Just when you think the franchise is getting stale, Rovio comes out and drops another gem with Angry Birds Star Wars II. The bird-slinging hasn't evolved much, but with the additional characters pulled straight from the "Star Wars" prequel series, there is plenty of newness to explore yet. Heroes like the young Obi-Wan, Padme, and Anakin make appearances, as do dark-side characters like General Grievous, Count Dooku, and my personal favorite Darth Maul.
A sequel to the original hit Kingdom Rush, Kingdom Rush Frontiers shoots to the top of the tower-defense genre on the Android platform. With the same addictive gameplay as the original, but with tons of new towers, enemies, power-ups, and skill trees, it's no wonder this fan favorite earned itself an Editors' Choice Award. In particular, what I love about this sequel is its army of new heroes, which includes unique characters like a wizard, rock monster, and dragon.
Anomaly Warzone Earth flips the typical tower defense script by putting you in the shoes of the invading force that walks the path. Your job is to plan an efficient route, attack the defending turrets, and keep your units healthy along the way. This game is challenging and fun at the same time.
Flick Golf Extreme is not your typical golf game. In fact, it simplifies the sport by giving you just one shot to make it as close to the hole as possible. A hole in one is ideal, but otherwise, the hole is surrounded by scoring rings that award more points for closer shots -- kind of like darts. What makes Flick Golf even more fun is that it takes the game off of your typical grassy links and onto strange environments like aircraft carriers and oil rigs.
One of the best sports games on mobile devices, FIFA 14 comes free to Android with tons of additions and even more-refined controls than the 2013 version of the game. In all, FIFA 14 lets you choose from 600 licensed teams, 16,000 players, 33 leagues, and 34 different stadiums. With upgraded game play and a new freemium model that shouldn't get under your skin, this standout soccer title definitely deserves its Editors' Choice Award.
Admittedly, there are many people out there who just don't get the point of this mega-popular building, mining, and survival game. But it is a fun and addictive classic, nonetheless. Just open it up, and go to town creating your home base, crafting tools, and mining the depths. But be sure to watch out for monsters when traveling at night.
Well worth its relatively steep price of $6.99, Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour is perhaps the best first-person shooter for the touch screen. Sure, it doesn't offer anything new or surprising gameplay-wise, but that doesn't mean it's any less addictive. This latest installment from Gameloft's incredibly popular Modern Combat franchise takes the fighting to countries around the world and even lets you try your hand as the villain.
This game may not have the best graphics or tightest gameplay on this list, but it doesn't matter because it is exceptionally fun. Whether you're a fan of the original Contra game (arcade or NES) or you're just getting around to the series now, Contra: Evolution should provide you a good dose of platform-jumping, bullet-spraying action. Faithful to the original, this game brings the same weapons power-ups, enemies, and frustrating levels that you remember from over a decade ago.
As its name suggests, Real Racing 3 delivers an impeccably realistic driving experience -- for a touch-based mobile game, that is. It features real-world cars, offers smooth controls, and obviously shows off some sweet graphics. But be aware that this game, while free to download, does employ a freemium model, which charges you real-world cash for some in-game upgrades.
Some might cry foul when I say that I prefer Ruzzle to Scramble With Friends, and I respect that. But the fact is that I am a huge fan of the original (analog) version of Boggle, and this is much closer to it than Zynga's offering. There are no power-ups or coins. It's just you, a four-by-four board of letters, and that menacing 2-minute timer -- just the way it was meant to be.
Ski Safari is an escape game that has you hitting the powdery slopes to outrun a fast-approaching avalanche. Like the old SkiFree game on Windows, your game will eventually end; it's just a matter of how far you get before it does. As you whoosh your way down the mountain, you need to jump over boulders, ski through cabins, perform flips, and hitch rides on curiously helpful animals. There are even wild yetis that come out and give piggyback rides (unwillingly).
Asphalt 8 throws the realistic physics out the window in favor of more fast-paced, car-jumping action. This newest addition to Gameloft's popular racing series adds a new element that lets you get air and perform tricks. With 47 cars, including unlockable luxury vehicles like the Bugatti Veyron and Lamborghini Veneno, Asphalt 8 will keep you coming back to earn more in-app currency for purchases. Of course, if you find yourself getting a little impatient with game, you can always spend real money to speed up the process.
With dynamic wave physics, different game types, and tons of realistic tracks, Riptide GP2 is absolutely the best watercraft racing game on Android. Even better than the original, this sequel takes you through unique environments that have you racing through frozen tracks and waterfalls. But Riptide GP2 isn't just about getting to the finish line first. As you win races and earn in-game money, you can buy complex tricks like handstands and fancy spin moves.
As creepy puzzle games go, The Room is close to the top of my list. It features beautiful, 3D steampunk-style graphics, realistic sounds, and an engrossing storyline that will keep you occupied for hours. The idea of the game is to open a series of puzzling boxes, each with its own set of hidden clues for you to consider. As you play, you might notice small markings on a box, secret compartments, hidden keys, invisible dials, and more. The Room strikes the right balance between challenging and fun.
Gameloft's latest release is one of the best hack-and-slash RPG games on the market. Set in a medieval fantasy world, the game lets you choose from four character classes as you fight your way through hordes of demons. With unique attacks and addicting skill trees, this game has tons of replay value. The bad thing, though, is its freemium model that asks you to pay up or wait hours for items to replenish. As you can imagine, this requires a lot of patience (or money). That said, if you don't mind in-app purchases being dangled in front of your face, then Dungeon Hunter is absolutely worth a download.