fantasy IX, which was first released for the PlayStation way back in 2000, on the Play Store. If you have $16.99 to spare (and 4GB of free space on an Android 4.1+ phone or tablet), it can be yours. That's a 20% discount until February 21st, according to the app description.
What's up, Square Enix? It's been over six months since you brought one of your classic RPGs out of mothballs for another round on Android. Since you're just about out of Final Fantasies and Dragon Quests (or at least entries of those franchises that will run on mobile hardware), I see you've jumped onto the Mana series. The first entry in the long-running action-RPG saga, which was actually released as "Final Fantasy Adventure" for the Game Boy a bit less than 25 years ago, is now available in the Play Store.
That's right, the original Tomb Raider sequel is approaching twenty years old. Nearly two decades have passed since players got to take a blocky Lara Croft back through tombs and mostly non-tombs on PlayStations and PCs. Now you can take the game with you in your pocket for the extra low price of 99 cents.
According to my Steam statistics, I've played approximately 162 hours of Just Cause 2, a significant portion of which was spent grappling members of the Panauan armed forces to lit fuel containers to make them zoom away like man-sized Roman candles. Avalanche Studios' open-world magnum opus seems to nail what larger franchises like Grand Theft Auto forgot years ago: the most fun you can get from a sandbox game is in blowing large parts of said sandbox to smithereens.
So it's no wonder that the sequel, Just Cause 3, is making waves months before its release. In addition to the standard shooting/driving setup and the unique parachute/grapple hook mechanic of the previous game, the third entry will give players infinite batches of C4 explosives and a wingsuit for even more ways to traverse the massive game world.
Welcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn't get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can't wait for our bi-weekly roundups, and don't want to wade through a whole day's worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we've got a platformer with Asteroids DNA, a sequel to Game Studio Tycoon, a casual game about drilling, a Square-Enix surprise, and a blank screen. Without further ado:
Imagine moving around a standard platforming game with the look and movement mechanic of Asteroids.
The once proud Tomb Raider franchise has been somewhat exploited in recent years with releases like Lara Croft Relic Run. There's the classic Tomb Raider game on Android now, but in the near future you might have another option for not-terrible Tomb Raider gaming with Lara Croft GO.
Back in April, Square Enix released the original Tomb Raider game on Android for just $0.99. The title that began Lara Croft's long-lasting career as a polygonal heroine came to Android with all the levels (and dinosaurs) players remember, along with the "unfinished business" levels. The controls aren't ideal but the game brought controller support and an undeniable nostalgic vibe.
Today, the classic title has dropped to just $0.10 on the Play Store. Compared to the already low price of just under a dollar this might not seem like a huge drop, but honestly at a dime it's even harder not to grab Tomb Raider if you haven't already.
Square Enix, listen to me: stop making Android ports. Please. You're really bad at it. All of these games, most of which are decades old and extremely expensive by mobile standards, are embarrassingly lacking in polish and features.
Take the latest, Dragon Quest VI. By all accounts it's a classic JRPG, and one that many never got to play in the west since the original Super NES version was only released in Japan. On Android it's fifteen bucks. It comes with zero Google Play Games features (no cloud saves!), has no compatibility with Bluetooth controllers or Android TV, and it doesn't even work in landscape mode.