Today, you can buy phones worth in the range of $150–$200, which come with 4GB of RAM and 2+ GHz of processor speed. With this, you have in your pocket a device which has the same strength as an average laptop. It’s no wonder that smartphone games have reached such high levels that they can almost match PC and console ones. Gamers have turned their heads to mobile devices. In fact, in 2018, mobile gaming made up for almost half of global video game revenue.
Now, there are no fine lines between a mobile game and the one you play on consoles. Games like Fortnite, for instance, allow you to play the same game (with the same account) on both these media. Still, there are many games made specifically for smartphones that you literally must check out. Regardless of whether you’re an iOS or an Android user, we’ll present to you eleven games that you should play.
Available on both Android and iOS systems, Alto’s Odyssey is the sequel to the popular Alto’s Adventure. It’s an endless runner game by Noodlecake Studios that takes place in multiple snowy biomes through which you progress. As is the case in the first installment, your aim is to go as far as you can without falling down off your snowboard. While on the track, you have many obstacles in the shape of rocks to avoid. Moreover, you don’t just idly go down the slope, you have tasks to complete — life-threatening grinds, breathtaking backflips, and other skillful flips which make this stylish game something you won’t be able to put down.
In the Odyssey, developers added wall rides, a new move which gives you the possibility to do an impressive trick. They also use it as an obstacle you need to complete in order to progress through the sections.
Fire Emblem Heroes
This is a great addition to the mobile gaming world, but you should also be wary of it. Nintendo adapted its tactical RPG for phone users, bringing a uniquely complex game to your Android and iOS devices. You will go through an RPG campaign, rich with characters and special events. They regularly update the game with new multiplayer modes which will make you never want to quit the game.
However, on the other side of the coin, the game relies heavily on the in-game currency, something we didn’t expect from a company like Nintendo. It’s a freemium game, meaning that you don’t have to spend money to progress, but your advancement will be limited. Although they do reward players frequently with coins, you’ll find it hard to resist buying them for real money. And their selling rates are quite steep. If you buy the pack which gives you the best cost-value ratio, summoning a random character will still cost you $1.60–$2.70.
The game is still playable without reaching for your wallet, but your progress will be slower. If you know you can resist the urge to join the p2w community (pay to win), Fire Emblem Heroes will give you hours and days of excitement and enjoyable gameplay.
Life Is Strange
Life Is Strange gained a following and critical acclaim when Dontnod released it for PC, Sony, and Xbox. The development company decided to reward their fans with an Android and iOS version, so you can immerse yourself into the riveting story when you don’t have access to your PC or consoles.
Graphics of the game have (understandably to some) gone down on the mobile version. But, true fans of Life Is Strange know that the game was never about breathtaking visuals and detailed textures. Life Is Strange is an episodic adventure that embarks you on a journey of friendship, love, and self-discovery. The main part of the game is the storyline and your adventure towards the end.
Admittedly, the game is not the most amazing one to the eye, and the controls are a bit off the pace, but you won’t have to make reflex-based movements, so it won’t bother you much while you’re focused on the story.
Fortnite Battle Royale
When Fortnite entered the scene, we already had popular battle Royale games like PUBG and H1Z1. Fortnite came with a cartoonish style and there were a lot of skeptics at first, but Epic’s game blew everyone out of the water. Battle Royale as a game type drops players into a map, which gets narrower as time goes on. In the end, the last one standing wins. With this, the most skilled players don’t always come on top, but, rather, those who have a strategic approach (and luck) usually survive until the end.
Fortnite combined battle Royale with tower defense, as it lets you pick up building material and you can make yourself a defensive structure. You’re dropped into the map by a party bus and a parachute. Your goal is to find ammo and guns scattered around the map, as well as additional supplies like the aforementioned building material and health packs. It’s a relatively simple game concept, which is one of the reasons why it’s so popular and addictive. Add to that the fact that it’s free and everyone else is playing, and you’ll get a game millions enjoy.
This third-person shooter has spread further than PC and consoles, and you can now play it on your mobile device. You can sign in with the same account that you use on your PC, so all your skins are available on your smartphone as well.
The Banner Saga
As the name suggests, this game will send you on a journey through the Norse-inspired world. You’re the leader of your people, with warriors and civilians relying on your decision-making to survive the upcoming apocalypse. The game is available for both iPhone users and poor people, and the quality of the game is really challenging its PC version.
You can see that developers worked hard on making the game immersive, with professionally voiced characters and amazing music and visuals. It’s a tactical RPG game which has many races to choose from — humans, centaurs, sinister dreg, and giants. Expectedly, every race has a unique set of skills and tactical advantages. The game revolves around your making decisions which influence the unfolding of the storyline.
Monument Valley (and its second installment Monument Valley 2) is the brainchild of Dutch artist Maurits Cornelis Escher. His unique art style brings an air of uniqueness to this puzzle game. The graphics are not there just for show — they are essential to the gameplay. Puzzles revolve around a simple storyline which doesn’t contain any dialogue. You have to twist and move about structures which are geometrically impossible, which will confuse your brain and make it even more difficult. As you progress through the game, levels become more and more demanding. Stafford Bawler, Grigori, and Obfusc worked on the game’s soundtrack, which will let you fully focus on the playthrough. It’s not an especially complex game, as you can complete it in one long sitting. This way, it’s perfect for a longer commute or an afternoon you don’t know what to do with.
Back in 2016 when the game launched, the Pokemon Go craze made everyone leave their home and wander about looking for pokemon. Although it hit its heights early on, the game was far from a finished product. They lacked some of the key functions, like PvP battles (player versus player) and trading. Today, in 2019, all of this has changed.
Niantic, the company responsible for this AR game, has added everything that was missing. Moreover, they keep on expanding the Pokedex, which means that your collection of pokemon is always left unfinished, giving you the motivation to continue playing. There are daily quests and events, so there’s always something to look forward to, even if fewer people are playing nowadays. So, go out, chase critters, and spin the Pokestop signs, just be prepared for more weird looks than there were two years ago.
Developed by Asher Vollmer, Threes is a tile-based adding game, similar to the famous 2048, only it revolves around numbers divisible by three. This is the original mobile game which revolves around numbered tiles being added together. It will kill your time with ease, making hours feel as mere minutes. The game, which is available on both iOS and Android, is incredibly addictive.
On top of that, its graphics are just way too cute. This might sound silly, but it’s the truth. Every tile is personalized and comes with a backstory. They have smiley faces inscribed into them and they make soft noises when you tap on them. The aim of the game is simple to get a hold of, but there’s strategy involved if you want to progress. There are a lot of games with the same concept that went out after Threes, but none of them managed to replicate its allure and visual appeal.
Reigns: Her Majesty
DevolverDigital has come up with a game which is reminiscent of dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble. The main game mechanic revolves around the player swiping left or right through cards, saying “yes” or “no” to what does cards represent. They are decision cards and queries from your citizens with which you make changes to your kingdom. There are several sections of the kingdom you’re in control of — your subjects’ piety, finances, how much the public likes you, and the military. You must keep your score on each of these sections in between certain numbers. If it gets too low (or too high), the people will rise against you and remove you from the throne. They won’t take you down with kindness.
When you die (i.e., they kill you), you will be in control of the new ruler, hoping that you won’t repeat your mistakes. The game mechanic is simple and the fact that you can continue as the new ruler makes it look like the mistakes are irrelevant. However, the game has an almost unexplainable lure which will keep you tied to the game. And with the commands being swiping left and right — gestures all of us have become used to these days — the game is ideal for killing time. The game is available for Android, iOS, and Nintendo Switch, as well as PC.
Have you read Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days? You’re a gamer, you haven’t, but you might have seen the movie. 80 Days, which is based on this story, is an interactive fiction by inkle. You play the game as Jean Passepartout, main character Phileas Fogg’s sidekick and loyal servant. The aim of the game is to help Fogg complete the journey from London across the globe, back to the same place. The story originally takes place in Victorian times. However, the game moves to more recent times, with the initial level taking place in an underwater train going from London to Paris, France. The visual style belongs to Steampunk, as you will see many buildings and creations inspired by this subculture.
The depth of this game is incredible — there are over 1,500 pages of the written word that went into the storyline. The gameplay is full of difficult decisions, due to the fact that you’re running on a budget, and you have to save time. You’ll be faced by decisions such as: should you pay extra for an early ride? Do you try to sweet talk a guard for more information, or fix Fogg’s beard (angering him if you don’t)? Do you sell your coat to get extra baggage space? The vast amount of these decisions will make you play the game for a while, but it won’t get overwhelming due to the fact that the game is written impeccably. Since there are so many different choices, you can come back and play the game from scratch multiple times.
When Thekla came out with The Witness, mobile game fans received one of the most unique puzzle games out there. The game puts you on an unknown island you cannot leave unless you solve all the puzzles and find the answers to all the questions set in front of you. The island has a dotted route which leads you from one level to another, where you collect clues every time you solve a puzzle. The game, which you can enjoy on both iOS and Android, comes with great graphics and relaxing soundtrack. The more you play, the more you realize how much time went into designing the game and levels. When you complete a level, you get that satisfying feeling of achieving something you couldn’t before.