Monday, March 28, 2011

Spatial fun with Android apps

Our family amusement with saying "there's an app for that" has finally started to wane... So it must be time to share my findings with you. I've found apps for keeping my shopping lists, collecting all my store loyalty cards and even an to make my phone act like a magnifying glass. I've found apps to turn the Droid into a Kindle and a Bible. But some of my favorite apps are the free (and a few nearly free) games.

Any Droid game app list must begin with my favorite card game for gifted kids of any age: SET. (search the Market for Set Enterprises to get the real game). SET is the ultimate visual matching game. Match (or don't match) the shape, color, number and fill of the icons on each card to create sets of three cards where each of those characteristic is either the same or different on all three cards. But don't hand your phone to your gifted child... You may never get it back! Even with the SET app on my Droid, we still love to play the real SET card game at home.

How about a game of mirrors? Chromatron is the game of laser and mirror puzzles. Can you place and rotate the mirrors, combine the lasers, mirrors and filters to combine and separate colors, and reach all the targets in each tableau? Puzzles teach new skills along the way, like combining and splitting beams to create new colors. And then the puzzles really get Tricky!

Vexed Pro is a free chain reaction gravity puzzle. The puzzle is to get rid of all the cubes by sliding or dropping 2, 3 or 4 cubes into adjacent positions; touching matched cubes makes them disappear. Make each puzzle a little harder by making par, solving  the puzzle in the least number of moves possible. There are thousands of puzzles, from Beginner to Impossible and every level in between! Vexed Pro will keep you entertained for a very long time!

Rush Hour is a well known diversion for gifted kids (and their parents) from Thinkfun. In Rush Hour, puzzles get progressively harder as you try to free the red car from the traffic logjam. Cars can only move forwards and backwards, and may start the puzzle facing north-south or east-west, complicating the gridlock. The free version offers dozens of challenges, and the paid version, hundreds more. Rush Hour is must have for any Droid.

Space Physics is a Rube Goldberg puzzle combined with gravity. Can you move the ball to the goal wheel by adding shapes and forces to move it along? Draw quickly, or the ball will fall off the screen! But fear not, you can always start over. Again, the free version offers many challenges, but in case you run out, there's a paid version with tons more fun!

My latest find is Bubble Blast II. Another free app, Bubble Blast II challenges you to clear all the bubbles on the board with the least number of "touches." A touch turns the bubble touched to the next larger size and color, and if  the bubble turns red, it sends off chain reaction  bubble touches in all four directions. The puzzles start very simply, and get successively tougher. You can retry each puzzle as often as you like, but you will have to solve it to move on to the next harder puzzle.

Bubble Blast II even offers clues, but you can only receive one clue every 24 hours, and I suspect it will lower your overall score... I didn't try it to find out. There's also an arcade mode where time is of the essence. I'm more of a puzzle person myself.

Looking for a game that combines words and spatial strategy? Try Words with Friends! A favorite iPhone app now available on the Android too, Words with Friends lets you play that famous Hasbro word game with your friends on either phone platform, in your own time. Have a few minutes to wait at the doctor's office? Play your turn. Your friend (or a random stranger, if you choose) takes their turn when they have a chance. It's a fast way to turn a minute of lost time into a thought-provoking social activity!

That's all for today... I'm sure these games will give every Android user more than a few hours of lost, or saved, time. Next column, great word games for the Android.

And if anyone would like to offer Hoagies' Page an iPad or iPod Touch, we will offer similar columns for iApps! ;-)


  1. I don't suspect that X Construct fits in this category? I'm only up to Level 7 and already going a bit nuts building bridges! Love it!

  2. Thanks, Academama. Took me a couple days to post because... I downloaded the X Construct app, and I've been trying to make my train cross safely on that first really wide bridge (3 or 4?)... it keep falling into Eastwood Ravine! Good thing the app lets me go back and try again :-)


  3. Great suggestions, thanks! My kids like PopMath, Monkey Math, AndTangle, and The Elements.

  4. Thanks for taking the time to share your view with us.
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