If you got or you gave a mobile device this morning—iPhone, Android phone, iPad or tablet—chances are there's a "what now?" factor in the discussion. Chances are you or someone else may also have given or been given a little money to put some apps on the thing, too. What do you do? What are the first games to download? Calm down, we've got you covered here.
EDGE, along with geoDefense and Dapple, is one of three games never uninstalled from my iPhone in the more than three years I have owned one. It is a title well worth the struggle its maker, Mobigame, waged for the right to publish a video game under that name. Best described as an isometric obstacle course, EDGE is beautifully rendered, brilliantly designed, and its challenge scales to the player's ability through two control sets—the touch screen and the accelerometer. The EDGE soundtrack remains the finest I have ever heard for any mobile game, Canabalt included. EDGE is demanding; it is thought provoking; it is soothing, and well worth the $2.99. (Original EDGE, just as recommended, is available for Android devices at $1.50)
The descendant of one of the most aptly designed titles for its platform, Infinity Blade II is "as much a role-playing game" in its overall progression as "it is Punch-Out" in its action. And the action is still pretty damn good, considering it uses no new virtual buttons, while adding in better weapons, the ability to dual-wield them, defensive techniques and offensive combos. Infinity Blade is one of the few original success stories in mobile gaming that looks anything like a fully featured console title.
Any gamer with half his wits about him would seek out World of Goo the first time he fired up a new device, as this title is available for nearly all of them. 2D Boy's game was a physics puzzler before physics puzzling was cool (2008). If SpaceChem involves accessible concepts of chemistry, then World of Goo is the companion engineeering course, though, really, we promise neither are that hard.
Look to this title to reignite an older friend's love of puzzles and of learning, especially if they were trained in the applied sciences. SpaceChem challenges players to build accurate molecules along with an engaging game schematic. Featuring long-play experiences, Space-Chem, says Kotaku's Stephen Totilo, is "a stellar game well worth your time and brain cells," and one that rises far above the dross of the mobile platform's typical puzzle offerings.
Halfbrick struck gold last year with Fruit Ninja and hit it again this year with Jetpack Joyride, an endless, action-packed romping good time. Framed as a test-subject's escape from a weapons laboratory, you'll equip yourself with increasingly outlandish vehicles in your drive to make the longest flight while bagging up the most coins and goodies.
Sounds like the code name for a special forces operation, but Drop 7 is more of a turn-based board game akin to Kinect Four. How to describe Drop 7? Basically, it's tough to put down. Area/Code wrote it, but Zynga publishes it, which fairly advertises its addictive qualities.
Looking for a deeper solo experience? The Dark Meadow impressed Fahey, our final authority on science fiction and horror. You begin the game in a mental hospital, armed with a sword and crossbow, which are typically not made available to disoriented patients. Throughout the journey, you are taunted by The Dark Meadow's true character, the old man croaking at you over the hospital's intercom system. "Between the old man and the dozens of diary entries, news articles, and other random scribblings found throughout the game, The Dark Meadow raises itself from Infinity Blade clone with a twist to a disturbingly gorgeous experience all its own," writes Fahey.
Released on the tenth anniversary of the game's console debut, Grand Theft Auto III is more than just a big brand in gaming stepping out onto a modern platform. It's a great example of what these tablets and mobile phones can do, and when you consider that they can do what a full gaming console provided in 2002, the world starts getting a little scary and uncertain. "Grand Theft Auto is a national obsession," wrote Time nearly 10 years ago, and if someone with a Droid or an iPad has never experienced the staggering depth of this open-world crime novella, there's no time like the present to start.
For fast-twitch, long-playing action, Collision Effect packs a hell of a lot of value into a simple premise. Tap a glowing orb, and all other orbs of the same color zoom to it, blowing it up and scoring you points. What's the existential threat? Well, if those orbs happen to slam into an object of another color, it's game over. Appearing to be an arcade game in its earlier stages, Collision Effect reveals itself to be a themed puzzler in later stages. Totilo scored 8 million in early runs with it and was, in March anyway, ready to call this the game of the year for iOS.