Adventure, story and sandbox games
The best adventure, story or sandbox game for Android is... The Walking Dead: Season Two (free)
Telltale Games' interactive tie-ins are now established classics, with both Walking Dead games and the Game Of Thrones title well worth a play.
We've plumped for the second Walking Dead game here mainly because it offers a more varied story than the first season and zombies always win out, even against Game of Thrones.
Whereas the first season saw you controlling the character Lee as he attemped to protect young Clementine in post-apocalyptic America, Season Two gives you control of Clementine herself - and that's fine with us, because Clem is one hell of a ballsy child.
As with all Telltale fare, it plays like a sort of cross between an animated graphic novel and a point-and-click adventure, so don't come to it expecting relentless action. But it more than makes up for its occasionally sedate pace with its no-I've-just-got-something-in-my-eye story and some superb set pieces.
The first episode is free, but the remaining four will set you back £5 (S$9) each, or £14.50 (S$26) for the whole lot. And if that sounds like a lot, remember that most console games cost about S$70. Trust us, it's worth it.
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery (S$6)
Sword & Sworcery in part harks back to an older and gentler era of gaming, echoing classic point-and-click PC adventuring. But there’s great craft here, too, a powerful soundtrack and a very overt sense of style evident as your little roving traveller wanders about the place, finding people to interact with and puzzles to solve. There’s also a palpable sense of adventuring; this is a game that begs to be explored and interacted with.
As the quest unfolds, it almost becomes a deconstruction of the genre itself, and sometimes its knowing nature is a little trite or even pretentious; for the most part, though, this is a gorgeous, thoughtful, eloquent and expressive slice of mobile gaming that’s unafraid to revel in its own artistry.
Oceanhorn (free download + S$9 IAP)
People who moan smartphones aren’t good for console-style fare need Oceanhorn thrust into their mitts. Yes, there’s a whiff of Zelda about the islands of the Uncharted Seas, but you’ll forget all that when immersed in this epic arcade adventure.
The story begins with your father’s disappearance. He’s left a letter, a notebook and a mysterious necklace. Before long, you’re getting all questy, duffing up aggressive wildlife, and pilfering bling like it’s going out of fashion
For free, you get the first chapter, and can ensure the game works well on your device. A single IAP unlocks the rest.
80 Days (S$6)
A presumably drunken boast, one 20-grand wager later, and Phileas Fogg is off around the world, attempting to circumnavigate the globe in 80 days. Unfortunately for him, it’s a good long time before the invention of any budget airlines.
As his trusted valet, you must pick routes, manage your inventory and make decisions in this remarkable slice of interactive fiction. There are 150 cities to discover in this very different take on 1872, full of fantastical airships and mechanical beasts, steampunk cyborgs, and seemingly a war about to erupt around every corner.
Minecraft - Pocket Edition (S$9)
The grown-up press is always banging on about the educational qualities of Minecraft, as if kids somehow needed to justify the fact that they're spending hours playing it. Well here's some news for you, Mr and Mrs Poncey Academic Thought-Piece: kids play Minecraft because it's fun, just like watching TV or playing with Lego or building a den was back in the dim and distant days when you were young.
Educational? Well sure - it's a computer game, they're ALL educational in some way (even GTA teaches you the virtue of leaping out of a car before it explodes in flames). But we digress. Kids may love Minecraft, but that's because it's really, really good. And, for that reason, plenty of adults love it too.
The Lego comparison is the easy one to make, but it's a bit lazy - Minecraft is as much about puzzle solving and exploration as it is about building things. There are elements of the RPG, the adventure game and the strategy game, all wrapped up in an endearingly old-school blockiness. The Pocket Edition loses a few features from the desktop version, but it gains almost as much in the form of touch control and portability. Well worth the price.