10 New Mobile Games You Need to Play this Week

galaxy on fire 3 manticore

In most of the video game industry, the month of December is pretty quiet on the new release front, as the big holiday games have already gone on sale and the push is just to sell as many of them (and hardware, of course) as possible before Saint Nick comes down the chimney.

For mobile games, it’s more like a frantic dash to the finish line. Every publisher wants to get their titles out before the App Store does its holiday shutdown, a.k.a. the one time of the year that we mobile journalists get a break. As a result, there’s plenty of interesting fare that should be available for download over the next few weeks.

We’re tackling them like we always do, surveying the scene and trying to pick the most promising ones of the bunch. We’ve got 10 for you this time out, which tells you all you need to know about the deluge that’s upon us. Batten down the hatches, because here we go!

Dawn of Titans

dawn of titans

In the pantheon of games I really, really want to be good, Dawn of Titans is right up near the top. NaturalMotion has been working on this one for a while, promising to put a new twist on Clash of Clans-style gameplay thanks to super detailed visuals and the ability to command your units in battle. Plus, the Titans are huge beings that stride through battles with hundreds of troops and start wrecking shop, which is as awesome as it sounds. This could be huge, and you’ll want to be in on the ground floor.

Galaxy on Fire 3: Manticore

galaxy on fire 3 manticore

If you’re one of the people for whom No Man’s Sky left a bad taste in your mouth (and I haven’t played it, so I have no opinion either way), this could be your palate cleanser. Galaxy on Fire 3 once again puts you in space, exploring new worlds, establishing profitable trade routes and doing battle with other spaceships. It’s perhaps a little more action-oriented than some other space sims, but that could be a good thing depending on your tastes. The only negative is no Android version, though supposedly one is in the works.

Nicki Minaj: The Empire

nicki minaj: the empire

Glu really has its line of celebrity-based games down to a science. Each one tweaks a winning formula to suit the celeb in question, and with Nicki Minaj, that means giving players the chance to show off their own rap skills, no matter how dubious they might be. Yes, there are still fashion and design elements as well, but those fit with Ms. Minaj’s personality and talents as well. Also intriguing: the thought that Nicki is going to use the game to show off new music first. If you’re a fan, that alone should be a draw.

ROCKY

rocky combo quest

Wait, haven’t there been mobile games featuring Rocky Balboa before? Quite right. None are exactly like this one, though, thanks to its highly stylized visuals and simple tap and swipe controls. It’s definitely not a boxing sim, but that might actually help it to appeal to a wider audience. On the good timing front, it’s hitting the App Store just days before the 40th anniversary of Rocky first arriving in movie theaters, so if there’s a wave of Italian Stallion nostalgia, this game should be well poised to ride it.

Bully: Anniversary Edition

bully anniversary edition

Yes, this is the Bully, the open world console game by Rockstar, now shrunken down and remastered for touch screens. It supposedly packs in all the content from the original and the later Scholarship Edition, making it quite the value for less than seven bucks. You can transfer saves between devices and take on new asynchronous multiplayer challenges, so there’s a fair bit of new sprinkled in with the tried and true. How will it play on phones and tablets? That would be the only remaining question.

Pine Grove

pine grove

You’d think by now that every possible genre mash-up has been done in mobile game form. And you might be wrong, as Pine Grove apparently is both a racing and adventure game rolled into one. You’ve got to solve a murder and perhaps some missing person cases as well by collecting evidence at crime scenes. There’s also driving involved. How the two things mesh together, I haven’t the foggiest, but I’m certainly curious to find out.

Tap the Tower

tap the tower

We haven’t reached peak “one touch gameplay, pixelated old school graphics” yet, which means games like Tap the Tower still have a shot to hook a bunch of mobile gamers. As the name suggests, you’re trying to tap to get your character ever higher up the tower by climbing ladders and dodging things that could kill you. I feel like there was a really old game that asked you to do something similar … With a donkey in the name, maybe? Anyway, for a quick and simple action fix, this could certainly scratch the itch.

Hill Climb Racing 2

hill climb racing 2

Accept no substitutes when it comes to physics-based driving and climbing games. You won’t have to if you download Hill Climb Racing 2, which offers more vehicles, more options to customize said vehicles, more environments to tackle, and just basically more of everything. Plus the graphics have received a shiny new coat of paint, and Newton Bill is back at the center of it all. If that’s not enough to get you behind the wheel of an off-road machine, I don’t know what is.

Dropa

dropa

A lot of times we oversimplify games in the name of explaining them, but that actually works for Dropa. Think of Tetris if it was played in the round instead of vertically and you’ve got a big chunk of it. The big difference is that it’s less frenzied since you don’t need to worry about making the right moves on a time limit, which is a good thing since this seems challenging enough as it is. The abstract art style and little alien ship just make the whole package that much more inviting.

Frantic Ball

frantic ball

I’m going to date myself with this reference, but Frantic Ball reminds me some of the old arcade game Marble Madness, mixed with the real life marble contraptions that my parents still set up for their grandkids from time to time. Not only can you take on different courses, but the balls apparently have different characteristics that give you a higher score in exchange for a tougher time keeping them under control. Looks like some old school and new school fun mixed together, and who doesn’t like that?

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