Ten Essential... Android Games
Get gaming on your Google phone
Product Round-up If there is one thing that iPhone owners can be smug about it's the number of quality games available from the iTunes App Store. But Android owners needn't feel too badly done by - the Android Market has a few choice gaming applications all of its own.
This list is unapologetically personal, and several well regarded games like Mystique, the Wipeout clone Speed Forge 3D and the platform jumping cows game Abduction: World Attack didn't make the cut because frankly I just didn't have as much fun playing them for any period of time as the ones below.
All the games played well on my humble T-Mobile G2 Touch/HTC Hero running Android 1.5, but the bigger the screen and the faster the phone the better, so make sure you enter Reg Hardware's Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 competition.
Games don't get much more simple than this, but a simple idea well executed still deserves recognition. The great thing about this air hockey game is that your mallet always sits just ahead of where your finger touches the screen so you can see what is happening and finesse the angle at which you strike the puck.
Mallet and puck movements are fluid and very well judged, and the sound effects are spot on, all making this as close to a decent game of air hockey as you can get without actually having an air hockey table in your basement.
Spring 50p for the full version and the computerised opponents gets better and faster as your own your skills improve. You also get a two-player mode which lets you and a friend play on the same screen. Of course, as you will both be hunched over the same phone screen it will need to be a very good friend, at least until a sizeable Android tablet turns up. JJC reckons the two-player version only works on Motorola Droid handsets but it worked fine on my Hero.
Reg Rating 80%
More Info JJC Games
In this strange blend of Asteroids, Pokémon and Missile Command your task is to protect a space travelling anthropomorphic blue globe called Buka from the depredations of various grinning baddies by using sonic deflectors, explosive charges or simple evasion as he/she/it travels to a Happy Place.
As the levels mount, the bad guys get faster and more frequent leading to frequent Missile Command moments of meltdown when you are simply overwhelmed. Sonic deflectors are triggered by rapidly tapping the screen while explosions are set by holding down on an area and then letting go... kaboooooom.
The sonic pulses can also be used to direct Greeny Pieces - don't ask - towards Buka which is a good thing for reasons never made entirely clear. But never mind, this isn't a game to over think.
Buka's various chirrups and warbles are translated in speech bubbles and are nowhere near as annoying as you would expect, leaving you feeling strangely protective of the weird little blue ball. All in all probably a game for the youngsters but there is no harm in letting your inner child out for a romp once in a while.
Reg Rating 85%
More Info Hexage
Marvin - ZX Spectrum Emulator
ZX Spectrum emulator - links directly to the World of Spectrum archives for instant access to over 9,400 Spectrum games.
Nice to see a couple of Apple fanbois taking time out from fingering their own prostates to come and troll these pages. Obviously the rise of Android is starting to worry you guys.
Replica Island is a free, open-source game for Android.
Guide the Android robot through 40 action-packed platforming levels on a quest to discover a secret power source on a mysterious island. With an retro style and unique, challenging game play, Replica Island is a new take on the classic platformer genre.
A simple premise to control the aircraft heading for your airport can turn into hours of addictive time-wasting.
Just select an aircraft and draw a route for it to land at its designated zone. Sounds easy but as more aircraft enter the area, all with different speeds and all from different directions it becomes a strategic nightmare. Even getting 100 points seems impossible for some time.
The Ad supported version is free, the paid version is 60p.
Appbrain install: http://www.appbrain.com/app/dk.logisoft.aircontrol
For all fans of Abduction: World Attack it was a very close run thing between that and Zombie, Run! for the final place in the list.
Re. the hardware, I used my Hero simply because, well, its my phone and I had it to hand, and because there are a lot of them sloshing about in users hands.
Yes if I had taken screen grabs from a Nexus One or Xperia they would have been larger on the page and more impressive and colourful, but the essential game play would have been the same and that is what I was concerned with.
Please keep in mind those screen grabs are actual game play images taken with the Android SDK and have not been tarted up in any way.
As for the new 3D games from Gameloft I tried the only one available at the time of writing - Asphalt 5 - on a mate's Desire and was less than impressed by it. I also understand that none of the news crop of 3D games from Gameloft will run on Android 1.5 or 1.6.
In 12 months time I would expect this list to look very different as games developers take full advantage of larger, higher resolution screens and Snapdragon chippery but for the time being I stuck with games that are just fun to play even on an old G1.
Game involves trapping balls moving around the screen by drawing lines to separate the area into smaller areas. The goal is to capture 75% of the screen to clear a level.
Great free game but it gets hard quite quickly though, and I have only got to level 6 so far.