June is here! I’m another year older and my computer remains in limbo. On top of all this, May’s app quality left a lot to be desired. While App Recap holds those lesser-known mobile titles on a pedestal, I must say I was a bit disappointed with the showing this month. Not that these games are bad, it was just upsetting to find only one real diamond in the rough in that whole 31 days (you’ll notice which one I’m talking about when you get to it). That being said, I did manage to find some fun little time-wasters that kept me busy while even cooler games came down the pipeline. So while I’m working on playing next month’s games with an even bigger smile on my face, let’s dive in and see what kept me hanging on in May.
Last month I talked about Balls Rotate, an underappreciated time-waster with a therapeutic twist. Around that same time, I discovered another game that easily falls under the same genre: Tower Color. While it may have been an April app, I felt I should save this relaxing game for the following month, as you never know when apps like these could come in handy. Tower Color is a simple little game where the goal is to knock over as many balls as it takes to fill the progression bar at the top of the screen. Each level provides you with a certain number of balls, and each ball is colored differently, allowing it to break blocks of the corresponding color. Think Bust-A-Move but with a 3D tower made of colored cylinders, and destroying blocks causes all the other blocks to tumble. Tower Color is relaxing for multiple reasons, from its vibrant and colorful visuals to its satisfying realism when it comes to physics. Seeing the blocks collapse and fall into the ocean below has a certain pleasing quality that leaves me feeling accomplished and fulfilled. I found myself playing Tower Color for extended periods of time, and while its premise may be simple and its staying power questionable, you may be surprised to find yourself enjoying it as much as I did.
Traffic Run is one of those games that attaches itself to your psyche through the subliminal imagery of in-game ads. After seeing it pass by me so many times, I thought “why not?” and took a chance on this little game. Sure enough, there was a surprising amount of skill required for this game and I must say it left me pleasantly frustrated at times. Traffic Run tasks the player with navigating a car through perilous courses to get to the finish line. If you’re a fan of Crossy Road, this game may be for you as the obstacles are fairly similar, what with all the dodging of traffic and oncoming trains. What took me by surprise, though, is the fact that not every level is the same layout. While some are the standard Crossy Road fare, others involve waiting for a break in the traffic in order to merge into a lane and make it through a winding roadway. This requires some precision as the slightest tap causes your vehicle to accelerate much faster than the CPU cars, and accidents are a dime a dozen. Couple this with the assortment of unlockable vehicles (unlockable with coins earned in each level), speeds vary which forces the player to adapt to the gameplay every so often. Traffic Run has a refreshing variety of content that has kept me entertained all month long.
As I said, it’s been kind of a sad month. While this game may not have much to offer, there’s something strangely intriguing about its mechanics. Many months ago, I found myself addicted to the game Hole.io, an online app in which you play a large hole that must devour everything in the city to grow, not unlike the rolling ball from Katamari games. Now take that concept, but strip it of the entertaining online aspect and you’re left with… Blocksbuster! This game tasks you with controlling a big old hole, and moving it along the floor to consume every last block onscreen. Sometimes there are bombs – which don’t belong in the hole – and sometimes there are green lightning bolts that explode said bombs, which can be helpful in getting rid of them, but harmful when trying to keep the blocks from going everywhere. The scoring system is difficult to comprehend, and progression only affects the backdrop of every ten levels, but the designs made by the blocks are creative and the gameplay is captivating, albeit for a while. Blocksbuster! is a strange bird, but something about it makes it worth checking out. I’m just still trying to figure out what that something is.
Hands down my favorite game of the month, Gobble Dash combines Pac-Man with Snake for one of the most puzzling and addictive mobile apps I’ve ever played. You take on the role of a snake as he gobbles up every pellet on the board, growing ever-longer as he fills his endless tummy. While the game is initially simple to grasp, mastery is easier said than done. Being a Gobble Dash pro is all about the planning, as one wrong turn could mean the end of the line, and you won’t even realize it until you’re four pellets away from clearing the level. Each landscape includes unique twists and turns akin to a Pac-Man stage, including dangerous roundabouts and helpful bridges. The most mind-bending aspect of the game, though, is that once the snake is flicked in a specific direction, he follows that line until he hits the next boundary. This makes careful planning a necessity, or else the snake might be sent on a prolonged journey, culminating in the consumption of his own body. As the game progresses, the levels get harder with more pellets to collect, which in turn causes your snake to grow increasingly larger. Keeping track of that winding tail becomes so crazy difficult and I found myself making stupid mistakes and replaying each procedurally-generated course over and over trying to get it right. What makes Gobble Dash fun is its surprising difficulty curve, with a straightforward concept and cutesy art style masking its devious intentions. Gobble Dash requires a methodical eye, with the ability to be simultaneously patient and quick on the draw. This game is genuinely challenging, distracting, and fun as hell.
Balls Bounce Bricks
I don’t recall ever having explained my fascination with Breakout, and games of that nature. A few years back, I fell in love with an app called Ballz, which captured the hearts of both myself and my girlfriend at the time. A heated rivalry sparked between us as we fought to collect the most balls and clear the most levels. Over time that app has fallen to the wayside – as did her love for me – but I still seek out games with a similar concept: aim at bricks, fire away, and let a steady stream of balls (and the proper angle) do all the work. So imagine my surprise when I found Balls Bounce Bricks, a game with so many different names on its store page that not even the developers know what to call it. Fortunately, names mean nothing when it comes to gameplay, and this game successfully scratches my…Ballz…itch.
Anyway, the gameplay is fairly straightforward with the main draw being the same old aim and launch method, but this time the bricks can be angular themselves, which ups the difficulty a bit. Games like these make me feel smarter than I actually am, what with their focus on pinpoint accuracy and a steady hand. Balls Bounce Bricks loves those angles almost as much as it loves power-up bricks, from bricks that shoot vertical or horizontal lasers when they’re hit to a brick that turns your one ball into a triple shot. There’s a lot on offer in this game, and with a varied assortment of level designs and daily login rewards, there’s always a reason to come back and play some more.
So that’s it for May! Told you it wasn’t the best month, but there are definitely some in there worth a download. They’re all free, so why not? As for me, I’ll be jumping back into June’s awesome titles, and I can promise you next month is gonna be a rager. See you then!