We won’t try to fool you – if gaming is your main hobby then mobile gaming is unlikely to quench your thirst forever. However, if something happens to your console or PC and you’re down to just a phone or tablet, that’s not the end of it. In fact, it’s the perfect opportunity to explore a game world that might surprise you.
It’s also worth noting that controllers like the Backbone One and the Razer Kishi now make it possible to play games on mobile in a more console-style way. You can read our recent Backbone One review to learn more about it.
To help you get started with mobile gaming, we thought we’d share what we think are the top 10 best mobile games (for both iOS and Android) at the time of writing this article. From card games to platform games to slightly more unique games, read on to see what the rectangle in your pocket is capable of.
13. Rise of Cultures
We thought we’d start with a game you may have just seen on the internet. While these dubious ads might put you off, we want to tell you that this one is not that bad. Many mobile games fall under the “idle game” genre – which means that the game will play itself after a while and you only have to check in every now and then.
More like that
Rise of Cultures is a great example of this, which means you can adapt it to fit your busy schedule. It’s also a great game for history buffs who love Age of Empires but don’t really have the time to play. Maybe not for core gamers, but great for casual gamers.
Download Rise of Cultures for free on Android or iPhone
More than just a battle royale game, Fortnite is a cultural phenomenon that offers multiple ways to play. Not only can you play the main experience without the building (and without teammates if you prefer to do it alone), but you can also undertake a number of fan-made side experiences in creative mode.
Fortnite is always changing, but the Battle Pass almost always has something enticing that you work towards over time and earn XP in all of the game’s different modes. It’s a great way to spend your free time, and it’s free to start playing too! It also runs particularly well with mobile controllers like the Backbone One. Of course, though, you’ll need a good internet connection to get the most out of it.
Play Fortnite on Mobile with Xbox Cloud Gaming
11. Two points
With a delightfully simple art style and tons of cute characters, Two Dots is one of the most underrated games on mobile in our opinion, and it also offers multiple ways to play.
In addition to the hundreds of free levels in the main part of the game (which is a fun twist on the match-three puzzle formula), Two Dots also offers weekly Treasure Hunts where you can find beautiful works of art in search of characters, items, and other random stuff (think where Wally is with a bit more chic).
Play Two Dots for free on Android or iOS
10. Before your eyes
When we first played the PC version of this game, we were absolutely blown away by the heartfelt storytelling and a very unique gameplay mechanic – you control the game by blinking while the main character’s life literally flashes before your eyes.
You can read our Before Your Eyes review to see what else we had to say, or read our Before Your Eyes interview to find out all about the developers and how they ended up working with Netflix to create this award-winning bring game to mobile devices.
Play Before Your Eyes on Android or iOS (Free with a Netflix subscription)
9. Genshin Impact
Genshin Impact, like Pokemon Go years before, took the world by storm when it was released for free. This was also in the middle of lockdown, so – like Animal Crossing – it was a lifeline for those who needed gameplay comfort.
It’s a gatcha game, meaning the gameplay loops around spending the in-game currency to get a random in-game item. With new items coming out all the time, it might seem a little daunting to start now, but many people are doing it, and there are many who swear it’s never too late to start Genshin!
Download Genshin Impact for free on iOS or Android
8. Wayward souls
Wayward Souls is a fantasy adventure game that resembles the old Zelda series from top to bottom, with a gameplay loop more akin to a roguelike. This game’s challenge is a notch above anything we’ve mentioned so far, but we thought it was time to add something that will test your skills.
If you’re a fan of Hades or even the Souls series and fancy something similar on your phone, we recommend Wayward Souls.
Buy Wayward Souls on the App Store or Google Play Store (£6.99)
7. Super Mario Run
Sometimes we just want a familiar face when we’re just out with our phone for company. Well rest assured because everyone’s favorite plumber in Italy (unless you know a real Italian plumber) is available on mobile. And although it looks like a generic runner, the game is super fun.
It’s not an “endless runner” but an automatic runner with many different stages in which to collect tons of coins. There are also many different modes and a toad garden that you can build and expand with the coins you earn. happiness in the palm of your hand.
Download Super Mario Run for free on Android or iOS
6. Among Us
In today’s life he is omnipresent; on birthday cakes, in memes, in the crowd at a costume party. The Among Us guy is a cultural icon and we think it’s well deserved. Another game that exploded in lockdown, Among Us is a sci-fi cluedo in which friends must work together to keep a spaceship afloat while one to three murderous con artists try to sabotage the entire enterprise.
It is still enjoyed by many today as a fast parlor game that you can jump into at any time. Very simple but really one of the best mobile games.
Download Among Us for free on Android or iOS
5. Thimbleweed Park
On the surface, it’s a mix of X-Files, Twin Peaks, and retro 80’s gaming. And once you dive in, you won’t be disappointed. And that’s no surprise, since this point-and-click adventure comes from the same team that made the legendary The Secret of Monkey Island.
This multi-award winning game will be a boon to your phone. Don’t just rely on us – try it yourself!
Buy Thimbleweed Park on the App Store or Google Play Store (£8.99)
4. Pokemon Go
While it’s true that the madness ended about five years ago, Pokémon Go is still a great game to delve into. Wandering the real world with an augmented Pokémon world reality on your phone is an absolute dream come true for fans of the franchise.
It’s also a great way to get some exercise and vitamin D while you play, but please watch where you’re going. You don’t want to fall down a manhole when looking for this rare Pokémon.
Download Pokémon Go for iOS or Android for free
3. Marvel Snap
It wouldn’t be a complete list without the brilliant Marvel Snap. It sure is a card game for Marvel fans, but it’s also a game that everyone can enjoy. The different decks of cards available are great, and the gameplay looping lives up to the “simple but addictive” marketing quote.
Like many mobile games, it’s a pick-up-and-play affair of sorts, but you can also spend all day playing Marvel Snap. With the gorgeous graphics, slick gameplay, and massive cast of Marvel characters, we think this would be a day well spent.
Download Marvel Snap for free on iOS or Android
2. Stardew Valley
Another casual one here, but it’s so gorgeous that we just have to give it a high rating. In this RPG simulation, players take control of a character who inherits a farm. How they continue with the open story afterwards is up to them – whoever wants to can lead a quiet life in solitude or get married and have children.
Just look at this screenshot – it’s a pretty looking game. And if you give it a chance, we think you’ll have a great time.
Buy Stardew Valley on the App Store or Google Play Store (£4.99)
1. Papers please
One of the best video games of all time was released for mobile earlier this year, so we had no choice but to put it at the top of this list. Papers Please is a border control officer simulation that is nowhere near as boring as it sounds.
Your decisions have consequences, both for the innocent (or not) people you let into Arstotzka’s fictional dystopia, and for your own family back home. It’s a moral dilemma game and, dare we say it, a work of art. You need this game and if you haven’t played it yet, download it to your phone.
Buy Papers Please on the App Store or Google Play Store (£4.49)
What about the best games on Apple Arcade?
And here is one final note. If you play on iPhone, you should also check out Apple Arcade (click this link to learn more), a subscription service that lets you play brilliantly entertaining games like Alba’s Wildlife Adventure, Hot Lava, and Warped Kart Racers. Out of everything we’ve tried on this platform so far, these are our favorites for sure.
These games also support all controllers, which is always a plus if you’ve invested in a gamepad attachment for your phone. We’ve tried to focus this article on games that are also available for Android, but check these out if you’re an Apple fan!
Hungry for more games? Visit our video game release schedule or check out our hubs for more gaming and technology news.
Are you looking for something to look at? Check out our TV Guide or Streaming Guide.
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