Friday, October 9, 2015

Portable Platypus Presents: Snakette for Android

Snakette takes the classic Snake and adds a little color. Food spawns as one of the three primary colors. Eating a piece of food will lengthen the body by one unit of that color, and also change the color of the snake's head. The snake can also eat pieces of his own body. Eating a piece of the same color simply sends it to the back. Eating a piece of a different color, if both colors are prime, will change its color to a secondary color, while changing the snake's head to the primary color eaten. Trying to eat a secondary color will result in death. Lining up three or more of the same color in the snake's body will cause those segments to disappear. The game gradually speeds up as you collect food. How long can you last?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Rose Colored Gaming to make its own handheld

Rose Colored Gaming, the company that customizes handhelds with incredible quality has announced plans to release a handheld of its own. The raspberry-pi based unit will emulate over 10 systems, including the Game Boy trio, NES, SNES, Game Gear, Sega Genesis, and NEO GEO. It'll come with HDMI out for TV-play and will have USB input for controller support. It looks like they're going to be shooting for a $200-300 price tag, which is a little pricey for a handheld, but considering everything it does, the clear build quality, R&D and manufacturing costs, there are worse ways to spend a couple of Franklins.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Top 5 Free Android Games of December 2014

Roller Polar by Nitrome

Roller Polar is a one-button endless runner (roller?) in which you control a bear running on a snowball as it careens downhill, picking up anything in its way, including rocks, trees, wildlife, and snowmen. The procedurally generated sequences of obstacles and tight controls make for a simple but challenging game that's perfectly suited for 10 minute bursts every now and again. 

Jump Car by Ketchapp

Jump Car is about a car, that jumps. A short tap hops over cars, and a long tap jumps up to the next level. Enemy cars' behavior become increasingly varied as you ascend. Some fast, some slow, some chase you, others don't turn around at the end of the screen, etc. The greatest challenge comes from having the patience to know when to make the jump. 

Air Control 2 by Four Pixels

Air Control 2 has you landing various aircraft in real-time by dragging a path for them to follow. Helicopters go to the landing pad, large planes to the long runway, and so on. More aircraft gradually enter the screen as time goes on for a smoothly scaling difficulty that doesn't feel overwhelming at all. It's a thrilling challenge trying to micromanage every aircraft so they don't collide. It can be difficult to land the helicopters on smaller screened devices, but it's a minor complaint for an otherwise great game. 

Jump by Ketchapp

Another one by Ketchapp, Jump has you navigate a bouncing from the beginning of a level to its exit. The first few levels are fairly linear but the complexity quickly increases with keys, backtracking, and platforms that diminish with each bounce. The only complaint for this methodical puzzle platformer is the frequent popups which display ads after each level, but that's no reason to not give this one a try.

Hearthstone by Blizzard Entertainment

Chances are you're already aware of Blizzard's wildly successful online card game, Hearthstone, so I won't go into too much detail here. Simply put, it's a card battle game based on the characters found throughout World of Warcraft. It's dead simple compared to most card games but, like the board game Go, that simplicity leads to a staggering amount of depth. If you're not willing to spend money it'll take a while to grind for all of the cards, but given the quality of the game that's not at all unreasonable. Anyone looking to play the Android version will need a decently powerful device with a 6+ inch screen.

Happy new year. Stay tuned for January's Top 5 Free Android Games, and have a look at the Top 5 Free Android Games of November 2014 if you haven't already. If you enjoyed this article and want to contribute to the site's growth, you can do so via Patreon. All contributions are greatly appreciated.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Top 5 Free Android Games of November 2014

Stick Hero by ketchapp

Stick Hero has players create planks of variable length to get a ninja from one rooftop to the next. This simple concept is harder to execute than one would think, as going beyond a rooftop's edge, or falling short, means death. Holding a touch down quickly extends the stick vertically while releasing it will drop it across the gap. A narrow sweet spot in the middle of each building will reward extra points. It gets especially tricky when the building is very narrow and on the other side of the screen. It's a fun trial-and-error timewaster that's perfectly suited for 5-minute bouts.

Grappling Garry by Dockyard Games

Grappling Garry can be loosely described as a vertical Flappy Bird. It's addictive in the same sort of well-designed way. Floating hooks and bombs litter the sky for Garry to grapple to, giving you until Garry reaches the hook and begins to fall to decide which hook to grab next. Garry can switch between hooks mid-grapple, and indeed, this becomes necessary at some points to avoid mines. Between keeping hooks in play to grapple to if you need to fall back down to avoid a mine, or using them up to avoid the risk of missing the points, to going for near-miss bonuses on the mines, there's a deceptive amount of complexity to be enjoyed here. 

One More Line by SMG Studio

One More Line is a one-button game reminiscent of Clu Clu Land for the NES as it uses a similar auto-rotating grapple mechanic. Touching the screen will cause you to grapple to the nearest node and rotate around it at the fixed radius it was grappled from. Release has to be timed in order to get to the next node while avoiding crashing into the walls. Its simple, intuitive style showcases just what makes a mobile game, a mobile game. You may find yourself sneaking a few lines in the bathroom. 

Stories of Bethem by GuGames DEV

Stories of Bethem is a Zelda-esque adventure by GuGames DEV that may very well be one of the biggest games you'll get for free on the platform, with a vast Kingdom to explore, 400 treasures, and 10+ hours of gameplay. As most of the free games month to month are very simple games with one or two controls suited for killing time, it's nice to see something with a little meat on its bones.

Just Get 10 by Veewo Game

Just Get 10. Simple, right? Not exactly. It starts out that way though. Click adjacent tiles of the same number to select the group, then click the tile on which you want them to converge and upgrade to the next number type. At first,  you won't really know what you're doing, combining tiles with no rhyme or reason, but by the second or third game, something clicks. Suddenly you're clicking tiles an autopilot, intuitively understanding the optimal moves without knowing how you know, but you don't stop to think about it for fear of breaking flow. Now there's some method to the madness, as you begin to prioritize ridding the screen of the smallest numbers, building up large groups before condensing to that next highest type. Time ceases to exist. All that matters is getting 10. Play for long enough and you may find the face of god. As someone who isn't the biggest puzzle game fan, this one took me by surprise. There's fundamental mathematical beauty within this game's simplicity.

Those are my picks for November's best free android games. Be sure to check out October's list, and stay tuned for the Top 5 Free Android Games of December 2014.

If you enjoy this site's content, please consider becoming a supporter on Patreon. Every dollar helps. Perks include guaranteed entry into the monthly Smash Bros 3DS tournaments and free copies of any Android games I end up making, such as Pongbat.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Portable Platypus Presents: Pongbat

Pongbat is Pong with some action. Lasers and 5 unique powerups are at each player's disposal in two game modes, played against another human or the AI. The graphics are basic, but I think the gameplay isn't too bad. You can get it on Google Play for free. If you want to support future game development, please consider becoming a patron on Patreon.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Distraction is the first Android game from Portable Platypus

I spent a little over a week making this "Hello World" style game for Android called Distraction. I've already begun work on my second project, which should be a little more fun to play. If you'd like to support these endeavors, you can do so via Patreon. Leave a comment with your top score!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Top 5 Free Android Games of October 2014

Retry by Rovio

Retry is another brilliantly simple physics-based game from Rovio. It's a one-button flying game in which the goal is to fly from one end of the level to the next. Tapping the screen causes the plane to fly, while holding it will cause it to loop. Much like those old corded toy cars, it's a balancing act of tapping and holding the throttle. Coins are placed throughout each level which can be spent on checkpoints, or to reveal the flight path if you're really having trouble. This appropriately titled game is well worth a try, or two, or ten.

Adventure Xpress by [adult swim] games

Adventure Xpress combines the tried and true match 3 puzzle genre with some light RPG elements to create a dangerously addictive game. Attacks are performed by matching 5 varieties of runes, each representing a different element. Earth type enemies, for example, are weak to attacks performed by matching fire runes but resistant to their own type. Attacks are most devastating when they result from combos. Gold awarded by defeating enemies can be spent on upgrades such as weapons, armor, and elemental spells. This is one dangerously addictive adventure.

Micro Battles by Donut Games

Competitive games are lacking on mobile, and it's no surprise why. You can only so much on a single tiny screen obscured by two players' fingers, but Micro Battles manages to be the perfect time-waster for two. Each player has a single button to control their character in 5 different mini-games, including soccer, a desert shootout, and the axe-throwing vikings pictured above. The first to 5 points wins. The games are simple, but, like the ever-popular Divekick, it all comes down to reading your opponent. The games are quick, which makes it a great way to kill a few minutes while waiting for a movie to start or your food to arrive. The only major gripe with the free version is you only have access to 1 of the 5 games each day, but a single $2 payment will permanently unlock the rest of the games.

Fury by Ledida

Fury is a single-screen arcade style game that'll test your reflexes with an onslaught of bears from all directions. Bears come in from all 4 sides, all simultaneously hopping one square at a time, with the pace quickly ramping up. The bears can be killed with a club by swiping in that direction. Filling the meter will result in a blast that clears all bears on screen, but it's only a matter of seconds before you're surrounded once again. The key to success in Fury is to become a methodical finger-swiping, bear-killing machine. Think for a second and you're dead. More often than not the game ends due to a sweaty finger not swiping properly as opposed to incorrect timing, so the option to simply tap a lane would be a welcome addition, but it's a minor issue.

The Wolf Among Us Ep 1 by Telltale Games

Those who have played Telltale's The Walking Dead will instantly take to The Wolf Among Us, a gripping thriller based on various fairy tale characters and their lore. For those that haven't played The Walking Dead, it's essentially a choose-your-own-adventure game in which almost every decision has a major effect on the game's story.While only the first episode is free, it's well worth playing even if you don't plan on purchasing the subsequent episodes. Telltale have once again shown us their mastery at using the interactive nature of video games to brilliantly tell a story.

That's all for this month. Check back in November for another 5 free Android games worth playing.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Humble Mo-boo!-ile Bundle brings zombies to your Android

The Humble Mo-boo!-ile Bundle has gone live, bringing a bucket of spooky games to your Android device. The bare minimum will get you Rebuild, Obscura: Second Shadow, and Containment: The Zombie Puzzler. Paying more than the average purchase cost will also unlock Five Nights at Freddie's, the premium version of Dead Effect, and The Walking Dead: Assault. There are also a variety of free games on offer as the clock ticks down, the first of which isThe Spookening.

This particular bundle is supporting the Electronic Frontier Foundation, as well as the American Red Cross.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Humble Mobile Bundle 9 brings more great games to your Android

Humble Mobile Bundle 9 is live with over 11 days left on the counter. A minimum donation will  get you Syberia, Neuroshima Hex, and Bardbarian: Golden Axe Edition while beating the average will also unlock Leo's Fortune, Out There, First Strike, and the yet-to-be-revealed mystery games. A customizable percentage of your purchase goes to support the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Child's Play. If you can't spare any change this time around, you can always grab Devil's Attorney for free.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Top 5 Free Android Games of September 2014

The Battle Cats by PONOS

The Battle Cats is of the single-lane variation of tower defense games in which you're tasked not only with defending your own tower, but with bringing down the opponent's. The first few levels start off slow but quickly snowballs (hairballs?) into a furry frenzy. The gameplay lies within deciding which elements to upgrade and in what order. You may decided to speed up gold production so you can try to zerg-rush the enemy base with an army of basic soldier cats, or maybe you want to take the longer approach and beef up the tank unit to bide your time and rack up gold for the heavy hitting units. It's the type of game that taps into our basic compulsions with constant unlocks, upgrades, and the satisfaction of snowballing your power. If you've played one, you've played them all, but those new to the genre could easily lose an hour or two in the blink of an eye.

ICE by ice cold muffin


At first glance ICE just looks like another Galcon clone but it takes a slightly different approach to the planet-conquering RTS genre. While Galcon uses a planet's HP to create ships at the player's will, the planets in ICE generate ships automatically and have a fixed HP. Tapping a location will move all on-screen player ships to that location. Crossing paths with an enemy fleet will have them auto fire upon each other. Killing enemy units and conquering planets will grant EXP. Upon filling the bar, your units' Attack, HP, or Speed (assumed to be attack speed) can be increased. You're pitted against 4 other colors in the free version's one map which can be played on 3 difficulty modes, with Hard mode starting you off with just one planet. If you're into macroscopic strategy games, this one won't disappoint. Recommended for phones with larger displays or tablets for maximum visibility.

Spider-Man Unlimited by Gameloft

While the basic runner formula remains more or less unchanged in Spider-Man Unlimited, it manages to contextualize the gameplay in such a way that almost makes you forget it is one. In addition to the traditional lane changing, sliding and jumping mechanics, the game also adds mechanics like web-swinging and punching baddies. The visuals are crisp and vibrant, and voice-acted cut-scenes serve to break up the monotony that usually accompanies games of this genre. It's probably the most action-packed, cinematic runner on the market that fans of the source material and/or runners should definitely check out.

Zombie Harvest by Creative Mobile Games

Zombie Harvest parodies the most popular free games, most of all Plants vs Zombies,  but is thankfully more than a shameless clone. Instead, it gears itself more toward the action side of things, requiring you to select plants individually and tap to fire at 25 types of enemies across 90 levels. If PopCap's wildly successful strategy game didn't do it for you, maybe the more action-packed Zombie Harvest is up your alley.

Do Not Crash by HU WEN ZENG

Do Not Crash is essentially a simplified version of Dodge 'Em on the Atari 2600 and has all the addictive qualities necessary for a hit mobile game. There is a single mechanic consisting of tapping the screen to change lanes in order to avoid the 3 oncoming vehicles. It's deceptively tricky. The cars will start off grouped but will gradually fan out into more complex formations, requiring you to weave in and out. As you get caught up in trying to work out the timing, your eyes tend to get confused due to the curvature of the track and the fact that the cars are traveling in the opposite direction. Round and round you'll go trying to best yourself.

That's all for this month. Leave a comment below if you feel I've missed anything. 

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