Now Playing: five from the Playing folder

Now Playing: five from the Playing folderI mentioned the Playing folder last week in Sonic Dash: to delete or not to delete, a hallowed virtual ground where apps go if they impress me enough to warrant further attention beyond my review-related obligations.

The Playing bouncer is pretty strict since I don’t have a lot of free time, so there aren’t many apps in there. Here, I present unto thee, five games that I keep going back to.

These games are presented, of course, in no particular order, but in any case, you should definitely be playing them – if you aren’t already.

Oh, and I won’t bother mentioning Sonic Dash since that’s pretty much all I’ve written about for the past 10 days (see Sonic Dash: all characters unlocked, a celebration).

Ready? Let's dance.

Now Playing: five from the Playing folderPlants vs. Zombies

PopCap’s Plants vs. Zombies was one of the first games I reviewed, and it remains one of my favourite smartphone games of all time.

I never quite made it to the end, and having lost all my progress somehow (I think I must’ve been playing on my now-retried iPod touch), I have the pleasure of starting again from the beginning. Sah-weet.

And heck, there’s a Plants vs. Zombies 2 on the way, so what better excuse to blast through the first one.

I said: Pop Cap looked at the already-saturated tower defense category and said, “You know what? We can do better.” And thank cripes they did, because Plants vs Zombies is awesome.

Price: 69p @ App Store, 69p @ Google Play

Now Playing: five from the Playing folderReal Racing 3

Depending who you ask, Real Racing 3 is either a money grabbing ho bag, or a perfect example of freemium balance. See, it’s free to download, but things like repairs and upgrades can take ages – with the option to pay GBP to speed things along.

Personally I’m not that bothered, and as stelph mentioned the other day, the people who are paying for in-app purchases (there are lots of them; Real Racing 3 is a big earner for EA) are effectively buying the game for the patient types.

And let’s not forget that Real Racing 3 offers what Dealspwn’s Jon would no doubt describe as “visceral thrills” in abundance.

I said: Real Racing 3 is as good as touchscreen racing gets, but be prepared for those controversial waiting times.

Price: free @ App Store, free @ Google Play

Now Playing: five from the Playing folderSonic the Hedgehog CD

Sonic the Hedgehog CD (or Sonic CD, to use its less formal title) is widely regarded as the best of the 16-bit Sonic games – if not the best Sonic game ever, and I agreed when I penned my recent review.

All of the familiar side-scrolling Sonic gameplay is there, but there’s the added bonus of an absolutely insane storyline involving time travel, UFOs and a planet tethered to a mountain. Pretty sure the developers must’ve been on acid.

I’ve yet to see the true Sonic CD ending, which necessitates collecting all seven time crystals, or travelling to the past and destroying the robot generators. I will get there.

I said: Sonic the Hedgehog CD is regarded as one of the best Sonic games of all time, and rightly so. The story and the time travel mechanics are initially baffling, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be hooked.

Price: £1.99 @ App Store, £2.36 @ Google Play

Now Playing: five from the Playing folderScramble With Friends

I think I was a little bit cynical when I checked out Scramble With Friends, assuming that the attraction would wear off shortly after review. But nope, I’m still playing it!

Even if you’ve had your fill of word games, Scramble With Friends manages to impress with its interesting array of power-ups and that. It’s really good.

And heck, you can technically play for free. There is an option to upgrade (no ads, tokens regenerate quicker), but I’ve completed dozens of games and haven’t spent a penny. God bless you, freemium model.

I said: Scramble With Friends is an excellent Boggle-style social word game. The end.

Price: free @ App Store, free @ Google Play

Now Playing: five from the Playing folderGuardian Cross

Another game that I’ve written about extensively over the months, firstly in my Guardian Cross review, shortly thereafter in Guardian Cross: to delete or not to delete, and finally in my Guardian Cross v2.0 review.

Guardian Cross is one of those games that’s arguably pointless (constant lure of five-star cards aside), and yet I keep going back to it.

On the plus side, the recent Guardian Cross update added a much-needed level of depth, and again, it’s a freebie. Go check it.

I said: Guardian Cross is a fairly deep – and ultimately enjoyable – card collecting game, let down slightly by the lack of control in battles. And on v2.0: If you’ve never played Guardian Cross before, there’s never been a better time to start (make sure you use my friend code XN52589 <wink>). If you lost interest, there’s definitely enough new content to warrant another look.

Price: free @ App Store

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