A flurry or fantastic games hit Google Play this week, mostly thanks to Android Humble Bundle 3 bringing these top notch titles together on the device. This is basically Humble Bundle week for this list, but it also has a big focus on elegant puzzle games. Every title on this list is the cream of the crop, from a port of the masterful SpaceChem, to the trippy BIT.TRIP BEAT, a Greedy Spiders sequel, a new Miniclip game, and Oregon Trail with...zombies. Need I say more? Here are this week's top Android games!
SpaceChem Mobile ($5.99)
Warning: The description of this title's gameplay might make it sound dry or boring, but the opposite is true. I'll say right now that everyone should give this game a chance before judging it. SpaceChem is a wonderful puzzle game from Zachtronics Industries. It puts you in the position of a Reactor Engineer and is entirely about chemistry. You lay down pathways for atoms to be moved and rotated before bonding with other atoms to form molecules or unbind, all to get required combinations. It's not unlike a train track puzzle game, except with more science! It's a brilliant head-scratcher with elegant design. While it has a pretty steep learning curve, once you push through it, it's totally worth it. You should at least check out the free demo version! Enjoy.
Spirits is another lovely puzzle title and an iOS classic, this time from Spaces of Play. You must guide various spirits to the end of each level by transforming and sacrificing other spirits to make paths. These include creating a wind current to blow spirits away, tunneling through pieces of land, creating a short bridge, and others. The mechanics are all introduced quickly, and it's how they are mixed that shows off the solid design. On top of that, the game uses a simplistic art style with a minimal color palate and a hazy look and feel. Check it out.
BIT.TRIP BEAT ($0.99)
The BIT.TRIP series of titles, from Gaijin Games, are as if Pong took place at a rave. Every one of them is unique and worth playing (and you should totally check out BIT.TRIP RUNNER on your PC or Mac). Not only that, but they all have a crazy visual style that mixes 3D polygons with retro pixel art. This game is essentially Pong after a heavy dose of hallucinogens if Pong was also a music and rhythm game. The balls that you need to hit follow crazy patterns, and everything they collide with makes a note in a song. It can be hard to follow the action, but once you get in the groove, you'll be making beautiful music together.
Greedy Spiders 2 ($0.99)
The original Greedy Spiders was a successful, but somewhat overlooked puzzler from developer Blyts. In it, you saved the lives of various bugs caught in a spider web. It was like a turn-based puzzle game, with you and the spiders taking turns for your moves. It was also rather elegant, not to overuse the word, and the simplest looking level designs often turned out to be the most complex and challenging. These games will stump you from time to time. The sequel pretty much just ups the ante, delivering higher quality art and sound along with several new items to use down the line.
Organ Trail: Director's Cut ($2.99)
Gameloft has tried more than once now to bring The Oregon Trail property back to gaming, and while The Oregon Trail: Settler was a popular title, it never really captured the spirit of the original. By keeping to the retro aesthetics and throwing a zombie apocalypse into the mix, the developers over at The Men Who Wear Many Hats have done just that. In this game, you probably don't have to worry about dysentery so much as dismemberment. I can't get over how deceptively clever that title is either. This is probably the most original zombie game you'll see for a while, and I highly recommend it to all.
Monster Island (Free)
We close our list out with the latest and greatest from Miniclip.com. At first glance, this will seem like a simple Fragger clone, but a few simple changes and it turns out to be a lot more. The various "grenades" that you throw make the game feel much more puzzle-like than Fragger without asking you to make totally insane trick shots. Also, they're all small monster head things. One monster is a simple rock that only moves things, one has a timed detonation, one detonates on impact, and another is simply sticky. Sometimes you'll have to use sticky monsters to simply weigh something down, and you have to think out of the box fairly often. The production value are also leagues better than Fragger, with a unique monster world that seems vaguely inspired by World of Goo. Definitely grab it.