As a fan of high productions values, I’m rejoicing this week as Gameloft has a new title hanging out in the Google Play store. I like Android games with graphics worth drooling over. No, graphics don’t really matter that much. But sometimes I just want to look at something beautiful, and Dungeon Hunter 4 fits the bill.

This week in gaming took me back to my childhood, but not because we have a new port of an old game. Rather, it’s a new spin on an old formula. Beyond that, we’ve got a game that is tangentially about pirates, a game about murder and a popular mobile game franchise takes on time travel. How exciting!

Dungeon Hunter 4 (Free)

The Dungeon Hunter franchise continues to run with a freemium model, and the fourth entry in the franchise is the prettiest thing I’ve seen on Android in a long time. It’s a mishmash of art styles, with cell shading being the most prominent, but it’s a bit astonishing to see this kind of visual love going into a mobile experience. In general, the best looking mobile games tend to look like late-era PS2 titles, which is fine, but they don’t do much to stand out from each other. Dungeon Hunter 4, on the other hand, does. Beyond the visuals, this game is pretty standard hack and slash, and it’s got a legitimate story as one would expect from a Gameloft effort. MOGA owners will be disappointed to learn that the game doesn’t yet support the Bluetooth controller, but expect that to change soon.

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Aces of the Luftwaffe (Free)

If you remember old PC games like Raptor, you’ll be right at home with this top-down airplane-shooter. You fly a plane duringWorld War II, and as you move forward through the skies, huge waves of enemies come at you, kinda like a non-static version of Galaga. The game’s experience is enhanced by upgrades you pick up from defeated foes, and sometimes you can even gather some wingmen to help you out. By the end of a level, you spray bullets all over the screen, as your enemies are everywhere, which makes for a good old time. A note about the controls, since the game doesn’t explain them at all: you hold your finger down on the screen to fire, and you drag it around to move.

Knife That Guy ($0.99)

I’ll be honest, I don’t really know what sort of message this game is sending, but I know there has to be one. In Knife That Guy, you are a guy in a big square room full of other guys, and you must find your target and knife him, as the title indicates. But you have to be careful not to knife all the wrong guy, which can be quite difficult to do as things ramp up. I even had one Other Guy sprint right into me, killing himself at one point. If you knife too many of the Wrong Guys, or if you take too long knifing That Guy, you will end up knifing yourself in the chest. In ant event, the game is ludicrously entertaining and rather difficult.

Pirate Dash (Free)

So this is a game in which you are a pirate, and you are flying upward somehow, and you must kill monsters and stuff by changing your trajectory downwards and slashing them in half. You tilt to the left or right to position yourself above a target, and then you tap it to fly down. This is more difficult than it sounds, as it can be pretty easy to miss despite careful aiming, and if you miss a few times your game will end. Also, you have to account for those baddies that grow spikes on their backs; while you can still kill them, they’ll hurt you, and your health is limited. I like Pirate Dash mostly because it provides an honest-to-god challenge even for seasoned gamers, and it introduces a host of new gaming mechanics mobile.

Cut the Rope: Time Travel (Free, $0.99 for HD)

Unlike Cut the Rope: Experiments, which I felt was mostly more of the same Cut the Rope experience with a few rudimentary tweaks, Time Travel actually changes up the formula in an important way. Here, instead of one little green guy to feed candy to, you have two of them. Having to account for two pieces of candy as you do your slashing and hacking is much more engaging than any of other Cut the Rope games. Cut the Rope has always been a bit of a puzzle game, but Time Travel seriously ups the ante. If you’re a fan of the series, this one is an absolute must-own.

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