It’s been a while since a Best of the Week graced the pages of Hardcore Droid. You see, we lost the intern who handled it for us sometime back and then, sadly, kind of lost track of our Best of the Week lists. But it’s a vital list, especially for those of us who go in for this sort of thing; and, because we are Hardcore Droid, it’s essential that we cite those games that at least come close to getting hardcore gaming right. This mission of ours is also the reason that we seek out 5 games on the Play Store’s new lists that we believe are most likely to please hardcore gamers. Still, they may not all be core games at the end of the day. This is mobile gaming after all. However, they are all, as far as we can tell, worthy gaming experiences.
Submitted for your approval this week we have a Pokemon-clone, two seriously fine JRPGs, one a rustic traditional, the other weird as hell but well put together and fun. This week’s Best of the Week also features a classic and storied board game and a AAA action title featuring the mobile gaming character du jour: Mr. Stick Figure (hint: His name is not really Mr. Stick Figure). And while you may disapprove of Sticky’s plucky attitude and refusal to just go away, we are sure that the order of the day is acceptance. Mid-summer is creeping up on us after all, and whether we are aware of it or not it is the time of the season when many of us look to loose ourselves in a little midsummer night’s pleasure. And If I’m right of that account, then you’re in luck as any one of these suckahs is sure to do the trick.
Splendor is the official digital adaptation of the popular, multi-award winning board game. In it, you play a Renaissance-era jewel merchant, who, through crafty dealings and smart resource management, attempts to transform himself into the ultimate jewel merchant.
On the downside, the game features only a solo and a 2 to 4 player pass-and-play mode; and utterly lacks online multiplayer and LAN support. Being horrible Philistines, we had never played the board game before we took this new digital version for a test run. And yet, in spite of this, we found this new app version to be a pretty and thoroughly engaging gaming experience, especially the pass and play mode, which makes for an especially amusing group time–killer. So if you at all expect to find yourself traveling with a group this summer, then this one has your name on it.
4. Monster RPG 2
While its circa 8 bit JRPG trappings are a sure step backwards from the likes of modern mobile JRPGs like the Chaos Rings’ games and Final Fnatasy IV, Monster RPG 2 is a smart and satisfying JRPG . MR2’s stripped down sprite-based graphics will not going to win any prizes anytime soon, yet overall, the game’s vibrant aesthetic hits the JRPG nail directly on the head. Likewise the story and gameplay are at once pedestrian and unique in that, for a microdev-rendered JRPG, the entire package is singularly well done.
3. Fearless RPG
As innovative as Monster RPG 2 is staid, Fearless RPG stays true to its namesake, offering players a compact JRPG adventure with unique art direction and gameplay elements, as well as a story rife with attitude. While we found Fearless RPG’s combat to be exciting and challenging, winning them was too often predicated upon players performing varieties of touch-control gestures too often with intensely precise timing. While overall we found this system unique and engaging, it will likely prove a flaw to those who prefer their RPG combat to be more cerebral than twitch-centered.
In EvoCreo, a cool little Kickstarter-child, Pokemon-clone, you play an Evoker, who, like good ole Ash Ketchum and company, romps around EvoCreo’s JRPG-styled world, battling, capturing and evoking Creo. Creo are of course cute, little, often furry, fantasy creatures with amazing powers. For what it is, EvoCreo is pretty damn good; that is, as Pokemon-clones go, it is a clear cut above the rest. EvoCreo’s whole package: its story, monsters, and gameworld are amusing and generally well-realized. To top the package off, the title’s combat is nuanced enough to be compelling. Our initial impressions during our brief playthrough, in fact, were wholly positive. We liked the game’s indie JRPG aesthetic, its open world gameplay and the wealth (EvoCreo features over 130 Creos) of fun, well-designed Creo creatures that players can find, use and develop within the context of EvoCreo’s open world.
1. League of Stickman
League of Stickman begs the question: Can a title built around a player-controlled stick figure make for good game?
The answer is a resounding yes.
League of Stickman is not only an exciting action game with hairpin-tight controls and beautiful visuals, it is also one of the most amusing action games to crop up on the Play Store in a while. Certainly the winning combination of elements that pushed Stickman to the top of Google’s Top New Paid food chain are the reason that League of Stickman is Hardcore Droid’s Best Android Game of the Week (for the week of 7-19). It’s pretty. It’s funny and it well worth the .99 cents asking price. Our hardcore review should arrive any day now.