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I know I say things like this pretty often, but holy cow, is this week impressive. Not only do we get the latest Rovio game based on the Angry Birds universe, but we also get a great runner based on the recent Rayman: Origins, and we finally get a port of Jetpack Joyride, which tops our list. Those three releases may be the best three-hit combo Android has seen, and that's not even counting the awesomeness that is Subway Surfers. What a treat this is for everyone. Anyway, here are this week's top Android games.
Jetpack Joyride (Free)
It's been just over a year since this game came out on iOS, and for good reason, many, many Android users have been waiting for a port. Formerly an Amazon Appstore exclusive, and brought to us by Halfbrick Studios of Fruit Ninja fame, this endless runner takes some of the best elements of popular games, adds a new spin to them, and polishes everything to a shine. It's also the game that brought back Barry Steakfries as a protagonist, last seen blasting brains in Age of Zombies. Sick of his mundane work life in a lab, Barry steals a machine gun-propelled jetpack for a spin, with plenty of other cool vehicles and power-ups to be found along the way. This is still my favorite mobile game of 2011. Download it.
Subway Surfers (Free)
This Temple Run-like runner was originally released on iOS in May of this year, but at the time, it had flown under my radar. It's very likely that this game helped inspire the many lane-based runners we're seeing these days, such as Rail Rush. It's a colorful game with attitude, putting you in the role of a rascally kid on a hover board who has to surf some subways to outrun the guard who catches him tagging a train. When it's available, you simply double tap the screen to switch over to your gravity-defying board and get away even faster. Marty McFly would be proud.
Bad Piggies (Free)
It's generally quite strange to talk about a new Rovio game this far down on the list, but Barry Steakfries will not be easily dethroned. After the diversion that was Amazing Alex, based on the acquisition of Casey's Contraptions (which makes a lot more sense now) Rovio has revisited the wild world of Angry Birds. This time, like all iconic villains in gaming, you get to play as those mean, green, egg stealing swine. This casual puzzler asks you to use a pre-set grid of tiles and a objects to build your very own getaway vehicle. The game is imaginative, polished, unique and accessible. Just what you'd expect from Rovio. It's great to see them branching out and expanding this universe.
Twisted Metal meets Gun Bros. in this latest action title from Glu Mobile. It's a simple twin-stick shooter with vehicles instead of people, and it's pretty rad. The game is strictly mutliplayer-based, pitting four players against each other in three different game modes on three different maps. As you play and earn currency, you'll be able to customize your vehicle’s weapon load-out and appearance. Being a Glu Mobile game, you're probably wondering how bad the In-app purchases are. To be fair, they don't seem to be bad at all, though you can pay money for better weapons, so I imagine it'll be necessary to stay competitive down the line. Still worth checking out, for sure.
Rayman Jungle Run ($2.99)
This game may be the last on the list, but oh my, is it not even close to the least. Rayman: Origins was my favorite platformer of last year, with fantastic, frantic, yet streamlined gameplay, a zany world full of quirk, and the most crisp and vibrant 2-D art ever seen in a game. All of those elements are present in this challenge-based runner, based on the original. It's not an endless runner, mind you, but one with a very well designed difficulty climb of levels. The game is just as gorgeous as its counterpart, and just as much fun to play, even if it is simplified. This would have easily topped the list any other week, but fate wasn't kind to this one. Check it out.