It’s 7am on a Tuesday morning in mid November and the sun has barely risen from its night-long slumber. Sat on a packed train heading for the city the lonely commuter may turn to his Ipod or her latest edgy novel for some much needed early morning company. A welcome distraction from the impending day of paper pushing and hastily knocked up mugs of lukewarm coffee. A simple way to take ones mind off the stresses and strains of day to day life in an increasingly competitive 21st century society.
As the lonely commuter sits in their own diminutive world amongst the hastily dressed early risers and the effusive business people, busy leaving their indelible mark on the world a distraction so complete, so wholly and vividly intelligible is desperately needed. One that will make the seemingly gratuitous time of day and the long authority-filled hours ahead quickly feel like a barely noticeable breeze – Suddenly our lonely commuter realises they have the world at their feat! Or that is what one hopes the power of gaming in the modern age can achieve. And with the increasingly impressive line-up of handheld games now available on the android “play-store”, perhaps this early morning mood-boost is not so far-fetched after all.
So sit back and find out which five strikingly simple, yet gloriously addictive mobile-based games are guaranteed to help the lonely commuter through their tediously ashen early morning adventure.
1. Banana Kong
Probably a slight rip off of Donkey Kong when it came to the name, but who is really going to care in their hour of need? In Banana Kong the player controls Kong as he escapes through the jungle, tropical pools and mysterious caves in an attempt to out run, swing and swim the cascading banana avalanche stalking him throughout the forest. The game itself plays a little like a Rayman game on the Game Boy Advanced, where obstacles in the 2D environment are overcome by jumping over them or taking an alternative route. Fast-paced, fun and quirky, Banana Kong is all about quick thinking and after a few play-through’s becomes a refreshingly fluid gaming experience. Perfect for some light morning entertainment.
2. Battle Monkeys
Its early in the morning so nobody wants something too taxing on the mind. Our lonely commuter wants a game that offers a healthy and stimulating mental challenge but one that will also sharpen the mind in anticipation of a long day full of healthy verbal jousting with colleagues and professional grovelling to the boss. Monkey Island brings thought and tactical gaming to the table, without placing too much emphasis on hardcore concentration. A bit like a game of Chess, the player can move their monkey around the board in an attempt to outwit and out-think the other monkeys. On each square a different power is located – Everything from a shield to protect yourself from other attacks to more aggressive lightening strikes which will hit the opponents causing varying degrees of damage and even harming their future ability to move around the board. With over ten different tactical powers available to the players on the board, alongside the ability to buy special abilities and kit out your monkey with the latest gear both ability wise as well as aesthetically, Monkey Island combines the light-hearted indie elements of mobile gaming with the more in-depth playable experience many will want from their hand-held gaming adventures.
3. Temple Run 2
Everybody knows where they are with Temple Run. Temple Run 2 continued to build upon this already impressive popularity and with regular updates has fulfilled the promise made by developers Imangi Studios to keep the working formula vibrant and interesting for long-term users. With the addition of rapids to the course and new characters to purchase Temple Run 2 continues to keep millions of people entertained. For the commute to work it will offer something a little different to the other titles on this list. Temple Run is primarily a fast-paced game, but for those more proficient players the experience can last for far longer. With additional environments added by a competent and effective money-making machine like Imangi, players of Temple Run will always have something new to enjoy – Temple Run is an addictive adventure title where the players main aim is to beat their last score. And for the purpose of this article, that sounds delightfully simple.
4. Space Hero
The only reason Space Hero makes the list is because of its brilliant ability to make a shockingly simple formula work extremely effectively. Playing as a space man jumping from planet to planet in an attempt to get home, the player gains more points by killing the monsters that dwell between planets. As the game advances planets start to spin quicker and the player has less time to reach their next checkpoint. The game is an entertaining exercise in timing and quick thinking – Topped off with brightly lit and colourful graphics. Space Hero looks and feels great to play. Simple but effective has never been so true and so damn welcome.
5. Angry Birds: Star Wars
Another popular title but with a fun twist meaning its place on this commuter-gaming list is more than well earned; Angry Birds: Star Wars combines the much loved Angry Birds franchise with the cultural behemoth that is Star Wars. The result is surprisingly beautiful. This is the type of combination that will bring a smile to the face of anybody who decides to play the game. The addition of recognisable classic-cult attributes like lightsabers and the tell-tale Star Wars Star Fighter laser-gun sound effects mean this is a game that will bring back sentimental memories as well as provide the usual Angry Birds smiles that many gamers on this platform have come to expect with the franchise. Sometimes there is nothing needed more on the morning commute into work than an action-packed reminder of some of the best cultural creations known to man. Angry Birds: Star Wars gives gamers two nice reminders in one neatly and lovingly put together title.
With these five games installed for free on a mobile phone, there should be no reason why the morning commute will continue to be an unpleasant part of anybody’s day. So forget the sunrise, the fresh early morning air or the company of fellow commuters. One thing you can always count on is that little library of games you have stowed away in your trouser pocket. As if a calling from a higher power, these five titles will be guaranteed to transform everybody’s morning slumber into a slightly more bearable foray into the real world. But lets be honest, that can be so boring sometimes. So take Kong and visit the rainforest for twenty minutes, you never know what you might find.