Week in Mobile: Noble Nutlings, Hundreds, and the Android hardware boom
Welcome to our new mobile games feature here on GameZone. Every Saturday, we’ll feature a handful of new titles released for iOS and Android and update you on the biggest news we covered that week.
Check below for our featured reviews of Noble Nutlings, Hundreds, and Lost Cubes. Read our editor-in-chief’s experience with switching from Apple to Android, and catch up on the latest developments on Android-based devices from the Consumer Electronics Show and elsewhere. It’s looking like a great year for mobile.
Noble Nutlings (iOS) is the first outing from studio Boomlagoon, which three former Angry Birds developers co-founded in April 2012 after splitting from Rovio. The influence is clear — everything from the graphical style to the rickety gameplay is reminiscent of these three squirrels’ popular avian cousins, and the game has the difficulty scale to match.
Right now, the game features 36 unlockable levels, with more on the way. Players accelerate the nutling’s cart through the course to the finish line, crashing into boxes of dynamite (which often propel you high into the air), cartoon worms, and debris scattered on the path. Sometimes you need to knock over bridges or drive backward down the road, depending on how the tracks progress.
You’ll want to advance through the level as fast as possible, too, collecting as many of the nuts as you can to earn up to three stars. You can purchase more in-game chili fuel for a boost anytime or customize your cart with different wheels and chassis, which possess varying qualities in power and acceleration. Finding the right balance of the two can help you succeed.
It’s a fun game, but Noble Nutlings is perhaps too similar to its predecessor, only with less of the charm. Chances are you’ll get sick of the one-note music when you’re a few minutes in, too.
It’s a clean-looking app, with a mostly tricolor scheme of red, white, and greys. The soothing music and brain-teasing gameplay is meant to relieve stress and help you focus, but this isn’t done through complicated wordplay or questions. You don’t even need to apply higher math skills.
To complete each level, all you need to do is tap and hold any bubble onscreen with a number inside, filling any combination of them to the magic number, 100. This simple concept becomes more involved, though, for one reason: Each bubble turns red as you increase its number and size, and if it touches another surface when it’s lit — that’s game over.
The obstacles, or the objects floating around that your bubbles can rub against or hit, include harmless, number-less bubbles that you can pop for fun and, conversely, buzzsaws that shatter your growing score as they slice open your bubbles. It’s an enjoyable experience and a surprising challenge that’ll have you flexing your fingers all over the screen.
The best games are often simple fun, which makes them ridiculously addictive. Lost Cubes (iOS), which released on Tuesday from developer Pocket Playlab, is a cute game that won’t cost you a dime. The goal is to draw lines (or “streams”) that connect each elemental cube to its mate, but you can’t cross them overtop another or you’ll break the path. You also want to cover all the space on the board to earn the coveted three-star rating. It’s all about space management and thinking about the area like a maze.
That’s not too hard to do, but as you progress through the ecosystems — each with different terrain and more cubes to pair — you’ll need to think twice as hard about your moves before you make them. But if you’d rather play it by ear, you can tap a cube to erase its stream or navigate it in a different direction as you place it. And did we mention it’s adorable?
Lost Cubes gives you a generous 40 levels per world, so you should have plenty of these puzzles to keep you busy.
You can now preregister for Sega’s free-to-play strategy game Kingdom Conquest 2 and receive two exclusive bonuses before it launches soon for iOS and Android. The first Kingdom Conquest has reached over 3.5 million downloads worldwide.
Super Hexagon was one of the finest mobile game achievements of the past year. Now, independent developer Terry Cavanagh is saying that the Android version is “basically done,” but it needs refinement for Nexus 7.
Hello Games’ popular stunt game Joe Danger has made its way to iOS, but this isn’t a simple port. Fans can discover new stages and characters, as well as touch-screen controls and a design built from the ground up for mobile devices.
EIC Mike Splechta walks through his experience with switching his phone from iOS to Android. The main different with Google Play’s market? Games like the incriminatory Grant Crime Auto: Ice City.
Apple’s grasp on the smartphone market is starting to slip, which could mean a cheaper iPhone as soon as late 2013.
GameStick stretch goals add new colors and additional memory
PlayJam has announced new stretch goals for its Android-based console, which is about the size of a thumb drive. These include additional colors for the device, extra memory, and even a carrying case if backers pull through with more funds.
The fun puzzle-strategy game Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes is moving to mobile devices with a release first on iOS and Android to follow. It could be just the fix you need, or the controls could bog you down.
Telltale Games’ popular adventure from last year has sold over 8.5 million copies, and 25 percent of those sales came from purchases of episodes on iOS.
Companies are rushing to unleash new mobile consoles and tablets that range from the itty bitty to the multifaceted, like Sunflex’s unu. That’s more competition coming to the market of Android-based systems: Ouya, GameStick, and Nvidia’s Project Shield handheld gaming device all use the OS, too. Will any of them win the race?
The new Moga controller fixes touch-screen controls with a simple, familiar solution: a gamepad.