Feb 8, 2011


Kongregate isn't really a game... it's a shell for Flash games. With the massive increase in popularity of mobile gaming we've seen a lot of ports of mobile games to both the iPhone and Android platforms. One of the many reasons to be an Android owner, however, is the recent support of Flash on the device which allows one to view Flash on web sites and suddenly be able to play the countless Flash games that already exist without a 'porting process' having to occur. The problem with this is that different devices are, well... different. Your home PC probably has a mouse and your mobile device probably has a touch screen. This creates differences in using these Flash games and provides one of many awesome excuses for Steve Jobs to exclude Flash support on the iPhone.

Kongregate is a web site full of Flash games. FREE Flash games. Once again advertising is the key their financial success. Kongregate encourages developers to create new games with both weekly and monthly prizes. Their catalog boasts of almost 40,000 games, but with Kongregate for Android it's closer to 400 in exchange for having this games tested as mobile games that don't rely on the traditional keyboard/mouse combination.

Kongregate wouldn't be any good if all of the games are lousy and they certainly aren't all winners, but there's enough here to make for a worthwhile addition to your Android gaming experience. Among the games I tried were 'Hexlom Mobile' which is a puzzle game in which there's a hex grid and some of the hexes contain numbered pieces. The number indicates how many other pieces a piece needs to be adjacent to in order to solve the puzzle. There's also 'filler Mobile' which reminds me a bit of the arcade classic Qix in which you touch the screen to blow 'bubbles' which little particles float around the playfield. If a particle touches a bubble while it's being created then it's destroyed. If you release then the bubble falls to the bottom and takes up space and that's the over goal... to fill up 2/3rds of the play area. I also tried 'Vector Conflict Mobile' which is a fast paced arcade game using vector style graphics. Touch the screen to fire at the oncoming forces. The game played much too sluggish on my Droid to be worth of any serious time. Finally, I played 'Pinch Hitter! Mobile' which is a sandlot Home Run derby baseball game. It doesn't have any instructions which made it hard to play, but eventually I figured out that I had to drag to move my player inside/outside as well as to adjust his swing up/down. Not bad, but I do think Flash mobile makes for far better casual and puzzle games than fast paced arcade games and based on the number of games in each category I am not alone.

If you're looking for some good, quick, simple fun then Kongregate may provide you with your answer. The interface for finding games is pretty good with basic search facilities as well as options such as viewing Staff Favorites. Each game is rated by the community and I'm sure more games are coming soon. I'm not going to give this a star rating because it's just another interface for accessing games, but I will say that it's certainly worth trying. I'm glad I did.

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