Tag Archives: The Best
If last week was all about big IPs and big franchises making their way back to the app stores, this week is … well, not. That’s okay, though, because we dive into new mobile games no matter what their size or pedigree, and at the very least, we’ve got one big man holding it down among this week’s crop.
That would be Shaq, or as it says on his birth certificate, Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq has been the star of the NBA court, TV shows, rap albums, movies (if you can call playing the lead in movies like Kazaam or Steel “starring”), and yes, video games. Now he’s back, and we’re at least morbidly curious to see what he has up his sleeve this time around.
Do younger mobile gamers even know who Shaq is at this point? Anyway, it matters not, because he’s just the headliner among five new mobile games we thing are worth checking out, so let’s get to it.
Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn
Because sometimes, you just have to take control of Shaq and kick the crap out of some bad guys, you know? You’ll get plenty of chances to do just that as you take control of Shaq and put him against all kinds of demons hellbent (as they generally are) on bringing our world to ruin. Apparently you can even transform Shaq into a giant mech or an equally large cactus if regular Shaq isn’t doing it for you. Admit it, you want to at least check this out.
the Sequence 
Be careful when you search for trailers for this game, because you’re going to get results for a certain gross out horror movie mixed in. Happily, there’s nothing disgusting about this follow-up to a popular puzzle game, especially since this one is packing all new game mechanics to put your puzzler to the test. We dig the aesthetic here too.
- App Store ($1.99)
Plenty of mobile games prove that bigger and more complicated don’t always mean better, and DueLito seems like it will be another prime example. Imagine Wild West gunslinger duels, but instead of who’s faster on the draw, these battles are decided by who’s fastest tapping a sequence of buttons in the right order. It’s so simple we wish we’d thought of it ourselves instead of having to put it in our new mobile games roundup.
Marble Legends: 3D Arcade Game
We almost thought this said MARVEL Legends at first and got all excited, thinking it was a new game featuring superheroes and whatnot. Nevertheless, this still looks pretty cool, taking the steadfast, old school game of marbles and putting a decidedly 21st century spin on it. Uh, no pun intended, we guess. Seriously, though, if anything can make today’s youth take a look at marbles, this might be it.
Kung Fu Z
Because why should Shaq have all the fun, besides the fact that he’s much bigger than you and could simply step on you or swat you away like a gnat if he so chose? Tiny Titan Studios combines two of everyone’s favorite things, martial arts and zombies, into what looks like one undead butt-kicking good time. The devs are calling it classic arcade action with an idle twist, and if that doesn’t sound perfect for mobile, we don’t know what does.
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Since the day smartphones became powerful enough to run games more complex than Snake, developers have attempted to bring all kinds of console classics to mobile, and with mixed results, to be fair.
Given that most high-end tablets and phones are now more powerful than the majority of retro gaming systems, getting these titles to run smoothly isn’t an issue, but some of the more sophisticated games from yesteryear aren’t always a great fit for touchscreen controls.
That said, we shouldn’t dwell on the inevitable misfires as there have been plenty of success stories to shout about, and with them in mind, here are our top 10 console ports on iOS and Android devices.
10. Sonic The Hedgehog 2
When Sega announced that it was working on a top-secret project dubbed ‘Sega Forever’, the early reports suggested a Netflix-style streaming service full of retro games was on its way to mobile devices. It was an anti-climax when it turned out to be an initiative to optimise a bunch of games the studio had released on the app stores once before.
Nevertheless, at least Sega Forever brought us a decent version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, one of the finest platformers of the 16-bit era. New features include save game support, bonus materials and refined controls. The virtual thumbstick doesn’t offer quite as much precision as a Mega Drive D-pad, but this is otherwise the Sonic 2 you know and love.
9. Chrono Trigger
Publisher: Square Enix
Square Enix is the undisputed king of the JRPG and that was certainly the case in the 16-bit era when it was churning out classics like Chrono Trigger. The SNES smash differentiated itself from the early Final Fantasys with a time-bending story and high science fiction elements.
Although the definitive way to experience Chrono Trigger is with an old-school Nintendo controller in hand, the essence of the game found its way to iOS and Android devices intact. The twist-filled story is its lifeblood and the key ingredient that makes it timeless.
8. World of Goo
Publisher: 2D Boy
In World of Goo, players will find themselves stretching sentient balls of gunk into towers and bridges so other balls of gunk can gain safe passage to the end of the level. It sounds utterly bizarre on paper, but it’s actually one of the best and most charming puzzle titles on the app stores. World of Goo hit home consoles first, though the mobile edition is definitive, as the touchscreen controls create the illusion that you’re reaching into the world and manipulating it with your hands.
7. LEGO Batman: DC Super Heroes
Publisher: Warner Bros
It’s a well-known fact that things become infinitely more fun when rendered in LEGO, and that’s certainly the case when it comes to Batman video games. Several entries in the popular LEGO Batman series have found their way to mobile, and DC Super Heroes is arguably the pick of them, since it comes with so many bonus characters.
Whether you’re reducing Darkseid’s minions to a pile of multi-coloured bricks with Superman, or toying around at top speed as the Flash, LEGO Batman: DC Super Heroes provides stacks of fun for all the family.
6. Final Fantasy VI
Publisher: Square Enix
Square Enix has done a fine job bringing its early Final Fantasy titles to iOS and Android devices, and in truth, chapters one through to six were all strong contenders for spots on the list.
Final Fantasy VI, though, is the pick of the pre-PlayStation instalments and it’s still epic in every sense. There are two entire worlds to explore, 14 playable characters to get to grips with, and a storyline that will take you from one edge of the emotional spectrum to the other.
When bringing the SNES original to mobile, Square added welcome spit and polish to the sprites and tailored the controls for touchscreens. FFVII may be superior but it didn’t lend itself as well to touch controls.
5. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
Publisher: 505 Games
One of the most beautifully nuanced games ever to debut on the Xbox 360 made its way to mobile devices when 505 Games ported Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons across. This is a story of loyalty, loss, love and friendship, and these themes are the heart of the experience.
What’s more, the innovative dual control stick interface works just fine when said control sticks are of the virtual variety.
4. Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath
Publisher: Oddworld Inhabitants
The Oddworld series put a delightfully dark spin on the platforming genre during the PlayStation era, and it had evolved in all kinds of way by the time Stranger’s Wrath touched down on Xbox in 2005.
This unique mash-up of 3D and 2D gameplay spliced with Western elements, science fiction and fantasy has found its way to mobile in recent years, and while a MFi controller is a luxury, it’s not a necessity thanks to the care that was taken during the porting process.
3. This War of Mine
Publisher: 11 Bit Studios
A survival-platformer which deals with the subject of armed conflict from the perspective of civilians, rather than soldiers, This War of Mine was emotive, brutal and gut-wrenching when it arrived on home consoles and PC in 2014. The iOS and Android edition which followed stealthily in its wake is all of those things and more, as the tap-based control scheme the developers introduced actually improved the game.
2. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
Publisher: Rockstar Games
When Rockstar Games took its legendary crime sim Grand Theft Auto back to basics with Chinatown Wars on Nintendo DS and PSP, it did so without sacrificing the scope of the modern instalments. Whether you’re wrapped up in the controversial drug-dealing mini-game or carrying out a story mission for your shady Triad-boss uncle, this was the full-fat GTA experience in the palm of your hand, albeit with graphics more in line with the early 2D entries in the series.
Although Chinatown Wars was a smash hit on handheld consoles, the definitive way to experience it is on an iPad or Android tablet. With more display real estate on its side, the game comes to life like never before, and the top-down viewpoint it uses makes it a good fit for touch controls.
1. Bully: Anniversary Edition
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Bully was what happened when Rockstar took its Grand Theft Auto template and applied it to a school setting. Firearms made way for slingshots, cops for prefects and the budding-criminal protagonist for a walking ASBO named Jimmy. It was a winning combination that, in some ways, is superior to some of the GTAs of its generation.
When Rockstar brought the Anniversary Edition of the game to iOS and Android, the studio did so with the utmost care. This is a masterclass in the mobile port. The developers didn’t simply slap a virtual stick and an assortment of digital buttons on top of the original game, they spent time optimising and balancing the game on touchscreen hardware.
As a result, Bully lost none of its brilliance and, what’s more, felt like it was made for mobile.
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Look, we all love great indie games and the fact that there are so many of them on mobile. No one appreciates that more than we do here at Gamezebo. That said, sometimes you just have to enjoy the times when the big franchises and IPs come out to play, and this week’s batch of new mobile games is one of those times.
We’ll start with the latest Asphalt game, which has been percolating for a while. There are plenty of racing games out there for phones and tablets, but few that relish in the sheer joy and absurdity of arcade-style driving like this series, so the new game is a must try for us.
Don’t like racing? There’s a new Shin Megami Tensei title if your tastes run more JRPG, and there’s a brand spanking new CCG set in the ever popular Warhammer 40K universe that we can’t wait to try. Thank you, big boys, for being you for this week.
Here’s more on the new mobile games, big and small, that caught our attention this time out.
Asphalt 9: Legends
All you really need to do is to tell us that it’s a new Asphalt game and you’ve already made it halfway to convincing us to check it out. We had a chance to try it out at E3 back in June, and besides the amazingly rendered cars and tracks, the new Touchdrive system should make even casual racing fans want to try out a few races. The car selection is excellent too, topped off by some really exclusive supercars. Get ready to drop the pedal and go for broke in the most ridiculous-in-a-good-way fashion.
Shin Megami Tensei Dx2
Yes, this series is kind of insular in a way that is very Japanese, but it also has tons of fans. Maybe one of them can tell us what’s up with the naming conventions of this particular title, as in which order the words are supposed to go and whether ‘Liberation’ is actually part of it or not. Anyway, this appears to be JRPG action as you like it, complete with summoning and fusing demons and such. It was already a No. 1 hit in Japan, so take that for what you will.
The Horus Heresy: Legions
Just when you think the Warhammer 40K setting has been explored in every possible fashion (occasionally in most excellent fashion), another game comes along in a genre that makes you say to yourself, “Why didn’t I think of that?” A CCG based on the IP just seems so right for some reason, and the fact that it focuses on one of the more interesting periods in the lore is an added bonus. Plus, we’re firm believers you can never have too many card games in your life, so …
You could make a case that the MapleStory games aren’t quite as well-known as the other games we have on this list so far, and we probably wouldn’t even argue with you. That said, if you are a fan, you already have some expectation of the kind of art style you’re getting here. As for the gameplay, we’d submit that mobile has pretty much taken over the MMORPG space that was once the exclusive domain of the PC crowd, so if that’s your jam, you probably want to check this out.
Hey, when we do themes for these weekly lists, there’s nothing that says we have to stick to them the whole way through. It gets hard coming up with them every time out all year long, you know? Anyway, Amethlion has a decidedly compelling old school feel to its graphics and sensibility, and we fell in love with the hard rock trailer music. You open world fans should be jazzed about the crafting and exploring possibilities.
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The auto-runner didn’t begin life on mobile devices, but since touchscreen gaming has rise to prominence, tablets and smartphones have established themselves as the definitive platforms for them.
Although some consider these games to be watered-down platformers, auto-runners has evolved in many ways since becoming a genre in its own right. Many developers have put their own stamp on this concept, applying it to shooters, puzzlers and other categories with great results.
One thing is for sure, the auto-runner is an idea that has legs and more of them are sure to race onto the app stores in the future. In the meantime, though, here’s our top 10 that you can download right now.
Publisher: Kittehface Software
Canabalt is to auto-runners what Doom is to the FPS. This was the spark that lit the genre’s powderkeg and paved the way for countless imitators, not to mention innovators who have built on the concept.
Featuring retro-style noir visuals and a thumping soundtrack, the game casts players as an unnamed man fleeing at pace from an unknown threat across the rooftops of a procedurally-generated cityscape.
Sometimes the best games spring up from the simplest of ideas, and this was one of those occasions. Canabalt will make you wonder how a game that uses just one virtual button can possibly be so intense.
9. Vector 2
Countless auto-runners have followed in the footsteps of Canabalt and legged it onto mobile, but Vector 2 is a cut above most of the competition. Nekki’s dystopian sequel puts is own spin on the concept by adding parkour and dark, science fiction-themed backdrops to the mix.
The action is fast-paced and dynamic and offers more substance than many were expecting. Moreover, the stages are procedurally-generated, just like Canabalt’s, to keep the sense of deja vu at bay.
8. Jetpack Joyride
Publisher: Halfbrick Studios
Jetpack Joyride took Canabalt’s blueprint, strapped a jetpack onto it and blasted it to infinity and beyond. You’ll race through a lab, swerving missiles and high-fiving scientists as you go, and eventually find yourself riding on the back of a mechanical dragon and a bird that craps coins.
The game is as bonkers as it sounds, and it deserves plaudits for expanding on the auto-runner concept in meaningful ways. Many of these games are limited in terms of content but developer Halfbrick Studios added variety to its procedurally-generated backdrops and begged repeat play-throughs by setting the player all kinds of challenges to complete.
7. Spider-Man Unlimited
When Gameloft landed the rights to Spider-Man, the studio merged the Marvel Comics property with Temple Run-style gameplay to create a story-driven auto-runner where you can do whatever a spider can via a series of screen swipes. If you’ve played Temple Run, you’ll know exactly what to expect, but this is a robust runner in its own right and the storyline will hit all of the right notes with the Marvel diehards.
6. Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom
Virtually every platforming icon from yesteryear has been given the chance to head up their own auto-runner, so it was only ever going to be a matter of time before Sega’s speedy mascot Sonic starred in one.
As a matter of fact, he’s appeared in more than one, and his hit sequel Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom has proven a worthy addition to the genre. This is a competent 3D runner with plenty of content, and the best thing about it is the way it evokes fond memories of Sonic 2’s bonus stages.
5. Rayman Jungle Run
Another platforming icon who has made the jump to the auto-runner genre is Ubisoft’s Rayman. With its gorgeous cartoon visuals and increasingly-sophisticated gameplay, Rayman Jungle Run has as much depth as some of the flagship side-scrollers found on home consoles.
Whether you’re leaping, floating or soaring your way across its colourful backdrops, Rayman Jungle Run is never less than a carnival of platforming fun, and the way it drip-feeds new abilities and challenges throughout will keep you hooked. Give it a whirl. If it strikes a chord, there’s plenty more Rayman on the app stores to sink your teeth into, with Fiesta Run and Adventures offering more of the same.
4. Pac-Man 256
There have been times when glitches have resulted in the creation of entire video games, and titles like Pac-Man 256 make you thankful for this anomaly. Developers Hipster Whale and 3 Sprockets created a standalone offering around the infamous glitch which caused the original maze-running classic to glitch out when the player reached level 256.
The concept alone is ingenious, but the way the studios spliced the Pac-Man formula with traditional auto-runner elements is what makes this such a great fit for tablets and smartphones. Here we have living proof that you can teach an old gaming icon a few new tricks.
3. Alto’s Adventure
Publisher: Noodlecake Studios
It would be more appropriate to dub Alto’s Adventure an auto-skier, rather than an auto-runner, and it’s just as accurate to call it a definitive take on the genre. You won’t find many runners as polished as this.
The core gameplay comes to life thanks to the addition of stunts and other challenges, which expand the formula by ensuring that Alto’s Adventure is about more than just covering as much distance as possible.
2. Into The Dead 2
Into the Dead 2 is the perfect example of a sequel that builds on the original’s framework and improves everything about it. While the previous game was an addictive zombie auto-runner with FPS mechanics, the second instalment is all of that and so much more.
Developer PikPok has thrown a fully-fledged campaign mode into the mix, with an engaging story, tonnes of weapons to wield and upgrade, and multiple endings for added replay value. Meanwhile, those who prefer racing through an endless zombie apocalypse without the missing daughter in peril can do just that in the daily challenges and events.
1. Super Mario Run
Mario on mobile! What a time to be alive! When Nintendo brought its dungaree-clad mascot to mobile devices, it took many of the concepts from his more recent 2D adventures and repackaged them for smartphones. This was done by reverse engineering Super Mario Bros as an auto-runner, but it lost none of its magic along the way.
Although it can be played one-handed, Super Mario Run feels like something close to the full-fat Mario experience. The graphics look beautifully polished and the gameplay flows nicely. The only real difference is that you can’t backtrack, though Nintendo has thrown in extra features to compensate for the necessary streamlining.
Toad Rally, in which players race against the ghosts of other users online, and the chance to build your own mini Mushroom Kingdom outside of the mainline campaign add stacks of longevity, and there’s bound to be further content updates in the plumber’s pipeline.
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Happy Comic-Con week! Hordes of pop culture enthusiasts have gathered in sunny San Diego for the annual tribute to everything that is right and good with the world, a.k.a. Comic-Con International. What does that have to do with new mobile games?
Usually, not much. Though there are a few mobile gaming studios that show off their wares at SDCC, usually in conjunction with some huge pop culture IPs, it’s definitely not a primary focus. However, this year, the sequel to Teeny Titans just happened to drop the exact same week as Comic-Con.
Coincidence? Ha! We think not. The Titans do have a movie coming up as well, so they’re definitely in the spotlight in general, but this kind of synergy doesn’t come along all that often, and it’s almost too perfect. It’s not the only new mobile game we’re eyeing up, of course, so let’s take a look at five titles we can’t wait to play this week since we ourselves are not in Cali right now.
Teen Titans GO Figure!
Who would dare try to put an end to the Teeny Titans? That’s not a rhetorical question, as we’d actually like to know. The sequel to the very popular Teeny Titans is full of figures to collect, cool modifications you can make with paint and accessories, and the usual humor you’d expect from the Cartoon Network folks. The regular voice cast is involved, which is a nice touch, and it’s not a free-to-play game for those of you who dislike such things.
Motorsport Manager Mobile 3
The previous game in this series was quite simply one of the best mobile sports sims we’ve ever played, good enough that it was engrossing even if open-wheel racing isn’t really your thing. The new game adds more strategic and economic considerations like the kind you’d face running a real life race team, an AR mode, new visuals, Endurace racing, plus arguably the most famous venue in all of motorsports, Monaco. We can’t wait to take it for a few laps.
We all love professional wrestling (well, maybe not all of us, but possibly a good chunk more than would readily admit to it), but sometimes it just takes itself a little too seriously. Rowdy Wrestling is the antidote to that, since it definitely lets you know right off the bat that it’s got its tongue at least partially in cheek. Yet it looks surprisingly deep, too, with dozens of grapplers, a career mode and much more. Talk about coming off the top rope.
- App Store (Free)
This game technically launched last week, but we missed it then so we’re including it here. It’s our column, so our rules. Anyway, if you’re frustrated by the sense that most of the location-based games out on mobile right not are a little too similar, this is one you’ll want to check out. It’s a CCG, which is something we haven’t seen yet, and real life weather affects the game mechanics as well. Plus it’s the product of a college course, so that’s pretty cool too.
GALAK-Z: Variant Mobile
Let’s end this week’s crop of cool-looking mobile games with space and mech combat all rolled into one. This space-based action RPG lets you delight in the sheer awesomeness of blowing stuff up, with tons of missions, dozens of ways to upgrade and bot buddies to collect, and much more. If you don’t think this game looks like fun, it may be that you just don’t like fun. And we’re not judging or anything, but …
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