Pokemon Go (Free)
Pokemon Go has taken 2016 by storm with an AR (augmented reality) application that has proven the viability of the technology and the potential it has for future Android games. Although the game has suffered a huge drop in its user base since its explosive launch, with new Pokemon Go updates and features being released regularly, 2017 could see a resurgence for the game’s dwindling popularity. The mobile game itself sees you take on the role of newly minted Pokemon trainer with a mission to capture, train and battle your Pokemon in order to take over gyms.
Fallout Shelter (Free)
With the massive popularity of the franchise’s main launch for 2016, Fallout 4, the popularity of their mobile spinoff Fallout Shelter was a commercial cherry on the top of a highly profitable year for developers Bethesda. The game sees the player take up the role of Vault Tech Overseer, a position that affords the player unlimited freedom to construct and populate their ideal doomsday shelter. Although, gameplay is dynamic and entertaining, prolonged play will eventually require players to make in-app purchases to ensure progress.
Asphalt Xtreme Android Games (Free)
The Asphalt series by Gameloft was first introduced to the mobile gaming market on the Nokia N-Gage gaming phone (how’s that for a blast from the past) in 2004. Since then, the series has seen the release of 12 different titles with Asphalt Xtreme being the developer’s thirtieth variant of the Android game. This latest iteration is something new to the series and sees the traditional asphalt racing substituted for a variety of exciting off-road tracks. With premium graphics and fun gameplay with freeplay, campaign and online versus modes, Asphalt Xtreme is an unmissable title from 2016.
Astral Frontier ($4.99)
If you’re a fan of the classic Pokemon Android games of the 1990s, Astral Frontier will offer you everything that made those classic titles great and more. The game offers retro Pokemon-clone environment exploration and battle mechanics all of which are packaged in the storyline-heavy Astral Frontier universe. Although there are exciting battle modes, gameplay is heavily slowed by dialogue and, as a result, players looking for the pacing of a FPS should probably avoid this one.
Batman – The Telltale Series ($4.99 per episode)
Having the potential to be one of the best Android games of the year, Batman – The Telltale Series disappointed with several bug issues throughout the initial launch phase and with its steep price of $4.99 an episode with a total of 5 episode on offer (with the potential of more to come). Despite the disappointment, the game took a fresh look at the Batman android game genre allowing players to not only play as the caped crusader but to take on the role of his playboy alter ego, Bruce Wayne.
Eisenhorn: Xenos ($5.99)
Based on the tabletop miniature universe of Warhammer 40,000, Eisenhorn: Xenos will see you take on the role of Gregor Eisenhorn, an Inquisitor who uses guns, swords and future-tech to keep the streets clear of bad guys. In addition to the game’s melee weapons and firearms, Eisenhorn is endowed with special powers that will assist in locating and eliminating targets. With decent graphics and a large explorable world, the $5.99 price tag should be an easy swallow for fans of genre and of the tabletop game itself.
Gear.Club is a Need for Speed clone with slight differences to the performance and aesthetic upgrade mechanics. However, the game’s most distinct feature is one that ensures more realistic mechanical limits to components within your racer. As a result, the Android game gives an experience more closely resembling that of real race management than the fantastical and unlimited speeds and performances offered in other Android games of this genre. The entry-level demo version is free to download but any defined play with require additional in game purchases.
Jade Empire: Special Edition ($9.99)
A classic Xbox game, Jade Empire has been officially ported to Android in its entirety by original developers Bioware. With over 40 hours of gameplay, the $9.99 cost is a bargain for this adventure epic. Although not the first port to Android, Jade Empire: Special Edition does offer a potential glimpse into the future with game developers repackaging their libraries of console and PC games for the mobile gaming market, a market that has exploded over the last 5 years.
PinOut is an endless runner game that makes use of classic pinball mechanics to propel play through bright neon-accented landscapes that offer an aesthetic reminiscent of Tron. Developed by the same firm that brought us Smash Hit, PinOut offers a free version with no advertising and an inexpensive paid version. The paid version includes additional features that add to the game but are by no means essential to progress. This is the perfect title to enjoy for a few minutes as you wait in the line at your favourite coffee joint.
The Trail (Free)
Created by Peter Molyneaux, The Trail sees you traveling to the new world and the birth of modern American civilization. Play begins with the trail itself but soon you will be required to create and maintain your own town while exploring new regions and trading for resources and items unavailable to you. Like many free Android games, Trail will offer a limited number of hours of play before progress steadily slows to a virtual halt without in-game purchases.