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Best new Android games to download in June

Update: Surfatron, Homo Machina and Valkyrie Profile!

Android has an awful lot of games, and each month new ones are released. Knowing which ones are any good can be tricky. So we've put together a list of the best games that we've discovered on the Play Store—just three each month to ensure that only games we've played make it onto the list. This month, we've added Surfatron, Homo Machina and Valkyrie Profile!

June

Which games will shape up to be the feel good hit of the summer? Some strong contenders have already landed on the Play Store in June, from a casual endless runner to a full-fat premium RPG from Square Enix. Let's take a look.

Surfatron

Surfatron is an endless runner-style line surfer game that puts you in control of Dusty, a sentient video game console from the '90s that's trapped inside the Pixelverse - the space and time that exists between the hardware and his currently loaded game cartridge - and who must battle through the bugs and corrupts left by slacking game devs.

Sound familiar? Fans of PC and PlayStation 4 platformer 'Rad Rodgers: World One' might recognize Dusty as the epynonymous Rad's sidekick/weapon. These same fans might also like to know that powerups collected in the Pixelverse can also be passed between the two games.

Surfatron itself is a fun, stylish line racer where you have to surf long glowing lines collecting coins and power-ups, take risky jumps across space to discover different routes, and avoid both enemies patrolling the lines and a giant monster hot on your tail.

The gameplay is simple to learn but tricky to master. Levels contain lucrative hidden lines that require sticking your proverbial neck out to discover, but you can only spend a finite time in between the lines before you die, so knowing when and where to accelerate can get quite tense.

As an additional incentive, levels have objectives that you can complete for gear rewards: basically upgrades that can give Dusty additional shields, longer reach for powerups, etc. There's a social element too, as you can compete with your friends on Facebook to beat each other's high scores. 

Surfatron's mechanics are well-crafted and make for a great casual diversion, but what really gives the game its charm is the attractive design, engaging music and cheeky references to classic games in the powerups and also in the snarky quips (and curses) of Dusty, courtesy of Jon St. John, the voice of Duke Nukem.

  • App version: 1.0
  • App size: 76 MB
  • Compatibility: Android 4.0.3 and up
  • Price: Free with in-app purchases

Homo Machina

The new game from highbrow European media group ARTE has an intriguing concept. The name is composed of Homo (man) and Machina (machine), which clues you in to the premise. This game reimagines our squishy, leaky, throbbing flesh-vessels as mechanical contraptions. Basically, wheels, cogs, pipes conveyor belts and valves take the place of biological veins and organs.

The developers at Darjeeling cite as inspiration the work of Fritz Kahn, a doctor and scientist who described the workings of the human body using machines as metaphors. Playing through Homo Machina, it also reminded me of another famous figure: Rube Goldberg, the artist whose illustrations of complex mechanical contraptions are evoked in the game.

If the human body is a machine akin to a giant factory, the player is tasked with managing the staff: little people-within-a-person whose job it is to keep everything running smoothly. The game's story presents several situations to navigate as game puzzles, from as simple as eating a meal to more complex ones like a date. As with the real human body, everything is connected, so solving one problem requires you to make sure several puzzles in different parts ot the body have been completed.

The art style and old-timey newsreel sound effects in Homo Machina are a delight, and as is typical with ARTE, the game has an educational element. While not exactly a realistic depiction of the body, in the spirit of Fritz Kahn, it does manage to sneak a few teaching points through the metaphor, making it a nice gift for kids (so long as they don't take it literally).

Get it on the Play Store

  • App version: 1.0.2
  • App size: 487 MB
  • Compatibility: Android 5.1 and up
  • Price: $3

Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth

Square Enix has been playing with my feelings lately. I was initially disappointed in the company earlier this week following the news that there would be no more installments in the Go series of games (Hitman Go, Deus Ex Go, Lara Croft Go), my heart leaped up when Valkyrie Profile, a classic from the golden age of JRPGs, hit the Play Store this week.

The mobile port of Valkyrie Profile is based on the PSP version, with a few modernizations such as sharper graphics and the ability to save freely anywhere in the story. In-app purchases have been added, which seems cheeky, but don't worry: you buy the complete game, but the IAPs are basically just cheats such as double XP.

The game can be played with touch controls, virtual buttons or an external controller. Because the game has a fair amount of side-scrolling platformer-style movement (the origin of the name 'profile', as in facing sideways), precise jumps can be awkward but most of the time the controls have been very well-implemented.

Valkyrie Profile is a cult hit largely thanks to a combination of unconventional story and mechanics. The narrative is based on Norse mythology. You play as the titular valkyrie, Lenneth. Your mission? Help prepare for Ragnarok by gathering powerful souls to become Einherjar, the warriors of the afterlife. To do so, you need to find them on Midgard and train them before sending them up to Valhalla to join the final battle.

The game's story is genuinely great, with multiple endings depending on your choices, who you send to Valhalla and when. It's a tough balancing act to consider whether to keep a useful new warrior in your party to help you advance through the game, or send them to Valhalla as per your stated mission. Different choices lead to different narrative results, adding plenty of replayability to this RPG.

Combat is also interesting, relying on timing your party attacks to create powerful combos that can break through enemy defenses. Naturally, equipping the best items gained from exploring towns and dungeons is essential for this. A little tip from a veteran: be sure to select hard mode for your game, as it unlocks several extra areas and items that can actually make the last stages of the game more manageable than on easier difficulties.

For eighteen bucks, Valkyrie Profile is asking for a lot. But with a fantastic story, engaging characters, beautiful (if dated) spritework and a great soundtrack, RPG fans will get more than their money's worth.

Get it on the Play Store

  • App version: 1.1
  • App size: 0.94 GB
  • Compatibility: Android 4.4 and up
  • Price: $17.99

May

Spring is in the air, but before you're tempted to go outside, let us remind you that there have been some really great new games coming out on the Play Store this month.

Sdorica Sunset

Rayark is known for developing high quality premium paid mobile games, but Sdorica Sunset is the studio's take on that ubiquitous but much-maligned concept, the free-to-play mobile RPG. It's a genre oversaturated with poor-quality offerings, but fortunately, Sdorica Sunset manages to make the free-to-play model shine with a combination of charming design and well-crafted mechanics.

Sdorica's main appeal is in its distinctive colorful drawn visual style, which is cartoony without seeming childish. Lavish animated cutscenes serve to flesh out the story and the world to life. Even though I usually prefer a more gritty style in my games, I can't help but admit that Sdorica sucked me into its cute fantasy. This is helped along by evocative character design and voice acting, which tease more character out of the paperdoll protagonists. 

The storyline is essentially told through episodes of conversation in between battles, which is where the meat of the gameplay is. Combat has elements of a puzzle game. The two sides line up and face each other, and the player matches colored orbs with their finger to trigger different attacks, spells and abilities. 

Battles involve a surprising amount of strategy in discovering what moves different matches perform for which character, and then deploying them at the right time, countering the enemy attack patterns and deploying a characters specific action when it has the most impact. 

And the monetization? Well, although it's possible to play through the game's story missions with the characters you get for free, unlocking extra characters (and costumes) is done through a 'gacha' or random reward system. So you spend your in-game earnings and get a randomly selected character.

If you have your heart set on a particular one, or the urge to collect them all, that's where the temptation to spend comes in. All-in-all though, the IAP scheme is relatively restrained, and after a few days of playing, I haven't felt like the game was really turning the screws on me to spend money.

  • App version: 1.1.2
  • App size: 1.3 GB
  • Compatibility: Android 5.0 and up
  • Price: Free with in-app purchases

The Room: Old Sins

The Room: Old Sins is the latest in a beloved series of atmospheric puzzlers with a focus on manipulating contraptions in a limited space. The sequels to the original Room expanded the game environment, at times recalling classic games like Myst, but Old Sins goes back to, if not exactly basics, then definitely back to the series' roots, with a focus on solving devious puzzle boxes.

On the trail of a precious artifact believed to be the key to a mysterious disappearance, the player must explore disturbing places, puzzle through obscure clues and operate bizarre devices to uncover the secrets of Waldegrave Manor.

Manipulating intricate puzzles boxes with touchscreen controls sounds like it might be awkward, but the controls of The Room: Old Sins are really well implemented. As you explore the devious dolls house of puzzles, you'll want to poke your nose and fingers into every nook and cranny, looking for levers, buttons and other hidden mechanisms with the help of a special eyeglass.

The level of graphical detail and sound quality immerse you into the creepy story, making the game feel tense and tactile even as you're free to take your time to figure out the latest brain teaser—when you get stuck, the game will offer you progressively more informative hints, so you don't need to fear hitting a fail state. However, given how effectively the atmosphere is crafted, you might find yourself feeling on edge anyway.

Get it on the Play Store

  • App version: 1.0.1
  • App size: 625 MB
  • Compatibility: Android 4.4 and up
  • Price: $4.99

Vandals

At first Vandals feels just like Square Enix's Hitman/Lara Croft/Deus Ex Go titles, but with graffiti artists as the heroes. However, Vandals, developed by French/German production company Arte, brings some special touches to afamiliar format. 

You play a street artist that beautifies (or defaces, that's up to you) the walls of the neighborhood. Doing this while avoiding the watchful eyes of the police takes some skill and planning, as you hug the shadows while also trying to complete your mission in the fewest number of moves.

To spray your art and/or tags, you select colors and spray strength and get started. Once you are satisfied with your grafitti, close the window and get ready to make your escape. The levels invite you to replay each scenario to acheive three goals: Complete the art in as few moves as possible, pick up a special bonus token and remain undetected. Only those who achieve all three goals receive three stars and can activate further bonus levels. 

Vandals is divided into five chapters, each illuminating a street art epoch in a city. It all started in Paris in 1968, followed by New York in 1974, followed by Berlin, Tokyo and Sao Paulo. In each level there is a notice board with information about the famous street artists of the city. Finding them all completes the so-called Blackbook, which in the course of the game becomes a whole encyclopedia of the street art scene.

If you're a fan of the Go games and like the idea of Vandals' anarchic setting there are enough challenges to provide some hours of fun and a little education. Be warned though, it'll set you back a few bucks to stick it to the man.

Get it on the Play Store

  • App version: 1.1.2
  • App size: 179 MB
  • Compatibility: Android 4.03 and up
  • Price: $5.49

April

April is shaping to be a great month for fans of action shooters, with smash hit PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds parachuting onto the small screen, and Shadowgun Legends going for the guns and glory. As a way to calm our blood pressure and soothe our trigger fingers, we've also been taking a more thoughtful time with fantasy card game Spellweaver.

PUBG Mobile

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (popularly known as PUBG), one of the most played video games on PC and Xbox, was finally released to mobile devices worldwide after a beta period in China and a soft launch in Canada. As predicted, the free-to-play battle royale survival shooter was a huge success, but it's not undeserved.

PUBG Mobile is fantastically faithful to the addictive gameplay that made the PC version so explosively popular in the first place. 100 players parachute onto an island, scavenge weapons and equipment and engage in a winner-takes-all fight for survival as encroaching death zones push them ever closer to the enemy.

We'll admit that several AndroidPIT editors gave their lives over and over again on launch day as we struggled to adjust to the touchscreen controls, but we quickly got the hang of it, and before long, we were winning that chicken dinner.

While you'll never get the exact same precision you get on PC or Xbox, you're only pitted against other players on mobile, which helps keep the playing field even. The graphics are fantastic and so far, and everything about PUBG is free (though once they have secured a large player base, I wouldn't be surprised to see cosmetic IAP or ads start).

For the moment, PUBG remains the only serious game in town if you want a battle royale experience on mobile. But that could all change, as it's main rival (some would say imitator) Fortnite Battle Royale is already a huge hit on iOS, and should land on Android later this year.

  • App version: 0.3.3
  • App size: 778 MB
  • Compatibility: Android 4.3 and up
  • Price: Free 

Shadowgun Legends

Fans of virtual gunplay have been spoiled lately. But Shadowgun Legends is a very different beast from PUBG. Madfinger Games, the same team behind AndroidPIT's favorite zombie apocalypse shooter Dead Trigger 2, offers another first person shooter, this time with a sci-fi setting.

Boasting beautiful visuals, Shadowgun Legends is a real feast for the eyes, with lush graphics and a colorful futuristic setting that draws obvious comparisons to AAA PC/console titles such as Destiny and Halo. Your protagonist, or 'Shadowgun', has a huge variety of loot to use as weapons and armor as well as several different game modes to take on.

The free game contains an extensive single player campaign, as well as multiplayer, versus and co-op, which takes the form of dungeon challenges that are tackled in teams. It's an impressive offering for a title that's free to play, and thankfully, although in-app purchases and microtransactions exist, they are mainly for cosmetic titles that don't give players a competitive advantage.

  • App version: 0.4.3
  • App size: 843 MB
  • Compatibility: Android 6.0 and up
  • Price: Free, in-app purchases 

Spellweaver

Although I lost many hours (and dollars) of my misspent youth playing Magic: The Gathering with other nerdy teens, I must admit that many of the popular digital card games such as Elder Scrolls Legends and Hearthstone leave me cold. It was a surprise then, when I gave Spellweaver a try and ended up finding it so engaging.

As a fantasy-themed card game in which you duel your opponent with monsters and magic, Spellweaver is easy to pick up and understand for anyone familiar with Magic: The Gathering, but a well-designed tutorial can also easily bring newbies up to speed.

Spellweaver's visuals are attractive and flavorful, with 6 factions boasting a variety of monsters, heroes and spells that complement different strategies. Nothing mind-blowing here: you'll find noble knights, savage orcs, creepy undead and all the usual high fantasy suspects. Nontheless, the setting lends a lot of charm despite being familiar.

What keeps the game engaging is the depth of strategy involved. You'll need to be mindful of the speed of your monsters as well as their raw power, carefully pick your hero leader, frontline attackers and support cards.

Battles vs the AI are possible if you want to stay casual or just hone your skills, but once you get good you might be tempted to enter tournaments against other real human players. Naturally, this is where the IAPs come in, just like in real life card games, although you can also earn new cards via normal games.

  • App version: 3.15
  • App size: 216 MB
  • Compatibility: Android 4.1 and up
  • Price: Free, in-app purchases 

What were your favorite games from the last month(ish)? Let us know in the comments below and we'll try and check them out!

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