The top 10 best Kongregate Arcade games for your Android phone

Flash-only fun for everyone

The top 10 best Kongregate Arcade games for your Android phone

Steve Jobs’s almost pathological aversion to the battery-draining charms of Flash has given Android one killer advantage over iOS - quality free games.

Mega Flash game portal Kongregate, which – after a tricky start - has its own App on the Market, is leading the charge to bring this wealth of free content to smartphones.

Boasting an ever-increasing roster of 350 mobile-optimised games, plus achievement badges to earn and a thriving global community, the real challenge is mining the service for genuine gaming gems.

Any would-be explorer needs the following basic kit: an Android 2.2 device (ideally with a 1GHz processor in the backpack), a wi-fi connection to preserve your precious 3G minutes, and a power cable for regular battery juicing.

Saddled with all the above, plus a pickaxe hand-forged in Droidcraft, Pocket Gamer is happy to be your guide. Follow us into Kongregate’s cave as we unearth the top ten Flash-iest finds.

Vector Runner

Retro futuristic visuals, a smooth-as-silk frame-rate and a pounding dance soundtrack make Vector Runner a true handheld stunner.

Your vulnerable craft hurtles relentlessly forward with increasingly breakneck momentum, nipping between randomly placed obstacles with quick taps to the left or right hand sides of the screen.

The longer and faster your journey before you wipe out, the higher you’ll place on the fiercely contested leader boards.

There are also speed boosts and extra shields to collect, adding a neat risk-versus-reward mechanic to the breakneck gameplay.

G-Switch Mobile

A perpetual race against time with a neat gravity-swapping twist, G-Switch Mobile is a platformer that plays like a forgotten 8-bit treasure.

In a dystopian future, you help a runner stay ahead of the deadly left side of the screen by switching gravity with precisely-timed screen taps. Rote-learning each obstacle is the key to planning a lightening route between checkpoints.

Addictiveness distilled to near perfection, it might be a Canabalt clone but G-Switch Mobile’s rewarding sense of progression gives it a fresh identity.

Vector Conflict

Billed as “Battlezone meets Beachhead”, Vector Conflict’s core gameplay is as old as the hills (or this reviewer, to be honest).

Protecting human survivors from a turret mounted above their bunker, it’s your job to rain machine gun and rocket death upon waves of incoming enemy vessels. Firing is controlled by sliding a digit across the screen and tapping to shoot rockets.

The action starts slow but ramps up when flying enemies and other wire-frame nasties show up, so stock up on nukes, EMPs, and other upgrades between missions to help keep them at bay.

Screw the Nut

Screw the Nut may be just another physics puzzler, but it’s so slickly produced that playing it for free seems like piracy.

You have to roll a nut towards a welcoming screw (not a cocktail name, as yet), shifting boxes, rollers and other obstacles to create a path.

Relying on quick thinking and a fair bit of trial and error, the game pulls players in with its doodle-on-graph paper visuals and screws them in place with its smart puzzle design.

Talesworth Adventure Ep 1

A dungeon adventure with a logic puzzle hook, Talesworth Adventure tasks you with guiding the eponymous explorer by using meticulously placed gates and bags of tempting loot to lead him to each level exit.

Talesworth’s stubborn refusal to do anything but walk either right or left means each level requires meticulous forward planning.

When you’ve tapped everything into place, you hesitantly press ‘Go’ and watch your best laid plans fall down a mine-hole.

Gem Grab Mobile

With an eerie atmosphere and sharp cave-world graphics, Gem Grab Mobile deserves to be a poster-child for the Kongregate mobile service.

This sensory opulence is married with a neat series of physics challenges, as you drag a large gem across levels strewn with obstinately placed blocks and elegant locked door puzzles.

Chubby fingers might occasionally block the action (not a problem for PC gamers with a mouse, obviously) but this is still a stand-out Android puzzler.

Slash Boom

Simplicity is the key here, along with a dash of smartphone sensation Slice It!'s mobile magic.

Each of the 24 stages presents you with an angular white shape that you can cut twice (by swiping across the screen) before setting off a tactically-placed bomb. Get it right and enough of the shape will fly off screen to allow you to progress.

Trial and error gameplay to a soothing muzak soundtrack, Slash Boom is a brief but satisfying diversion.

The Several Journeys of Reemus (Chapters 1-3)

Kongregate’s Reemus adventures are currently the closest you will get to PC Flash sensation Samorost on Android.

Each chapter - starring the titular hero and his purple, hint-spouting buddy Liam - revolves around escaping a room by working out the precise sequence to tap on reactive objects, like fussy giant tongues which only lap metal poles if they’re first covered with fruit juice (yes, really).

Tricky, noggin-scratching weirdness abounds, so don’t feel too bad about searching for a walkthrough.

Ink Ball

Another physics puzzler in the well-tapped vein of Crayon Physics and World of Goo, this game distinguishes itself with a visual design that’s both minimalist and achingly beautiful.

While you carefully place either static or bouncy ledges to guide droplets of ink into an empty pot, tendrils of ink splotches creep across yellowing parchment paper – all to the backing track of a zen meditation session.

Ink Ball’s controls can be fiddly on the touchscreen but this is still a chilled-out treat.

Billy’s Hill

Style is rarely enough to carry a game but the exaggerated, cartoony charms of Billy’s Hill will hook you longer than its repetitive gameplay.

A large yet loveable monster threatens to eat Billy's town unless he – flying a propeller-powered mini zeppelin tugged around with your finger – can collect enough fireflies to pollinate nearby fruit trees and sate the monster's appetite.

Time between meals soon narrows to ramp up the difficulty, so enjoy Billy's Hill’s cutesy thrills before you get to the hair pulling out stage.

That should be enough Kongregate goodness to keep you going but, if we’ve omitted your favourite, let other readers know in the comments below.
Paul Devlin
Paul Devlin
A newspaper reporter turned games journo, Paul's first ever console was an original white Game Boy (still in working order, albeit with a yellowing tinge and 30 second battery life). Now he writes about Android with a style positively dripping in Honeycomb, stuffed with Gingerbread and coated with Froyo