Developer: Gameloft SE
Released: April 2020
Available on: Google Play
Gameloft Classics is a collection of 30 retro Java phone games spanning many genres by mobile developer Gameloft, in celebration of its 20th anniversary (I’m surprised they’re that old, too). Unlike the company’s other mobile games, the whole package is fully free, with no ads or in-app purchases to speak of, meaning there are no energy bars or unskippable 20-second ads.
The bundle includes titles that shipped with or were sold for old mobile devices before Android, including Diamond Rush, N.O.V.A., and Gangstar 2. In a way, Gameloft Classics is like buying the mobile equivalent of the NES Classic or PlayStation Mini.
The games were adapted from their original T9 phone keyboard format to on-screen buttons, making the games easily accessible on touchscreens, but otherwise remain unchanged. That said, the transition to Classics falls short, with a small screen space that makes seeing the action harder, and a less-than-stellar fixed D-pad which is somehow easy to miss and results in sluggish movements. Even then, Gameloft Classics is worth it just for the easy and free access to 30 retro Gameloft games. Here are some highlights.
Diamond Rush is an adventure puzzler, in which your explorer enters the Great Temple of Angkor Wat to search for diamonds. The game is full of traps, dangerous boulders, deadly snakes, flamethrower statues, and diamonds of course. The game is great at making use of these elements to create labyrinths that require both thinking and reflexive movement to escape. Though be careful, because if you get stuck, your only option is to die and respawn at the last checkpoint!
Soul of Darkness
Inspired by (or possibly ripped off from) Castlevania, Soul of Darkness is an action platformer starring Kale and his wife Lydia, who got abducted by a vampire while they were visiting an old town. With a large fire sword, Kale can slice up the undead hordes attacking him, and obtain their souls to upgrade his weapons. While it’s fairly easy to die repeatedly in the game, and jumping is a bit finicky, the combat and exploration are fun especially for a retro mobile game, with lots of branching paths, secrets to find, and monsters to slay.
Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus
Unlike other versions of the game, the Classics version of Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus isn’t a first-person shooter in the same vein as Call of Duty, but rather a platformer-like game with military elements. Usual tropes associated with military shooting games like an action-packed story, an assortment of all kinds of weapons, and shooting down enemies are to be expected. Rather than aiming a crosshair at your targets, it automatically locks on to them, with a chance at a headshot when it turns red.
Motocross Trial Extreme
Motocross Trial Extreme is a 2D motocross game partaking in several events around the United States. With an array of upgradeable bikes and a career spanning states such as Colorado and New York, and modes like time trial or freestyle. You will need memorization, decent reflexes, and the ability to quickly speed, slow down, or adjust your bike. Good luck!
Gameloft Classics is a nice surprise and a well needed return to the forgotten past of mobile games. With several titles packed in a free 80MBs Android app, it’s easy to appreciate the humble beginnings of phone gaming, and there is always something to play, no matter the genre.
Want other free phone games? We got you covered with Four Completely Free Android Games!