Google+ is still trying to find its place in the social media hierarchy, with a definite feeling of, “been there, done that” from most users of Facebook and Twitter. But the fledgling social network isn’t totally pointless. If endlessly adding contacts to ‘Circles’ or having ‘Hangouts’ with friends has lost its shiny-new-social-network luster then ‘Games’ should be your next port of call.
Google+ has its fair share of addictive, must-play games which should keep people revisiting. Games occupy a dedicated section of Google+, and can be reached by clicking the ‘Games’ tab between the ‘Circles’ and the ‘Search Google+’ tabs in the top toolbar.
Angry Birds surely needs no introduction. This is the casual game that has become nothing short of a phenomenon. It’s available everywhere – smartphones and tablets of all flavors, Google Chrome, games consoles, and now Google+. We have already seen sequels, and there is merchandise galore available to purchase, all sporting the Angry Birds characters.
The setup is simple. Evil pigs have stolen eggs away from a flock of multicolored birds. It’s your job to catapult said birds into action, knocking down the structures the pigs have built, killing the pigs, and thereby retrieving the eggs. Points are awarded for the amount of damage inflicted, and the number of birds used to finish the level.
Social Aspects: Rovio keeps the game clear of nag screens. The company is keenly aware that the game has (and will continue to be) spread virally by a combination of word-of-mouth and the competitive nature we all possess.
Tips For Success: Keep restarting the level until the first bird does the maximum amount of damage. Tweak the angles of attack by the smallest of margins.
Zynga Poker is a great option if you love online poker but don’t want to gamble with real money. You start small and slowly work your way up to the big-money tables, and because it’s all virtual cash there is no chance of you being left hungry and homeless after going all-in one too many times.
This is poker, plain and simple. If you like the game in real life then you’ll enjoy this virtual version. Zynga Poker can be a good tool for learning to play the game. You’re usually playing against strangers who will not judge your lack of ability. And if they do then you won’t care. At least no real money is changing hands while you learn the nuances of bluffing.
Social Aspects: There are reminders across the board of the social nature of the game and Zynga’s desire for you to dip your hand in your pocket. But these can be easily ignored by all but the most addicted, click-happy individuals.
Tips For Success: Start small, placing minimum bets and only going big when you’re sure you’ll win the hand. And don’t take it too seriously.
Flood-It! will be the holy grail for those who value simplicity in their social games. This is a pure puzzle game: deceptively simple yet fiendishly difficult to beat, and frustrating and addictive in equal measure. The first time you play it you’ll probably ask yourself “is that it?” – but you’ll play again. Until you beat the game and hopefully best all your friends’ scores.
The clue is in the name, the aim of the game being to flood the screen with one solid block of color. You do this by starting in the top-left hand corner of the board and choosing from one of six colors at every turn. You have 25 turns to Flood-It! or it’s ‘Game Over’.
Social Aspects: No nag screens insisting that you invite friends. Instead just a simple offer to share successes on Google+. In this regard Flood-It! is the anathema to Zynga games such as FarmVille and Mafia Wars.
Tips For Success: Try to influence the largest number of tiles possible with each turn. And aim to reach the bottom right-hand corner as soon as possible.
Collapse! Blast is another simple yet highly addictive game. It pits you against a wall of colored blocks and tests both your observational and mouse-clicking abilities. The wall is continually being built for you and your job is to blow it to smithereens in as short a space of time as possible.
A wall of colored tiles builds from the ground up. You have to score as many points as you can in the time allotted by destroying as much of the wall as possible. Huge bonuses are on offer for clearing the board completely.
Social Aspects: There is a none-too-subtle link to a shop where real money buys fake coins to purchase in-game power-ups, but this is a request rather than a demand.
Tips For Success: Use the space bar to add more tiles quickly. Make use of the bombs which occasionally appear.
Uno Boost is the online version of the hugely-popular real-life card game. There are a series of AI opponents to battle against, each getting harder to beat as you progress through the ranks. This is a game for those who possess a highly competitive streak.
Two players begin with a hand of Uno cards, and take it in turns to get rid of as many as possible. The problem is you have to be able to play a card in relation to the one previously dealt by your opponent. This is achieved by matching either the number or the color. Unless you have a special card which trumps all and allows you to strategically trip your opponent up.
Social Aspects: There are some nag screens suggesting you send gifts and another link to a shop where real money is changed hands. But neither gets in the way of the actual game. More annoying is the incessant music which makes you want to cut your ears off. Or for those less highly strung, click ‘Mute‘.
Tips For Success: Try to plan ahead, a little like chess. Also save your ‘Color’ cards as long as possible as they can prove invaluable in the dying moments of a game.
Must Try Harder
Google+ games that didn’t make the grade include
- Edgeworld and City Of Wonder – Spending real money strongly urged.
- CityVille, Shadow Fight, and Wild Ones – Friend involvement needed to succeed.
- Slots, Sudoku Puzzle, and Triple Town – Too dull and/or annoying to recommend.
- Global Warfare and Dragons of Atlantis – Needlessly complicated plots.
These five games are preventing me from abandoning Google+ and like all the best social and mobile games, Angry Birds, Zynga Poker, Flood-It!, Collapse! Blast, and Uno Boost always tempt me back for one last quick go. Which then inevitably turns into a gaming marathon.
Which Google Plus games are you currently addicted to playing? Are they enough of a draw to tempt you back to the site time and again?
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