Now that I’ve recovered from my brush with death due to exposure to terrible free games, I’m reminded of that old joke — “The food was TERRIBLE! And there were such SMALL portions!”
So, time for another portion of…
This time, I helped myself to some titles from the Google Play Store in addition to Amazon’s App Store.
Dark Galaxy by Uken Games: Remember Uken’s Crime, Inc., from our last installment? Picture that game with more typos, although Mafia intrigue doesn’t translate cleanly to interstellar bounty hunting. I recognize more of the artwork (Hey, it’s Samus Aran!) that Uken Games swiped for this title, and this one has new complications with buying and developing property — because all bounty hunters are part-time real estate moguls, right? — and you end up doing some weird calculus to figure out what sequence of buttons to click so you can earn the ability to click extra buttons the next time you load the game.
Farm Invasion USA by HandyGames: Who knew chasing aliens with a combine harvester could be so tedious? There’s shooting, a turbocharger, and popcorn used for keeping score, but you’re still just switching between lanes while objects scroll past in a 21st century version of Auto Slalom.
Gem Miner by Psym Mobile: Like Dig-Dug without the monsters or time limits, which is peaceful and more entertaining than you’d expect. Sell ore you’ve found to buy better equipment, which lets you venture further into the mine to get more ore, which you sell for more equipment, and so on. You run out of digging space unless you’re willing to pay for the full version, but it’s fun until then.
Godville by Godville Games: Finally, the sequel to Progress Quest that no one has been waiting for. About the only thing you can actually do in the game is pick fights with other players, but at least some of the descriptions are entertaining. You’ll laugh until you delete it.
Gold Miner by Candy Mobile: Less about “mining” and more “tapping at the right moment to make a swinging crane shoot out and hit a target.” It’s not as transparently rigged as those skill claws you see at amusement parks, with a correspondingly lower payout.
HeavenHell by Nelphy Games: A puzzle game where you switch back and forth between round and square shapes to bump demons off platforms. The physics are best described as “ponderous,” and you spend a lot of time waiting to see whether your last move screwed things up beyond repair — only a few milliseconds mean the difference between stopping short of a platform’s edge and rolling off it to plummet like the quality of the Duke Nukem franchise.
Pirates and Traders by MicaByte: If you like adventures in the Caribbean where you trade cargo, seize plunder from merchant ships, and fire broadsides on unsuspecting opponents, then this game’s small map and turn-based play are a great way to realize that you should be paying actual money for a game like Port Royale 2, you cheap bastard.
Rail Maze by Spooky House Studios: A puzzle game where you rotate track pieces to get a train through a maze. It’s cleaner and more accessible than a lot of other free games I’ve played, so I’m not deleting it.
Tappily Ever After by Pocket Gems: Another game where you push a button to see how long you’ll wait until you can push it again — although you can pay real money or spam your friends with updates from your game if you want the countdown to go a little faster. Each “upgrade” you unlock makes you wait a little longer until you spend days waiting for the chance to click something that tells you to wait a few more days to click it again (see also: Tap Zoo). Unlike Dark Glaxy or Crime, Inc., you can see your little territory develop as you build new structures, but just being better than those games doesn’t make it any good.
Virtual City Playground by G5 Entertainment: This robust simulator lets you develop a city, collect revenue, and set up supply chains for businesses and bus routes for consumers. It’s everything I wanted in a pocket SimCity game to play on an Android device — I just didn’t want the huge load times that come with it. After a certain point, it has to stop and re-load your save file to compensate for all the changes that should have happened in your city while your game was loading, like Zeno’s paradox for dump truck routes. You’re left with a terrible choice to either keep the game running all day (read: the 90 minutes it takes to deplete your battery) or to delete the now-unplayable app.
The winners in this set are Gem Miner and Rail Maze, both of which are serviceable apps for when you want to ignore some douchebag by pretending to respond to an urgent e-mail message.
What are your thoughts on free Android games? Any favorites you’d like to share? Make your mark in the comments section!Tweet