If you own a tablet, chances are you probably have a couple of games installed on it, that is if you’re not like me who uses my tablet almost exclusively for gaming. And I love high-quality, intelligent games that really take advantage of the capabilities of the touchscreen.
We all know the iPad as the dominant player here, but there are in fact a number of outstanding Android tablet games on the market as well.
If you’re looking for some games to help pass the time, then look no further. Some of these are paid, others are free, some of them are a little older, but they’re all excellent additions to your gaming library.
Up first, Plants versus Zombies (or PvZ if you like shortening things). This game is available on multiple platforms, including Android, but really made its name on the iPad. You must save your home and garden from an army of invading zombies, by planting mutated plants that fire pea bullets and launch chilli bombs as well as employ a host of other amusing skills in order to stop the invaders. The Zombies likewise have some sneaky skills, including a disco zombie that spawns other additional dancing zombies to destroy your plants, and attempt to reach your base.
This is the latest offering by Lucky Frame, makers of such amusing music based games Pugs Luv Beats and Bad Hotel, both IGF nominated games. Gentlemen! brings back old school dueling for honour but in a completely modern context. It’s unusual in the fact that it’s a two player game, in which you can challenge your friends to a duel to the death, using completely weird and impractical weapons, for example pigeons vs bombs. Fun, addictive and incredibly amusing, Gentlemen! is available on both iPad and Android.
Sword and Sworcery harkens back visually to the days of King’s Quest and Sierra in its heyday. This is not a fast paced action game, but rather an exploration quest time game that encourages you to meander over the landscape, soaking up the atmosphere. The music is beautiful and haunting and although they’re not plentiful there is the occasional, rather satisfying battle. People who aren’t into quest type games will likely find it a little boring, but it’s completely worthwhile if you favour beauty combined with nostalgia.
World of Goo is a rather clever construction game where you must connect rather cute little globs of goo together in order to get from A to B by stretching and manipulating your little critters. It’s cute and addictive, and also increasingly challenging as you must struggle to build your assemblages without them collapsing. The game made its way to mobile from PC and Wii, and it’s a perfect match for tablet gamers everywhere.
You might have played it already on PC, and if you’re like me you’ve read the graphic novels and watched the TV series as well. We won’t talk about that other awful Walking Dead game, but the version from Telltale Games is the real winner. It tells the story of Lee Everett, departing from the storyline in the books, but still situated quite distinctly in the same universe. It’s episodic, which means you get Episode 1 for free and then must pay to unlock the other 4 episodes, but honestly, don’t think about it, just do it. It’s an amazing and emotional journey that might have you shed a tear or two. The outcome of the game is directly affected by your choices throughout the game, resulting in a unique experience for every player.
The sequel to Infinity Blade continues the story after the God King has been defeated. You must discover the secrets of the Infinity Blade. Giant ogres, demonic knights, looting, treasure hunting, hack and slash combat, this game will help console players expand their horizons. It doesn’t offer a massive amount of variety, but the story is engaging and the combat is satisfying. Obviously we would recommend that you go back and play the first Infinity Blade as well.
Retro graphics and platforming fun, this is one awesome little game. Originally released as a freeware indie game on PC and Mac, it’s made the transitions to a couple of other platforms including iOS. Enemies spawn continuously throughout from the top of the map, and you must collect crates at random locations in order to endow you with a variety of weapons, all of which are selected at random. Stop the enemies reaching the fire pit at the bottom of the screen or they gain additional speed. The goal of the game is to survive for as long as possible, and trust us it will keep you coming back for more.
It might seem somewhat staid in comparison to the other games listed here, but Peggle will have you scratching your head as you attempt to clear the board of the twenty-five pegs selected at the beginning of each level. You rack up high scores as you make your way through increasingly challenging levels. The original Peggle was released as early as 2007, with a sequel, Peggle Nights released in 2008. Peggle 2 was announced this year at E3.
I’ve never denied being a GTA fanatic, and so the port of GTA Vice City to tablets excited me immensely. It’s been updated with high-resolution graphics (can you believe most tablets support better graphics than the original game), custom controls, custom playlists, iCloud saves and sports a massive campaign. If you’re a fan or even if you’re new to the franchise, this will not only give you hours of entertainment but real value for money.
Bastion is one of my favourite indie games. It appeals to my sense of humour and it’s pretty damn fun to play. It’s an action adventure game narrated by a mysterious voice which not only provides context but which dynamically describes what you’re doing at that present moment. This leads to a variety of amusing comments which, coupled with outstanding gameplay, combat and music, make this a must-have game. The art style is beautiful and colourful. The story follows the Kid, as he must collect shards in order to power the Bastion in the wake of Calamity.
Dead Trigger is a FPS zombie shooter, predictably set in a dystopian future. This doesn’t really matter much however because this game is all about the action. The story is quite predictable. Survive the zombie horde. Collect supplies. Save other survivors. Pretty straightforward, but where this game really shines is the combat which is free-flowing and intuitive. Easy to use controls, pretty decent graphics, a great soundtrack and motion captured character animations all contribute to a game that might not challenge your mind, but which will keep you entertained and killing zombies for a good few hours at a stretch.
Broken Sword is one of those games I spent hours playing when I was younger, and I was pleased to see it transition to mobile. Originally released in 1996, it’s a point and click adventure that follows Nico Collard as he investigates a murder. The Director’s Cut version not only features the classic story from the original, but also introduces a new storyline as Nico and his friend George solve puzzles, explore the globe and typically thwart a grand conspiracy. If you’re a fan of old school adventure gaming then you’ll want to add this to your list.
Geared was a game I was sad to leave behind when I switched from iOS to Android, so I was pleased to see it make its way to the Play store. It’s a simple enough puzzle game where you must position gears to get the machine running. It seems pretty straightforward at first but the levels get increasingly more challenging, and at times it becomes a real struggle to get them to connect up. Geared is more for those who enjoy puzzles and perhaps are a bit more mechanically minded, but it’s addictive in every way.
This is a tie in to the Mass Effect franchise, specifically related to ME3. You play as Randall Ezno, a Cerberus commando who turns against his employers after uncovering a conspiracy. You’re armed with most of the usual Mass Effect tools — biotic powers and advanced weaponry, and this is an excellent addition to the franchise if, like me, you’re a bit of a fanatic. The level design is excellent, as are the graphics, and the combat is true to the franchise i.e. it’s awesome. The controls can be a bit tough to negotiate on a tablet, but it’s a good enough game that this doesn’t really affect the overall enjoyment.
Another game that has spawned a tablet tie in — Dead Space. This time around you’re playing as Vandal, an agent of the Church of Unitology. You get caught in a Necromorph outbreak and as is typical of the Dead Space franchise, scare-the-crap-out-of-you scenarios ensue. It’s tense. It’s violent. It’s gory. And damn it’s fun. Awesome visuals, solid controls. If you’re into horror and aliens, buy, buy, buy!
Not much could be better than combining zombies with Hollywood, and Zombiewood takes the gore of an all out zombie battle and combines it with a kickass cartoon style and a Hollywood inspired setting. There are loads of fun weapons at your disposal, as well as weird and wonderful outfits to customise your character with. The best part of this game though is the hilarious carnage. This is the zombie apocalypse as you’ve never seen it before.
This is a slightly more limited version if you’re used to playing Minecraft on your computer, but you can still craft and create worlds with your friends, as well as play multiplayer over WiFi. As with the full game, Minecraft Pocket Edition is about building things through the placement of blocks, and creating adventures for you and others to play and share. New features are always being added to the game, so it’s definitely worth the cash, but is only for those gamers who like to explore and tinker with their surroundings.
I eventually had to uninstall this game from all my devices. It might not sound like a good recommendation, but it’s actually because I became so addicted to it that I had to keep checking back so I could expand my multi-million dollar empire. Yes it’s a business simulation game, but it’s really, really cute. You manage an expanding tower filled with “bitizens”, and your goal is to build an incredibly tall tower which will attract and then accommodate all your resident bitizens based on their dream jobs.
One of my favourite genres of late is the Wild West. Six Guns is an open world frontier filled with cowboys and bandits as well as a host of other supernatural creatures. It’s a third person action shooter that will have you playing as an outlaw on the run. There are 40 missions for you to complete, which given the platform is pretty decent. You can unlock a variety of horses and weapons as well as items such as clothes and ammo to help you along the way. This awesome game is also completely free, which is rather refreshing to say the least.
Based on the style of Rayman Origins, Jungle Run has Rayman automatically running through levels (over 70 of them) and you must punch and jump your way through obstacles, collecting lums (coins) as you go. The graphics are gorgeous, the game is fun, the music is catchy and the controls are smooth and easy to use. There are bonus levels to unlock as well, and while it might be easy for the beginner to pick up and play, it also provides a more challenging experience for Rayman fans.