On the Game (Samsung Mob!lers)

Today someone on my Facebook friends list proclaimed they were an ‘Angry Birds Widow’ and that her husband had been MIA since downloading said game an hour and a half ago. We’ve all been there, be it as the marginalised, slightly confused Other Half, or as the addict themselves, repeatedly promising to turn off the phone after ‘just one more level‘.

When I first investigated apps and games I developed a strong love/hate relationship with ‘Arachnadoodle’, which I only managed to shake off when I was distracted by ‘Peggle’. After that it was ‘Plants Vs Zombies’ which kept me entertained for months until I downloaded ‘Angry Birds’ ‘just to see what all the fuss is about’. While I’m not about to rush out and buy a plush ‘Angry Bird’ and I won’t be first in the queue when the rumoured movie comes out (if the game manages to stay relevant and popular in the time it will take to make), it *is* a highly entertaining way to pass a few minutes (hours? days? MONTHS?!) when you’ve got nothing (or anything that you particularly want) to do.

I also find phone games more convenient than carrying around a gaming specific device which, truth be told, won’t fit in most of my handbags. Besides, it’s much less obvious (embarrassing? tragic?) to be sat fiddling with your phone on the bus than it is a pink Nintendo DS or some such.

I love the fact that so many games on Android Marketplace are free (my favourite price!) which gives you the opportunity to sample them without shelling out. A lot of free versions are often XYZ ‘Lite’, so, much like your favourite neighbourhood dealer, the first hit is free but when you want to go further down the rabbit hole, you have to put your hand in your pocket. Not to matter, prices are, in the main, super reasonable and, even if you’re too skint for a 69p treat (times are indeed hard), there are plenty of free options to keep your fingers very happy.

Downloading the little beasties couldn’t be easier either. Locate your Google Android Market icon (HINT – it’s the one with the little green fella on a shopping bag) and open it right up. Select the ‘Games’ icon (or, if you know the game you are looking for just type the title in) and pick your category, depending on your own gaming predilections.

Scroll down until you find a game that takes your fancy (I tend to go by the handy star rating underneath each title), check the description, screenshots, reviews and, if you’re not a ‘scattercash’ type, the price.

Then click ‘Install’. You will then be shown a list of what access the game will require to run (ie. network communication/access to Internet, reading your phone state and identity, or modifying the SD card), if you’re happy with the terms, click ‘OK’ (middle left) and  just wait for the game to install.

In a matter of minutes you’ll be good to go.

Whether you’re an avid gamer or you just want something to pass the time while travelling to work (those of you that use public transport that is – I’m not advocating ‘Angry Birding’ while driving!), there is bound to be something that does the job. For just this reason, I found my Samsung Galaxy Pro invaluable last week while hanging around Manchester and (on the return leg) Barcelona airports when I got bored with people watching and mooching around Duty Free.

In short, downloadable games are great fun, mostly free and help pass the time/drive you slightly insane. So, if your phone has the capabilities, go get some! There is, admittedly, an amount of sorting the wheat from the chaff required so, being the helpful little sprite I am, I’ve compiled a list of my current favourite five free downloads from Android Market, just for you.

Bubble Blast II has been holding my attention for a couple of days. It’s basically a logic puzzle. You have a certain amount of ‘taps’ (moves) with which to set off the bubbles popping which, in turn, pops other bubbles (depending on their size/colour). The resulting chain reaction should pop all the bubbles within the amount of ‘taps’ you have. Not particularly taxing but moderately addictive. I’m just as taken by the satisfying ‘POP!’ sound and the round of applause when you complete a level as I am with the ease of gameplay and cute graphics.

Angry Birds is ‘The Daddy’ of addictive games, it’s the one with its own help groups, for those people who just can’t stop catapulting those avian assailants at those poor piggies. It’s colourful, humorous and fiendish in its execution. I have lost literally hours playing it. Do give it a go to see what all the fuss is about, but please don’t send me the therapy bill when you get stuck on Level 19 and forget to eat/shower/go to work for a week.

Pumpkins Vs Monsters is another recent discovery of mine and it’s (*ahem*) nothing like Plants Vs Zombies….. honest. Actually, it’s only vaguely similar, insomuch as you’re fighting undead nasty monsters. Line up your coloured pumpkins and flick them at the approaching evil hordes. Great graphics and totally beguiling. Just the right level of skill/tactics needed to keep you coming back.

Being a bit of a wordy type I can’t help but enjoy Wordfeud, a ‘cross-platform multiplayer puzzle game‘ which allows you to basically play ‘Scrabble’ with anyone (real friend or ‘Internet’ friend) who also has the game on their device and wants to whoop your ass with their verbosity.

Finally, though this isn’t strictly a game, I think Androidify is an entertaining way to pass a few minutes between bus stops. Turn yourself, friends and family into an Android avatar – change the hair, clothes, height and accessories to create little green versions of everyone you know. You can then save, send and share them to your heart’s content. You can even use them as contact icons to pop up when a person calls your phone.

I hope you try/enjoy some of my suggestions and if you know of any games/apps that you think I may like, please let me know.

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