Things To Do On Vacation: Mobile Games To Buy

Week One: Things That Work In Airplane Mode

If you have some money to throw into the giant black hole of boredom -- an early gift card, say -- and you'd like some more elaborate mobile games, well, I've got a list for that too! These are all visual novels, because I like them, and they are a notorious time sink.

Ace Attorney Trilogy HD
iTunes | Google Play
Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney
iTunes | Google Play
Ace Attorney Investigations
iTunes | Google Play
Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies
iTunes | Google Play
Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice
iTunes | Google Play

The Ace Attorney games, ported from their DS versions (which were themselves upgrades of the original GBA games in Japan), or 3DS versions as appropriate. Follow the adventures of Phoenix Wright, only sane man in the entire goddamn universe, as he solves murders and wins trials. The original trilogy is not available on Android outside of Japan, for reasons that no one can figure out. Everything else is out for both major mobile platforms.

Professor Layton and the Curious Village HD
iTunes | Google Play
Layton Brothers: Mystery Room
iTunes | Google Play
Layton's Mystery Journey
iTunes | Google Play

Again, no idea why they ported one to iOS and then never did anything else with the originals -- they're all DS games that work fine on a touchscreen -- but the latest game is out for both mobile platforms. Mystery Room is a mobile exclusive.

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
iTunes | Google Play

The opening cutscene is your murder. You get your tutorial from a talking desk lamp that tells you to call him 'Ray'. At one point I was muttering, 'Am I really an umbrella? A sentient umbrella?' and it made total sense in context. The main game play mechanism is using your super ghosty powers to turn a room into a Rube Goldberg machine that accomplishes the one simple thing you need to progress the story. It's hilarious and insane. It's done by the Ace Attorney people, who are all devout worshippers at the First International Church of Chekov's Gun.

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