Selections for mobile gaming apps have gotten enormous over the years. The good part about this is that it means there’s always a game to play at the touch of a screen, and many of them have reached a very high level of quality. The downside is that even with best-of lists, thorough reviews, and in-app store promotions, it’s often hard to find the best ones.
What’s somewhat easier at least is finding the best categories for app-based games. No one category is perfect, and there will be underwhelming games in all of them. The following, however, have proven to be fairly reliable for quality over time, and are worth revisiting whenever you run out of games you’re enjoying on your phone.
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The endless runner might wind up being the defining genre of the mobile gaming era, when all is said and done. Made famous through games like Temple Run, Sonic Dash, and Spider-Man Unlimited, among others, it’s a style of game that has simply proven to be ideally suited to the mobile model, which, when you think about it, is actually quite limiting. This is true for several reasons, including simple controls, replay value, and the basic structure, which is that there is no end, or way to “beat” the game – just constant chances to better your own performance. Throw in the fact that an endless runner can be designed with virtually any set of characters or settings, and it really is the perfect mobile game.
Casino games are almost hidden gems in the mobile arena. Those who don’t play them likely picture ‘00s-era poker simulations and cherry fruit slots, all of which sounds rather boring to the modern gamer. However, those who do play casino mobile games are aware that they’ve become a lot more sophisticated. Poker and other card games are now advanced and coupled with live multiplayer, and the newest sites behind slot games are producing all kinds of themed games with clever and engaging animations. This improving selection coupled with the fact that casino games require almost nothing in the way of controls makes them perfect. There’s endless capacity for theme- and multiplayer-based innovation with no added complication.
First Person Escapes & Explorations
If you’ve noticed the theme of pointing to genres with simple controls as being best for mobile, the same idea is perhaps best exemplified by first-person escape and exploration games. These games – effectively mobile versions of old computer-based point-and-click adventures – have become extraordinarily popular. On mobile devices they effectively act as playable storybooks, taking us through narratives as quickly as our own puzzle-solving skills allow us to go. And perhaps best of all, they’ve become perfect vehicles for some of the things that help mobile developers to stand out, such as visual and audio quality, and pure narrative creativity. These elements can sometimes blend in on bigger video games because the action takes over. In the mobile medium though, games in this category such as The Room, Device 6, and Year Walk have brilliantly showcased intricate game design and kept us eager for more at the same time.
Fighting games, or “fighters,” have been around nearly as long as video games themselves, but were really brought to prominence by series such as Street Fighter, Tekken, and Mortal Kombat. On consoles and old handheld devices there was a fair amount of button-mashing involved in these games, which might at first make them seem like poor fits for mobile. However, a largely universal version of touchscreen fighter controls involving taps and swipes of the finger has been surprisingly successful and has resulted in several excellent fighting games. Now that the controls have been worked out, these games are perfect for the medium. They’re quick to play, offer a satisfying amount of action without some of the difficulty of, say, a mobile shooter, and can be twisted to fit a huge variety of themes and character collections. There will always be fresh and interesting fighting games.