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Top 10 iPhone conversions we’d like to see on Android right now

A realistic reappraisal

Top 10 iPhone conversions we’d like to see on Android right now
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Gameloft’s recent batch of high-end iPhone to Android conversions was a sobering reminder of the difficulties Android developers face. While the exercise yielded some positive results, it also highlighted some significant issues that continue to hold Android back as a games platform.

Combined with the phenomenal growth of the platform, it’s led us to stop and reappraise the kind of iPhone game conversions we should really be hoping for in the near future.

While top end devices such as the Galaxy S and Desire have the grunt to run the more ambitious iPhone games, there's still a large quantity of mid to low range Android devices that we don’t think should be ignored or neglected in a hurry – especially if developers want to sell their games in any great quantity.

There’s also the fact that certain features, such as multi-touch, appear to have been poorly implemented in many of the major Android handsets so far. Even Google’s own Nexus One gets all confused when you lay more than one finger on it.

Topping that all off is the freshness factor – we’re not too pleased at the time it’s taking for some of these conversions to reach the Android Market.

With all that in mind we’ve formulated a list of our most wished-for conversions using the following parameters:

  • No games featuring virtual D-pads or heavy multi-touch controls – there simply aren’t enough decent Android multi-touch screens out there. Or rather, there are a few too many dodgy ones.
  • No game files above 20MB – until 2.2 is available for the vast majority of Android handsets (or the older models are sufficiently phased out) there continues to be the issue of limited storage space for apps. This cuts out an alarming number of top iPhone apps.
  • No hefty 3D graphics – while high-end Android devices are polygon-crunching monsters with dedicated GPUS, many mid to low end devices don’t run complex 3D games particularly well. In the interests of being all-inclusive, we’ll only include games that we feel could realistically run smoothly on a wide spread of Android devices.
  • No games from pre-2010 – sure, we’re happy to see older iPhone games finally making their way over to Android, but how about shortening the conversion process a little and giving Android owners something fresh to play, eh?
1000: Find ‘em All (Glu)

Glu’s quirky effort evidently riffs on Nintendo’s Pokemon, with a familiar action RPG world and an emphasis on collecting stuff. However, 1000: Find ‘em All has some fine ideas of its own.

Chief among them is a novel GPS system that allows you to collect certain items by going to real world locations. The shine was taken off this for many Apple gamers because the popular iPod touch doesn’t have GPS capabilities.

That wouldn’t be an issue with Android users, of course. Nor would the technical requirements, with 1000’s colourful world being a victory of fine 2D art style over 3D complexity.

1000: Find ‘em All iPhone review Denki Blocks (Denki)

We’d have been petitioning for Denki Blocks on Android even if there hadn’t been an accomplished iPhone conversion earlier this year.

It’s a brilliantly simple and colourful block-puzzler, but not of the fast paced match-three variety that has saturated the mobile market.

This is an altogether more sedate, cerebral affair, the goal being to stick blocks of the same colour together. Moving one block moves them all, so you have to utilise your environment and exercise a great deal of forethought to succeed.

Everyone knows that Android owners are an altogether cleverer breed (ahem), so we clearly deserve a Denki Blocks conversion.

Denki Blocks iPhone review Helsing’s Fire (Clickgamer)

There are so many generic (albeit excellent) match-three puzzlers out there that when a fresh puzzler comes along with new ideas, it stands out like a sore thumb. Helsing’s Fire is one such game.

Here you have to cast multiple fiends in the light of your holy lamp, before picking the correct potion to finish them off. It’s the inventive combinations of monsters that really makes this a success.

The art style, too, is quite an accomplishment, serving to distance the game from pretty much all other games without requiring technical wonders. Just the kind of imaginative experience we’d like to see on Android.

Helsing’s Fire iPhone review Gravity Block (Zoo Studio)

This is where the fashion for retro-influenced graphics comes in handy. Gravity Block features visuals that would be familiar to anyone who grew up gaming on their Spectrum or Commodore 64 – which means it would run effortlessly on every Android handset on the market.

Of course, that would mean nothing if the game wasn’t up to scratch. Fortunately, it is.

The game involves you guiding your block around the screen by changing the directional pull of gravity.

If that sounds complicated, it’s not. All you do is touch one of four areas of the screen to make the shift, which even the Nexus One could manage. Sorry Google.

Gravity Block iPhone review Cosmo Kid (Pear Comp)

We’ve already got Doodle Jump on the Android Market, so why would we want a conversion of the iPhone’s Cosmo Kid – yet another copycat bouncing game? Because, as Jon said in his review, it’s (whisper it) better than Doodle Jump.

It has the same cute-creature-bouncing gameplay, but it adds some nicely varied level themes, a frenetic pinball feel and some interesting items to interact with.

These can foil your ascent or send you into the stratosphere, adding a welcome break to the steady rhythm of endless climbing.

It’ll never get the same recognition as the game that started this particular sub-genre off, but if Cosmo Kid ever showed up on Android we know which bouncing game we’d be recommending.

Cosmo Kid iPhone review Burnstar (Nerve Software)

Another delightfully conceived iPhone mind-tickler, Burnstar matches explosive action with brain-melting puzzles.

Taking control of the titular pyromaniac, you must set off a series of fire-spreading chain reactions using lighters, bombs and projectiles. The goal is to scorch as much of the level as possible, aiming for a perfect 100 per cent burn rating wherever possible (and avoiding being torched yourself).

After a slow start, Burnstar soon catches light, and you’ll have to employ all your wits to predict the path each fire will take. The controls, difficulty level and visuals are all perfectly pitched, leading us to believe that the game would sit perfectly on Android.

Burnstar iPhone review Piyo Blocks 2 (Big Pixel Studios)

On the App Store, Piyo Blocks 2 manages to stand out despite being a decidedly traditional match-three puzzler. On the Android Market it would be the finest puzzler available for the platform.

That’s a bold prediction, but there’s absolutely nothing to suggest this wouldn’t be the case. Technically, Piyo Blocks 2 would run beautifully on pretty much any Android handset you care to mention. There's nothing here that would give even the crusty old G1 too much to worry about.

It’s dead simple to control, too, with play being a simple case of swapping blocks by dragging your finger across them. Above all, though, it’s just cracking fun.

Piyo Blocks 2 iPhone review Plunderland (Johnny Two Shoes)

As wish fulfilment goes, placing you in the fetid boots of a pirate is up there. That’s just what Plunderland does, allowing you to take on the British Empire (not to mention a host of sea monsters) in your little ship.

It’s all rendered in a beautiful hand-drawn style, with most of the processing load going towards the gleeful physics system that lets you send your enemies scattering and to pluck allies from the sea.

For such a frenetic action game, Plunderland's controls admirably avoid overloading the touchscreen – ship control is assigned to the accelerometer, leaving your fingers (and, potentially, the Android screen) to concentrate on shooting and plundering.

Plunderland iPhone review Super QuickHook (Rocketcat Games)

Super QuickHook looks and feels like a lost classic from the early 16-bit era. It’s even got the hard-as-nails difficulty level.

It’s a 2D platformer, but not as we know it. Using a nifty grappling hook, you must traverse each level by swinging from point to point, tapping where you wish to latch on. The aim is to finish with the best score possible, which involves finishing in super-quick time but also picking up the goodies that have been spread liberally throughout each stage.

To top it all off, you can download other players’ ghost data and race against them. Super QuickHook is a brilliant slice of retro-tinged action that would light up any Android owner’s screen.

Super QuickHook iPhone review Parachute Ninja (Freeverse)

This delightful expansion of the Doodle Jump template would be a most welcome addition to the Android market.

You ping your circular Ninja around the screen by pulling back on the supporting strands of elastic and letting go. As hinted at in the title, touching the ninja mid-air will release his parachute, allowing him to drift down to safety (or upwards on a handy draft).

It’s good looking, compact, easy to control, and technically simple. If they weren’t situated 3,000 miles away I’d be tempted to march up to the Freeverse offices and demand that work commence on an Android version immediately.

Parachute Ninja iPhone review