Arts & Reviews

Five Underrated Apps That Are Worth the Download

By Mike Massotto

Often times I’ve caught myself browsing deep into the Apple Store and Google Play Store searching for a decent game to play with no cost. At first glance, most games that you haven’t heard of are either Clash of Clan clones, sub par running games, or some kind of a puzzle game containing edible objects. But with many hours of deep exploration and the tedious time taken installing and uninstalling unsatisfactory apps, five games have caught my eye in recent weeks. The best part is that they are all free. Here are five underrated apps that are worth the download, each ranked out of five stars at the end of each description.

Shadow Fight 2 for iOS and Android

Fighting games are almost unheard of on mobile devices for many reasons. Typically, the sheer amount of button inputs needed cannot be properly executed on a touchscreen, but Shadow Fight 2’s  interface is smooth and the fighting techniques are realistic. The game follows the story of an undefeated warrior who, in an attempt to find a worthy battle, opens the gates to a demonic world. The realm he entered wasn’t meant for mortals, thus his physical form is reduced to nothing more than a shadow. This explains the in game art style, where everyone is a silhouette. As the game progresses, during gameplay, the Shadow’s gear must be upgraded with new weapons,  helmets, chestplates, projectiles and magic pieces to fight the local demon. Only by defeating the demon can the next act be unlocked. Shadow Fight 2 is free on iOS and Android and is overall an innovative atmospheric fighting game. 4/5 stars

Pixel Dungeon Soft for Android

Pixel Dungeon Soft is pretty self-explanatory. Pixel Dungeon Soft is a bird’s eye view exploration game where the protagonist belongs to one of four classes; a warrior, mage, rogue, or huntress (the last of which is unlocked later). Pixel Dungeon drops you into a randomly generated maze, where each floor becomes more dangerous and contains better prizes. The environment is an intriguing and curiosity-triggering medieval fantasy that takes place deep underground far from the light of day. The protagonist must traverse the dungeon floors and defeat imposing bosses while obtaining new gear. But what does the “Soft” part in Pixel Dungeon Soft for? Soft is just a fancy way of saying easy mode. The original Pixel Dungeon is much more difficult, as it doesn’t allow you to save your progress when your avatar dies.  Pixel Dungeon Soft fixed this problem by allowing you to save your game, so when you die you can easily reload the exact game to the last time you saved your progress. If this seems like it is too easy for you, there are dozens of different Pixel Dungeons, all made by dedicated fans who want to add something new to the series. The most innovative of these fan mods is Your Pixel Dungeon, which allows you to create your own dungeon, along with playing the game normally. Pixel Dungeon Soft, along with all of its modded forms are available on the Google Play Store. Alternatively, you can download the original Pixel Dungeon on the PC video game interface Steam. 3/5 stars

Loop for iOS and Android Only

Loop, said out loud as Infinite Loop, is a hyper simplistic mind-boggling puzzle game about lines and loops. The objective of the game, which isn’t explained when you download it, is to leave no loose ends. This doesn’t mean everything has to be connected to each other, but there can’t be a open-ended line or a curve just sitting there without something completing it. The first two levels are outrageously simple, and by completing puzzle #1 you will see that it is an infinite loop and that puzzle #2 is essentially two circles separated by a blank space. The levels become progressively more difficult to the point where you have geometrical madness that sprawls across your entire screen, tempting you to solve the wordless riddle. As far as I have investigated, there are an endless amount of levels, as some of my friends who I recommended the game to effortlessly reached level 500 and there seems to be no end in sight. At the end of every level, the game allows you to save the solution of the puzzle, and with good reason, as the designs, most notably the symmetrical ones, are appealing to one’s eye. Loop is most interesting puzzle game I’ve seen so far, and literally has endless fun and is very addicting. 4/5 stars

Stylish Sprint for iOS and Android

Early on in this article I mentioned sub-par running games, but Stylish Spring is probably the best running game on the Apple Store next to Subway Surfers or Temple Run. Stylish Sprint is an adorable Japanese 2D running and platforming game with a huge emphasis on character customization. Stylish Sprint follows your three dimensional stick figure (which looks like a taller, skinnier form of Mr. Game and Watch, most notably known from the video game Super Smash Bros.) as you jump, double jump, fly, and punch your way through powerups, coins, and barricades. As you complete more missions and receive more coins, you can buy eye-popping and cartoony costume pieces that increase or lower your stats, hence the “Stylish” in Stylish Sprint”. The only downside to this game is that it hasn’t been updated in a few years, so the graphics seem a little poorer in quality than the rest of the apps on this list. Stylish Sprint is available on iOS and Android. 3/5 stars

Star Wars: Galactic Defense for iOS and Android

With the upcoming movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens coming to theaters December 18th, I couldn’t resist the urge to at least try and find a good game from my favorite galaxy from far, far away. Star Wars Galactic Defense is probably my favorite tower defense game so far, and not just because of the franchise it’s from. What sets Star Wars Galactic Defense apart from other tower defense games is the use of the champion. A champion is an extremely powerful unit that can move freely on the battlefield and has special attacks. You can have up to three champions fighting at once and all the champions consist of characters from various Star Wars media. Both the light side of the force and the dark side of the force have levels dedicated to them. There are six planets to play on, each with twenty levels for each faction. That is 120 levels, which can all be played on five different difficulties. Star Wars Galactic Defense is one of the more strategic and entertaining tower defense games, despite its odd choice of art style. Star Wars Galactic Defense is downloadable on iOS and Android. 4/5 stars

This handful of apps are all very good quality games, yet lack the popularity they deserve. They come from all genres of the Apple and Google Play store and will be able to supply you with many months of fun when you’re on the go – all at no cost. Next time you’re on the app store, try finding some of your own hidden gems for mobile gaming.