It wouldn't be a new month without a roundup of the previous month's best Play Store offerings. Of course, we've already taken a look at the best new apps from February 2013, but games – as usual – were also well-represented by new entries last month.
Typically, we try to narrow down our list of the top new apps and games to five entries each month. This month, however, saw the debut of plenty of new games that are definitely worth taking a look at, and have included seven of the very best games no Android gamer should miss. Without further ado, here are the top games from February 2013.
First up is The Sandbox. In this pixelized iOS hit, players can create their own world as a learning deity, starting a creation from scratch with stone, water, and soil, moving on to discover more complex materials like mud and sand, and eventually working all the way up to non-organic objects like light bulbs.
Despite its name, the game is not based on an open-world dynamic. All the same, it's a lot of fun, with five campaigns to complete spanning 71 levels of gameplay.
Once you've created your perfect world (and before you've maniacally destroyed it), you can share it with others in the game's online gallery, or take a look at what blocky, colorful wonders others have made.
The game is free (with optional in-app purchases), so there's no reason not to give it a shot, provided you have some time to kill. From dynamite to dinosaurs to deep sea fish, the developers at Pixowl promise "nothing is beyond your reach."
Next we have Slingshot Racing, from the makers of Paper Monsters. The premise of this game is pretty simple: it's a racing game in which players use a grappling hook to swing around corners. As simple as it is, the game is excellent for one major reason: it was conceptualized and designed from the ground up for touch devices. The lack of touch-specific engineering in mobile gaming is the primary reason this author has trouble finding likeable games, but Slingshot Racing is a game that so effortlessly tailors itself to a touchscreen that it can't be missed.
If you're wondering how this game stays interesting, don't worry – it's got a career mode with an ample 80 races, each with their own objectives from pickups races to time trials, to squaring off against "the fearsome chomper."
The game also features four-way multiplayer on a single device, giving it great potential as a tablet hit.
The game is just $0.99, and arguably packs in more entertainment than many more expensive games. If you've got a dollar and plenty of time to burn, hit the widget below.
Next in our round up is a continuous running game called Vector. Before you roll your eyes, this is a little more dynamic than your average runner, and is framed by the story of an "exceptional free runner who won't be held down by the system."
What makes it great, besides its simple yet elegant art style, is additions to an otherwise tired genre – the game touts over 100 parkour-inspired maneuvers, 30 levels, and smooth animation that greatly enhances the already pleasing aesthetic.
At the price of $0.00 in the Play Store, Vector shouldn't be overlooked by those who want a challenging – and more importantly – interesting running game.
Manos: The Hands of Fate
MANOS: The Hands of Fate asks players to harken back to their childhood, when "every film and cartoon had its own platform game adaptation," and "when every man, woman, child, animal and inanimate object were out to get your character." Based loosely on a 1960s horror film that horrified as much based on its content as its overall quality, MANOS is a very thoughtfully-executed, well-made game that actually manages to feel nostalgic – something most other pixel games can't claim.
The game costs $2.49 from the Play Store, but if you want a classic, pixel-filled experience with expansive levels and an actual retro feel, it's worth every penny.
Color Sheep, a game about a sheep, some wolves, and rainbow-colored lasers, slid into the Play Store late last month, and in doing so blasted a laser right into our hearts. In the game, you play Woolson, an adorable, unassuming sheep who's about to be attacked by a pack of multi-colored, blood-thirsty wolves. But wait – you can shoot multicolored laser beams from your mouth. To kill the wolves, you just need to match your laser to their coat color.
The game looks easy, and starts off easy, but soon you'll be panic-stricken, mashing color combinations to blast dozens and dozens of wolves to oblivion in one of several environments.
The game is definitely very challenging but that, along with its pleasing art style, makes it fun. At $0.99, you can't go wrong.
Taking a slightly different twist on nostalgia, Octo Industries introed Zombie Mineweeper to the Play Store last month. Sure, we have plenty of zombie games already, but this one combines zombies with something new … or rather, old – the classic game minesweeper.
Unlike the old minesweeper, though, Zombie Minesweeper is fast-paced, and has a lot more explosions. You'll be shooting and/or exploding about a dozen furry, undead animals, while avoiding blowing yourself up, which is harder than it sounds.
For an unspecified length of time, Zombie Minesweeper is on "feature sale" for around a dollar fifty, so if you're not tired of zombie action and loved minesweeper on your Windows 95 machine, this game's for you.
We'll wrap up this month's round up with a more calming entry – Sporos. Part of the ambient puzzle genre, Sporos looks to provide a "spacey, biological" gameplay vibe, tasking players with using special seeds called (fittingly) sporos to illuminate a number of cells, arranges in lines, columns, and intersections. This is harder than it sounds. Each seed can light up a specific number of directions, and puzzles go from easy to hard very quickly. Despite mounting challenges, players will be calmed by a relaxing soundtrack and pleasant, glowing colors.
If you're a fan of "chill out" style games but still like a puzzling – sometimes frustrating – twist, Sporos is worth a look, especially considering it's 100% free from the Play Store.
There's no doubt that February had something for everyone in terms of both apps and games. Even if you didn't see anything you liked in this month's roundups, though, you can always keep an eye out for our larger, more frequent roundups that will surely hold the app or game you've been searching for. Otherwise, we'll be back next month with March's best new games.