Mobile games are everywhere, both figuratively and literally. Whether you’re an iPhone owner or you prefer Android, there are tons of mobile games to try out, so which are worth your time? We’ve put together our top picks for the 9 best mobile games to play in 2017, so come with us while we check out what’s good.
First things first, this isn’t going to be strictly a list of mobile games that were released in 2017 but rather, a list of mobile games that you should be playing in 2017. Some of these are newer releases while others are just straight-up classics that are still worth your time and money many years later. The nice thing about games on mobile devices like phones and tablets is that there are no set, built-in rules that any of them must stick by necessarily. All kinds of different genres and playing styles are represented here, so truly there will always be something for everyone.
Over the years, as technology has grown better and stronger, mobile games have gone from simple one-screen time-wasters into fully-fledged games with narrative, innovation and depth. Some even go so far as to rival consoles in terms of graphics and story. If you’ve been keeping up with iPhone or Android games over the past few years, you’ve been able to see huge improvements in terms of gameplay, as well as what’s truly worth your money. Well, without further hesitation, let’s take a look at which games we picked for the best mobile games to play in 2017.
Super Mario Run
The fact that Super Mario Run is front and centre on our list shouldn’t be too surprising. The mere fact that Nintendo of all companies has developed and released a game exclusively for mobile devices is pretty incredible to think about. It wasn’t too long ago when that would be a laughable idea but here we are, looking at an original Mario title developed for phones and tablets. While Super Mario Run is technically free to play, downloading the app will only get you access to the first few levels – after that, you’ll need to buy the full version to unlock the rest of the game. This actually serves as a pretty good way to demo the game out before you buy, in order to see whether you’re going to like it or not.
Speaking of the game itself, if you’ve played previous ‘endless runner’ titles such as Canabalt or Runner 2 before, you’ll recognise the gameplay of Super Mario Run instantly. Players take on the role of Mario as he runs constantly towards the right of the screen, simply tapping the screen when you want to make Mario jump over gaps, enemies and obstacles. The game consists of three game modes that are all variations on the same theme of moving to the right. It’s a simple game that ends up being surprisingly engaging and compelling. It’s also devilishly addictive so don’t be surprised if you find yourself replaying levels in order to beat your friends’ scores. It’s currently available on iOS with an Android version coming soon.
Continuing the Nintendo theme, we would be remiss not to mention 2016’s biggest phenomenon, Pokémon GO in this list. If you’re reading this article and were alive within the last twelve months, the odds are pretty good that you will have heard about this game. It permeated virtually every form of media and the general public conscious just after its launch in the Summer of 2016 and ever since then, it’s seen a series of updates and add-ons in order to keep players going.
Put simply, the game involves tracking and catching Pokémon on a virtual map that replicates the real-world location you find yourself in, whether that’s your home town, a local landmark or elsewhere on your travels, wherever you may roam. Taking full advantage of Google’s map technology to place Pokémon around the real world create a real sense of wonder and excitement when you find yourself desperately trying to catch that elusive Pikachu while out with friends for drinks or dinner. The game itself is free to download and play, though be aware that there are plenty of in-app purchases that will call to you the more you play.
Reigns is a truly wonderful little game that deserves to be played over and over. The closest parallel for Reigns is what the game’s marketing positioned it as – a form of Medieval Tinder. Yes, that Tinder, the dating app. Players are put in the role of a newly crowned King of a fictional Medieval land and are confronted by person after person requesting or advising them about different subjects. Players must then choose one of two conversation options in order to progress in the story – by swiping left or swiping right.
It’s not just the characters and story that you, as the new King, must keep track of, however. In fact, you’ll have to pick your conversation choices carefully in order to keep the peace by balancing the happiness of the church, army, civilians and the bank which are all represented by sliding scales that go up or down with each choice. If any of these reach the top or bottom of the scale, your reign comes to a sudden (and usually gruesome) close.
Mr. Robot 1.51exfiltrati0n.ipa
Telltale Games – creators of The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us – joined forces with Night School Studio, creators of the wonderful indie horror game Oxenfree, to develop this mobile-only, text-based adventure game based on the Mr. Robot TV show. Better still, being a fan or avid watcher of the show is not a requirement for enjoying this game at all, though it does help.
The almost impossible to search for Mr. Robot game – officially titled “1.51exfiltrati0n.ipa” is a superbly written and incredibly well-made adventure game that creates a true sense of tension and atmosphere while you play. The game is best played by following the story as long as you can before letting the game take its time. Characters you interact with will contact you after several hours, forcing some genuine real-life pause on you and creating a sense of reality that most games lack. It’s a unique experience that goes to show that truly great experiences can be created for mobile-only devices.
Speaking of adventure games, the Lifeline series is some of the best narrative design seen in mobile games to date. Presenting itself in a very similar format to the Mr. Robot game, players will interact with a fictional character and must pick different conversation choices in order to help out the game’s protagonist on their journey. At various times, in-game characters will disappear for long stretches of in-game time, only replying to the player when it fits within the narrative. This very simple format provides the basis for a series of games that form the ‘Lifeline’ franchise.
This very simple format provides the basis for a series of games that form the ‘Lifeline’ franchise, an ongoing series of games that are entirely narrative focused, encompassing a range of genres from fantasy to sci-fi to horror and everything in between. You can get all five of the series’ entries in one big bundle today, or pick each of them up individually as you play through them. They are not to be missed.
From the title, you’ll probably be able to tell what Desert Golfing is all about. If not, then I probably can’t help you. Honestly, it’s hard to find a game with a simpler premise than this one – the game presents players will a nearly never-ending series of levels (seriously, there’s over 19,000 of them) each one-screen in size and consisting of one golfer and one hole. The task at hand is simple – get the ball in the hole using a putter.
What begins as a painfully simple game evolves into an intensely addictive one very quickly, however, as the ‘just one more’ instinct kicks in while the challenge level of each hole increases very gradually over time. It’s simple, it’s easy to pick up and play and it’s genuinely excellently made. All that and it’s cheap, too. Definitely one that will keep you occupied for the coming months.
One Tap Tennis
In the same spirit as Desert Golfing, One Tap Tennis is, as you may expect, ridiculously simple. Yep, it’s tennis and it’s controlled by a single tap for the most part. Players are pitted against opponents of increasing skill as the game progresses, mastering the techniques to increase their score and customising their player character along the way.
One Tap Tennis is simple enough to be an instant hit and deep enough to keep you coming back for more. The commentary will quickly grate on you, though, so you may want to play it with your phone on silent! That being said, this one is a free to play game so you can check it out and judge for yourself.
This War of Mine
Shifting gears slightly, This War of Mine is a serious and heartfelt survival game that has existed as a PC and console game for a few years already. Set in a war-torn world in which the worst has happened and you are one of the few survivors, taking shelter in an abandoned house. As more survivors arrive seeking shelter, you must decide how to manage resources while scavenging and fighting off those who would seek to do your harm.
This is a highly affecting tale of the horrors of war and how it can affect civilians in war-torn countries. Appropriately, many of the proceeds from this game go to war-related charities, too. If you’d like to read more about that, you can head over here to do just that.
Based on the card game of the same name, Exploding Kittens makes the leap into mobile game form rather beautifully. Much like its card game source material, the mobile version is the old familiar card game that asks players to compete with friends locally or online. The game itself, for 2-5 players, players draw cards until someone draws an exploding kitten card, at which point that player will explode. Think of it like an adorable and endearing version of Russian Roulette, if that’s a concept that isn’t all too disturbing for you.
With art from The Oatmeal, original illustrator of the Exploding Kittens comics, this mobile version of the game eliminates the need to carry around a box full of physical cards but maintains the vast majority of the fun that can be had from playing.
There you have it, our list of our favourite mobile games that you should really play in 2017. Did we miss any that you think should make the cut? Feel free to let us know on Facebook or Twitter and we’ll take a look!