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Jenga tops Android Games of the Week

by Kristen Nicole

More great games have found their way onto Android this week, proving once again that the OS is finally becoming an excellent source for quality titles. From the Xperia Play-specific Backbreaker 2: Vengeance, to the Tegra-powered Riptide GP, this week's best Android games will keep you busy with their eye-popping graphics and smooth gameplay. And if your device isn't so new or fast, fear not, there's plenty of other quality titles to try including something special for your kitty.

Jenga ($2.99)

NaturalMotionGames has found a way to bring Jenga to the Android, letting you take this tower-building game anywhere (with a lot less set-up). In conjunction with Jenga’s creator Leslie Scott, this official Jenga game is in 3D, simulating the tension of the real-life wooden block towers. Touch is everything, as digital blocks are just as sensitive as their physical counterparts. Tease them out with a mix of taps and dragging, the tower getting less stable with every block removed. As with the real game, Jenga’s Android app is social, with pass-n-play mode for groups. The developers have added some modern features, including an arcade mode with color blocks that earn extra points, converted to virtual coins to spend on special boosts and wildcards.

Backbreaker 2: Vengeance ($2.99)

From the same developer as Jenga comes a new edition of Backbreaker. The second version is for new Xperia Play users only, with more options for players, including tackling. Your brawny ballers are far more physical than the first Backbreaker Football game, putting the computer on the defense. Rub-in your touchdowns with new victory dance moves, avoid on-field obstacles and pull off a tackle alley wave. Backbreaker 2 also features new stadiums, and graphics improved for Sony’s new gaming device. You can still play in classic game mode, putting you back in the position of fighting your way to the endzone, though a defeat is more challenging in this gridiron sequel.

Big Time Gangsta (Free)

Fresh off the launch of Contract Killer, Glu Mobile’s growing network delivers another game from the underworld, named Big Time Gangsta. Work your way up thug life, building an army of gang members to control local neighborhoods. With a story line fit for Scarface, this hard core game is one of rival battles, regional take-overs and deadly shoot outs. You’re not a big time gangsta until you own the entire city, amassing mounds of cash and a wide-ranging arsenal to equip your street soldiers. As with Mafia Wars and similar level-advance games, Big Time Gangsta is riddled with virtual currency incentives, as you incrementally buy what you need to advance.

Walkabout ($1.62)

Now with tablet support, in Walkabout Navigate you must navigate your little character with up, down and side-to-side motions, collecting the magic stars scattered across the kingdom. Similar to the PC game Chip, you’ll need a smart strategy to get through each level, working the right sequence and route to advance. The full version takes you through 64 levels, along with 8 bonus levels to unlock. Level-up your achievements with each stage, and high score challenges keep you hungry for more gameplay.

Robotek (Free)

Robotek is a game of robot wars, where machines have taken over. It’s up to you to battle each robot, zapping them with lasers, micro-waves and other machine-killing weapon. With slightly cartoonish graphics and a classic level-up style, this zap-happy game has a retro touch that makes for entertaining arcade games. Learn new skills with every battle, collecting the defenses you’ll need to beat the big boss. There’s some RPG elements in Robotek as well, with a reward-based skill system, extra levels and online play. Connect with your Facebook leaderboards and duel with friends. Some advances require in-app purchases, but the game is free to download.

Riptide GP ($6.99)

If you like racing games, Riptide lets you take it to the open water. From the makers of Xbox 360 game Hydro Thunder Hurricane, Vector Unit aims to deliver a console experience to your Tegra-powered Android device. It’s jet skis you race in Riptide GP, roaring through city canals, rivers and a handful of other landscapes. Unlike car racing, jet skis can do tricks and stunts, many of which you’ll need to navigate these watery courses. Improve your skills to unlock the best jet skis, earn boosts with well-executed stunts and work your way up the leaderboards, supported by OpenFeint. Riptide GP features three game modes, for regular racing, quick laps or championship rounds.

Friskies Games for Cats (Free)

In something of a marketing campaign for cat food, Friskies has taken cat tech to a whole new level, launching an interactive series of Android games for your feline friends. Designed with cats’ psychological and physiological needs in mind, Cat Fishing, Tasty Treasures and Party Mix-Up appeal to our pet’s senses. Bright colors and bold animated graphics will get your cat swiping at your tablet screen in no time (hope you have a good screen protector). The games will remind you of old-school PC screen-savers, responding easily to touch and rudimentary in engagement. But if you don’t mind replacing cat toys with your tablet, these Friskies games are worth a shot.