Over the last few years mobile gaming has become a phenomenal hit and in becoming such a success, it’s introduced new audiences to the brilliance of video games. The pastime once seen as geeky has now been embraced by individuals of all ages, and video games are becoming respected on a widespread cultural level.
To highlight how brilliant mobile games can be, the following 20 have been selected to offer a mixture of modern Indie gems, retro gaming masterpieces, and compellingly innovative new titles. All 20, in one way or another, will boost your mood and mind through a mixture of outright fun, charm, relaxation, and challenges. Take your pick and enjoy!
A perfect game for iOS, Alto’s Adventure is an endless snowboarding odyssey which sees protagonist Alto hurtling down a vast mountain completing missions and performing tricks. It’s at once charming, relaxing, and beautiful, whilst offering a real challenge. As you ski by sunsets and changing weather conditions, you’ll soon realize this is one of the best smartphone games ever made.
2. World of Goo
2D Boy’s physics based puzzle game first appeared on the Wii in 2008. An instant classic, it’s quite brilliant and features a fantastic soundtrack alongside challenging and compelling gameplay. As the player you guide adorable goo balls to safety by building them into increasingly dramatic structures. A must buy.
Remarkably unique, 2D Boy’s endlessly endearing Little Inferno is essentially a puzzle game, of sorts, where players take control of a largely unseen character who burns toys and appliances to keep warm. It may sound simplistic, but 2D Boy’s hilarious use of language mixes with a poignant atmosphere to create an unforgettable experience.
An Indie classic, Thomas Was Alone is an amusing and poignant narrative based puzzle game. The winner of numerous BAFTA awards, and featuring narration from Danny Wallace, the player guides a selection of sentient shapes on a journey of self-discovery.
Known as Runner 2 on consoles, this endless runner sees the player star as Commander Video. It’s a musical game involving the need for perfect timing, which allows you to traverse increasingly complex levels. The absolutely stunning soundtrack and relentless action will leave you thrilled, making this another Indie classic. Don’t forget your earphones!
Clearly inspired by graphic artist M. C. Escher’s work, Monument Valley is an award winning puzzle game which is breathtaking to look at and a challenging experience. Guide Princess Ida through levels and enjoy the beautiful graphics along the way.
A SNES classic from 1993, Square Enix’s (back then known as Squaresoft) excellent RPG has made a strong transition to iOS. The control system works well and you’ll be immersed in this charming world with its colorful graphics, outstanding soundtrack, and well structured story.
Another SNES classic, this time from 1995, Chrono Trigger is an RPG considered one of the best games of all time. Renowned for its excellent story-line and compelling gameplay, it was a tour de force for Square Enix 20 years ago and remains an enduring classic.
Released in 1994 on the SNES, Final Fantasy VI is another of Square Enix’s RPG masterpieces. It costs a bit ($15.99) but it is arguably one of the best games of all time, and at a sprightly 512MB for a game of this quality you can’t go wrong.
One of the best games of all time, this legendary RPG first appeared on the PlayStation in 1997. It’s a beautiful, charming, and magical game with a highly emotional narrative. It’s just launched for iOS (August 2015), but the downside is it takes up some 1.63GB. On the upside, the game is a masterpiece!
The critically acclaimed Limbo is about a boy who heads off to discover his sister’s fate. It’s a puzzle and platform based game with a dark, melancholic edge, but it does have an enigmatic beauty about it and makes for a captivating experience.
One of the most peculiar games on this list, BADLAND is an action adventure game involving a large amount of atmospheric flying. The trick is to survive the brutal environments, and whilst you do enjoy the beautiful scenery and sound effects!
Apple noted this game as a “landmark title” – it’s an action adventure game with a mix of retro graphics and classic gameplay. As the protagonist you use your sword to perform “sworcery” in order to solve musical mysteries. It’s very charming!
This MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) is one of the best multiplayer options for iOS. Simply put, two opposing teams do battle to destroy the enemy base. It’s free to play, but if you want to upgrade there are in app purchases – if you’re willing to commit to Vainglory then it’s worth it.
This award winning puzzle game is simple, intuitive, incredibly challenging, but always beautiful. Its gesture based puzzle solving starts off easy enough, but soon becomes difficult.
16. 80 Days
80 Days is interactive storytelling with a steampunk twist! Considered one of the best iOS games of all time, this is essentially an interactive novel and it’s quite a riveting experience. You’ll find strategy, resource management, and a dose of adventure all rolled into one.
17. Year Walk
Loosely based on the Swedish tradition Arsgång (a form of divination), Year Walk is an elegant adventure/puzzle game which plays out like an excellent psychological thriller film. It’s a brief experience, but it’s an intelligently crafted and thrilling little adventure.
This award winning action RPG made its name on the PC and is now a universal app on iOS. Yet another title boasting a brilliant soundtrack, Bastion’s mix of compelling action and adventure works wonders and immerses you into the experience.
19. Odd Bot Out
In this adorable puzzle game you must help Odd escape a robot factory using building blocks, electricity, and physics. It’ll test your mental abilities whilst offering a unique visual treat – well worth the budget price.
20. Does Not Commute
Does Not Commute is a strategic driving game described as a “temporal paradox” – you have yourself to blame if your progress is hindered. You take control of commuters and guide them along their way, but each path you take can interfere with your next charge. It’s free to download – try it out and, if you like it, upgrade for save spots!
Featured photo credit: Ice/Snowman via builtbysnowman.com