Quick wins: Super Hexagon, One Epic Knight

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Looking for some quick games that don’t require words, doodles or friends? Here you go.

I’m not afraid to say that I’ve fallen out of love with console gaming in recent months. Maybe it’s because I now have a baby to take of so time to play has been significantly reduced, but I like to think my lackluster attitude towards is due to the current console landscape. There’s just not a lot to be excited about…unless you like sequels. It’s not secret that mobile device gaming is the hot spot right now and one reason that’s true is because of the wide range of games available on mobile platforms. They’re small, inexpensive games that get you in and get you out. I’ve longed for the arcade culture to come back, and while gaming alone hunched over your phone isn’t quite what I had in mind, it puts a smile on my face to see many of the games follow in the footsteps of classic games.

Super Hexagon

Super Hexagon was recommended to me by a friend that knows my taste in games pretty well. Him and I faced off last year in a clash of Xbox arcade games (I won) so he knows that I like the challenging high score games, and Super Hexagon is just that: quick, simple, difficult and incredibly frustrating…but all in a good way. If you want an idea of just how hard this game can be, consider that all the levels are named in terms of “hard” – hard, harder, hardest – and they just get into stupid hard.

The premise of Super Hexagon is simple: don’t let your triangle hit any of the walls. That sounds easy but two seconds after you start the game you’ll see that it’s not…and I don’t say two seconds as a joke. Seriously. Your first try will last less than two seconds. Your second try might last four seconds, if you’re lucky. However, you’ll find yourself stuck to this game for the next 30 minutes before you reach your frustration point and rage quit. The reason Super Hexagon is such a challenge is because the walls you need to avoid are changing size, position and rotating all around you at what can be incredible speeds. Plus, the game is very basic visually so you can easily slide into visual overload mode. This is a game of reaction time, quick planning and visual recognition…and it’s horrible…but it’s only horrible in way that you know you can do better if you just play it one. more. time. Yet the worst feeling is when you feel that you’re doing good only to find out you’re nowhere near your high score. Never have 15 seconds felt so long in your life. I’ve only been playing Super Hexagon for two days but my high score is only 34 seconds on the lowest level.

Super Hexagon is only $1 on iOS and well worth it. You’ve spent more on worse.

One Epic Knight

One Epic Knight

Run, slide, jump, hack, slash

There’s no shortage of “endless runner” games for your phone. One my all-time favorites remains Canabalt (which is available on Android and iOS). It’s a simple, retro-style runner. Then last year I discovered Temple Run, which is the same concept only in third-person view and now you have to turn left/right, slide and jump. It added just enough to the endless formula that it felt somewhat fresh…but that didn’t last. I figured between Canabalt and Temple Run all my endless runner needs would be fulfilled forever, and that would probably be true if One Epic Knight hadn’t come out.

One Epic Knight is really nothing but Temple Run in a medieval fantasy wrapper. It’s still a third-person runner that asks you to slide, jump and turn but there’s just enough in OEK to keep me playing. There are more items, more obstacles and a decent variety of bonus power-ups to keep you engaged and playing. I’ve been playing for about a week now and I still feel like I haven’t seen all there is to see even though I probably have. With Temple Run I felt like I had maxed out what the game had to offer pretty quickly, not so with One Epic Knight. This game offers nothing new but it’s presented in a way that keeps me coming back for more, plus the in-game voices are mildly entertaining.

One Epic Knight is FREE on iOS so there’s no reason you shouldn’t give it a try. And just so you know, you can easily earn enough in-game coins playing the game that you really don’t need to make in-game purchases unless you really, really, really want the special skin for your character.

Plants vs. Zombies table for Pinball FX2

Okay, so this isn’t a mobile game or even a stand-alone game but it’s quick and affordable so it gets a pass. I’ve written about my love of pinball (both video and real) before so I won’t drone on about how great Pinball FX2 is for the Xbox Arcade. Despite the title being considered “old” in video game time, the game receives a decent amount of DLC rather frequently. The latest addition is a table based on the Plants vs. Zombies game, which you can get for just about any platform, mobile included.

The table itself looks exactly like you would expect a PvZ table to look like, complete with all the trademark characters and style you’ve come to love in the game…even Crazy Dave’s crappy hatchback. It’s fun and cute at first as you explore all the board has to offer, but then you quickly realize that the board is maybe a little too simple. Part of what makes a pinball table great is a balance between spectacle, challenge and reward. You don’t want things too hard, nor too easy, and you want to be rewarded in a way that keeps you entertained while earning big points. Well, the Plants vs. Zombie table certainly rewards you with big points but it does so in a manner that really makes you yawn. Lets just say that I ended my first play with more than 75 million points. It was multiball after multiball with a few extra plays thrown in. At first it’s exciting to reach such accomplishments but then you realize that it’s pretty easy and you feel slightly less special. Tommy would scoff at this table.

Nonetheless, for a $3 add-on the Plants vs. Zombies table is far from a wasted purchase. If you’re a Pinball FX fan and need another table to conquer, this one is as good as any, just don’t expect to be applauded when you brag about your high score.

More small studio games on the way

Just a friendly reminder that the Xbox Indie Game Uprising is going on this week and next, of which I will be reviewing some next week and after. I’ll be forever an advocate of these small time games, so flip on your Xbox and slide on over to the Indie zone for a look.

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Brian is a staff writer at TMA. He races Hot Wheels at RedlineDerby.com while watching cartoons with his kid. You can follow @morningtoast on Twitter.

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