Mobile games are fantastic. Over the years the mobile gaming industry has grown to the point where it has both the technology and the base market to provide a wonderful mix of titles. Whether you like light, time filler experiences or fully fledged, engrossing titles, there’s bound to be something for you!
In this series I aim to provide you with a list detailing some of my favourite mobile games. Whether they are short experiences that stand out or longer ones that provide ongoing replay value, I’ll be including a range of titles I enjoy here. As my “short list” includes over 30 titles I will be spliting this article into four segments. They won’t be ranked based on preference, as I believe that would be unfair;you can’t compare a light puzzle game with something like a simulation racer. For the second article, I will be sharing my favourite games from the racing and puzzle genres.
What constitutes a “good” or “bad” game anyway? I’ve been playing mobile games a long time on all three major platforms (Android, iOS, and Windows). When determining whether a game is “good” there are a few things I take into consideration. Click “Show spoiler” below for details.
Now that is out of the way, let’s get started!
Angry Birds Go!
iOS : Free | ANDROID : Free | WINDOWS : Free
What sets this above other kart racers is the variety in content. With many different game modes, unique characters, kart upgrades, and multiplayer, there’s an amazing amount of content bundled in. Presented with Rovio’s “cutesy charm”, it looks pretty good and feels firmly rooted in the Angry Birds “universe”. Karts shudder on landing and break apart when hitting opponents, giving the game the same precarious feel as the parent game. Karts control well and improve noticeably after upgrades are applied. All in all, this is an exceptionally fun kart racing game with plenty of content to keep you coming back.
Real Racing 3
iOS : Free | ANDROID : Free
What I enjoy most about Real Racing 3 is that it hearkens back to what I loved most about older racing sims – that they weren’t just circuit races. While modern-day racing games tend to focus on just one race type, Real Racing 3 keeps things interesting by interweaving typical races with lapping challenges, timed runs, 1-on-1 face offs, drags, and much more. This, alongside regular story events (which they call quests for some reason), helps set Real Racing 3 above the competition (namely the extremely similar looking GT Racing series). It’s not without its flaws (poor AI, rubber banding, and a terrible menu system), but it’s easily the best available and a genuinely great racing game. It encompasses the control method well and offers loads of free content. There are micro transactions (of course), but payment is only required if you’re impatient or want to collect every car the game has on offer.
A truly amazing game – and I’d say that if it were released on a larger gaming platform too!
by Fireproof Games
iOS : $1.49 | ANDROID : $1.49
If you like puzzles, then I can’t recommend this game enough. It’s quite short (a couple of hours), but there are two sequels, so if you enjoy it, there’s plenty more to play! Having revisited it recently, I was able to recall answers to previous puzzles quite easily. As such, it’s not a game that provides much replay value; however, the experience is enjoyable enough that I feel it deserves a place in this list.
iOS : $7.99 | ANDROID : $7.99 | WINDOWS : $6.09
Levels have a number of sub objectives to keep your interest once the main game is complete, although to be honest, they don’t vary much and feel more targetted towards completionists rather than adding extra gameplay. That said, the game has enough “meat” in the missions to provide you with good value for your money.
Lara Croft GO
iOS : $7.99 | ANDROID : $7.99 | WINDOWS : $6.09
What makes Lara Croft GO stand out is both the art style and the way you navigate an area. Rather than just making your way from A to B, Lara Croft GO requires players to think ahead and modify the environment they play in. Whether dropping a pillar down a hole to make it passable, or using a crumbly wall to make a monster chasing you fall to it’s death… there’s a wealth of ingenious level design on show. My only gripe with the game was that it was fairly simple and there wasn’t a lot of replay. Sure you could go back and search for treasure (which unlocks a costume), but that just meant doing a “Where’s Wally” on each level to find small growing treasure pots – not the most engaging of activities. On the plus side, Square-Enix have already released free DLC called the Shard of Life. Picking up where the first part left off, it is much more challenging and provides a rewarding (and free) expansion to the game.
by PopCap Games
iOS : $1.49 | ANDROID : N/A | WINDOWS : N/A
When I first played Peggle, I was amazed. It was fun and intuitive, levels were well designed, menus and instructions were easy to understand… it ticked all the boxes for “things I love in a game”. Years later, I’m still playing it and enjoying it just as much! The music isn’t as good as I remember, but the sound effects are perfect. The mobile phone controls work really well, and the challenge is still exciting and fun. Surprisingly, this format hasn’t been bastardised with a bunch of similarly styled, alternately titled games – like the wealth of gem matching or bubble popping games for example!
The premise of Peggle is very simple. You have a set number of balls with which you must destroy all the orange pegs. Once fired, balls bounce around like a pachinko machine, ricocheting off walls and other pegs until they finally fall off the bottom of the screen. It’s a simple idea that works very well, making the game accessible for a younger audience, but challenging enough to engage adults like myself. Once you’ve completed the single player game, there are a few challenges you can attempt as well as a vs mode, but not a mountain of new content. From what I’ve seen, this is something they addressed with Peggle Blast; however, as I’ve not played that yet, I’ll keep my trap shut and just recommend this one instead.
iOS : $5.99
Framed is a beautifully presented game with a fairly unique control method (I’m sure I’ve seen it before, but I can’t put my finger on where). It’s a bit short for the price tag (an hour or so) and has a couple of puzzle solutions that weren’t overly clear; however, there’s nothing else quite like it, so I say it’s well worth the $6 price tag.
Cut The Rope
iOS : $1.99 | ANDROID : $0.99 | WINDOWS : $1.19
iOS : $4.49 | ANDROID : $3.16 | WINDOWS : $3.69
Free version also available (gives first 3 areas and has ads)
It’s hard to describe just how beautiful this game is without actually playing it. The screen never “fades to black” but instead moves across a perpetual canvas – with coloured ribbons sliding on and off the screen as required. Every move is accompanied by soothing contextual piano, making for an extremely soothing experience. From the simple menu system down to the controls of the game itself. Strata is a puzzle game that’s easy enough for a child to play, but strategic enough that the most puzzle hungry of adults will enjoy! Plus, if you’re still unsure, they have the first 3 areas available as a free download, so why not try it out?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on my suggestions and would be keen to try out any suggestions you may have. Did I miss any of your favourite strategy, tower defence or runner games? Let me know in the comments below, or on the forums. Just because I didn’t mention it doesn’t mean it didn’t make my top list; maybe I just haven’t played it yet…