Smartphones don’t have the same graphics capabilities as video game consoles. The good news is that mobile game developers recognize these limitations and make games with visuals that are minimalistic yet eye-pleasing.
Roto and Heroo [No Longer Available] fall squarely in that category of gorgeous minimalistic games with addictive gameplay. What’s particularly interesting is that both games serve two different reasons to play: the quick pick-up-and-play when you need a break, and the brain challenge when you have some dedicated time to do your best.
Like some of the best Android games, Roto doesn’t even require a tutorial. It’s so intuitive that you can pick it up and start playing immediately. Its challenge lies in understanding physics and tapping the screen at the right time.
Roto starts each level with a blank screen that is then populated with a few black circles, each appearing with a resounding pop — it’s a lovely, endearing effect. On the first circle, you fill find your little Roto character moving around clockwise. Tap anywhere on the screen and it jumps in the direction it is pointing.
With these jumps, you have to collect the stars in each level. There will be spinning spikes you have to avoid, and you will also come across grey circles that disappear with a full rotation, so you need to jump off them soon. Further into the game, you will find the orange bouncy circle, which automatically bounces you instead of holding on.
Collect all the stars in each level of a chapter and you unlock the next chapter. Don’t collect all the stars and you can pay to unlock. It’s a total of 45 levels across three chapters, and the developers say there are 100 new levels coming soon, so that’s a lot of play time for a free game!
Some games can be deceptively addictive. Heroo looks gorgeous when you start it up with its colourful hexagons, but it’s the gameplay that actually makes you return to it again and again.
Each of the 250 levels has a cluster of hexagons with at least one side connected to another hexagon. Each side of the hexagon has a different colour. The only objective is to rotate these hexagons so that the colours of connecting sides are matching.
It’s simple and looks great, and initially, you will be rotating those hexagons for the sheer joy of seeing all those colours spinning. But in no time, the difficulty ramps up and it’s the gameplay that hooks you on. Heroo introduces a limit on the number of rotations in each level, so you have to think before you tap, and there’s a timer counting down how long you take.
To help you out, Heroo has a few power-ups you can use, like a hint for the correct position of any one hexagon or a time-freeze. Plus, there is an Undo button just in case you make a mistake, so you are covered. You can even buy additional moves if you fail a level, but honestly there’s no need to do that — you can play the whole game without spending a dime.
But if you ask me, such elements take away the fun of the game because at no point is Heroo so difficult that you will need a hint. You might need to replay a level or two, but that’s as difficult as the game gets. And really, the point of a puzzle game is the challenge for you mind, so why rob yourself of that?
Both Heroo and Roto are currently only available for Android, so iPhone and iPad users will need to look elsewhere, like these three addictive, free puzzle games. It’s a welcome change for Android users who are accustomed to iOS getting the best games first.
But with Android clocking over 65% of global smartphone users, is that tide shifting? Do you think games should come to Android before iOS? Get your say in the comments!