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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
We've covered both of the previous entries in the Sorcery series, from 80 Days developer Inkle Ltd., when they landed on Android. At the core they're game-books, a genre that mixes old-school dice-based tabletop RPGs and structured "Choose Your Own Adventure" narratives, like those so prominently featured in the library of Tin Man Games. But the Sorcery series takes this idea further with a dynamic story engine, interesting animations, skeuomorphic interface design, and hand-drawn everything.
You don't need to have played Sorcery or Sorcery 2 to get into the story of Sorcery 3 (but it couldn't hurt). This time 'round the Tolkien-style fantasy world includes time portals: your character will be able to move between the present and the past with your choices affecting each, Chrono Trigger-style.
Beamdog has already made admirable Android ports of the original Baldur's Gate RPG and its side-sequel Icewind Dale. Now you can get Baldur's Gate II, the continuation of the original that was first published way back in 2000 by none other than Bioware. Like the previous D&D RPGs, Baldur's Gate II costs ten dollars on the Play Store, which gets you the original game and all its expansion scenarios. The game is not restricted to tablets, though it will certainly be better played on one.
The core of BGII is Shadow Amn, which directly follows the story events of the original game.