Mobile Gaming Roundup #6 - Adult Swim Special!Platforms: Android
Unless you had a cable box back in its heyday of the late noughties and happened across it late at night while searching for a re-run of the A-Team, you may not be aware of bonkers television network Adult Swim, purveyors of absurdist animated programming for young adults, guaranteed to make you laugh at least as many times as you question reality. Shows like Aqua Team Hunger Force, Sealab 2021, The Venture Bros and more have achieved cult followings, but the network has branched out of late into the world of games, partnering with various developers to bring to life ever more deranged visions. Many of them are available to play on their website, but for a few pence you can enjoy them anytime anywhere on your mobile. Here are just a few!
Probably the simplest game on offer, but possibly the purest at conveying the irrepressible lunacy that ‘the swim’ embodies. An endless runner in the style of Canabalt et al, you must guide a resplendently shiny mythical equine across the rolling hills, with Erasure looping in the background. That’s it, but it’s a glorious experience while it lasts. Be the unicorn! Fly free! I swear if you’re not singing that song to yourself days later then you have a heart of stone.
If you’re diggin’ the gameplay but your tastes lie on the darker side of the musical spectrum, you may want to try the Heavy Metal edition, or for seasonal galloping joy, try the Christmas edition.
A cross between Jenga, Columns and an exceptionally weird cheese dream, this against-the-clock puzzler is a sequel to its non-super predecessor, but is essentially the same game with better graphics and more bells and whistles. Condos drop from the sky of various colours to form a tower block. Individual storeys can be cast aside to be devoured by garish monsters standing either side of the tower. They like to be fed condos the same colour as them, and get mad when fed yukky other colours, or not fed at all; what pleases them most though is matching three condos of their colour. This grants considerable points and upgrades the condo to a bronze-level; the process can be repeated to achieve silver, gold, and even diamond-level dwellings. These higher-grade floors can be bequeathed to the monsters to activate their special powers, which help you in various ways.
Eventually and unavoidably the clock will tick down to zero and inevitably summon Helga the opera singer to demolish your property with her booming, mocking voice, though not before spinning the wheel of fortune to determine your bonus, generally coins or more time. Coins can be used to purchase various boosts or upgrades which are valid for one play, and as your advancement in the game is dependent on reaching certain sets of goals, Jetpack Joyride style, this leads nicely into some tactical decisions as to which power-ups will aid you most. Negatively impacting blocks can also fall, like bomb blocks which shake the stability of your tower, and acid blocks which eat away at lower floors, but these can also be disposed of by matching for big bonuses. Throw in the endearingly OTT announcers and aesthetic and you’ve got a recipe for some exceedingly bonkers fun.
Relationships can be tough to quantify sometimes. What exactly endears one person to another? Luckily adult swim are here to set matters straight for us. Girls love robots, but dislike nerds. Nerds like girls and robots, but dislike their own company. Everyone likes pie, except robots who are unable to fathom their tastiness. It’s kind of a minefield (sometimes literally).
Girls Like Robots is a grid-based logic puzzle where you place tiles representing the various faction on a board in such a way as to minimise their annoyance. We learn the intricacies of their feelings toward each other through the narrative framework of a mid-western school, at least in the beginning (later escapades involve picnics by volcanoes and a trip to Space Parliament).
If this was all there was to the game, it could start to become dull, but just when you think you’ve got a handle on a certain behaviour, the game introduces a new one or flips one on its head. An undo button is available, and you’ll be making heavy use of it unless you’re the sort who can keep a myriad of different conflicting rules clear in your mind. Fortunately, you can remind yourself of the rules with a quick tap of any tile. The level explanations and interstitials are packed with the dry self-aware humour the ‘swim are renowned for, and the sheer variety of puzzles mean there’s always an excuse to revisit them to refine and perfect your solution. The whole journey is accompanied by a collection of square-dancin’ jams from the Peacemeal String Band. It’ll tax your brain and warm your heart in equal measure.
The latest offering from the adult swim stable, this 8-bit style action game continues the studio’s penchant for gripping gameplay and nonsensical reasoning. Delicious freshly-made hot dogs rain down from the heavens, and must be balanced on the heads of the passing pedestrians, some of whom are happier than others about the arrangement.
Handle with care though - as per the three-second rule, any fallen franks left too long on the floor are no longer fit for consumption, five buns in the bin and you fail! Be on the lookout for hipsters who you can rob for an extra dog, and police officers who will shoot your poor sausages with impunity! Each level is a new city where you can ply your strange trade to a jaunty chiptune soundtrack.