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A look at the games of Android developer DroidHen

by Marty Gabel

Who or what is DroidHen? We’re not quite sure. What we do know is that this developer produces some of the most popular, addictive and highly-rated games in the Android Market. Even better, they are all free.

Check the titles available from DroidHen and DroidHen Casual. Chances are, many of them are familiar because they’re often in the ‘most popular’ section of the Android Market, and perhaps you’ve even played some of them. DroidHen has a website which lists all their games but simply redirects you to the Market. Apart from that: nada. No company information, no interviews out there on the Web, just an email address for support, like all apps in the Market offer.

But what about the games themselves? Well, it’s clear that they definitely pull in their influences from other popular titles, both old and new. However, they are certainly not complete rip-offs or copycats. A game like Fruit Slice is certainly influenced by the popular Fruit Ninja, but it was actually released before Halfbrick ported their iOS hit to Android Market (even though Droidhen’s game borrows some of its mechanics from it.) Fruit Slice has over 241,000 ratings in the Market.

How’s that for success?

Then there’s a game like Basketball Shot. Sure, there are many titles like this, but with over 10 million downloads and an average of 4.2 stars from over 90,000 ratings, DroidHen must be doing something right.

So we don’t know much about DroidHen. But from my experience playing some of their titles, these folks make fun games that are casual, addictive, run well even on older devices, and usually offer a little bit of an original twist. This is despite clearly being inspired by other popular titles on iOS, Android and consoles. Let’s look at a few of the best.

Defender

A free tower-defense game which, according to the Android Market, has already seen 5-to-10 million downloads. It’s a colorful, castle-defense title, so as waves of monsters approach, you need to fire your arrows and destroy them. It’s straightforward and addictive, like most of DroidHen’s titles, and clearly inspired by many similar titles. Appolicious Advisor, Ian Black, wrote in his review that “Defender is fun, free and definitely worth a look,” so who are we to argue?

Shoot the Apple

Once again, DroidHen nails the casual, physics genre with Shoot the Apple. It hasn’t even been out that long, but already has an average of 4.6 stars and 5-to-10 million downloads. With 150 levels, there is plenty of challenge here too. The main aim of the game is to shoot aliens via a cannon so they can reach an apple... Yeah, we don’t get it too, but that’s not the point. It’s a colorful, simple game which is easy to pick up and play. Clearly inspired by Angry Birds and its ilk, we’re hoping more levels will be released soon.

iRunner

I think iRunner was one of the first DroidHen games I played. Last June, Appolicious Advisor Caitlin Foyt wrote about how she really appreciated how the variety of environments, power-ups, costumes and rewards made the game more exciting than most running games. Running games are a dime-a-dozen in the Android Market, but iRunner’s multiple achievements, fast pace and addictive nature make it worth checking out, especially for free.

Racing Moto

This fast-paced motorbike racing game gets quicker and quicker as you go along, encouraging you to play “just one more game” to see if you can beat your high score. Again, it’s the simplicity that works well here. Weave your bike through traffic going as fast as you can and rack-up points to unlock new, faster vehicles. With tilt controls that work perfectly and a simplicity that means it’s easy to pick up and play, Racing Moto does a better job than many infinite racers out there and you don’t even have to pay a penny for it.

There’s a heap more DroidHen titles which we haven’t covered here, but one thing is pretty clear:

Whoever these folks are, they have a knack for creating addictive games that play really well and cover a variety of genres. And it’s not just us. The people have spoken, as it were, because all  of DroidHen’s titles seem to garner remarkably consistent high scores in the Market and plenty of positive reviews. Just goes to show – keep things free, keep it simple, and you can be a success. DroidHen, we salute you, wherever and whoever you may be!

Build a list of your favorite casual games here.