Well, it's happened. Google has announced that paid apps are to be made available on the Android Market from next week.
Digging through the Market isn’t the easiest task, so we decided to take a look at a few games each week to point you in the direction of some entertaining apps to keep your Android ‘appy.
Here we go.
|Light Racer (Robert Green)
A similar game is doing pretty decent business over on the iPhone, but this Tron-inspired light cycle game plays great using the G1’s trackball, and packs in all the screaming-engine sound effects to add real tension to the race.
You can play against either one or two CPU controlled opponents, which seem to be quick witted enough to play chicken with you and graze the edges of the play area like a true agent of Sark.
Until the inevitable Tr2n licenses kick in, Light Racer is a great way to de-rez your Android.
|Path of a Warrior (Gamevil)
The Android version of Path of a Warrior maintains all the hack’n’slash, RPG adventuring that’s made it so popular on other formats - with the added benefit of being completely free.
Following exactly what’s going on isn’t the easiest task, often due to the sketchy Korean translation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t just blunder in with sword swinging and potions blasting and still have a rollicking good time.
Path of a Warrior is essentially a Diablo 2 clone, but one that’s tweaked to run beautifully on a mobile handset, so check this out quick in case Gamevil comes to its senses and starts charging for the game.
|Tetroid (Marc Melvin)
It’s not a games platform until it’s got Tetris, and so far Android is lacking in official tetromino support. Fortunately, it’s got Tetroid to take up the slack.
Really this is a raw, unadorned and outright clone, which we have absolutely no problem with (though we can think of one or two developers who might take issue when the Android money starts flowing).
Tetroid allows you to use the trackball (turn down the sensitivity and save yourself a few frayed nerves) or the accelerometer to veer your geometric pieces from side to side, and includes an option to switch out the next piece with an alternative - very handy.
The excellent classic music accompaniment makes this a very decent diversion while you wait for the real thing.
|Trap! (Matt Wachowski)
As they do with every new games platform, the classic ideas are gradually being introduced to the Android - in the case of Trap!, that’s essentially a simple take on Qix.
You’re required to segment off areas of the game field to obtain a supermajority of the available area. If one of the several bouncing balls touches the segmenting line while it’s still being drawn, however, you lose a life. Once a certain area of the screen has been successfully partitioned, it’s on to the next level.
Where Trap! really succeeds is in the huge number of statistics it gathers. You’ll constantly achieve new targets, such as largest area section in one line, most number of balls divided off or fastest completion of a level.
Entertaining and sweetly meditative.
|Labyrinth Lite (Illusion Labs)
Here’s one of the first games we’ve seen that’s apparently waiting in the wings for the Market to get going in full commercial swing. Before long, we’ll probably be ignoring Lite versions, but since everything’s free right now… what the hell.
Labyrinth is one of those popular accelerometer showcases that adapts the old ‘ball bearing in a wooden maze’ toy concept to the digital age. In many respects it shouldn’t be anything special, but the slickness of its execution makes it a surprisingly superb Android offering.
The accelerometer controls are wonderfully precise and allow you to calibrate them very accurately. The real gem is the use of the handset’s vibrate function, which adds the subtlest knock of marble on wood when the ball hits the edge or disappears down a hole.
The full version promises over 800 mazes as well as the option to fashion your own. It’s a very simple offering, but one that’s equally refined and infinitely playable. Highly recommended.