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Contract Killer tops this week’s best Android games

by Kristen Nicole

A slew of action-packed games have hit the Android Market this week, including Contract Killer and Bang Bang Racing. They represent the range of games that are gaining popularity in the mobile realm, especially as smartphones permeate the majority of mobile users in the U.S. Gaming remains a top entertainment category, making room for RPGs like Battleheart, and marking milestones for brain teasers like Nano Panda.

Contract Killer (Free)

In Contract Killer, you’re an assassin out to do your job. Living in the world of bounty hunters and criminals, you take on a series of secret missions that take you all over Central City. Do your job right, and you’ll earn cash to buy more weapons. Choose the right tool for the job, rolling through your inventory of sniper rifles, machine guns and tranquilizers. More than a point-and-shoot game, Contract Killer takes you deep into your mission, where every decision could lead to a successful kill or a deadly ambush. There’s nearly 20 story missions to play, and a random mission mode for a taste of the unexpected.

Bang Bang Racing THD ($7.96)

Similar to Reckless Racing, this new racer has crashed the Android Market with a bang. There’s a fleet of mini cars to choose from, hailing its European influence as a racing competition. Bang Bang Racing uses real-time dynamic controls, so you can drift through corners and hit turns at the apex. Optimized for NVIDIA devices, this THD game has been updated to replicate the console experience on mobile phones. There’s eight graphically-enhanced tracks to choose from, four racing classes to play, and 20 cars to select, each with their own driving styles and performance perks.

Battleheart ($2.99)

Battleheart is a new RPG that’s gaining steam in the Android Market, with deep, rich graphics and an extensive story line to play out. The fantasy game quickly pulls you in, ready with battles to earn your ranking. Build up a team, send them into real-time battles against monsters that only grow in power. Everyone on your team is blessed with a unique skill that you’ll be able to use during the epic fights. Command your army with touch commands, make specialized teams according to classes, and combine the forces of wizards, knights and other characters. A cute version of World of Warcraft, Battleheart will win you over.

Nano Panda Free (Free)

Nano Panda is a colorful brain teaser with a series of spatial challenges. In this world, pandas are shrunken down to atomic sizes, attracting each other like magnets. It’s your job to get them positioned correctly so they can eliminate the evil atoms that have dispersed in the science lab. Trap them between these tiny magnetic pandas, using a mix of creativity and logic. There’s plenty of forces at work, like gravity, which can help or hinder your end goal. There’s also a healthy amount of levels to conquer, OpenFeint integration for leaderboards and achievements, and a handful of chapters and devices to unlock. This adorable game is in HD, and even has a decent soundtrack.

Samurai II: Vengeance THD ($5.06)

As HD games gain in popularity, more are finding their way to Android devices. Another leading title is Samurai II: Vengance, already a top game on the iPhone. A successor to the Way of the Warrior, Samurai II is a 3D game with high expectations, graphically enhanced for polished detail and gameplay. You’re on a vengful mission, hunting down your arch-enemy Orochi. It’s a dedicated journey, across the country and into a deadly fortress, and through the Isle of the Dead. This Android game pulls from the console experience, with joystick moves that don’t interfere with your view of the game itself. Even the camera angle shifts with every move, putting the action in center stage. The mission involves plenty of battle scenes, riddles, traps and hidden items, with RPG perks giving earned status rewards to the most skilled of Samurais.

Trial Xtreme ($1.99)

Another racer, Trial Xtreme is quite a different scene than Bang Bang Racing. Riding over treacherous obstacles, this motorcycle racing game requires an entirely different skill set. Take speed and acceleration into account as you do motorbike tricks, zooming up ramps, flying through the air, and avoiding crashes. Trial Xtreme is more about your skill and top time than simply racing to the finish line--there’s no such thing as the straight and narrow in such harrowing courses. This Android game features 30 levels of increasing difficulty, developing your jumping and flipping skills throughout.

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