The Android Marketplace is catching up to Apple's iTunes Store when it comes to the sheer number of games available, making it increasingly tough to work out what's worth a download. GameSpot is here to help, though, with a new, regular roundup of the best titles we've been playing on our Android phones and tablets. So what's piqued our interest this week?
It's hard to stand out when it comes to the crowded genre of puzzle games on mobile devices, but Refraction manages to shine, thanks to its interesting light-based mechanics. The goal in each level is simple: Guide a beam of colored light (or several) to its destination using a combination of mirrors and prisms. Not only will you have to think about how to best guide the light beam around obstacles, but you'll also have to blend them in many cases. You may be presented with a blue and red light, for example, but the goal point needs a purple beam for you to finish the level. What do you do? Combine them with a prism, of course, but as with all good puzzle games, things don't stay simple for long.
Imagine a 3D Doodle Jump that goes in reverse and is much, much bloodier, and you're some way toward understanding Falling Fred. In Falling Fred, you control a character (Fred, of course, but there are others to choose from) as he falls down a gigantic tube, using the phone/tablet's tilt function to move him around and avoid obstacles. Poor Fred can only take a certain amount of physical trauma and serious head injury, so the longer you can go without hitting too many objects, the longer he survives and the higher your score. It's all very silly, very bloody, and a lot of fun.
Another puzzle game makes it on this week's list, but it's a deserving inclusion, thanks to its simple yet mind-bending premise. In Doodle Fit, you're given several shapes, and you have to arrange them so that they all fit neatly into another shape. For example, you may be given two small squares and a long rectangle, and you have to figure out how to arrange them so they all fit inside a larger square. If you think that example's easy, it is, but the game gets a lot more complex. If you're great with your visual spatial thinking, then this is the puzzle game for you.
Grow is cute and vicious at the same time, which is a winning combination for a lot of things when you really think about it. In Grow, you play as a cute, round fish in a tank, surrounded by many other fish. Some are bigger and some are smaller, and your job in the game is to eat everyone else in your little aquatic world. The gameplay is quite simple: Eat the small fish and grow larger so you can eventually tackle the bigger fish. Tanks can be quite crowded, so some skill is involved in the early going of any stage, but you'll soon grow big enough to chomp down on everyone that gets in your way.
GameSpot's weekly mobile games recommendation list aims to bring you a snapshot of what games the editorial team members around the globe are enjoying on their phones and tablets. For a more in-depth explanation of GameSpot's mobile games coverage policy, click here. And for even more mobile videos, check out our new show Appetite for Distraction.