EPOCH tops Android Games of the Week

by Phil Owen

A variety of good Android games were released this week. There's a unique robot action adventure, a trading card game, a brick-breaker, a joyous platformer and of course, Doodle Jump. Best of all is that three of the five are free to download. They might have in-app purchases, but at least you'll be able to try them out before you invest any cash. When you do have to pay a fee up front, though, it's certainly worth it. Let's take a look, shall we?

EPOCH ($4.99)

EPOCH is a game about a robot trying to rescue a princess who is trapped in a tower. OK. It is a video game, I guess, and that scenario is well-traveled territory. But ignore the bare bones plot for a second and bask in the gameplay, which is fantastically unique. Yes, a game about rescuing a princess is different from others of that ilk, somehow. The idea is simple: you hide behind cover, you tap an enemy to target it, you swipe up to step out of cover and open fire, you swipe left or right to dodge enemy fire. It's a brilliant concept, and it's quite effective. Best of all, it comes wrapped in a AAA package. It's certainly not the best looking mobile game by a long shot, but the production values are high. The $4.99 price tag is warranted. If you think hard enough, you could even imagine this indie game is the product of a Gameloft or EA, and I totally mean that as a compliment. Kudos, Uppercut Games!


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Doodle Jump (Free)

Doodle JumpYes, this long-time iOS hot seller was just released on Google Play, and it's an identical experience. Your creature jumps, and you tilt the device to make it land on platforms, and then he jumps again and so on. You tap the screen to shoot the occasional enemy that pops up. Anybody who also owns an iOS device is probably familiar with this one. If you're not, however, because you've stuck with Android this whole times, props to you. It’s a classic and entertaining diversion in the mobile space, unless you're so good at it that the game never ends, in which case Doodle Jump becomes a lifestyle. You'll enjoy this little mindless experience either way.

Smash (Free)

Hooray for brick-breaker games! In this game genre, you bounce a ball off a paddle you move back and forth in order to try to break the bricks arranged at the top of the screen. It could be that there are many of these on Android, but it's been a while since we've seen one, and this one crafts the bricks into amusing shapes. The first one I got was some kind of bug, or maybe a Galaga enemy. Later, you'll see a question mark. Though playing a brick-breaker is a little odd at first on a touchscreen, once you get the hang of touching where you want your paddle to go, you'll have a grand time.

Order & Chaos Duels (Free)

This spin-off of the popular mobile massively multiplayer online game is a trading card game. Meaning it will greatly appeal to nerds. Gameloft's Duels contains both a campaign mode and online multiplayer. Campaign is a good place to start, certainly, as the tutorial does a good job of establishing the rules of the game. Of course, veteran TCG players can probably get by without a tutorial, but folks new to this type of game will definitely need it. But Duels is pretty accessible, and offering a campaign mode is a great way to introduce folks to the genre. I have one big caveat for Duels, though: it requires you to be connected to the Gameloft servers whether you're playing online or not. The first couple times I tried to play, in fact, I couldn't connect and was unable to even start the app. But once that got sorted out I had a lot of fun. Although this Spunk and Moxie

is a free title, if you plan on playing for an significant length of time you're probably going to need to make in-app purchases for new cards in order to stay competitive. But that's to be expected from a TCG.

Spunk and Moxie ($0.99)

I'm always enthusiastic for new mobile platform games, and Spunk and Moxie from Chocolate Homunculus is definitely one of the good ones. Here you play a blob of goo, either Spunk (male) or Moxie (female), and whichever you choose will move forward through the level until it hits a wall. You are responsible for making it jump. Tap to jump a little bit, hold to jump bigger, continue to hold to make it jump off a wall. You won't find any pits to fall into, but that doesn't mean this is an easy experiencing. Getting the timing right can be quite challenging, but the lack of player deaths means it doesn't get frustrating. When you goof up you can just try again.