12 great mobile games: Made in Africa

2014-01-23 00:00

FLEET of One isn’t exactly original. It follows the same recipe as the old classic, Space Invaders. But for those who can remember this game, it was a winning recipe in its time, and for some it still is.

You play as a spaceship armed with five cannons used to blast the fleet of oncoming retro aliens into arcade oblivion. Instead of manoeuvring your ship to dodge these aliens, your ship fills the bottom of the screen. To fire the cannons, you simply tap the one you wish to fire. If an alien manages to get off a shot before you can destroy it, you have the option to shield your cannon by swiping up. But once again, as simple as it is to understand this game, it’s a hard one to play.

As you progress through the game, aliens act faster and grow increasingly tenacious. But once you start getting into the rhythm of the game, you will end up wasting numerous hours on this rather brilliant action arcade shooter.

• The Harvest (Windows 8,

Android and iOS)

The Harvest is a heart-pumping sci-fi shooter developed by one of South Africa’s leading game developers, Luma Arcade.

The game takes place a few years after hostile aliens invaded Earth and wreaked havoc. These aliens are known as Harvesters — so named because they “harvest” human and animal flesh, and combine it with machinery to make an army of cyborgs. In the name of humankind’s survival, the Global Defence Force (GDF) was created. You play as part of a small group of GDF Mech Warriors, who are ordered to investigate a potential Harvester threat at the ruins of an ancient city. The game has an in-depth narrative with great story progression and there are a variety of customisations at your character’s disposal.

You face massive waves of Harvesters as you progress through the game and there are also some epic boss battles in store. The Harvesters follows a much-loved recipe of alien-exterminating fun combined with a great RPG feel.

• Matatu (Android)

Matatu is a popular two-player card game that has its roots in Uganda. It is simple to understand and can be very addictive.

Each player starts with seven cards and the main objective is to get rid of all your cards first. The first player, chosen at random, will throw out a card and you will respond with a card of either the same suit or number. The key is to try to play a number or suit that your opponent doesn’t possess. This way they are forced to pick up a card from the deck, increasing the number of cards they have at hand and ultimately slimming their chances of winning the game.

There are three game-play modes: Classic, Joker and Two Player. In classic, the jokers are removed from the deck, in Joker they are added. Two Player is a mode where you compete against other people online.

• Snailboy (iOS and Android)

Snailboy has great visual quality and the game play is highly entertaining.

You play as a snail that is on a journey to find his shell, which has been stolen by evil creatures. The main objective is to finish levels as fast as you can, while collecting as much slime as possible. You will be faced with various obstacles you must overcome by jumping around the stage and bouncing off surfaces. The game has an immersive atmosphere and the game play is extremely addictive.

• Zword (Android)

Zword seems like Africa’s attempt to join the trend of the Zombie Apocalypse.

You are trapped in an alley and you are being stormed by a horde of zombies. You have a large collection of knives, but the only way you can throw them at the zombies is by adding the provided letters to complete the word seen at the top of the screen.

Zword is a reasonably fun game, but the only problem I have with it is that I’ve never heard of 99% the words. As an educational game, I can understand this, but I start to worry when Google doesn’t know any of these words either. Nonetheless, it remains an entertaining and free game that is worth checking out.

• Haki 2: Chaguo Ni Lako (Java)

Haki 2 is a puzzle game aimed at raising awareness of African environmental and civil issues, touching themes such as honour, work and pride. The plot continues from the original Haki.

In Haki 2, you are given a picture that links to the social issue concerned in the level’s title. Once you start the game, this picture is scrambled into eight pieces and your goal is to rearrange the picture until it forms the original. It is a simple concept, but Haki 2 is a lot harder than it sounds, promising a challenging experience for lovers of the puzzle genre.

• Pocket RPG

(iOS and Android)

Pocket RPG is an entertaining and addictive mobile game and still plays like your typical RPG.

You have three classes to choose from, each with its own different playing style, and there is stats progression and various items to equip. The game play is decent, with classic hack-and-slash combos and exciting boss battles.

There is an element of silliness to the game as your characters walk around with overly large heads and the graphical quality doesn’t exactly help its case. Pocket RPG is probably one the best time wasters out there.

• Okada Ride (Android)

Hugo Obi, of Maliyo Games, wanted to create a game that allowed “people to get a Nigerian interactive experience”. Okada Ride was the result. It is your typical ride and dodge racer.

Okadas are motorcycles found all over West Africa, used commercially to transport people. Your objective in Okada Ride is to weave through traffic on your Okada, dodging cars, potholes and other Okadas, while collecting money and fuel. Your eventual score will be based on the amount of money you’ve collected and the distance you’ve travelled.

Okada Ride’s sound design is fair, giving it a nice atmosphere, with environmental sounds taken straight from the streets of Nigeria. As far as visual quality goes, it isn’t remarkable. But as the game is quite challenging, so you won’t have the time to look around anyway.

Okada Ride won’t be the best game, but it will keep you busy for some time to come as you transport yourself into the daily lives of their drivers.

• Soccer Moves

(Android and iOS)

Sports and gaming have always been a good combination. The sports nuts are lured into the gaming world and the gamers are nearly convinced that they are being active.

In this mobile game you will complete at various levels, each one with its own challenge. It plays somewhat like turn-based games, such as X-Com and The Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth, in that you plan a few moves ahead and then let the game take its course. You will find yourself in variety of scenarios where you will have to come up with a strategy to land a goal. There is no time limit to your decisions so you can be patient when playing.

It isn’t the adrenaline-pumping game you would expect, but if you are looking for something more slow-paced and strategic then it is a great bet.

• Dig! (Android and iOS)

Dig! is a fun and eccentric adventure game. The combination of upbeat music and fast-paced play makes for an exciting and adrenaline-filled game.

You play as Douglas, an archaeologist on a mission to save his job and help the local museum. The game play takes place at various dig sites, where you uncover treasures, while avoiding enemies such as Nigel the Mummy and aggressive moles. One of the most important aspects of the game is the range of hats to be found. This might seem mundane, but each of these hats is imbued with specific skill-enhancing powers that will come in handy throughout the game.

Dig! is a polished and great-looking game.

• Neon Shadow

(Android and iOS)

Neon Shadow is a game I’m very excited about. It’s a first-person shooter (FPS), much in the spirit of Unreal Tournament and Quake, two games I’ve always held in high regard.

You are put in the position of a commander. This game is your typical action-laden shooter with many weapons at your disposal to eradicate the constant enemy threat. The controls are easy to pick up, even if you’re not used to the FPS genre. Although the concept of this FPS isn’t something new, it does have a sense of originality. This retro-punk FPS game will provide decent some nostalgia for old-school gamers, but it’s sure to put a satisfying grin on the face of anyone. The trailer alone put one on mine.

• Dark Project (Android)

A research team was sent to investigate the possibility of inhabiting the planet of Deltora.

This team has disappeared and you are sent to find them. You arrive on the planet and soon you realise something terrible has happened. What you find is a dark planet infested with zombies and mutants. Armed with a few weapons and a flashlight, you enter the shadowy world and blast your way through the monsters to find the lost research team. Dark Project is a sci-fi action shooter with a decent amount of creepiness for a mobile game. The atmosphere is eerie and the deep murmuring sounds help to increase the fright appeal. It is a brilliantly done game that has quite a few heart-stopping moments. — Memeburn.

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