I’m not much of an Android gamer, so even if I play something, it’s usually simple time-killers. But recently I’ve tried out a few sci-fi games which are more focused on the story rather than action. So, here we go.
Lifeline: I will guide you
This game got a lot of coverage since it is compatible with wearable devices (i. e. Android and Apple watches). The gameplay is pretty straightforward: you get messages from a young astronaut, stuck on some moon after a crash, and are supposed to help him.
Messages are sent in the form of push-notifications. They aren’t very frequent and you aren’t required to give an answer (you choose from two predefined options) as soon as you get them. Nothing bad will happen, if you reply in a few hours or days.
I started playing when I was feeling tired and a bit ill. And the text-based approach fit my mood perfectly well. All in all, it took me about 2 weeks to complete the game, since I wasn’t playing very actively after recovering from the illness. The game itself is a bit linear and sort of leads you to choosing a specific answer. Nonetheless, you have a few “opportunities” to give wrong advice and get your companion killed. That kinda keeps you on your toes when choosing a reply.
- Suitable for playing in a slow-paced manner
- Allows scrolling through the history to look back at what happened earlier (good for forgetful types like myself :)
- Somewhat linear
- Lacks action
Hyper Rift: who are these people and where is my alien?
This game is presented in a form of visual gamebook. Basically, you don’t get to see the action from the character’s perspective. Instead, you get a plan of the ship that you can navigate through and research areas marked with a magnifying glass. You collect clues and solve puzzles (I didn’t manage to crack some of them, though).
Your character wakes up in a ship somewhere in space not remembering who he is and tries to understand what is going on, meanwhile dealing with hostile aliens and other survivors. Unlike Lifeline, this game has high replayability due to its 14 possible endings.
- Easy to play (you can move around, investigate or choose what to do when prompted).
- Rich story with interesting plot twists.
- Magnifying glass and arrows don’t change their color when clicked, therefore you can’t see what you’ve already checked.
- There is only one save slot. It is probably meant to encourage players to discover most of those 14 endings by playing from scratch every time, but I, for one, find it inconvenient.
Gemini Rue: consciousness, memories and everything in between
This one is probably the most story-rich of the three. Unlike the previous two, this game was initially released for PC and only later ported to mobile devices (happens all the time now — GTAs, Shadowrun Returns, The Wolf Among Us, to name a few).
This cyberpunk graphic adventure uses point-and-click mechanics for interacting with people and objects, and guides you through the investigation conducted by a guy called Azriel who comes to the planet of Barracus to help a friend and find his own lost brother. The planet itself is corrupted due to activities of a drug-selling gang of Boryokudan.
There’s also a parallel line where we play as another character and participate in events unfolding in a secret rehabilitation center.
The graphics and Noir atmosphere of this game are great but quests are sometimes frustrating and require you to do things in some predefined order which is often far from obvious. For example, I got stuck and couldn’t get into a guy’s flat after getting his address and phone number cause I haven’t tried to call him (even though the phone doesn’t answer if you call!).
The story itself is pretty well-written, however, as you get closer to the end you sort of figure out who is who. Another drawback is that the game doesn’t provide you with much background info I was personally quite interested in.
- Great atmosphere (visuals + voice actors + sounds and music).
- Rich story with original plot twists.
- Some of the quests are rather frustrating.
- The game can get quite confusing, so the fewer playing sessions, the better; in a week you simply won’t remember how you were planning to use those items.
All things considered, my ideal mobile game doesn’t necessarily have to be visually rich but it should certainly have a non-linear structure. And if something interesting comes up, I’ll let you know :)