Olly has a degree in French, has written for the University paper, and is an avid film, game, and exercise fan as well as a keen traveler.
All of these games, except for Ramboat which has just been released, have been on my mobile device for years and for good reason. Here's why these games are in my Top 5 Free-To-Play list.
Ramboat has only been on my phone for a few days but it has the perfect balance between compulsive gameplay and being great in short bursts. Your aim is to get as far as you can in your boat and destroy anything in your way. Think of Rambo in a boat... yes... the name makes sense now! It bears more than a passing resemblance to Jetpack Joyride in style and structure, and luckily it shares the same high quality, despite not being developed by Halfbrick studios.
You start off with a pistol and can pick up anything from a flamethrower or laser to a rocket launcher or shotgun which have limited ammo but are all extremely effective in their own ways. The game shoots automatically as you press the screen which means there are no fiddly controls. You can dive with your boat by swiping down or do a very cool slow motion jump (while shooting) by swiping up.
All the guns can be upgraded with better firepower or quicker shooting speed with coins that you collect by defeating enemies. The system is very fair and I've got to a high level without needed to spend any real money. You're not limited by a timer so you can play again and again until you stop but if you lose your 3 lives in one game you start again. You've got challenges which help you rank up and earn you coins, as well as a fun poker mini game at the end of the round which can award you bonuses depending on your hand... if you find the poker chip in the level.
Ramboat has honestly become one of the most enjoyable games I've played in a while. The whole sense of it is geared towards silly, fun shooting with a bit of attitude. Check it out now while it stays free-to-play as they could have easily charged an upfront price for it in my view.
Marvel Puzzle Quest Gameplay
Marvel Puzzle Quest
Marvel Puzzle Quest is one of the best match 3 games around. Forget Candy Crush Saga, this is by far the superior game and you don't need to know the Marvel universe to enjoy the game at all.
As with most of these games, the idea is to match of 3,4 or 5 icons but Marvel Puzzle Quest expands on this formula hugely. Firstly, each icon is represented by a character who you pick to be in your team before the round begins. Match their icon and their power bars charge up. Once it's full and you've matched enough of their icons, you can unleash one of their powers on your opponent - AI or human. Each power is unique which makes collecting the various characters extremely rewarding and trying out different combinations of 3 members is great fun.
There's an extensive story mode for those who just want to fight against the computer controlled opponents. This helps you learn as you play and fills you in on the various story points (which are all skippable if you wish) if you're interested in the Marvel universe. Separate to this there are daily/weekly/monthly events which keep you coming back and either involve PVP (player vs player) competition for rewards such as new characters or iso-8 (to upgrade your team) or limited time events against the computer with it's own story.
Honestly, the amount of gameplay for 'free' is astounding. You don't need to bug your friends for lives and the game is very fair without feeling like you need to spend money to win. There's something for everyone here and I urge anyone who hasn't tried Marvel Puzzle Quest to pick it up – you will love it.
If this has piqued your interest and you want a really in depth look at Marvel Puzzle Quest with tips to help you too, check out my stand alone review here.
Underworld Empire Trailer
For those of you who like a long term game with a vibrant community, I can highly recommend Underworld Empire. The aim is to rise to the top of the criminal underworld in whatever way you see fit. You pick one of four syndicates to be a part of, and later pick a unique class, completing jobs for experience, cash and respect. You can easily dip in and out completing some jobs, fighting a few players for money and experience, or delve into a much deeper area of the game.
As you rise you can collect various lieutenants to give you bonuses and build your character into a powerhouse as well as newly introduced insignias which can give you health, attack or defence bonuses amongst other things. There's a lot to collect, upgrade and develop and all of it is compulsive and enjoyable to do.
Whilst playing solo, is a great and rewarding experience on its own, the game really comes into the fray when you join an empire. This is essentially a guild of other players, and where the community aspect is strong. As part of an empire, you can battle other players' empires. This helps you gain even more money, level up your unique class and ultimately extends the life of the game to infinity. There are empires who have been running for years and the community aspect, combined with recruiting the best players, can feel almost military. Many even offer real rewards if you do well in their empire such as Itunes vouchers or PayPal donations. The strategy is there if you want it, and there are lot of friendly people in the game.
If you like strategy, and want a more community focused game, then you can't go wrong with trying Underworld Empire. There is a lot more I could say on this one so may do a stand alone Hub with tips if people would like. Let me know in the comments.
Lies of Astaroth
Lies of Astaroth Trailer
Lies of Astaroth
After searching for a decent free MMORPG card battling game, I discovered Lies of Astaroth many years ago and even though I have others, it's the one I always come back to regularly simply because of the strategy and beautiful artwork.
Card battle games essentially have you building a deck of cards and fighting an AI (computer) or human opponent. It's much more exciting than it sounds. Not only are there hundreds of cards to collect, ranging from one star to five stars, each one has been beautifully designed. The interface is very easy on the eye and building your deck, especially for a beginner like me, was very simple.
There are four main types of cards: Wilderness, Hell, Forest and Kingdom. Each of these have skills that are often unique to that class but you can mix up your deck however you like – you're not restricted to pick only one type of card. Hell type cards can be great at reducing your opponents life and many can resurrect themselves when defeated whereas many Wilderness cards can counter attack or attack more than one card at the same time – for those looking for long term strategy, it's all here. You can also equip runes which add certain bonuses for the match and once you have it you're free to add and remove as you like – it doesn't cost extra anything to use it.
You get coins as you battle which are used to evolve your cards and can get gems, the game's rare currency, which can be used to try and obtain rare cards or add energy (which allows you to play). Energy replenishes over time so it's not a big issue and I've never needed to spend real money – you can get gems from daily rewards and the developer often gives them out as freebies for special days.
The story itself is pretty lackluster, but the journey to collecting some rare cards and beating some very tough opponents in the later stages, is a great feeling. You progress through the world stage by stage and can complete one stage up to three times with increasing difficulty. Every time you complete all three levels in a stage, you get a reward. These can be either new cards or new runes and are highly advised to get. You can also earn coins depending on the amount of stages you have cleared daily which is a great way to keep your money topped up.
Overall, it's an engrossing game. There's a lot of content from battling the computer, exploring mazes or fighting in the dungeon... you'll never get bored with this one I can guarantee that.
Heroes Charge Trailer
Heroes Charge is a colourful, vibrant RPG/Action title. Out of all of the games on this list, it's probably the one where you really, truly don't need to spend a thing to enjoy because the developers reward you with coins aplenty and there are always free chances to get rare items if you're patient.
The game has you create a team of up to 5 characters that battle with either the computer or human opponents. The characters themselves are very unique, have their own individual powers and are fun to hear and see in action. The battles happen in real time so you can either set it up manually to control when you release the powers or have the game do it for you automatically. Creating a team can be very rewarding – do you pick a team who are all physically strong or perhaps a mixture of magic attackers and speedy assassins? There's something for everyone and it's a game where you can genuinely see the characters progress with upgrades and powers.
Collecting items to upgrade your character and finding unique characters is always enjoyable and again, if you're patient, you will have a great team not long after downloading the game. New characters get added monthly and there are lots of diversions other than the main stages to sink your teeth into for extra coins and upgrade items.
The main battles themselves happen automatically but you control the placement of the characters and when to use their powers. As with many games like this, you can invest a lot of your time or simply drop in and out, but whichever option you'll choose, you'll have a great experience which costs you nothing.
That's My Top 5 Free-To-Play Mobile Games!
I hope you've found some free-to-play mobile games to sink your teeth into. Hopefully, you wouldn't have heard of all of these, unlike most top 5 lists out there that I've seen. If you've got any recommendations I'd love to hear them in the comments:)