I absolutely love Humble Bundle.  It’s a service that partners with game devs to gather a pack of games and lets you decide how much to pay  Normally, paying $1 or more will net you three or four games and paying more than the average (typically around $5) will give you a few more games.  They usually add even more games after the bundle has been out for a while, so you’ll end up with seven or more games for as little as $5!  Most of the time the games are indie games, but there have been bundles for THQ, Double Fine, and EA.  You even decide how much of your payment goes to the devs, to Humble themselves, to Child’s Play, a charity that gets games in the hands of sick kids, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The current bundle is for Android games and I picked it up last week.  All of these have been played on my Asus Transformer T300.  If the bundle gets updated with more games like almost all of the ones before it, I’ll update this article.

Flaming punches and dart-throwing monkeys.  Yep.
Flaming punches and dart-throwing monkeys. Yep.

Star Command

*insert witty Star Trek reference*

Similar to the PC gem FTL: Faster Than Light, Star Command is a spaceship simulator.  You control a ship and it’s crew.  Your crew can be one of three types — red (attack), yellow (defense), and blue (medic).  Each type has special rooms that can be built on your ship (laser cannons, medic bays, engine room, etc.)  Each of these rooms has a recharging skill that you can use during ship-to-ship combat, many of them with small 5-10 second activities to activate them.  The crew needs to fire the cannons, repair damage, and fend off invaders in your trip across the galaxy.

Overall, the game is pretty fun.  I haven’t played FTL, but I’d imagine that the mouse/keyboard control scheme works a little better than a touchscreen.  You’re also given ETA’s on your travel time from planet to planet.  My longest one so far has been 15 seconds, but I can see where the dreaded “energy gauge” can come into play as the game gets deeper.  The pixellated graphics and isometric camera give Star Command a nice retro feel.  Definitely worth some play time.

Time Surfer

Slingshot physics is always a good time.

Pocket Gamer nailed it when they said Time Surfer is what happens when “Tiny Wings meets Braid.”  Time Surfer puts you in the shoes of the aforementioned surfer who is trying to escape the impending end of the galaxy.  Using a simple one-touch mechanic, you pull the little guy back to the ground where you try to gain speed off hills, Saturn rings, or enemy heads to fly further and faster.  What sets this endless runner apart is it’s time rewind feature.  Collecting gems will fill up your time meter, which you can use to rewind the game just enough to avoid that last pit or hit that next hill more perfectly.

Unlockables include costumes, color trails, and slight stat boosts, but the only real grab to keep playing is to get farther and farther than last time.  There are also missions to complete while you’re playing to give each run some uniqueness.  Not bad by any means, but not a standout, either.

Punch Quest

Jetpack Joyride with copious punching.

Punch Quest is my favorite game of this bundle and it’s not close.  You’ve probably played Jetpack Joyride, another endless runner with nifty graphics, missions, vehicles, and costumes.  Punch Quest takes it up a notch with a heavy, heavy dose of punching.  Rather than passively avoiding obstacles, you punch the ever living hell out of anything in your way.  Doing so will fill up the three-tiered bar on the bottom of the screen, giving you three different power ups.  These can range from projectile reflection and down-punching shockwaves to thunder punches and enemy body-bombs.

Although the XP flows slowly at first, it picks up after some upgrades.  You can outfit your puncher/punchette with various hats, clothes, haircuts, and hats (the developers really likes hats).  There are even some nods to other hit mobile games, most notable Robot Unicorn Attack.  Easily the gem of the bundle.  If you don’t buy the bundle, do yourself a favor and at least grab Punch Quest by itself.

Bloons TD 5

There are allegedly some balloons under there.

The Bloons series started out as Flash games pitting sentient balloons against military monkeys in a never-ending struggle.  Whether it’s aim-and-shoot or tower defense, the over-arching idea is always the same.  There are a huge number of towers to play with, each with forking upgrade paths — after playing for only five minutes, I already had about seven different towers to use.  I’ve played only a little of the Bloons TD series, so I can’t really speak on how this sequel builds on it’s predecessors.  What I can say is that the game is definitely hectic (see evidence above), but also slow.  Sure, you get the usual fast forward button so the levels aren’t horribly long, but the pace of play still seems slow to me.

One thing that really stuck out was how quickly Facebook integration was thrown at me.  Like, two or three different screens in a row immediately after starting the game up.  They also tout “monkey money”, aka in-app purchases.


When did my Android tablet become an N64?

Carmageddon is a demolition derby sim that originally came out for DOS in 1997.  You read that right.  A reboot through Kickstarter is in the mix with Carmageddon: Reincarnation, though a quick look will show you that this is definitely not that game.  In fact, it looks like the old DOS version was simply ported to Android and released.  I know graphics don’t always make or break a game, but come on.  This looks like Duke Nukem 3D (the good one, not the bullshit we got in Duke Nukem Forever).

The cars control terribly, there’s no semblance of direction, and I simply cannot get past these graphics.  Maybe under the hood is some great nostalgia for fans of the series, but for a newcomer like me it’s just not there.

Ravensword: Shadowlands

No, this isn’t Skyrim, but this it’s hard not to see similarities.

If you’ve played Skyrim at all, you’re probably thinking. “wow, there’s a crappy clone if I’ve ever seen one.”  I thought the same thing after watching the trailer for Ravensword: Shadowlands and honestly, it looks like the textures were simply toned down and reused.  Even the bar colors and font are the same.  The story follows a generic medieval hero’s tale — you survived a great war between factions and must cleanse the land of evil.

I mentioned before how Carmaggedon was almost unplayable due to it’s ugliness.  I prefer my Android games to go with an animated/pixel approach rather than HD because if I wanted to play a PS1 game, I’d fire up my Playstation.  While RS2 isn’t exactly pretty, it’s awfully nice looking for a mobile game.  The music is pretty good and the voice acting is a nice, added touch.  I’ve only just begun, but I think I’ll be devoting some hours to this one.


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