Donning our explorer's hat and torch, uSwitch Tech delves deep into the bowels of the Android Market to bring you the pick of the treasures buried within.
1 Arcane Legends
Arcane Legends squeezes the entire desktop MMO experience – CF: huge, open fantasy world to explore, lots of opportunity to meet fellow gamers and lashings of simple, but addictive hack and slash combat - into a mobile game. The result is Spacetime Studios’ – that’s them of Pocket Legends and Dark Legends-fame - most complete adventure yet.
2 Techno Trancer
As its name suggests, Techno Trancer features a pulsing soundtrack of Big Room trance and banks of light effects that make you feel like you’ve been parachuted into the dancefloor at Sheffield’s legendarily bosh-y Gatecrasher club circa 1999.
But don't hold that against it. It’s also a great shooter, with an unfeasible amount of bullets and neon space debris filling your screen at all times. Only those with unfeasibly keen reactions need apply.
3 Agent Dash
The ne plus ultra of endless runners, this is more forgiving (and thus infinitely more playable than Temple Run) and looks so good that you could almost mistake the graphics for a Pixar movie. Extra playable characters, power-ups and plenty of scope for customisation, mean this leaves its running rivals standing.
4 Beach Buggy Blitz
Beach Buggy Blitz looks like Mario Kart, but plays like a Canabalt-style endless racer. With ample scope for wanton destruction of the game’s tropical landscape, intuitive and responsive controls and blazingly fast gameplay, despoiling an island paradise has never felt so good.
5 Blood & Glory: Legend
The closest thing Android has to Infinity Blade, this swords and sandals swipe-to-slash ‘em up offers more depth than previous efforts on the Android platform, as well as lashings of blood, some smart power-ups and richly detailed backdrops against which our gladiator hero plies his gory trade.
6 Blazing Star
Like the PC Engine, the Neo Geo did side-scrolling shooters with real elan. Blazing Star, which debuted on SNK’s system, is exhibit A.
It’s been brought to Android with real love, reproducing the nails-hard, bullet-hell blitz of the original to a tee. Bypass all the welcoming casual titles vying for your attention and head straight for this impossibly difficult, unforgiving slice of games history instead.
Oscura rises above the platformer herd by dint of the option to slow down the action and a graphic art style that cops its spookiest, most atmospheric moves from celebrated indie title Limbo. There’s plenty of replay value here and 12 stages means there’s ample game here to justify your outlay.
8 Angry Birds Star Wars
This unlikely meeting of global brands works every bit as well as the Lego series of Star Wars titles for consoles. Very present and correct is the same whimsical sense of humour, for instance.
But it’s worth its high placing here because the gameplay additions – an Obi Wan bird for instance who can use a force push to power through the pigs’ - sorry, stormtroopers' - defences – add a new and very welcome twist to a formula that was beginning to look as well-worn as the myths and legends that inspired George Lucas back in 1977.
Bearing the endorsement of copyright libertarians and freeloaders alike, McPixel is a point-and-click adventure of a very strange stripe indeed. Thinking illogically is rewarded and bonkers scatological humour abounds in what might be the oddest, but most original Android games so far.
10 Fighting Fantasy: Blood of the Zombies
The first Fighting Fantasy-branded RPG adventure on Android was also marked by the return of series originator Ian Livingstone on scribing detail. Like the orignal books, unjust deaths figure heavily, but that's far outweighed by an ace combat system and lots of gamebook replay value.