Welcome back to one more entry in our continual series, the Weekend Games Corner. We’re here with three interesting and fun games for Android, iOS and Flash. They’re free entertainment that should get you through a slow weekend. As good as the new XCOM? Maybe not. Cheaper? Certainly.
This week has an interesting grab bag of games. We’ve got some derivative but fun titles balanced out with unique stuff. There’s even one remarkable viral game that some of you have no doubt already played. For those of you who haven’t, you’re in for a treat. Here are the three games we liked most this week.
4 Pics 1 Word (Android)
Concept: 4 Pics 1 Word is an enjoyable puzzle game that shows you four pictures and asks for, you guessed it, the common word that describes all of them.
Gameplay: Little to none. Each puzzle presents four pictures, an empty slot for the answer, and a bank of letters to form the answer word. Tap each letter to move it to the slot and solve the puzzle.
This simple concept yields some impressive brainteasers. We sailed through the original puzzles but found ourselves stumped by some later questions.
When that happens, it’s best to call a friend. Often times another person needed only a quick look at the puzzle to guess the answer. This game is best played with friends.
If you don’t have any friends, there are options to reveal the answer. You can spend 60 in-game coins to reveal a correct letter and 90 to discard some incorrect letters.
Cost: When you run out of coins, you can shell out some cash for more. It’s not a big deal as long as you can solve the puzzles.
Verdict: 4 Pics 1 Word is good fun. It’s simple, clean, and challenging. We liked its unique approach to puzzles. Would recommend.
Agent Dash (iOS)
Concept: Let’s get the worst out of the way. Agent Dash is a spy-themed clone of Temple Run. You collect gems, dodge obstacles, and try for maximum distance in a 3D auto running game.
With that said, we liked the spy skin. Temple Run’s Indiana Jones-meets-monsters theme always seemed weird.
Gameplay: Agent Dash’s gameplay is fun. Dash dashes ever-forward. Swipes up, down, and to the sides move him around obstacles. Tapping the screen shoots his guns at targets.
Mastery of these skills is required to survive and thrive in Agent Dash. The game is difficult and the traps unforgiving.
At least the extra game content is good. There are plenty of persistent upgrades available for items like the jetpack, slow-mo effect, cloak, and magnet. The upgrades are expensive, though. You have to grind a lot of levels to get anything worthwhile.
That brings us to the game’s biggest problem…
Cost: Agent Dash is aggressively monetized. Between the steep prices and low yields for each run, the game tries very hard to force you to buy its first currency, gems.
The second currency is microfilm. We couldn’t find a way to get microfilm without spending real money. The whole game is lengthy and grind-y if you’re not prepared to drop some cash.
Verdict: Agent Dash is good fun and generally enjoyable. Just be prepared to replay it a few times to get those upgrades.
Concept: Noitcelfer was certainly the most unique game we played. It’s a black-and-white colored platformer that focuses on reflection. Even the title is “reflection” backward.
Gameplay: Noitcelfer uses reflection in some interesting ways to spice up the usual platformer gameplay. The level and your character are mirrored on the bottom half of the screen.
However, certain obstacles are only visible in the reflection or vice versa. Platforming is interesting when you have to keep an eye on both sides of the screen to spot unique obstacles.
It’s a novel concept, but trying to watch both sides of the screen isn’t fun. We did not particularly enjoy trying to estimate the correct jumps for an upside-down stick figure.
The movement felt weird at times as well. The protagonist does not move in gravity-accurate ways. There’s no momentum or anything like that. This is understandable, as an accurate platformer is difficult to build.
The last issue is the sound. Ugh. Do yourself a favor and mute the soundtrack at the main menu. This is a game which definitely needed classical music instead of wholly inappropriate techno.
Cost: Viewing the ads on the website.
Verdict: Noitcelfer is interesting conceptually, and we’d recommend trying it. The game is unique if nothing else.