Top 10 best Android games: May 2012

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What I really wanted to be celebrating in May was the joyous return of a true platforming icon.

Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode II was supposed to be a return to the glory days of the Sega Mega Drive era - when 'hogs could really run.

Instead, we got another damp Sonic squib, with bizarrely sluggish level design and a crawling framerate on the very Tegra 3 Androids it's supposed to be enhanced for.

To wipe away our tears, however, there were ten other titles released last month on Android that are actually deserving of your time, money, and polite comments on Google Play.
New Star Soccer
By New Star Games - buy on Android

So dangerously addictive the developer has set up a special wing in The Priory for former players trying to go clean, New Star Soccer is a devilishly sweet spin on Angry Birds-style flicking that sees you trying to score from increasingly tricky shots.

The simple 2D top-down presentation belies the hideously compulsive nature of the RPG-lite Career mode, in which you follow the fortunes of a single player from the lowest league right up to the international stage.

By Duello Games - buy on Android

When we discovered that iSlash would just be a straight port of the 2010 iOS puzzler, it was hard to get that excited about it.

But, the spruced-up HD visuals make the wood-carving action all the sharper, and the extra stages added since launch have upped the challenge. It's just a shame the freemium focus seems to have skewed the difficulty later on.

Dummy Defense
By Andrew Garrison - buy on Android

Poor Melvin. This particular crash test dummy is destined to be destroyed by everything from boulders to bombs (and even giant hammers). Unless you can build some solid defensive destructive structures and save him, that is.

Dummy Defense only has 25 stages, but there's lots of knockabout fun to be had toying with its physics engine - even if it's Melvin who has to suffer for your tinkering.

Snow Bros
By Isac Entertainment Corp - buy on Android

Forget forking out up to 200 notes for an original Japanese cartridge of ultra-rare Sega Mega Drive gem Snow Bros! Now, you can pick it up for less than a pack of peanuts.

It's a snow-themed riff on Taito's Bubble Bobble that sees you hurl white stuff at enemies until they turn into snowballs. At that point, you can boot them around the level to pick off other monsters. Lovely.

Slime vs. Mushroom 2
By WestRiver - buy on Android

Rather clearly, WestRiver has sought inspiration for its sludgy sequel from PopCap's seminal tower defence title Plants vs Zombies - right down to the drip feed of new mushroom enemies attacking in rows and slimy base protectors.

Still, imitating from the best is rarely a bad thing, and, aside from a tendency to push you towards in-app purchases to boost resources, the charming character design makes you root for your gloopy warriors throughout the game's 140 levels.

By Priority Interrupt - buy on Android

Forget having your account hacked and your precious loot stolen in Diablo 3: for pure dungeon-crawling in May, you couldn't beat Delver.

Yes, it's a simple hack 'n' loot affair with some distinctly Minecraft-ian 3D textures (and some bugs reflecting its alpha state), but the inclusion of permadeath adds a frisson of tension as you delve farther down into the deep.

By Zynga - buy on Android

Social gaming behemoth Zynga might have taken its sweet little time porting over this early-2010 iOS hit, but the sharp HD paint job, fresh weaponry, and new campaign make this an irresistible purchase for fans of schlocky zombie death.

Your main weapon is your finger, which you can use to flick the undead into the air or slam them into the ground. It's messy, gory, and hilarious.

Ricky Carmichael's Motocross Matchup Pro
By 2XL Games - buy on Android

It may not have the most succinct game name in the world, but this head-to-head motocross racer is crammed with tricky courses to master and death-defying leaps to nail.

The twist is that there's no single-player campaign. All of your races are against real-life opponents online, with each win earning you points for levelling-up your rider.

Conquest! Medieval Realms
By Slitherine Software - buy on Android

With no sign of Civilization Revolution on Android yet, it's up to titles like Conquest! Medieval Realms to fill the hex-based strategy void in our lives.

Fortunately, Slitherine has does a solid job in streamlining the complex turn-based action so that it's suitable for a touchscreen device. Fingers crossed for a much-needed mid-level save option patch, though.

By Noodlecake Studios - buy on Android

If you're looking for a way to soothe your brain after a tough day, we'd advise you to steer clear of the mind-bending delights of Trainyard.

The drawing of tracks for multi-coloured trains to reach their matching station starts off simple enough, but it soon descends into synapse-sapping chaos - especially once you have to mix train colours together.

It's a mini-masterpiece of clean design and smart complexity that every Android puzzle fan needs to own.


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