Level Up5 Mobiles Games For The Dog Days Of SummerMichele Morrow

Summertime.  My life used to consist of laying poolside, reading tabloids.  But now, I can bring the indoors, outdoors.  Here are my top 5 Mobile Game recommendations to get you though the dog days of summer.

SCRABBLE by EA

Scrabble got a facelift.  Out with the old mobile Scrabble, in with a friendly and easy user interface!  Currently in Beta Facebook connect gaming, Scrabble should be hitting iOS and Android devices very soon.

The premise:  … I don’t need an intro for this classic.  Instead, I will say that I <3 love love love <3 the new Scrabble Tile Chat system:

Scrabble mobile comes with a complementary Dictionary as well as a comprehensive “2 Letter Words” search.  I also admire the usage of “ELO Rating”!  The Elo Rating system is a method for calculating the relative skill levels of players in two-player games (used often in chess).  “Highest Word Score” is also calculated along with “Bingos”.  Bingos are where you use ALL your Scrabble Tiles in one turn, resulting in bonus points.  Just for fun:

Based on the tile frequency, the most likely Bingo is “OTARINE”and “ETAERIO”.

The highest scoring 7-letter bingo is “MUZJIKS”.  The tiles total 29 points and it scores 128 on the first move.

The highest scoring 15-letter bingo is theoretically “OXYPHENBUTAZONE” (an anti-inflammatory drug most often used to treat arthritis). With 8 letters already placed between three triples, the word can score 1785.  There are no reports of a triple-triple-triple ever being played in a competitive game, as it requires very unlikely circumstances.

Have you ever had a Scrabble Bingo?

 

BAND TOGETHER by Backflip Studios

OMG GO GET THIS GAME !!  First of all, it’s currently FREE for supported iOS devices — hop to it before they start charging.  Band Together debuted last week and is already getting very high praise.  Here’s the trailer:

Oh and that high praise I mentioned:

Band Together is like Little Big Planet meets Lemmings…but with thumbtack death machines! How cool is THAT?”
– Duane Stinnett, Art Director on Starcraft and Diablo

Band Together is a fantastic game to play. It is super cool. People are going to love it!”
– David Lynch, Director

“Countless times I’ve witnessed people get transfixed and mesmerized by Band Together (myself included). I’m impressed that students were able to craft a game so engaging and addictive.”
– Mike L. Murphy, Animator, Lord of the Rings

Three student friends created this Band Together over summer break with the help of indie game producer Dave Taylor, (DoomQuake) and Art Director / Game Designer John Chalfant, best known for his stunning character work inWarcraft 3, World of Warcraft, and Batman: Arkham City.

I’ve had so much fun in this game.  It’s a puzzle game platformer that’s captivating and creative in all the right ways.  In Band Together, the goal is to rescue tiny creatures called Bandies, so named for their propensity to band together, by waking them up with candlelight and guiding them through 30 intricate cardboard dioramas bristling with homemade traps, such as thumbtack death machines, pencil pits, and rolling baseballs.  The dioramas are designed and constructed by the young tinkerer Michael Silverstein (nicknamed “Midge” by the mean kids at school because he has tiny hands). As the game progresses, players are taken through Midge’s secret journal, which details his experiments on the Bandies.

The game supports the crisp Retina displays of the new iPad. Owners of the iPad 2 and New iPad looking to adopt and download their own collection of Bandies can find Band Together on the Apple App Store.

CATAPULT KING  by Chillingo & Wicked Witch

In just the last few weeks, Catapult King has launched into the hearts of thousands of people — becoming the #1 mobile game in over 20 countries.  Very impressive.  Here’s a little demo of Catapult King’s gameplay:

The premise:  Become the Catapult!  Think of this game like a really colorful, fantasy 3D version of destroying fortresses to save your princess.

Sidenote:  I’m normally not into the whole “save the princess by playing a male knight” thing – I personally believe it’s an old standard that presents women with a less heroic role right off the bat.  I know it’s a little more effort for game developers, but Chillingo & Wicked Witch (if you’re listening), it would be exceptional for you to allow gender choice at the start of the game, as well as the gender choice of who we’re saving.  And it doesn’t have to be romantic — maybe you’re choosing to play a heroic Princess off to save your father, the King.  Just an idea… because your game seems to present the right opportunity as the franchise is rumored to continue in the future!

Regardless, Catapult King is fun, addictive and adorable.  One of the coolest features is the Power-Ups or “Enchants” you gain by completing levels and earning magic to supe up your ‘Pult:  line of sight for accuracy,  Earth Shock to blast the bad guys away, or call in a devastating Lunar Strike.

realMYST by Cyan Worlds

Myst.  Many of us have fond memories of this once PC titan.  Although Myst held the title of best-selling PC game for almost a decade (until The Sims in 2002), I’m still a little biased… the game studio who created Myst is from my hometown of Spokane, Washington.  And now, it was just released for iOS on June 14th.

One of the most compelling features about Myst is it’s mostly nonverbal storytelling.  You are an adventurer – The Stranger – who uses a special book to travel to Myst Island.  The game is all about exploring, without the threat of physical violence.  As the player, you can move at your own pace while solving various puzzles through observation and logic.

For me, realMyst was a trip down memory lane.  It made me smile.  It made me feel relaxed.  It made me realize that good games like Myst never die.  And even if you never played the original, this is still a definite must buy.

The Act by React Entertainment

It’s a cartoon come to life and YOU are inside.  It’s a bit difficult to explain as it’s surely an experience.   You play a window washer who is trying to rescue your doofus brother while simultaneously winning the love of a pretty girl.

At once you’ll be watching the cartoon – as if it were on TV – when suddenly you’re asked to slide your finger around the screen in order to kinda con and flub your way though different relationships.

For instance.  Your brother is locked in a hospital and you dress up as a doctor to get past security.  However, while waiting at the elevator you end up in a group of real doctors.  With the flick of your finger you can match their moods by laughing along with them, or acting concerned, or generally “fitting in”.  It wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be either.  While the collision (for lack of a better term here) can be a little confusing at first, once you get the hang of it you’ll see how your touch screen movements change from relationship to relationship.

It’s a brilliant new way to look at interactive gaming — your movements on screen change your relationships and course of the game.  The music and sound effects are also highly adaptive to your every move.

The Act is very cute and definitely something fun to throw on in your summer game mix.

What mobile games are you playing?

And congrats to our winners of the Quantum Conundrum game code giveaway!  Please check YouTube comments Friday afternoon to see if you won!  Subscribe to my YouTube channel and I will send you codes through private messaging.  I made a playlist with an intro, review, giveaway, trailer and Kim Swift demo of Quantum Conundrum, but in case you missed the original HelloGiggles video I made – here it is:

=mm=

Featured Image: Scrabble / Electronic Arts

Additional Images Via:  Electronic Arts, BackFlip Studios / Band Together, Chillingo, realMyst via Moby Games, and The Act

comments

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  1. Your comments regarding of EA Scrabble are totally off the mark. I would like to know if you played on the old interface. If you did you would know that there are major issues. Here’s a few:

    1. EA Removed the ability to have customized game names. This is important for tournaments and personal game tracking.

    2. You re no longer able to select random opponents based upon a specified ratings range. A 1700 player does not want to play a 1200 player.

    3. The “ABC” button for alphabetically sorting letters on the rack was removed so it must be done manually. Most high-level players sort the rack alphabetically as the first step to rack management.

    4. The tile letters are disproportionately large wrt the tiles. This makes it hard for many people to look at the letters., The letter size should be 20% smaller.

    5. The on-line help is not only inadequate is is clearly wrong in a few areas.

    6. There are too many unneeded graphics elements that are distractions. This is a thinking game, not a video game.

    And the list goes on and on. If anyone is interested to see the various debates I suggest they visit the EA Scrabble Forum. Here;s the link: http://forum.ea.com/eaforum/categories/show/230.page
    4. There are significant bugs: ratings are not being calculated properly, the automatic nudge/force-forfeit isn’t working, loading times are slow

    • Don,

      I did play the old Scrabble. I thought it needed a major UI overhaul as – to me – it wasn’t as appealing as the new one. While there were many elements that engaged top tier players, I believe they needed to embrace a wider audience – especially with the competition from knock off games. Scrabble is the original, so it needs to be the “go-to” app of it’s kind.

      My article was not about comparing the differences between old and new, it’s simply to alert Casual Gamers to Mobile Apps that *I’m* enjoying.

      However, as to your point #1 – I feel ya on this one. I didn’t feel as passionately about rankings in Scrabble as you do, however this is something that frustrates me in PVP Arena Match Ratings for Warcraft.

      In final, it’s a Beta – as stated in the article. But I have high hopes for it and I like the direction that EA is headed in.

      I’m sorry you’re so frustrated and I hope the issues you brought up will be fixed soon. Make your voice heard on their forums, if you haven’t already.

  2. :) I will check out some of these .. I tend to not sleep well at night so maybe one of these will help entertain me. xoxoxo

  3. You’re deleting the comments, quit hiding behind “editors”. And you’ve lost all credibility by standing behind the absolute worst interface upgrade in the history of Facebook. Your blog post doesn’t even compare the differences between the old and new interfaces. Because you never played the old interface, that is obvious. Because if you did, you’d hate it. Your post provides no insight into the new interface and how players use it, because you never bothered to research it or use it yourself.

    Your blog post reads like a press release.

    • As the managing editor of this site, Adam, I can confirm that I am indeed deleting the comments. While everyone on this site is free to share their thoughts and opinions, it should be done in a respectful way and we will not tolerate repeated harping on our writers. It is completely unacceptable – you have stated your opinion and have continued to return to leave more abuse towards Michele, for some reason. I’m uncertain why you would continue to view and comment on an article which you disagree with – you simply move on to something you do like. This is your final warning – should you decide to continue with your tirade, your IP will be blocked on this site.

  4. Oh my. If the New Beta version of Scrabble is one of the 5 best games of the summer, gamesville is in serious trouble. This version is hard on the eyes in terms of the colour of the board and the lines between the blocks. The side bars are full of clutter. The game encourages us to have people from our Friends list to play…though the people have no intention of playing. I’ve played lots of freebie games on line, and this doesn’t even come close to being in the top twenty. Yikers!

  5. *wonders what’s wrong with Diane Sawyer…

  6. To the Scrabble haters — there is no need for violent or degrading speech over a video game. I like the changes better than the old version. But I understand the issues of “Beta” and launching a new UI and / or game. I encourage you to take the hateful language elsewhere — like the EA forums to discuss your positive ideas for change. Getting this angry over a mobile / social game is something to personally consider… My advice is: if you don’t like a game, don’t play it. Play what makes you happy. There are four other games here to try out! :)

  7. Did you play FB Scrabble on the old board, Michele? It was a clean, simple, intuitive interface. This new BETA version is very cluttered, confusing and childish. Scrabble EA has had to post several FAQ’s just to help users figure out the board. They have also added annoying overlays, pop-up ads and sound to this new version. For serious, adult players, none of these new “bells and whistles” are appealing … just very distracting and irritating.

    • I completely understand your frustration, Janet. I see this happen quite a bit with monthly subscibtion based games like MMORPG’s. Changes in a game you love can seriously frustrate committed players and can be difficult to transition to a new UI… especially when you prefer the prior UI. My hope for you, is that you can find your enjoyment for the game again. If not, I’m sorry! If you get rejuvenated I’d love to start a game with you. Whatever you end up doing, thank you for your comment and opinion!

  8. Before you endorse EA’s nasty “New Scrabble” you should go to their facebook page “ScrabbleEA” and read over 10,000. complaints about the new game that is far from enjoyable.

    • NOTE: as said in the article … Scrabble is in BETA mode. BETA. . I personally like what they’re doing with the game. And I like it more than Words with Friends. I research my articles carefully, and I call ‘em like I see’ ‘em. I’ve seen the comments, but I go with MY experience, not the experience of others. Hope you can find some enjoyment out of the other games mentioned should Scrabble not be your speed.

  9. Horrible article. Way to encourage EA Scrabble for making the worst decision of its existence.

    http://www.facebook.com/BringBackTheOldScrabble

  10. NO WAY! MYSIT?!?!?!?!? YAY!!!
    And holy heck…. Spokane is your hometown?! Small world!!! :)

  11. Our editors are, Adam. I appreciate your opinion, but personal attacks won’t be accepted.