We won’t try to fool you – if gaming is your primary hobby, mobile gaming is unlikely to quench your thirst forever. However, if something happens to your console or PC and you end up with only a phone or tablet, that’s not the end. In fact, it’s the perfect opportunity to explore an area of gaming that just 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 more like a console. You can read our recent Backbone One review to learn more about it.
To help you get started with mobile games, we thought we’d share what we think are the top 10 mobile games to play at the time of writing (iOS and Android). From card games to platformers to slightly more unique games – keep reading to see what that rectangle in your pocket is capable of.
13. Growing Crops
We thought we’d start with a game you may have just seen advertised on the internet. While these dodgy ads may put you off, we’re here to say that this one isn’t all that bad. Many mobile games fall under the “idle game” genre – which means that after a while the game plays by itself and you only have to check in from time to time.
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Rise of Cultures is a great example of this, which means you can fit it into your busy schedule. It’s also a great game for history fans who love Age of Empires but don’t really have time to play it. Maybe not one for basic gamers, but great for casuals.
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 any teammates if you prefer to go it alone), but you can also take on a number of fan-made side experiences in creative mode.
Fortnite changes all the time, but there’s almost always something tempting about the battle pass you work towards over time, earning XP across all of the game’s different modes. It’s a great way to spend your free time, and you can also start playing for free! It also works particularly well with mobile controllers like the Backbone One. Of course, however, you will need a good internet connection to get the most out of it.
Play Fortnite on mobile with Xbox Cloud Gaming
With a beautifully simple art style and loads of cute characters to boot, 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 version of the match-3 puzzle formula), Two Dots also offers weekly treasure hunts where you can browse beautiful works of art at the search for random characters, objects, and other stuff (think Where’s Wally with a little more flair).
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 its heartfelt storytelling and a very unique gameplay mechanic – you control the game by blinking your eyes, the life of the main character literally flashing past your eyes.
You can read our Before Your Eyes review to see what else we had to say about it, or read our Before Your Eyes interview to learn all about the developers and how they ended up partnering with Netflix to get this award-winning game on mobile devices. .
Play right 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. It was also in the middle of lockdown, so – like Animal Crossing – it was a lifesaver for those in need of gaming comfort.
It’s a gatcha game, which means the gameplay loop revolves around in-game currency being spent to receive a random in-game item. With new items coming out all the time, it can feel a bit daunting to get started. now, but many people do, 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 feels a bit like the old descendant Zelda series, with a gameplay loop more akin to a roguelike. This game’s challenge is a step up from anything we’ve mentioned so far, but we thought it was time to include something that tests your abilities.
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 from the App Store or Google Play Store (£6.99)
7. Super Mario Run
Sometimes we just want a familiar face when we’re on the go with just our phone for company. Well, rest assured, because everyone’s favorite Italian plumber (unless you know a real Italian plumber) is available on mobile. And while it may look like a generic runner, the game is super fun.
It’s not an “endless runner” but an auto runner with many different stages, each with lots of coins to collect. There are also many different modes and a toad garden to 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 contemporary life, it is omnipresent; on birthday cakes, in memes, in the crowd at a costume party. The Guy Among Us is a cultural icon, and we think it’s well deserved. Another game that blew up during lockdown, Among Us is a sci-fi Cluedo in which friends must work together to keep a spaceship afloat, while one to three murderous imposters attempt to sabotage the entire enterprise.
It’s still enjoyed by many today as a fast-paced social game to 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. Thimbweed Park
On the surface, a mix of X-Files, Twin Peaks and retro 80s games. And once you dive in, you won’t be disappointed. And that’s no surprise, because this point-and-click adventure comes from the same team that made the iconic The Secret of Monkey Island.
Winner of several awards, this game will be a blessing for your mobile. Don’t just take our word for it – try it for yourself!
Buy Thimbleweed Park on the App Store or Google Play Store (£8.99)
4. Pokemon Go
While it’s true that the craze ended about five years ago, Pokémon Go is still a great game to jump into. Walking around in the real world, with an augmented reality of the Pokémon world 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 into a manhole while you search for that rare Pokemon.
Download Pokémon Go for free on iOS or Android
This wouldn’t be a complete list without the brilliant Marvel Snap. It’s a card game for Marvel fans, sure, but it’s also a game anyone can enjoy. The various card games available are excellent and the gameplay loop adheres to that marketing quote of “simple but addictive”.
Like many mobile games, it’s kind of a pick-up-and-play affair, but you can also spend all day on Marvel Snap. With the stunning artwork, smooth gameplay, and huge cast of Marvel characters, we reckon it would be a busy day.
Download Marvel Snap for free on iOS or Android
2. Stardew Valley
Another laid back here, but he’s so adorable we have to give him pride of place. In this role-playing simulation, players take control of a character who inherits a farm. How they continue the open story after that is up to them – if you want, you can live a quiet life of solitude, or you can get married and have children.
Just look at this screenshot, though – it’s a beautiful game. And if you give it a chance, we think you’ll have a great time.
Buy Stardew Valley from the App Store or Google Play Store (£4.99)
1. Papers please
One of the best video games of all time was released on mobile earlier this year, so we had no choice but to put it at the top of the list. Papers Please is a border control officer simulation, which is absolutely not nearly as boring as it sounds.
Your decisions have consequences, both for the innocent people (or not) 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 on your phone.
Buy Papers Please from the App Store or Google Play Store (£4.49)
What about the best games on Apple Arcade?
And here’s a final note. If you play on iPhone, it’s also worth checking out Apple Arcade (click this link for more), a subscription service that lets you play brilliantly fun games like Alba’s Wildlife Adventure, Hot Lava, and Warped. Kart Racers. Of everything we’ve tried on this platform so far, these are our favorites for sure.
These games also all support controllers, which is always a plus if you’ve invested in a gamepad attachment for your phone. We’ve also tried to focus this article on the games available on Android, but check them out if you’re an Apple-head!
Want more games? Check out our video game release schedule or visit our hubs for more gaming and tech news.
Looking for something to watch? Check out our TV guide or our streaming guide.
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