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Astro Shark HD tops Android Games of the Week

by Phil Owen

This week is kind of a weird one for gaming. We get a shark in love with a dog, a girl who travels into paintings, a chimp that gets thrown around the jungle and the biography of a wizard. This week in Android gaming provides exactly the kind of off-beat experiences we need from our mobile games. Check it out.

Astro Shark HD ($0.99)

Astro Shark HD is a game about cross-species love between a shark and a dog. The dog, Laika, is sent into space by the Russians, and Astro Shark propels himself out of the atmosphere after her. You, as the shark, fly out, tethering yourself to heavenly bodies to steer as you try to avoid hazards. The game grows more complex in each stage, and you'll have to be adaptable as you pick up new mechanics along the way. And you'll want to continue along the way, because Astro Shark's story is told in some really attractive hand-drawn illustrations. You will be touched by Astro Shark's journey, which takes him a rather long distance from Earth. But it's worth it, when true love is at stake.

Lost Souls ($2.99)

I've often written that there needs to be more old-style adventure games like Myst or Monkey Island on our mobile platforms, and it seems we have been gifted with one this week in the form of Lost Souls. This game has your character, Bella, travel into paintings to see what's going on in there, and she'll wander around looking at stuff and solve some puzzles. Like a Monkey Island, you'll need to collect various items which you'll use on the puzzles, and it's not always obvious what does what. But that's good, because you don't want a game like this to be too easy. But if you do want it to be too easy, the developers have you covered, because Lost Souls comes with a strategy guide that will help you out if you get stuck. I'd still encourage you to not use it, though. Getting stuck is part of the fun.


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God of Blades ($0.99)

The popular iOS action/adventure God of Blades finally made its way to Android this week, and it looks as pretty as ever. This edition is a regular port, and so if you've already got this on an iDevice you may not feel the need to re-buy. But if you're Android-exclusive, then God of Blades is a must-buy, especially since it's only $0.99 right now for a launch sale. If you're not familiar with the game, know that it is a physics-based side-scrolling hack-and-slasher in which you just run forward and take out your enemies. It's more complex than that, but it's hard to explain exactly what's going on here. The press releases for this game like to call it “pulp fantasy,” and I think that's a good way of putting it, which you'll discover as the story unravels before you.

Chimpact ($0.99)

This is a game about throwing a chimpanzee around the jungle, and the experience of playing it is exactly as silly as that sounds. But, hey, Angry Birds has taught us that throwing animals can be a lot of fun, and while Chimpact is not really like Angry Birds it is still quite entertaining. The objective is to have your chimp collect gems and bananas and medallions which are scattered around the rather beautiful jungle landscape that the developers have crafted. You'll use the items you collect, in turn, to upgrade your chimp or to unlock new chimps. Chimpact is a rather simple experience, as it's a one-touch game, and it's not super deep. In terms of distraction entertainment, Chimpact makes a real impact.

Life of a Wizard ($1.99)

Life of a Wizard is probably only barely a game, but Google Play calls it one, so I'm giving it a pass. What this is, more or less, is a “choose your own adventure” novel about a grand old wizard. The book is his biography, and you get to decide what kind of person he was. Then, the rest of the story adapts itself to your choices, because it's a branching tale. I haven't managed to get through the whole thing yet, as it's a legitimate 130,000-word project, but what I've read of it is quite cool and fun. More of this kind of game, please.

Super Stickman Golf 2 (Free)

I don't know if you remember the original Super Stickman Golf, but that was probably the weirdest and most ridiculous game of golf any of us have ever played. The game has been upped with the sequel, which takes golf on what appear to be side-scrolling platformer levels to a completely new, uh, level. Super Stickman Golf 2 is certainly the best free experience of the week on Google Play, and you won't regret dropping all that dough on it.