By Ryan Scott | 05-16-2012 | 4:00PM
Mobile gaming is bigger than ever, and that comes with some ups and downs. On one hand, it means lots of increasingly awesome games that give even proper console heavy-hitters a run for their money; on the other hand, it means a lot of subpar choices to wade through on Google Play and the Amazon Appstore. In this weekly roundup, we've got you covered: Here are five Android games that are worth your precious time (and in some cases, even your money!).
by Electronic Arts Inc
What can I say about this one? It's Tetris... on yet another platform. If, for some reason, you're completely clueless: Tetris is the originator of the falling pieces puzzle genre, where you're tasked with fitting variously shaped blocks into neat horizontal lines, which clears them from the screen and adds to your point total. If your mess of blocks hits the top of the playing field, it's game over. This mobile version includes a Marathon Mode (which, sadly, doesn't actually go on forever -- it only lasts for 150 lines), as well as a Magic Mode that involves a few wacky power-ups. But, hey, it's Tetris -- how can you not have it on your mobile device?
by Kairosoft Co., Ltd
The latest Kairosoft management sim is one that I'd been looking forward to ever since I'd heard about the iOS version -- and it's finally made its way to Android. Pocket Academy puts you in charge of a prestigious school, allowing you to build classrooms, plan extracurricular activities, and do whatever you can to attract as many students as possible. You're an armchair principal at work! Of course, Pocket Academy has a lot in common with all the other Kairosoft games, which means you either love the formula or you don't. But if you do, this is one of the absolute best of the lot!
Virtua Tennis Challenge
by SEGA of America
Virtua Tennis is one of the most beloved tennis series ever, and this mobile version miniaturizes it for enjoyment on your Android device. Various gesture-based shot types are pretty easy to pull off, and you can compete in quick exhibition matches or an extended world tour across various venues and high-stakes tournaments. You can even engage in wireless multiplayer action, if you happen to have any mobile-enabled tennis fanatic buddies around. Being the connoisseur of tennis games that I am, I must say that Virtua Tennis Challenge isn't quite as full-featured or on-the-mark as some of the all-time console greats, but it's a fun little game to have with you nonetheless.
by Backflip Studios, Inc.
Ninjas are good at running vertically, jumping around, and slicing things up. That's the premise of NinJump, which finds you doing just that: It's a marathon building-scaling challenge for as long as you can hang in there, as you tap to jump from side to side in an effort to evade obstacles and neutralize oncoming threats. Periodic power-ups grant you a reprieve in the form of one-hit immunity, but beyond that, you've got to be light on your fingers in order to survive. It's quick, accessible, and fun -- everything the ideal game (mobile or not) should be!
by Robot Invader
Wind-up Knight is about the cutest game ever, casting you as an adorable little toy soldier, marching ever-forward through a peril-fraught kingdom to rescue your princess from the mischievous Black Knight (who, in fact, informed the king of his dastardly plot via ye olde email, complete with leet-speak and era-appropriate domain names -- I gotta get me a GeoCastles account!). Basically, your task is constant crisis management, as you jump, roll, block, and swing your way through increasingly relentless obstacle courses. One hit, and you're dead. I didn't really appreciate the grind-intensive level unlock conditions (either pay exorbitant in-game cash or a bit of real-world cash to unlock later levels), but I enjoyed the heck out of what I did play!