Android gaming has really evolved this year. There are now lots of titles with impressive 3D graphics, all the video game console emulators you can dream of, as well as plenty of clever and addictive games in the Market.
Some games are addictive simply because they’re so much fun to play, and other games are mainly addictive because you think to yourself “I’ll do better next time and get a higher score”, and can’t stop playing. Here are 10 Android games of both sorts that are great to have in your app drawer when you got some time to kill.
(added Sept 16 2010)
I had to add this one as an 11th bonus title, because any list of addictive Android games wouldn’t be complete without Fruit Ninja – the game that blogs have been buzzing about for the past few days. It initially rose to fame on iOS with over 2 million copies sold and the Android version just got released. I must say that Fruit Ninja almost is the epitome of an addictive mobile game. This is what the game’s about: various pieces of fruit are thrown in front of you, and you must cut them in half by swiping your finger across them before they move out of sight (“All ninjas hate fruit!”). You can earn various bonuses by cutting three or more pieces of fruit at the same time. It’s oddly fun and satisfying to slice them in half, and it’s very hard to quit once you start. The Market description says “Fruit Ninja is a juicy action with squishy, splatty and satisfying fruit carnage!”, and damn it, they’re right.
I’ll kick off this list with a couple of smart and quite unusual puzzle games by Camel Games. It’s an Android developer that has specialized in games that are based on a physics engine (i.e. gravity). The goal of Super Tumble is easy: remove the blocks to get the star safely onto the platform. To achieve that goal will however become quite challenging towards the end. To get rid of a block, simply tap on it and then things start to fall in the same way they would in real-life. I love figuring out how to best tackle each new puzzle and the gameplay is varied enough to keep you interested through all 90 levels. Super Tumble has nice graphics, too.
Shoot U! is another physics game, this time with graphics inspired by hand-drawings. All you need to do is to shoot out little ragdoll dudes from a mortar and hit a star with them. The fewer shots you use, the more points you get. Does it sound simple? Well, it’s easy at first, but one or two of the higher levels are so difficult that the game almost gets more frustrating than fun. Green objects are movable, black objects are immovable, and it’s up to you to use the laws of physics to hit the star. Shoot U! is indeed an addictive Android game that should keep you entertained for a while.
Space Physics has a quite rare concept: draw shapes and objects on the screen that then come to life, and use those objects to make a ball move and hit a target. There’s a tutorial in the game that explains this better, and it’s easy to get started. As the name implies, this is also a game based on physics.
The goal of Blow Up is to flatten buildings by attaching explosives to them. You have a certain amount of bombs in different sizes, and you can put a timer delay on them if you want to. The buildings crumble and fall according to the laws of physics, and you get a bonus if you make the panda hit the target.
If you’re familiar with Doodle Jump or Abduction, you’ll feel right at home playing this game. Hyper Jump has its very own look and feel, though: you tilt your phone to collect coins, rise higher, grab power-ups and dodge monsters, but it’s faster and more action-filled than the other games. You also merely need to touch a coin to jump up, and there are lots of various power-ups and fun sound effects. When you miss a coin and fall down, there is actually almost a sense of vertigo at times.
Doodle Jump is an easy-to-learn yet addictive game: use your Android’s accelerometer to guide the doodler up to the next platform while avoiding bad guys. It’s a game with charming, naïvist graphics and it should be able to keep you occupied.
This cool title from Android publisher HyperBees was part of TechCredo’s 4 Android 3D Games Worth Buying post: “SpeedX is a quite original game that lets you fly through a tunnel full of obstacles, and it puts your reflexes to the test: you really need to focus and react quickly in order not to crash. The graphics have a retro vibe and the game looks great. You can imagine you’re Han Solo navigating through a meteor field, or totally get your geek on and close your eyes and ‘use the Force’ and see how far you’ll get (you will crash and burn, I reckon). SpeedX can be addictive.”
My Paper Plane 2 is a game that in some aspects are similar to SpeedX 3D above, and the goal of it is to fly a paper plane through various 3D environments and collect power-ups and score combos. You control the plane by tilting your handset (up/down, left/right). All this can be addictive, of course; otherwise it wouldn’t be on this list.
Galcon is what someone once referred to as “space Risk in real-time”, and that’s a fairly accurate description. It’s basically a fast action/strategy game with multi-player support. The goal is to conquer planets by sending swarms of ships to them: if you send more ships than the enemy to a planet, you’ll conquer it, and each planet generate new ships. One objection I have is that Galcon lacks balance in the single-player mode: the game is way too easy on the first couple of difficulty levels, and then it suddenly gets way too hard.
Prism 3D is another accelerometer-controlled game that lets you bounce a ball on 3D tiles that sometimes disappear once you’ve jumped on them. The object is to make it through each level without falling down and there are various bonuses. You may also create your own levels with the dedicated level editor. I love the game’s menus with big fonts, seemingly inspired by Windows Phone 7, and it has great graphics. One downside with Prism 3D, however, is that you have to hold your device in a more or less horizontal position, which can be a bit annoying and limiting.