Hello, and welcome back to the Weekend Games Corner. Don’t think we’d forgotten about you. Our intervening break had less to do with our readers and more to do with a rather impressively corrupted hard drive and deleting our Windows boot partition. Note to the readers: do not go hacking around in your system partitions, especially when you haven’t made Windows recovery disks. The whole thing was not our finest moment.
However, that’s all in the past now. We’re back, and we have another set of three great games for Android, iOS, and Flash. As always, all of them are completely free (and actually good to boot). So if you’re in need of something to do this weekend and want to do that something with your smartphone, look no further than this post right here. Here are our favorite games from this week.
Ninjump is in many ways the quintessential mobile game. It’s dead simple to the point of absurdity, yet somehow immensely satisfying. You play as a ninja who climbs up walls at a prodigious speed while jumping back and forth from side to side. The goal of the game is to see how high you can go without being brained by any of the numerous obstacles that litter the ninja’s path.
The deck isn’t entirely stacked against you, though. When the ninja jumps back and forth, he whirls a large sword around him that kills anything within reach. This establishes an interesting dichotomy. If you hit anything while running upward on the wall, you die. However, if you hit it midair with the sword, the obstacle usually gets shredded.
Even better, killing three enemies of the same type in a row throws a nice power-up into the mix. This creates a whole new level of challenge as you try to avoid certain enemies while simultaneously trying to kill others. It makes for an interesting game.
Ninjump is a bit annoying in that it’s heavily ad-supported. The developers really, really want us to play Paper Toss (untested). The UI also looked pretty grainy on our Evo 4G, showing signs of less-than-stellar optimization for certain Android screen sizes.
It’s still a pretty fun game. Running at insane speeds upward while bouncing around the screen and slicing apart bad guys with a ninja sword is as close to the definition of awesome as an app can get.
Heroes Call (iOS)
Despite having one of the least inspiring names we’ve ever laughed at, Heroes Call is one of deepest, most complex apps we’ve seen since Civilization Revolution. This is an honest-to-god dungeon crawler, right there on iOS.
Seriously, this thing has graphics that would have looked good on a PlayStation 2. Despite being a tad glitchy (reboot after installation), Heroes Call feels just like its older cousins on consoles. Fans of Baldur’s Gate and other hack-and-slash games will be right at home in Heroes Call.
The controls are what make this game worth playing. Tap and hold anywhere on the screen to have your hero travel. Combat is as easy as tapping on an enemy, with repeated taps executing combos. We did miss the subliminal joy of mashing down a physical button, but the iPad screen is a decent substitute. While we’re on the topic, try not to mash your iDevice’s screen.
The rest of Heroes Call (and there is a lot of other stuff) is your traditional dungeon crawler material. What makes it so special is that the overwhelming majority of iOS games don’t approach anywhere near this level of complexity. The app claims to have over forty different quests with different content for each hero, and over a hundred different enemy types.
That’s really what impressed us most about Heroes Call- the depth. We spent a good couple hours playing the game for this review. While we did get a good sense of the gameplay, we also didn’t come anywhere close to finishing. This is a very long game.
Since this is a free iOS game, it’s also free-to-play. During the course of your quest, you earn gold from killing monsters and opening hidden chests. Gold can be bought with gems, which can be purchased with micropayments of real money.
All in all, we were very impressed with Heroes Call. Almost no iOS games reach this level of depth, let alone a free-to-play title. Serious gamers, don’t pass this one by.
50 States (Flash)
How well do you know the geography of the United States? That’s the idea behind 50 States, an educational game that has you drag and drop states from a bank to their place on an unmarked map. The idea is to see how many states you can place on the map without having any sort of reference or guide.
The first and only real problem here is that the game is a bit American-centric. I can’t imagine people outside the States would be very interested in it. However, any American or geography student would do well to test their knowledge.
50 States is surprisingly difficult. We’re pretty familiar with American geography, but still did not score that well. It’s easy to put Alaska and California on the map, but what about Delaware? Rhode Island? Really, the whole northeastern part of the continental United States is a confusing mess.
The game is relatively simple. Drag and drop states. At the end, the game tells you how well you did with an absolute score. It’ll also tell you how far off your guesses were, even calculating an average wrong distance. It’s educational, but oddly fun.
There you have them. The games to kill some time this weekend. Which one of these games will you try out? Let us know in the comments below.