The Sparkle series of games use a 2D layout and a "zen" approach, putting players in the role of a tiny plankton-like creature as it eats, grows, and evolves. The third game steps up the design of both the sea life and the background until it looks like you're playing in a catastrophic oil spill comprised entirely of tie-dye. Eat, grow, and try not to be eaten in return as you swim through the levels.
There's a dedicated "amoeba" sub-genre out there (it works pretty well on touchscreens) but Sparkle 3 Genesis adds some much-needed complexity. Different food sources will make your creature grow in different ways, introducing a crafting element, and twelve different levels and intermittent screen-filling bosses lend structure to an other wise nebulous experience.
There are a lot of puzzle games on Android. It makes sense: a touch-based interface is perfect for games that have a lot of active elements on screen at once and don't need quick responses. But that ideal setup means that years after the explosion of mobile gaming, we don't often see new ideas. Prismatica is a hexagonal puzzle game that bucks that trend. It's kind of like a two dimensional Rubik's cube, plus some color theory and twinkly music.
Each Prismatica stage is made up of a series of hexagonal wheels that are interconnected. Every wheel uses a colored spoke which "assigns" the color to its surrounding tiles, which overlap onto another wheel at at least one point, combining their colors.
Remember that awesome credits sequence from Lord of War? Imagine that as an artsy 2D silhouette game, and you might get something close to Redden. This touch-based shooting title has mechanics that are incredibly simple, but the stylish presentation and unique take on the story make it worth a look if you want something different. Redden is $2.44 in the Play Store and has no advertising or in-app purchases, at least at launch.
Redden begins in a derelict junk shop, where an animate iPhone talks smack to some of the older inhabitants, Brave Little Toaster-style. The story progresses as various weapons - an arrow, a kunai throwing knife, and a bullet - tell tales from their own perspectives.
Soccer games and tower defense games seem to have reached their design peak - while you see a new idea every once in a while, both genres are relatively static. That's probably what makes FootLOL so interesting: it mixes both genres, and a bunch of other random insanity, to make something wholly unique. And also insane. Just have a gander at the trailer below and see if you can scrape together the few bits of coherence in the gameplay.
FootLOL is basically the over-the-top sports game, a la NBA Street or Mario Super Strikers, taken to its most unbelievable conclusion. You control your team and try to score goals in the conventional way, but you also get crazy semi-permanent cannons and turrets, stampeding herds of cattle, alien abductions, and a host of other things that are slightly outside of the rules of soccer to employ on both offense and defense.
Over the last few years Ben Yahtzee Croshaw has become something of a legend among game reviewers His relentless loquacious and foul mouthed video reviews have skewered hundreds of video games and become a Wednesday ritual for gamers everywhere To be lambasted by Croshaw is to have your game laid bare all corner cutting exposed all dull and unimaginative choices derided before an audience of hundreds of thousands A profanity laced put down from his tiny invisible cartoon mouth has become a rite of passage and a trial by fire for all but the most fortunate of developers and publishers
Remember Bomberman? You know, that cute little maze-based puzzle game that got infinitely more fun when you played it with friends? Right, well imagine a Bomberman game... set in a schlocky slasher movie. That's basically BRAWL, the latest console pilgrim to come exclusively to NVIDIA'S SHIELD Tablet and SHIELD Android TV. It's also notably the first Android game we've seen on the Play Store with an "Adults only" 18+ ESRB rating, though that might be a mistake - the game's trailer (which looks like it's taken from the PS4 version) brands it with the slightly less salacious M rating.
In BRAWL, you take control of one of eight characters that seem to have popped out of a Halloween party sponsored by Hot Topic.
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.
I dare you to try and get through this story without getting Devo lyrics stuck in your head. Ready? Here we go: FireWhip is a casual game from developer Trichotomy that's unlike just about anything on the Play Store, despite its simplicity. You play a tiny pixelated blob which, for reasons that aren't adequately explained, has a whip made of fire. The objective is to kill as many bad guys (also represented by pixelated blobs) as possible, in a sort of 360-degree version of a top-down shooter.
The unique part of FireWhip is the control scheme. To activate your whip you simply swipe in a circle, the faster the spin, the longer and more powerful the whip.
This one's been waiting in the wings for quite a while. NVIDIA teased The Talos Principle, a puzzle game played out primarily in full first-person 3D, way back at the reveal of the SHIELD Tablet in July of 2014. After nearly a year of waiting (and the game's full release on the PC), it's now available exclusively for newer high-end Tegra-powered devices. According to the game's Play Store description, it's intended for the SHIELD Tablet, the Nexus 9 (equipped with a Tegra K1), and the upcoming SHIELD Android TV set-top box only. It uses either touchscreen controls or external controllers.
The Talos Principle is an introspective and somewhat philosophical puzzler created by Croteam, of all people - that's the developer of the over-the-top Serious Sam shooters.
A good way to describe Breath of Light would be "ethereal." The soft, flowing music, abstract visuals, and odd lack of any kind of verbal or numerical user interface can almost lull you into a daze, which is an odd thing to say in praise of a puzzle game. And yet in a strange way it is a praise: the combination of music and visuals give Breath of Light that hard-to-define but nonetheless positive vibe of the best "zen" games.
The objective, such as it is, is to get the ever-expanding cloud of white dots (pollen? "Light?" I've no idea) streaming out of a lotus flower into one or more of its fellows, using...