Mobile phone games will always suffer somewhat compared to games played on a dedicated console or even a computer, largely because the controls are optimized for smartphone purposes rather than gaming. The screen size is also a major limitation. Processing power is not so much of an issue as it once was, particularly with the latest high-speed, high-memory, dual-core phones.
So, what kind of games work well on smartphones? Anything where you can touch the screen to control the action; anything where the screen size doesn’t need to be large; and, on older phones, retro-style games that can manage with less processing power than the latest console or PC games. Platform games fulfil most of those requirements, but admittedly they can be tricky with standard phone controls. Plus, the market is somewhat flooded already, particularly when it comes to free and advert-supported games. We take a look at which ones work best, and offer most fun, for Android mobile phones.
Replica Island has been specially designed for Android, rather than ported over from another OS, and it really shows. It’s a labour of love for its developer – which is also very obvious when you play – and already has 40 brilliant levels of old-school, Mario Brothers style platforming fun. Plus, it’s all open source, so if you fancy trying your hand as an Android game developer yourself, making a new Replica Island level might be a good place to start. Perhaps our favourite thing about this game, if “free download” and “huge fun” weren’t enough by themselves, is that the character you control as you jump from platform to platform on Replica Island is none other than the iconic green Android mascot. Only with rocket packs in his feet.
Save cute animals from alien abduction! Control your equally cute, bouncing cow heroine by tilting your phone, as she ascends the levels to rescue her farmyard chums from unseen but doubtless grisly experiments.
This is a highly addictive platformer, with almost perfectly balanced gameplay. It’s unforgiving, and starts off quite tough, but you’ll quickly master the basics of bouncing the Doodler from one platform to the next, without bouncing into any enemies or dropping off the bottom of the screen. There’s none of that wimpy “three lives” nonsense here – the game ends as soon as you make a mistake – but that’s part of the reason it’s so addictive, and so good.
Puffle Launch is technically a physics/platform crossover game, but it’s so good that we decided not to let that stop us including it in our “best of” list for platformers. Cartoony graphics, 36 detailed and engaging levels, and a hugely fun boss battle make Puffle Launch a real standout.
If you’re not already playing Cordy, and you have a phone that runs it, go and download this beautiful 3D platformer right now. With great graphics, and impressive gameplay blending platform and puzzle game elements, this really is a must-have. Although there’s a superb free game here, you can unlock extra levels with a small payment if you love it as much as we do.
Android has in the past been accused of not having much of interest on the Android Market, but as some of these games show, Android is quickly becoming the platform of choice – not just for gamers but for game developers too.