A couple years ago Ingress was extremely popular, and it is an amazing location-based virtual game that you can play on your Android phone. The app activates the game as you move about in real time, so the playing board is where you are! This is not the only location-based Android game; here are the titles I have played and enjoyed.
Global Outbreak (Free)
Unrest spreads around the world, and humanity is not exactly sure why it is happening. There are these pods. You are the head of Blackhorne Industries, the world’s best and most trusted mercenary outfit. Your mission is to head out and stop the infestation before the need to detonate nukes. This top-down shooter game begins with a quick tutorial and has a minimal menu bar, so it does not take up much screen space.
Once the tutorial is done, you can span the globe and find a spot to set up an outpost. The game will guide you on this. From there you will assemble a team and equipment so you can go out on missions. At first you are limited on what you can access but as you progress in the game you can get more team member, upgrade equipment, etc. The game is fun but I found it a bit glitchy at times. The game is free but has in-game currency, such as gold that can be used to speed up the game.
Plague Inc. (Free)
In Plague Inc., your job is to infest of all mankind with a deadly virus. You start with one country and one virus. As this is a strategy game, your job through the game is to figure out the best way to transport, mutate, and keep your virus going. You even get to name your virus! As you play you earn DNA points which can be used to help modify the transmission, symptoms, and abilities of the virus. Plague Inc. requires a strategy similar to the classic board game Risk.
This is somewhat different game from the others, as the whole world is your game board. The game does allow you to have a saved game, and has three difficulty settings. The game is free, but you can unlock the full game and other items via in-app purchases. If you enjoy strategy games and have a somewhat dark sense of humor, you will enjoy this twisted game.
Sacracy RPG (Free)
Sacracy is an action RPG game set in a Medieval parallel world. It is a top-down game with retro style graphics, simple gameplay and controls. The game has one menu button, which then opens up a series of sections such as diary, inventory, skills, achievements, guide, buddies, store, and more. In the game you experience over 20 monsters, 16 skills, tons of usable items, daily quests and a storyline. The game comes with in-game chat so you can play with others.
Sacracy RPG is free and you can remove the ads via an in-app purchase. The game does have some nice features. It can be played in portrait or landscape mode. The most intriguing aspect is you can play in two different modes: couch mode, where you simply play where you are or GPS-mode where you have to physically move to move your character in the game. When you do this, a current map will become part of the game board.
Parallel Mafia MMORPG (Free)
This is one of the first location-based games that I played and is a lot of fun. Parallel Mafia is based in the future, where criminal organizations run wild. Your job is to control your turf, take over other players’ areas and stop the Apex Agency. The virtual world the game creates is superimposed on a map of your GPS location. To be able to travel in the game you need to know a real person in that location or physically travel there and turn on the game.
When you begin, you will need to complete the tutorial. During this time, you will build your safe house and a few business fronts. It is at these businesses where you earn experience, build your influence, find items, and fight off computer-generated bad guys. To grow your character, you need to craft items and raise your skills (called augments), plus spend in-game credits. Now, you earn these in-game credits by referring friends to the game or via in-game purchases. The game has an extensive chat system in place to allow you to add friends.
Overall, these are fun games but not quick ones. These are games you can play a little each day and where ever you are, the game is with you. You can play alone or with others. Location based games add a nice dimension to games and I would assume more will be developed over the coming years.