Another week, another set of Android releases you should be downloading. Here’s a quick list a few more things that Droid does.
Game Dev Story
Often, games on mobile devices are one-trick ponies. They can be extremely addictive, but most of the time you're just engaging in a single activity to pass the time. They rarely reach the feeling of a full-on game experience. Banish that gaming-lite feeling with Game Dev Story, a charming, but surprisingly in-depth strategy/management title from Kairopark, a Japanese developer.
Above: Game Dev Story is among the most addictive games you'll play on any platform
Game Dev Story delivers on its name, putting you at the helm of your own personal game development house, trying to make your fortune (and build a software empire) developing video games that will capture the public's hearts and minds. You'll hire and manage staff, do market research to see what's selling, choose where to focus your limited development resources, test your game with end users -- hell, it's almost like having a job, except fun.
Game Dev Story, at its core, is about time management and keeping a ton of balls in the air as best you can. Yes, there are some clever choices to be made and it has a charming, user-friendly look and feel, but at the end of the day, the core of the game is keeping track of a lot of stuff at once, processing that info, and making the right decisions from it. It's challenging, but rarely frustrating, and for anyone who's worked in or around the video game industry, there are quite a few funny inside gags that'll put a smile on your face. For a portable device, this is as deep and entertaining a strategy title as you’ll find. And who hasn’t dreamed of owning their own game studio?
Raging Thunder 2
It's hard to do racing games well without a real controller, but Raging Thunder 2 is one of the most cleverly designed we’ve seen on Android. It’s straightforward – you race cars through exotic environments, earn upgrades to customize those cars, and then race them through even more exotic environments. Rinse and repeat. Yeah, it's not exactly the world's most innovative racing design, but it succeeds wildly here on two counts: first, the game is extremely easy to control and second, the enemy AI isn't completely boneheaded.
Above: Racing on Android doesn't have to be boring
Since Raging Thunder 2 does have online multiplayer (and a very stable one, at that), you don't need to rely completely on AI-controlled opponents - but the Achilles heel of so many of these games is that the single-player mode is utterly frivolous. Not so in Raging Thunder 2, where single player is challenging without feeling too much like you're on a constant rubber band, bouncing between taking the lead and losing the lead. A lot of this is due to the game's responsive tilt controls, but part of it is due to just not having completely cheap, dunderheaded enemy AI. Sure, the best action here is still in the online competitive mode (as with most any racing game), but if for some reason you find yourself with no signal, you'll still be able to grind a few gears with Raging Thunder 2.
Red Card Rampage
A conversion from a Flash game, Red Card Rampage is another in the common "artillery" genre on Android - you have a projectile launcher (in this case a soccer player with an extremely phallic aiming arrow), and you take into account angle, velocity, and a variety of secondary factors (such as obstructions) and try to hit a target with a projectile - in this case, a referee's head and a soccer ball, respectively.
Above: What’s phallic? Where?
Controls are simple, and little things add character too, as there's just something hilarious about smacking a ref in the face and getting red carded. You can also choose your players' uniforms by country. This has absolutely no effect on gameplay whatsoever, but it's just a fun little addition in a game full of them.
Level design is variegated and challenging, often making you "pass" the ball from player to player in order to eventually hit the ref, or to use your environment to accomplish your goals.
If there's anything negative about this entertaining little title it's just that: the game is little. Playing through the levels can be a quick breeze, especially if you don't shoot for the maximum score possible. More levels, or somewhat more challenging ones, would be a great addition - but really, this isn't a big quibble. The core gameplay is highly entertaining, and there's enough content here for the casual gamer to sink his teeth into. Now go give those refs what for!