Jun 6, 2012

[Games] Casual Arcade-Style Games by Game Circus (Android)

My continued explorations of the Google Play Store for interesting Android apps does lead me into weird directions. Case in point - as much as I enjoy challenging, though-provoking games, there are those times in the day when your brain just refuses to function and you can't imagine surviving another Tower Defense style romp.

So I ended up with a bunch of these free old school arcade games by a company called Game Circus that turned out to be surprisingly entertaining despite their simplicity. They take advantage of the feature of a larger screen tablet fairly well (in contrast to a mobile phone) and they do provide for quick entertainment in a pitch with little commitment. Almost all of them rely on time-delayed regeneration of energy, balls or whatever else drives the game, thus you are eventually forced to stop.

Here are a few games of particular interest:

My very first Game Circus game was Coin Dozer, based on your classic game where you drop coins into a machine filled with more coins in the hopes that the placement of said coin will force more coins to be pushed over the edge and thus become yours. I know that seems like a lousy description, but when you think about it, that's really how the game works.

To make the game a bit more interesting, you also get to collect a variety of prizes that are dropped onto the rest of the coins - assuming you get them all the way to your safe zone. And there are special power-up coins that trigger bonuses like giant coins, a rain of many coins and walls that block up the side gutters that love to steal your prizes.

Coins generate automatically over time so you'll always be able to go back to this game after a few hours of living in the real world. A nice quick pick-me-up and perfectly suited for the casual gaming market.

There is also a variant known as Cookie Dozer, which naturally features cookies instead of coins. And the game has seasonal variants as well, assuming you need that sort of a thing.

Next up is Prize Claw, which is quite literally the mobile app version of your classic claw game (locally better known as "UFO Catcher" or something). The objective remains the same - just guide your little robotic arm to your desired "prize" hit the button and hope that it captures it well enough.

Unlike the actual arcade game, you are not limited to a single horizontal and a single vertical maneuver. You can move your robot arm about freely and thus condition yourself to effectively align your claw based on on the object's orientation.

What does act as your limiting factor is how much energy the machine has, which again can regenerate for free over time or you can purchase energy via game currency coins.

I felt removing the single move limitation diminished the game to some extent, but it's still a decent implementation of a rather iconic arcade machine.

Last up is a somewhat strange game known as Paplinko, that essentially runs like a Pachinko machine, albeit with rather cartoonish animations.

You can release a maximum of four balls at a time and every time they hit one of the pegs you get points. For added interest, many of the pegs can only survive a certain number of hits before they disappear and re-spawn elsewhere on the map. Later on special pegs that increase your score multiplier, count as 3 times the standard score, or those that split one ball into two.

At first the game is a lot of fun until they introduce these weird slime monsters that occupy some of the cups. One cuts your score in half, which is just crazy. The other drops your score multiplier back to the default, which isn't too bad. Other quirks include prizes to collect and special actions like bonus points or a rain of multiple balls that are immune to the negative effects of the slime monsters.

And like the other games, the balls regenerate over time.

They're all free games on the Google Play Store so if you're looking for quick pick-me-ups that you can play very quickly between other activities, some of these games may work for you. They're generally ad-supported with in-game currency bonuses, but you can survive without paying for anything really.

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  1. Ooh, maybe I should look for a pinball game...

  2. did you figure out what the two "powers"
    - lock in minimum score
    - lock in minimum
    I see the count down timer but I didn't notice any real difference.

  3. I can't say that I have - I lost interest in the game over time.

  4. Lock in minimum score will protect your current total, even if a ball lands in green slime. the other works similarly for purple slime.