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This week felt pretty slow compared to the previous weeks, which were consistently packed with big titles, but I managed to scrounge up a few noteworthy games anyway. The most noteworthy is a puzzler from HandyGames, purveyors of the Guns'n'Glory titles. We've also got a cool western-themed management game, a violence-filled endless runner that is more about combat than running, a rail shooter set in outer space, and more. Here are this week's top Android games.
Save the Puppies (Free)
Save the Puppies is an adorable little puzzler from HandyGames, the developers behind the excellent Guns'n'Glory RTS/tower defense games, so you know it's going to be good! All the puppies in your neighborhood have been caged up, and it's up to you as a lone wiener dog to save them all. To do this, you simply have to touch their cages, but there is a twist: every time you eat a weenie, you grow in length, like in the old school arcade game Snake. Get long enough and you can use your own body to bridge gaps, but then you might be too big to get in and out of other areas. It's a clever and charming title, and there is a premium version to try as well.
It's been a while since a freemium management-type game graced this weekly list, but this latest title from Alawar Entertainment caught my attention in an otherwise slow week. They've also brought us Shake Spears! and Hotel Mogul. There is actually a back-story behind what you're doing. You play as a woman traveling out west with her son looking for gold, hoping to get enough money to pay off her family's loans and get her husband out of prison. The game holds your hand for a really long time, but gets better eventually. A lot of love and care has gone into the art and production values, and the detailed wilderness surrounding your settlement is surprisingly pretty. They even have voice acting, average as it may be. Check it out.
Blood Run ($1.21)
On the surface, this game might not seem like much. Looking at screen shots, it just resembles another cheap endless runner. Watching this thing in motion and getting to enjoy the gameplay firsthand is another story. This is an endless runner with more focus on combat than on running. You have two buttons, attack and defend, but you get a lot of mileage out of those two actions, as the diverse enemies always keep you on your feet. Defending lets you deflect arrows, but is worthless against certain enemies, while your attacks usually need to be timed well. You can even charge your attack up to take out giants. This game is surprisingly fun and refreshing, and you should at least check out the free version if anything.
Kill the Swak ($0.99)
This is a very odd, somewhat unremarkable, yet enjoyable Fruit Ninja clone of sorts. Instead of fruit, you're destroying random colorful round creatures called Swak, avoiding bombs and so on. The game kind of mixes things up by adding some Swak that behave differently, such as the pink spiked Swak that need to be hit twice, stopping and falling after the first hit. You also have a health meter instead of lives, but bombs still end the game. You can play in arcade or time trial mode as well. To be honest, this doesn't really compare to Fruit Ninja and some other clones, but it's still a fairly fun way to distract yourself for part of an afternoon. I'd get the lite version though, as I can't promise you won't be bored by this one.
Star Splitter 3D (Free)
This is a surprisingly gorgeous new rail shooter from StepGames. In it, you take your fighter through warp gate after warp gate, quickly traveling through all sorts of pretty-looking sectors of space, avoiding asteroids and blasting enemies all the way. As you play, you'll get various missions which stack up and stay with you to completion, such as destroying asteroids or traveling a certain distance. Every round starts out really boring, as there isn't much to dodge or fight, but it gets better soon. You can play the game with solid touch controls, or with tilt controls. The starry, nebula-filled backdrops are jaw-dropping at times, and this is definitely worth a download.