Welcome to the first edition of a new monthly column I’m rolling out in which I want to recommend you a few apps that should be on your radar. Mobile games get a lot of bad publicity, and while sometimes it’s rightfully so – here’s looking at anyone who ports a console game to mobile – sometimes the good mobile games get tossed to the wayside. Now, we all know there are good, award-winning mobile games (see: Florence, Donut County, Monument Valley), but those aren’t exclusively what I’m here to talk about. I want to put the spotlight on those who may not get their moment in the sun. Free apps, time-wasters, even ones with optional in-app purchases; they don’t all suck. So each month I’m going to show off my top five favorites that I’ve been toying with. The list should always be full of new things because my app selection rotates on the daily, and I’m expecting y’all to find some fun new mobile games (and useful everyday apps) out of this. So, without further ado – and in no apparent order – let’s get to it!
Super Stickman presents Golf Blitz
My current obsession, as noted by my younger sister, Golf Blitz is currently in beta and I haven’t been able to stop playing it all week (since day one). This game was announced on the Kinda Funny Games Showcase in December, and I entered the beta on a whim, having no clue what it was going to be. I’m definitely going to write a preview for the site regarding the beta so I won’t get too into it here. But long story short, Golf Blitz is a multiplayer online golf game. Up to four players can golf at one time, navigating a series of courses (each with their own unique obstacles), and utilizing a set of three power-ups per course. These power-ups can range from fireballs that shoot at high speeds to sticky balls that, well, stick to any surface they hit. Power-ups are granted by a timer at the bottom of the screen, which calls for sacrificing valuable time to plan a power-up that could get you ahead of the game. As I said, I’m having a blast with Golf Blitz, though I don’t know when it will be officially released just yet. While the game does offer microtransactions, they’re not required at all, as they can be used to purchase card packs that can help you level up your power-ups and get new cosmetic items such as hats and outfits. Card packs can be earned through play, though, so don’t be alarmed. The more you play, the more you win, and I know I’ll be playing a lot as time goes on. See you on the green!
Polysphere‘s premise is one of the most basic things I’ve ever seen. Click on a level and you’re greeted by a bunch of tiny multicolored shards. Swipe the screen to rotate the landscape until those shards fall into place and create a picture, move onto the next puzzle, and repeat. So…why am I so ensnared by this game? Better yet, why is my sister so enamored with this game that she’s played over 200 levels in like two weeks? Well, cuz it’s fun! And the pictures can be pretty adorable and you can save them to your camera roll to use as wallpapers and whatnot. There are tons of levels to Polysphere, and while a lot of them are unfortunately locked behind a paywall, you can either pay a small fee for certain packages – like flowers or birds – or pay a larger subscription fee for every puzzle to unlock, with new ones added every day. Obviously, that’s for really hardcore fans, and I’m not there just yet. But over time, who knows? Until then, though, there are other levels to unlock by watching videos, so that’s what I’m currently working on. Polysphere is a thankless job, but I gotta feed the addiction somehow.
I know, I know, this isn’t a mobile game. It’s a language app. But hey, I’m not opposed to including basic apps on my lists if they help enrich my life, and in turn yours. Enter: Duolingo. I’ve used Duolingo a lot in the past. After high school, I tried to keep up with my Spanish after my 13-year education streak was broken. I also tried to teach myself French, as I was deprived of taking that class in school (thanks, mom). A buddy of mine even tried to learn Italian for a trip he was going on. Now it’s important to mention, the keyword here is not “try.” We are just lazy people, and it’s not Duolingo‘s fault that we gave up. But now it’s 2019; new year, new me. I jumped back into French and boy, have things changed. Now there’s a health meter, so if you fail 5 times you have to wait a few hours to try again. There are also microtransactions and ads, which really takes away from the experience but it’s a short price to pay (or not pay) for a free language class. Not to mention all the languages they have now! Swahili, Navajo, Klingon…High Valyrian?! Any app that teaches Game of Thrones languages is cool in my book. So yeah, I highly suggest you take a chance on Duolingo. It’s free, it works, and maybe if enough people complain, they’ll start teaching that Minion language. “Banana!”
Light It Up
I struggled a bit with this pick, as I couldn’t decide between Light It Up or Noodle. Both are awesome little time-waster games with a lot of levels (that I’ve completed). But while Noodle requires some skill, I found Light It Up to be more filling of a game. I spent the last couple weeks of December and into January playing this one, and while I didn’t take the time to tri-star every level, I certainly gave it my all. Gameplay in Light It Up is fairly simple, with the player controlling a stick figure who jumps around by tapping either the left or right side of the phone screen. You are only granted a double jump before landing on the next colored block, with the goal being to light up every colored block onscreen. Be careful, though, because blocks may break apart, or begin to move off-screen when activated. This calls for a carefully planned route on every level. Light It Up had 145 levels when I finished it, and I just now learned there was an update with over 70 new levels added, so I’m about to jump back in. It’s a super entertaining little game for bus rides, doctor’s offices, or staying up until 3 AM to finish just one more level (don’t ask). Crazy Labs hasn’t grabbed my attention this much since Snake VS. Colors and I’m super pleased with their latest product.
If you have a Snapchat, chances are you’ve heard of BitLife. After seeing all the countless ads for it, I decided to give it a shot in early January. I was hooked instantly, so much so that I stayed up for hours a couple nights in a row playing and totally screwed up my circadian rhythms. I really don’t know what it is about BitLife that caught my interest so heavily. I’ve never been into life simulations like The Sims or…Sims clones…but this one had me interested from day one. There’s just so many things to do, and it’s 100% text-based! There are no mini-games, or timers to wait for. You control your character’s aging with the press of a button, and as the years go by you control if they go to college, have a baby, or murder their entire family. Feeling ugly? Get plastic surgery! Feeling frisky? Have a threesome! Contract a disease? Who needs doctors?! Live a little! BitLife offers so many ways to live your life – or destroy it – and they update the game every few weeks with a boatload of new content. I highly suggest trying it just once and see how crazy it is that a game so simple and plain can sink its teeth into you so easily.
So that’s January down! I hope you find some awesome apps out of this list and my others in the coming months. If you have some apps you’re loving, why not drop them down in the comments below? If I get hooked, I just might mention it (and you) in a future list. But until next time, thanks for reading, and happy hunting!