I can't honestly claim to be an old-school fan of Shadowgate, because when it was first published for the Macintosh in 1987, I was -2 months old. The original game was one of the first dungeon crawlers, advancing the player from room to room in a text-driven role-playing game that focuses on puzzles over combat, ruthlessly killing the player if he or she makes a misstep or doesn't keep enough torches around. It was kind of like Dark Souls, but with a greyscale color palette. Shadowgate is simple by modern PC and console standards, but its intricate worldbuilding and devious puzzles have made it a minor classic in the genre.
You wear a disguise, to look like human guys, but you're not a man, you're a Chicken Boo. The classic Animaniacs sketch, wherein a six-foot chicken passes himself off as human in various Chaplin-style short farces, might very well be one of the inspirations for indie gaming hit Octodad: Dadliest Catch. In this casual physics game you play an eight-legged cephalopod trying to live the American dream, passing himself off as an average Joe as he gets married, enters the workforce, and raises a family.
Steam is the #1 gaming market for PCs, and the desktop client is quite robust (and big enough that performance-minded gamers complain about its RAM and processor footprint). The official mobile version of Steam has been slowly catching up to the desktop in terms of features, and today's update to version 2.1 is the biggest that's come in a long time. A laundry list of tools from the desktop and web versions of Steam are now available in the Android app, no pop-out required.
Door Kickers is a military-style, real-time, top-down, squad-focused tactical game. If all those hyphens mean nothing to you, imagine it as something like XCOM with a more straightforward interface and a severe lack of aliens. But the difference between more conventional tactical games and Door Kickers is what makes it exciting: the game's 2D interface boils the admittedly niche genre down into its purest elements of placement, timing, and sight lines. It's available for Android tablets (and only tablets) for $5.
When you read the words "zombie-themed base-builder," some of the more hilariously awful games on the Play Store come to mind, including this classic gem of wanton intellectual property theft. But don't close the tab just yet: Rebuild 3 is a zombie of a different off-green hue. First of all, it comes from developer Northway Games, which made such unique titles as Inredipede and Deep Under the Sky. Second, it's a premium $5 title with no in-app purchases, which is more than you can say for the vast majority of both builder and zombie games for Android.
The Steam app for Android has been rocking the same ancient UI since it launched years ago, but that changes today. The app has jumped from v1.1 all the way to 2.0 and it comes with a revamped UI. It's being called "material," but I don't know if I'd go that far. It's still a vast improvement over the old app.
There are a lot of solid dungeon crawlers available in the Play Store - my personal favorite is probably Mage Gauntlet. But whether it's because of the general trend towards the retro visual style or simply because it's easier to implement on mobile, most of them use a top-down 2D pixelated visual style. Not so for TinyKeep. The premiere Android game from developer Digital Tribe bucks those trends for a high-end take on the genre.
TinyKeep is actually another port from PC download service Steam, so it's easy to see where its high-end graphics come from. You'll need a powerful phone or tablet to get the most out of the experience.
In English, the word "limbo" can refer either to a party dancing game where participants walk under a horizontal bar or a theological concept referring to plane of existence between life and damnation. Take a look at the screenshot above. Which one do you think the game LIMBO is about?
LIMBO debuted on Steam, Xbox Live, the PlayStation Network and other download services back in 2010. It helped kick off the current trend for dark and moody platformers focused on exploration and atmosphere more than twitchy action. You play a young boy trapped in a nightmarish twilight as he searches for his missing sister.
I'm so glad that grown-up strategy is coming to mobile platforms in a big way. Following in the footsteps of XCOM: Enemy Unknown and XCOM: Enemy Within, developer Hairebrained Schemes has published Shadowrun: Dragonfall on the Google Play Store. This is more of an expansion of Shadowrun Returns, which launched on Android back in September of last year, than it is a direct sequel. It's yours for $6.99, no previous purchases necessary.
The Shadowrun video games are based on the roleplaying board games of the same name - think Dungeons & Dragons meets Blade Runner. Dragonfall is a separate steampunk campaign, wherein a dystopian Cold War allegory plays out through tactical RPG progression.
God games are particularly well-suited to mobile platforms, where the top-down interface lends itself well to touch controls, and the size of the screen - not to put too fine a point on it - helps with the deity fantasy. One of the more popular and unconventional latter entries in the genre is indie darling Godus from 22cans, published on the Play Store by DeNa. You can grab the free download now.
In Godus, you play as a god trying to nurture a stone-aged village to greater heights of civilization. This isn't done with direct control as in a strategy game: your primary power is shaping various layers of earth and water to make livable spaces for your followers.