Here’s a brief review of all the Android-based games (and apps) I downloaded from the Android Market and tried while reviewing the T-Mobile G1 phone.
They are presented in alphabetical order to help make it easier to find in the Android Market. While a few are demos with fuller versions you can purchase, all of these are free to download with most being free to keep. The applications are at the bottom of this post and I’ve taken screen shots of almost every game and app listed below.
Remember that some of these are still works-in-progress, so they may suck now but become awesome later. Enjoy!
4NumGuess – A weird little number guessing game that is meant to be played sideways (not oriented well for the vertical screen) and doesn’t tell you how to play. The feedback is basically gibberish unless you look it up online. Also an example of why it is hard to type on a touch screen when the boxes are small. Cannot use the keypad, which is very unfortunate.
Amazed – The best example of how good the accelerometer can be. This is a maze game where you tilt the phone to maneuver a white ball along a 2D path to the goal. The maze is grid based and has a lot of sharp turns. An accelerometer game done right.
Asquare – A very basic match three game except you can swap any two shapes without penalty making it an everlasting game but not really a challenge. The score includes a ratio of moves-to-matches. Also uses the vibration feature of the phone for feedback. Very basic, uses the touch screen and not especially impressive but playable.
Backgammon – A touchscreen-based game that also shows how frustrating it can be to try and “grab” tiny things on a small screen with your fat fingertip. Luckily you can also use the mini trackball which makes it at least playable.
Bonsai Blast – A match-three action game (by Glu) where you shoot colored balls at an oncoming line of balls before the line makes it to the end of the path. Very nice graphics. It uses only the touchscreen but, again, is sometimes finicky. If you can get used to it it can be a lot of fun, especially bouncing colored balls off walls for extra points.
Brain Genius Deluxe – A mix of a bunch of different brain style mini games (also by Glu) that involve all of the phone’s many control attributes (except the keypad). Very nice graphics but the most frustrating game when it comes to using the accelerometer. Completing various tasks unlocks other games (sudoku, sliding puzzle, Crosspix and jigsaw). Probably the most professional game I played but also the most varied in terms of fun. I suggest using the mini joystick whenever possible.
Bubble Bash demo – Another professional game with cute graphics (by Gameloft). It’s the familiar casual style game where you shoot colored balls at other colored balls to make them disappear. Also a demonstration of how frustrating a fat finger can be when doing precision aiming.
Bubblewrap – Ye olde Flash game slash Japanese pocket toy makes an appearance. It uses the touch screen, of course, and you simply pop digital versions of packing bubbles. Makes a small pop sound, the graphic changes to a popped bubble (all the same) and the phone vibrates. The vibration is the only unique feature. Not a big deal.
Charlene Beachside Blackjack (aka CB Blackjack) – It’s blackjack with decent graphics (by Hudson Soft). You can use the touchscreen or the mini trackball which gives it a nice mix since there are not any really precise controls.
Charlene Beachside Klondike (aka CB Klondike) – It’s solitaire in it’s many, Klondikian forms (by Hudson Soft). Nice graphics an touch controls, again showing that manually moving tiny cards can be hard. Double tapping does flip a card to the nearest correct move, which is a nice feature. Definitely the nicest of the solitaire games with the best graphics. I would really have liked to have had some trackballs controls, too, though. Lots of options.
Charlene Beachside Reversi (aka CB Reversi) – It’s ye olde Othello board game (by Hudson Soft). Several options and 2-player mode. You tap or use the trackball to to place your colored chip. Also has a helper mode that shows what all will be flipped.
Coloroid – My favorite – or, at least, the most addictive – of all the games I tried. Uses either the touchscreen or the mini trackball but you’ll play with the touchscreen since the color buttons are perfectly sized. It’s basically a virus game where, starting with the colored block in the upper corner, you select the next adjacent color to adsorb and continue until the entire board is a single color. The color selection box is perfectly sized so you hit the right one every time and the game is simple and fun enough to keep you coming back again and again. A definite download.
Divide and Conquer! – It’s the old arcade style trap-the-ball game where you draw lines across the board to trap bouncing balls. As the levels increase, so do the number of balls you need to trap. This is a game that shows how the touchscreen can be your enemy since it will often not draw exactly where or when you want it to. If the ball hits your line while it is drawing you lose a life and it vibrates the phone.
Girl Skip – A weird re-imagining of Minesweep that crosses paths with Hopscotch . You try to clear the board of randomly placed 1s, 2s and As. The number you press determines the distance of the next squares you can eliminate and so on (A is short for “any square”). It’s really hard to clear a board and strangely addictive. It also helps you along the way by letting you know your next move options. If you clear the board you are rewarded with some anime style art that you can look at whenever you want.
Hold’em – It’s Texas Hold’em poker using the touch screen. The controls are OK except when you try to use the supposedly clever card tossing and double tapping. Then it can mess up bets and confuse your card toss for another decision. Otherwise, a fairly fun mobile version of Texas Hold’em poker.
JK Connect Four – Remember that old Connect Four board game? This is the same deal (by John W Knaak) meant for two players. It’s a little silly for cell phone game to not include a a single-player mode. You play it with the mini trackball and it’s very, very simple. Doesn’t even bother with a sliding chip effect.
Jumpy – Those silly jump-the-peg games they put at every table at Cracker Barrel now have an Android-based partner. You tap the red circle you want to jump into voids until the fewest number of red dots are left. Touchscreen only and very basic.
Light Racer – It’s a simplified version of the 2D Tron light cycle racing game that uses the mini trackball. You basically ride around a grid, leaving a solid trail behind, hoping that your opponent will get trapped and drive/crash into it before you do. You can race against one or two CPU opponents.opponents. Not too exciting but still kinda cool in a retro sorta way.
Lights Out – In this deceivingly complex puzzle game, you tap colored squares on a grid, reversing the color (turning lights “on” or “off”) until the entire grid is dark. Very simple and works well.
Lunar Lander – You try to land your craft on a “landing pad” (a colored line). No instructions and no idea how to play, so you crash every time. Don’t even bother wasting the tiny space this file takes up. I hope the developer is simply working out some bugs.
Mahjongg – The make pairs with chips game, straight up. It’s touchscreen only, making it another annoying tap-the-tiny-image game. If you have tiny fingers that will register on the touch screen, this would be fun.
mem – It’s the Simon Says game with colored Android icons. You press what the game presses for as long as you can. It’s simple with silly sounds and works well.
Minspace War – A game that tries to be much more than it can be. Using the mini keypad – and not very well – you fly a tiny spaceship into passing-by alien armadas and shoot them down. This would likely work much better on another phone (or a PC) but seemed to never work very well on the G1. Also, it keeps loading more versions of itself on the phone (due to updates?). Don’t bother.
MisMisMatch – A touchscreen puzzle game where you tap the boxes that have images that are not matches. It looks simple but is much harder than it looks. Has difficulty settings and a tutorial. It’s definitely worth a try.
Pac-Man by Namco – It’s the game by Namco complete with sound effects. You can select how you want to control Pac-man, but it really is no choice. The trackball is the only way to play. The accelerometer control (tilting the phone) is way too inaccurate.
Parallel Kingdon – This is a GPS-based role-playing game where you battle creatures in your real-world area. The graphics are uber simplistic but it’s still kinda cute, especially when you see your home street in the game. You input your email address so the game also sends you email updates of the creatures encroaching on your home. It’s kinda dumb but still cute and silly enough to give a looksie.
Pop Pop Popcorn – There’s un-popped popcorn on a grid and you press it until the corn pops. Your finger is essentially the heat so press too long and you’ll burn surrounding kernels which is, of course, bad. This is cute and silly. My almost-two-year-old loves this one. Get this one on his recommendation.
Santa’s War on Terror – Yeah, someone actually tried to make a side scrolling platformer with Santa and terrorists. The controls are really hard to use but I blame it on the programming more than the phone. The graphics are kinda bad. This is one you download for the name, play a couple times and quickly delete.
Slide Puzzle – It’s just a digital, touchscreen version of the old wooden (now plastic) 15-piece slide puzzles. You can use the touchscreen or the mini trackball but the touchscreen is the real way to play here. The end image – the Andorid icon, of course.
Snake – Ye olde 2D overhead view Snake game returns. This one is all trackball. Not too bad and probably only worth it if you like the early versions of the game.
Sokodroid Preview – In this puzzle game you physically push a red square to shove blue squares into square shaped holes. You can also use the trackball which is the only way to play since, again, your finger will cover your icon and make it impossible to properly place on the board. The demo has five tutorial levels and 21 trials levels. The full version, when released, “will include thousands of levels,” assuming you can stand the first 26.
Solitaire – Name says it all. It’s drag-and-drop all the way, so download only if you have small fingers and decent dexterity.
Speed -It’s just Pong oriented top-to-bottom with touchscreen paddle controls. Another game where your finger might get in the way, otherwise it slips off the bottom of the screen and you lose control and the game.
Sudoku – Again, the name says it all. You can either scroll around the board with the trackball or with your finger. Again, the squares are tiny so I suggest using the trackball since, then, ,you can see the cursor. Clicking on a square pops up a number grid so you can select the number to go into that square. Not many frills and the controls get in the way of the game (pressing the number you select will too often select the grid hidden under it). Look for a better sudoku game.
Tap Tick – Another dumb, simple and silly fun game. Numbers count up from one and you are supposed to touch the screen to stop it at a target number. Basically a demonstration of the touchscreen’s inaccuracy but still fun to try a time or two. If you are good at making the gas pump land on perfect whole dollar amounts each time without loosening your grip, this is the perfect game for you.
Tetroid – It’s basically Tetris using the accelerometer with no frills (as in no upcoming shape indicator). It’s just the game board and you tilt the phone to move the pieces from side to side. Tilt it up and the pieces move faster and touch the screen to rotate the falling shape. The hard part is moving the shapes into place. It actually plays pretty well once you get the hang of it.
Trap! – Another trap-the-dots game that shows how inaccurate your fat finger on the touchscreen can be. It starts with several dots and has some bonuses. A bit more fun than Divide and Conquer! (above) but you have been forewarned.
TxtSpeed – This is the only text game I tried. Words scroll across the screen and you have to type them with the mini keyboard as quickly as you can. This is really only for the nimble-fingered 13-year-olds of America who can out thumb any adult when it comes to mini keypad typing. I’d say give this one a try just to see how far away you are from your text messaging prime.
ZeptoRacer – Another indie-made game, this time racing. It takes a while to load and I could never quite control a car very well. You use the keypad to control everything and the vibration feature lets you know when you are f-ing up (which is all the time). This is just a battery drainer.
Zombie Run! – Maybe the silliest concept game I semi-tried. Using your real-world GPS location (so you have to turn on the GPS and be outside), you avoid a slow-moving onslaught of killer zombies with your choice of count and speed and “safe” destination. It’s really meant for joggers who want to vary their daily path and doesn’t offer anything int he way of graphics. Even so, it’s an interesting concept I’m sure someone will use to make a truly fun game.
Barcode Scanner – One of my favorite applications for this phone. You use the digital camera to scan the barcode on any item. Once it focuses (which can take a little while) and grabs the barcode, it gives the option of searching online or the UPC database. Then it finds your item online. Especially nice for looking stuff up when shopping.
Bartender – Basically a touchscreen (or trackball) bartender guide that tells you how to make drinks based on drink names. Can also mark a few as your favorites and search the drinks list.
Bubble – Silly, simple and uber useful. It’s just a leveling bubble, shown from two views depending on which way you are holding the phone.
Learn US Civics – Not so much a game as an app, I loaded this simply because it seemed interesting. It’s basically digital flash cards of US civics questions for peopel who want to know more about the US government. It has 100 questions and no scoring.
Magic 8-Ball – This app does what it says, digitally recreating the Magic 8-Ball toy. Now you get to actually shake the ball by shaking the phone. Silly and simple.
Mario Simulator (app) – Stupid and silly. Prss and hold the phone while you shake it and it makes the classic Mario Bros. coin getting “bling” sound. It also plays a hyper version of the Super Mario Bros., theme song. It’s nothing special but I like it for the “bling.”
MobileBoy – Another emulator but this one emulates the GameBoy and runs well. The only issue is how to control the games you load since they are not touchscreen-friendly. Again, a hacker’s playground.
Mobile C64 – It’s an app that emulates a Commodore 64 on mobile devices. I didn’t play with this too much but it seems that hacker junkies would love this.
The Oracle Jr. – A variation of the magic 8-Ball where you can have a dancing Android droid or a sloshy sound effect Magic 8-Ball give random answers to anything when you shake your phone. It’s simple, silly and probably more appealing than the Magic 8-Ball version listed above.
Toddler Lock – One of those uber useful apps you wish were on every phone in one form or another. It locks the phone and displays random shapes and colors with sounds. Your toddler – who this is really intended for – can also “scribble” on the touch screen, making new colored lines or poking it for new shapes and sounds. To unlock it you have to open the phone and press 1+0+Space at the same time (yep, three keys, which is not easy for a toddler to accomplish). A great idea many people will love (my advanced almost 2-year-old enjoyed it for at least 10 minutes).