Let’s face it: it’s a gamer’s world. Though it would be silly to say that gamers are literally taking over the world, it would be a fair statement to make when saying that the past few years and 2014 in particular is a good year for gamers to be alive. There are many reasons for this statement: gaming technology continues to improve on a half-yearly basis; innovation in gaming is only just getting started (just look at the multi-award winning game The Last Of Us); the once-separate worlds of games console and the PC edge ever closer, hastened by the development of the Steam Machine and cloud-based gaming. It is the world of mobile gaming that moves on with a ferocity not seen in any other industry, however. It seems that new mobile phones are released every few months and the level of competition is so intense that smartphone manufactures have no choice but to offer us more specs for less cost. Below you’ll find a pick of the best five of these mobile gaming phones intertwined with our pick of the very best mobile games of the previous year.
Very few games these days actually set out to try and meet their own self-imposed brief, and even fewer go ahead and achieve this brief as well as surpass it with flawless style: Hundreds is one of those rare games which does this. Hundreds is best described as a puzzle game with buckets of style and a unique look, as well as an atmosphere that no other game even comes close to creating.
In the game’s 100 levels, the object is to achieve precisely 100 points. You earn points by pressing on the grey circles on the screen which contain numbers, the cumulative total of which must add up to 100. Tapping and holding down on a circle causes its circumference to increase along with the number that sits inside it. The catch is that you will instantly fail if you touch any other circles around you whilst expanding. The difficulty levels are quite high and tend to ramp up very quickly, and the lack of tutorial may frustrate some, but the serious puzzle gamers will appreciate the original idea and the style with which Hundreds is presented.
Goes Well With: iPhone 5S – This is a seriously powerful phone that has the potential to play pretty much anything you throw at it. Hundreds isn’t a game that will by any means challenge your 5S, particularly with its 64-bit chip architecture, quad-core graphics chip, or A7 chip, but the game’s style matches the whole minimalist style and philosophy of Apple products perfectly. Besides, it would be a waste playing a beautifully visual and graphics-intensive game on the iPhone 5S’s puny 4-inch screen, wouldn’t it?
Kingdom Rush Frontiers
This is a game that almost needs no introduction, such is its popularity and almost flawless take on the tower defense genre. In fact, Kingdom Rush: Frontiers embodies all that is amazing about the tower defense world whilst doing away with any of the negative aspects that put people off. Frontiers has pretty much everything you want from a game: a visually breath-taking design, an overarching storyline, progress-based gameplay, upgrades, character variety, and even a bit of resource management thrown in for good measure.
The aim in Frontiers is to prevent enemy forces from crossing the map on a predetermined path that runs across the screen. You prevent them from doing so by spending your limited funds on building towers of varying type on pre-existing points around the perimeter of the path. You can build archers, artillery, magic, and barracks towers, each with their own upgrade paths and two different maximally-upgraded forms. You earn money for killing enemies and spend it on upgrades and different items. The variety of foe is impressive, the cartoon-like artwork and amusing sound effects are hilarious, and the game just has a sense of humour about itself that is rarely seen in the tower defense genre. It should be clear that we’re laughing with developers Ironhide here though; the game is too good to be laughed at.
Goes Well With: LG G2 – This is another phone that is probably overqualified for the job of playing Kingdom Rush: Frontiers, since it really isn’t that graphics intensive. Still, the 5.2 inch screen with 424ppi pixel density will make Frontiers look absolutely incredible. This is the kind of game that is best appreciated on larger screens with as much detail as possible. The LG G2’s nippy quad-core 2.26 gHz processor will also make short work of the gameplay, allowing you to play without a stutter.
There’s something about the gameplay of Ridiculous Fishing that makes you want to smile because it truly is ridiculous. The aim is to cast off from a boat and use the tilt of your device to avoid the fish in the water as your weight descends. Once you inevitably hit a fish on the descent, the line begins to retract at which time your aim is to then try and tilt your line towards as many fish as possible. Once you reach the surface of the water on your ascent, the collected fish are thrown into the air where you must shoot as many of them as you can. Ridiculous is just one adjective for the situation; the adverb extremely should also be employed because it is to an extreme extent that this fishing game is one of the most fun and outrageous of it's kind.
Goes Well With: Samsung Galaxy S5 – Though the S5 hasn’t been released yet, it’s quite obvious by its specs that it is going to be an incredible phone to play games on. This may be another case where a phone’s qualifications far exceed the demands of the job, but Ridiculous Fishing would play incredibly smoothly on the S5’s 2.5gHz quad-core Snapdragon 800, 2GB RAM, Adreno 330 GPU and would look incredible on the full-HD 5.1-inch screen.
Asphalt 8: Airborne
In spite of the abundance of in-app purchases, Gameloft’s Asphalt 8: Airborne is a game that delivers one of the best racing experiences you can possibly get on any mobile device. The game has a physics system that feels natural and extremely realistic, with turn and every clash with a rival vehicle feeling as real as a three-car pile on your way to work. Tilt controls are quite obviously the way to go here as they provide one of the best ways for controlling your vehicles in the most realistic manner possible.
New to the eighth game in the series is the addition of aerial stunts which look utterly amazing when they are performed correctly, It’s all about making the decision about whether to go airborne or not since mid-air movement is slower but does offer nitro boosts and other rewards. There is a wonderful variety of race modes in the game, and eight seasons of racing to keep you going for a very, very long time. The only drawback for many is that the game is so very graphics intensive that many older phones simply won’t run it to the standard required for smooth gameplay.
Goes Well With: Sony Xperia Z2 – Since Asphalt 8 is so incredibly intensive on the graphics, only the very latest and fastest phones have any hope of playing the game without lag or stuttering. The Xperia 2, though not yet released, will contain a 2.3gHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, a whopping 3GB of RAM, and an Adreno 330 GPU; this should be more than enough to process the demands of the game without it slowing down when it gets to the intense parts.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
This is another one of those games that really doesn’t require an introduction. It is essentially the same as the console game but shrunk down so that it can be played on your mobile device. Everyone should be familiar with the questionable dealings and actions of the main character in a game where crime certainly is the only thing that pays. The magnificent environments are still as impressive as ever, the action is still as tense at various points in the game, and the driving is still as entertaining.
Some have had problems with the control system, specifically the touchscreen controls, but if you look past these minor flaws, you’ve got a legendary game sitting in the palm of your hand.
Goes Well With: Samsung Galaxy Note 3 – Ok, so the Note 3 is somewhat of a large device, but this makes is all the more incredible to play games on. Particularly when these games are the legendary Grand Theft Auto, whose console life was spent being processed by superior hardware. The game will look just as good on the powerful Note 3, however, with its quad-core CPU and insane 3GB of RAM. The 5.7 inch screen will also show off all the little details that smaller screens are incapable of showing, plus the roomy screen allows for more accurate finger placement for the touch-screen controls. It may have once been an expensive phablet to own, but comparison sites like www.gadgetsnow.com allow people to find the best deal on even the most expensive of phones.]]>