A side-scrolling parkour game that owes big debts to the likes of Canabalt and Mirror’s Edge, Vector manages to be stylish, addictive and maddeningly tough all at the same time.
The game sees you as a free-running Neo-in-The-Matrix type character pursued over rooftops and through buildings by taser-wielding agents. Complete a level by finishing ahead of your pursuer to progress – but if you’re anything like us, you’ll probably feel obliged to keep playing until you achieve a three-star rating on each one...
A huge hit on iOS, Battle Nations is now available on Android. It’s a blend of turn-based strategy and Farmville-esque world building, but before that puts you off we’ll say it also offers a surprisingly engaging plot and that the Farmville-style elements avoid the worst excesses of that much-hated game.
The tactical combat is superb (you can play online against friends or randomly chosen opponents) and if the slow pace of the game’s overall progression irritates you, in-app purchases can speed things up.
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The premise is simple. Strap on a Jetpack, and travel as far as you can through a hostile laboratory while destroying panicking scientists and avoiding lasers, missiles and more. A simple on-rails side-scroller, bolstered by tonnes of addictive upgrades and customisation options, it's easy to pick up and play for two minutes, and even easier to play for two hours.
When people tell you that video games turn their players into lazy shut-ins, tell them about Ingress, a massively multiplayer augmented reality strategy game built around the concept of geocaching, it uses your phone’s location – a fact that forces you to get out of the house and visit points of interest in the real world.
Visit these “portals” in the real world and you’ll progress the game. They’re often tied to genuinely interesting locations (monuments, sculptures, street art etc.), which has the effect of helping you get to know your local area far more deeply. You can even submit your own locations for in-game portals.
Action games are never particularly easy to play on a touchscreen, but Reaper is among the best: a cartoonish, side-scrolling hack-and-slasher with RPG elements and quests, it’s a blood-drenched blast.