Published on January 3rd, 2014 | by James Maxwell1
The 20 Most Under Appreciated Indie Android Games of 2013
Every year, more and more fantastic indie games are being released without getting the recognition they deserve. For these downtrodden yet proud titles it’s often a struggle to even reach 500 downloads, resulting in debilitating conditions such as empty leaderboards. Here at SGD, we hold a candle for these under appreciated games and vow never to forget the fun times they gave us.
It usually involves us sacrificing NES cartridges under a blood red moon to our self made video game deity while wearing monk robes, but that’s besides the point. Here are our picks for some of the most criminally under appreciated indie Android games to arrive in 2013.
4 Thrones Solitaire from Simple Machine
When I was growing up one of my biggest video game addictions was the classic card game Solitaire. Sure I usually prefered something with more action like Super Mario Bros but sometimes it was just fun to sit back and play this extremely addictive card game. When I first came across 4 Thrones Solitaire I was intrigued to find out about this new ‘twist’ on the classic card game. How was the developer going to mix up the gameplay while still keeping the feel of the original game intact?
Well, the developer Simple Machine somehow took the classic formula, made a couple of interesting gameplay tweeks, and in the process managed to make solitaire fresh and fun again… and they did it with serious style! (check out the screenshots and you’ll see what I mean.
Just like the original Solitaire 4 Thrones requires a fair amount of strategy and luck. This time around you wont be making piles of cards that are in numerical order in the same suit, rather you’ll be placing higher numbered cards on top of lower numbered cards wherever it will fit in your 4 piles. It sounds like this would make the game easier, but in all actuallity it doesn’t. The game is just as challenging as a good ol’ game of Solitaire, but the tweaks to the formula make it feel fresh and new – while still holding onto the addictive nature that the original is known for. 4 Thrones Solitaire is a game that shouldn’t be passed up on by anyone! Download it today!
10 from IOJOE
To start off: Buy this game! 10 is right near the very top of my all time favorite puzzle games, and I can’t recommend it enough. It takes a simple but unique concept, mixes in a great minimalistic art style, and throws in a tonne of content to create an incredibly impressive package. It’s fun, it’s addictive, and it is an absolute must own game!
10 is all about making 10’s. How do you do this? Well, you slide numbers around on the game’s grid while sliding numbers together in order to make “10”. The majority of the game’s puzzles use addition but as you dig deeper into the game you’ll gain access to levels with subtraction, multiplication, division, and a number of other elements to add another level of difficulty to the addictive gameplay formula. There’s enough content here to keep you busy for a long long time, and the different twists on the gameplay really make it a game that constantly feels fresh.
10 is a game that is easy to learn but it’s still a game that will really make you think. It starts out with fairly easy puzzles but once you get dug in you’ll find yourself scratching your head to get some of these solved. It is one of the best puzzle game’s I have ever played and I give it my highest recommendation. 10 is one game that I will forever stay on my mobile devices.
Arranger from Distropolis
Arranger is an incredibly unique game that was released pretty early in 2013 and I feel it’s one game that desperately deserves more attention than it has received. The game is without a doubt one of the strangest games I have ever come across in my life – but it also one of the most enjoyable. Arranger is filled with strange characters and bizzare locations, it sports a stunning 8-bit art style, and has one of the catchiest soundtracks around. Arranger is an adventure game that will stick with you for a long time to come.
The game takes place in the truly absurd world of Musica. You take control of a small yellow creature who has just been quested by the king to gather eight magical chalices that will return music to the land. On your quest you will travel to nine increasingly bizarre realms: each having it’s own unique look and soundtrack. Also on your journey you’ll meet up with many interesting characters that help to provide more insight into the weird things that have been happening around the realm.
At its heart Arranger is an adventure game. You go around each of the realms collecting items and then delivering them to someone or using them to solve some sort of a problem. A good percentage of the items you must collect will be earned by playing through one of the games many unique mini-games. You’ll find yourself dodging items as you fall down a giant esophagus, feed burgers to hungry patrons in a restaurant, or even match the best clothing combination from remnants in a dumpster. All of the mini-games are very different than any you’ve ever seen before and most importantly they are actually fun to play!
Arranger is a game that will pull you into its truly bizarre and charming world that is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Once you start playing you’ll realize that the developer put his heart and soul into this game and he worked hard to create this entrancing experience. Arranger is without a doubt one of the best games available on Google Play and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s only a dollar and worth well more than that.
Bubble Unblock from AndCreations
Bubble Unblock is without a doubt one of the best puzzle games I have stumbled upon since I started playing Android games. It takes a simple concept that I found myself playing for quick pick-up-and-play fun, but I on a couple of occasions I even found myself being hooked on it for a few hours at times. Bubble Unblock is simply addictive.
The gameplay is quite simple; slide the colored bubbles across a maze-like game board to get them to the game board location of the same color. In order for you to do this you’ll need to do some strategic thinking so that you can clear a pathway for which the bubble can move along. Easy, right? Well, it starts out fairly easy but as you progress into the later levels you’ll be in for some real head scratchers.
The rules in Bubble Unblock are easy to learn and it should be easy for just about anyone to pick-up-and-play. That said the game still manages to provide enough of a challenge to keep even the best puzzle gamers busy for a long time to come. Bubble Unblock is a game that feels fresh and new and it is without a doubt one of the best puzzle games available on Google Play. Do yourself a favor and download this fantastic game today!
Chiptune Runner from Evil Indie Games
There are alot of endless runners out there, but there’s never been one quite like the ingenious Chiptune Runner before. This midi step sequencer meets traditional platformer uniquely weaves music into a puzzle tinged platformer that lets you simultaneously dodge deadly buzzsaws and compose a beautiful symphony. In order to get through each level players must actively construct the playing field so their chosen avatar can make it to the end of the stage safely. It just so happens that each level doubles as a fully functioning sequence board which leads to some truly groundbreaking gameplay.
Chiptune Runner is easily one of the most under appreciated indie Android games of the past year, give it a try today.
Delta V Racing from Spacehopper Studios
Delta-V Racing is an indie game that has done a great job of taking the classic gameplay formula found in hit futuristic racers like Wipeout and F-Zero and shifting it from the 3D perspective to a 2D plane for that works extremely well for mobile devices. This means rather than driving around in the first person you find yourself racing against other racers almost like a 2D side-scroller, which is unique not only to the futuristic racing genre, but the entire racing genre as a whole. TouchArcade actually described the gameplay in Delta V Racing best when the called it a fusion of “Mario Kart and Wipeout into a 2D side-scrolling affair”. That’s essentially what the game is all about, and that’s definitely not a bad thing!
I’m normally not a fan of racing games on mobile devices primarily due to a lot of them having poor control options or they depend too heavily on weird gimmicks like tilting or wiggling your device around. That’s not the case in Delta V Racing though as all you’ll be using is your finger on the touch screen. You drag your finger in the direction you want your ship to go and it will do just that. The controls work great, the gameplay formula is fun, and it’s a game that no one should miss out on.
Ducky Fuzz from Smiling Bag
Without a doubt Ducky Fuzz has been one of the most entertaining games I have played all year. In this game your goal is to control the ocean’s waves in a way that will let you juggle your band of little ducks safely through the mine infested waters. While in theory you might think this would be an easy task but it’s actually quite the opposite. Controlling the waves that use realistic water physics is quite a challenge – especially once your troupe starts to grow in numbers.
As you play through Ducky Fuzz and complete some of its various challenges you’ll begin to unlock new content like new duck skins, additional starting ducks, and new ducks with special powers. Each of these new perks will get you playing round after round and you’ll soon find yourself playing the game for hours on end (I did at least!). The gameplay itself is hugely addictive, but all of the extra content and the different game modes will keep you coming back for more. Ducky Fuzz is one of the best games I have played in all of 2013 and I highly recommend giving it a download. You wont be disappointed.
Dumble from Glass Knuckle Games
Dumble is an extremely fun arcade-style dual stick shooter that actually started its career as a Flash game called Dumbledore 64. Dumble is more or less the same game but there have been a number of tweaks and modifications to make it awesomer for gamers on mobile devices.
In Dumble you take control of a lowly wizard that mysteriously finds himself in an open field. You’re at a total loss as to why you’re here but you quickly decide to pick up your magic wand and it becomes clear that your adventure is about to begin.
Dumble stands out from other games out there thanks to it’s unique spell combination system that allows you to mix various elements together to create a wide variety of spells that will help to dispatch your foes and also to help you stay alive for longer. This world is filled with dangers and several huge boss battles, so learning the best combinations to use in each situation is an absolute necessity. Best of all Dumble takes place is a wonderfully created 8-bit world that is among the best on Android. Dumble is yet another game that I highly recommend giving a download.
I Am Level from Smiling Bag
I Am Level is one of my absolute favorite games available for Android devices. It sports some of the most impressive (and most awesome) retro stylings out there, but more importantly it is just one hell of a fun game! Broken down I Am Level is most easily described as a platformer that takes place in a world filled with pinball elements like bumpers, springs, and launchers. Your goal is to get your ball character through each of the game’s many stages while collecting all of the stars you come across. It’s essentially what you’d expect in a platforming game but the unique pinball elements and fun tilt controls really make I Am Level stand out as something truly unique.
All around I Am Level is a solid package that is a real joy to play. The unique tilt controls, the fun level design, and the brilliant retro design really make I Am Level stand out as one of the best games you’ll come across on Android Devices.
Mazes & Monsters from Monster Robot Studios
While Steam Punks may have been Monster Robot Studios more well known game released this year, their gorgeous and enthralling action rpg Mazes & Monsters went criminally under appreciated for the most part. This tongue in cheek ode to classic action adventure titles like The Legend Of Zelda utilized amazing artwork and smart gameplay to create an ambitious new experience that is not to be missed. If, like me, you think A Link To The Past is the greatest game of all time, you owe it to yourself to check out Mazes & Monsters.
Naughty Bricks from Puck Loves Games
Naughty Bricks is a cheeky physics-puzzler from an awesome one-man indie developer out of Australia called Puck Loves Games. His creation is all about a once peaceful solar system has recently come under attack by a relentless army of naughty naughty bricks! These bricks are so naughty that they’ve already decimated the moon and they’ve set their next target as the EARTH!
In Naughty Bricks you’ll be using the game’s clever physics system to bounce yourself off of chunks of the moon, slingshot yourself around black holes, and even rewind time itself in your attempt to save Earth from an untimely demise. The physics gameplay is surprisingly a lot of fun and it’s something you shouldn’t miss out on! Download Naughty Bricks today!
Radium from Lukas Jaeckel
Radium is a game that really surprised me. It had a low number of total downloads, but it’s promise of a unique gameplay style got me intrigued to check it out – and I’m sure glad that I did. Radium has a great minimalistic style to it that simply looks awesome, but where it really shines is in its unique gameplay formula which has you pushing an orb through curvy and hazard filled stages by pressing on the left or right side of the screen to push or pull your orb in that direction and pressing both sides to raise the orb upwards. Sure this might sound simple enough but as the levels start to increase in difficulty more elements and obstacles are added in that will really challenge your skills. Radium is definitely one of the best indie games released this year and it’s certainly one you don’t want to miss out on.
RGB Warped from Willem Rosenthal
Games that feature retro-inspired graphics and gameplay are often the ones that really grab my attention. Because of this I was instantly drawn towards RGB Warped; a psychedelic 80’s arcade throwback that features some of the greatest retro graphics I have ever seen!
Everything in RGB Warped simply oozes with 80’s arcade goodness. Just take a look at the screenshots below, or better yet check out the game’s trailer to see what the game is all about. RGB Warped does a great job of recreating the feel of playing an old arcade game through its accurate recreation of the classic colours, the game design, the sound effects, and of course the bizarre art style that the era was known for. If you’re looking for a fun arcade game experience on Android you shouldn’t look any further than RGB Warped. Start playing it and you’ll feel like you’re right back in an arcade in the 80’s.
Sheared from Possible Whale
Sheared is an unbelievably addictive game that I never really expected myself to enjoy nearly as much as I do. The concept of the game is that you must shear the wool off as many sheep as you can in order to make different clothing items like mittens, socks, and scarves. It just doesn’t sound like the kind of game I’d get hooked on, but when you realize that the game plays like a mix of a space-shooter, an endless runner, and a crafting game you’ll be hooked in no time too!
In Sheared you control a blade-shooting shearing device that is used to sheer the wool off the heard of sheep that is always running towards you. These sheep come in a variety of different colors, and the color of wool they drop determines what items you can craft in the game’s marketplace. These items each require a set amount of different wool colors in order to be crafted, but once you craft it you’ll be able to sell it for Eweros – the game’s currency. These Eweros can then be used to upgrade your shearing device in a variety of ways such as giving it an extended life bar, being able to shoot through more sheep at a time, or even multiplying the amount of wool you get from each sheep. The upgrades you purchase really make a huge difference to the gameplay which means players will want to keep upgrading their shearer until it’s as strong as it can be.
Sheared is an unbelievably addictive mash-up of genre’s that just works extremely well. It’s a free download on Google Play so don’t miss out on it! I give Sheared my highest recommendation.
Shuttle Quest 2000 from TACS Games
Shuttle Quest 2000 is a retro themed hybrid of the RPG and shooter genres that harkens back to the golden days of mobile gaming when the Gameboy was king. This epic space opera tells the tail of a bitter intergalactic war wrought by an evil alien general named Xzarod that utterly destroys an elite space fighting force save for one lone hero who manages to flee the carnage in an experimental ship known only as Battle Shuttle. Battered and bruised, but not defeated, players take on the role of this lone hero as he travels the galaxy fighting General Xzarod’s forces and earning credits in order to trick out his ship with a mind-numbing array of different weapons and upgrades for the Battle Shuttle. When we reviewed Shuttle Quest 2000 we gave it a 4.1 out of 5 calling it nostalgic, engrossing, and addicting.
Soul Power from Ghost Time Games
Soul Power is unique platform-puzzler that actually started out as a Kickstarter Project just a few months back. The game was successfully funded, and not too long after that the game was released onto Google Play. Since its release Soul Power has received lots of stellar reviews, but unfortunately it hasn’t received nearly as many downloads as I would have expected.
In Soul Power you play as a ghost that is suffering from amnesia. You find yourself in the mysterious depths of the afterlife and you have no idea as to why you’re there. You’ll soon start to explore your new surroundings and come across many ghostly inhabitants that are also looking to get back their memories as well. So it’s up to you to dive into the hazard filled minds of these ghosts in hopes that you might just gain a bit more insight into your current predicament. In your ghostly form you’ll explore the depths of the beautifully designed afterlife as you make your way through a large number of difficult time challenge levels.
All around Soul Power is an addictive game with a unique storyline and fun gameplay. It’s only a dollar on Google Play and I highly recommend giving it a look. This is definitely one of the most intriguing titles of the year.
Space is Key from ChrisJeff Games
Space is Key is a game that started out its career as a hugely popular Flash game (with well over 30 million plays!) but thankfully it was ported onto Android earlier this year. This game’s concept is simple: tap the screen to make your block jump over any obstacles that lay between you and the opposite side of the screen. Simple, right? Well, no actually. It’s actually extremely difficult to do this successfully! Space is Key is all about timing your jumps with pinpoint accuracy and tapping the screen a fraction of a second too early or too late will more often than not lead to your death.
However, death is something you’ll have to come to accept in Space Is Key. You WILL die and you will die a LOT! In fact the games scoring system is based around the number of deaths that you rack up before finishing all of the game’s stages. Think about it like golf… you’re going for the lowest score possible. It’s a a unique scoring system, but it works extremely well with the gameplay that exists in the game.
Space is Key is a game that takes a simple gameplay concept and makes it unbelievably challenging… but in a good way! It does so with style too as the game sports a wicked minimalistic look and it’s soundtrack is just awesome! I highly recommend you give Space is Key a serious look. It is well worth its $0.99 price tag.
The Tribloos 2 from Bumpkin Brothers
The Bumpkin Brothers are an indie developer that have a real talent at creating extremely fun and very unique titles that are loved by the gamers that play them. However, for some reason unknown to myself it seems that their games just don’t see the number of downloads that they deserve. A prime example of this is with their unique time management game Tribloos 2. In this game you manage a team of small furry creatures called Tribloos that are trying to figure out the source of a mysterious storm that has hit their peaceful island. To get to the bottom of this mystery you’ll have to efficiently manage your little workers through the game’s 75 levels. This is done by gathering materials, building a wide variety of structures, and most importantly by strategically planning where to send each of your little Tribloos. The gameplay in Tribloos 2 is easy to get a handle on, but trust me – it’s a hard game to put down. Fans of strategy games really need to give the Tribloos 2 a serious look.
When Ian Fell In The Machine from Bumpkin Brothers
I’m pretty sure that almost every mobile gamer has tried a “falldown” game at some point in their life. When Ian Fell Into The Machine is in theory a falldown game, but in all honesty I prefer to call it a platformer that uses the classic falldown control scheme. Using accurate tilt contols you roll around Ian, a disembodied head that has been lured into a deadly machine by the promise of a delicious golden sausage. Well, it turns out that the sausage was a lie after all and you now find yourself fighting to survive as you delve into the machines depths while avoiding deadly obstacles like spinning saw blades of death! You’ll have to plan your descent carefully as one wrong move will get you starting the level all over again. Collect gold and silver coins that can be used for upgrading Ian in the in-game store.
When Ian Fell In The Machine was without a doubt one of the most addictive and one of the most unique indie games that was released this year. I highly recommend grabbing this game right now. You wont be disappointed.
Wizardous from Broken Crayon Games
A retro style side scroller in the tradition of NES style platformers, Wizardous is a simple yet devilishly challenging throwback that remembers everything that made old school gaming great. Tight gameplay combined with charming chiptune aesthetics gives Wizardous a unique personality, one that could just as easily be mistaken for a classic title from the golden age of gaming. As a master wizard that’s been locked away in his own mystical castle, it’s up to players to run, jump, and shoot their way through a seemingly never ending supply of monsters and dungeons. Wizardous is a hyper addictive mashup of Castlevania and Super Mario Bros. that any retro enthusiast will love.
This concludes our picks for the top 20 most underrated indie Android games of 2013. Stay tuned to SGD in 2014 as we continue to provide you with the best indie Android gaming news, reviews, and more.