The Room leads Android Games of the Week

by Phil Owen

Don't you hate it when you play a bunch of new games on your Android phone and then forget what they are? Yeah, that's never happened to me, either. This time around, it helps that the titles in Android Games of the Week are quite varied. There's an arcade flight simulation, a weird role-playing take on the classic non-smartphone game Snake, something called “Manuganu” and a game about throwing tomatoes into cups of coffee, along with one other game that needs no introduction...

The Room ($1.99)

If you live and play entirely within the Android ecosystem, you might have been a bit bummed when all your friends with iDevices were talking the greatness that is The Room, courtesy of Fireproof Games. But fret not, because this little puzzler was just ported, and now we can all enjoy this excellent mind-bender. If you're not familiar, The Room is a sort of Myst-style puzzle game with a story, and it works excellently with a touch interface. You start out by trying to solve a riddle within the game systems in the tutorial, and even that isn't easy. You will find that The Room will certainly challenge your intellect in a very engaging way. If you find yourself exasperated, this game comes with a built-in hint system to help you out. Hitting the hint button the first time won't give away the whole puzzle; it just points you in the right direction. Still, I prefer having all your friends gather around your tablet to try to figure it out together. That's a solid Friday night, right there.

Nimble Quest (Free)

As someone who spent oodles of time playing Snake on my Nokia 3390 when I was in high school, Nimble Quest is an intriguing proposition. You start out with one RPG-style hero, and you move it around a small map littered with foes. The hero auto-attacks the bad guys, some of which can be turned into heroes and added to your group as you go along. You keep your heroes on your way through the game's many levels, and if you're good at this game, or want to pay a bunch of money, you'll build quite a collection. Though Nimble Quest is free, the catch is that continuing after you die costs coins. You get a few of these when you start, but they deplete quickly. So if you want to retry at the level you've reached and keep your heroes, you'll eventually have to start paying. If you can manage to play enough to be good at it, that won't be an issue.


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After Burner Climax ($2.99)

If you're in the mood to blow things up, the newly released Android port of After Burner Climax is for you! This game puts you in the cockpit of a jet plane and has you shoot other jet planes. It really is as much of a party as that makes it sound. You can tailor the controls to your liking, but unfortunately the tutorial runs before you get the chance to do that. You can choose to steer with the accelerometer or an on-screen stick, inverted axis or not. However, when you start the game the tutorial shows up, declares you have options, and then forces you to play with an inverted stick. For some, that will be fine. For me, it made me instantly dislike the game. But I fixed the controls and played some more, and I came out the other side happy.

Paper Toss 2.0 (Free)

It's still the Paper Toss you know, but it's gotten some goofy upgrades. You can choose from a few different environments, and there is still always a fan there to knock your paper ball off its course. Now, there are some cool enhancements to the scene. There's one, for example, in which two people are watching you toss your paper, and they either applaud when you get it on target or shake their heads in embarrassment when you miss. In 2.0 you can unlock other objects to throw, like a tomato. The physics of throwing a tomato are a bit off as the game does not account for that object's additional mass and wind resistance, but it adds a quirk: Tomatoes will splatter when they hit the edge of the garbage can instead of bouncing, meaning you have to be more accurate with it. That's cool. And there are lots and lots of other objects you can use.

MANUGANU (Free)

This is a rather typical-looking 2.5-D auto-running platformer. Your little dude wearing a tribal mask runs, and you make him jump and try to collect all the coins and tokens. As you progress things get a bit more complicated than that. On the third level, you'll learn you can make him stop running, because all of a sudden there are obstacles in his way, like swinging hammers. If you can get through the boredom of the first level and rein at your desire to speed on through (there is no timer here), you will have a good old time with this one. In my opinion, platformers are still king of mobile.