Let's be real for a moment - a significant majority of mobile games are pretty poor.
They're either outrageously devious in getting you to pay for stuff, hideously copied from far better games, or they're just downright cheap and awful to look at. Odds are Google are probably serving you ads on this very page for the kind of crap we're talking about. Maybe something with a pipe puzzle or something like that.
Well, this article isn't about those games at all. Quite the opposite, in fact. Here, we're going for the very cream of the crop - the games that are actually worth playing and worth your time. All games we've picked are available on both Android phones and iOS phones.
We kick things off with...
A cracking racer-style game, 'Data Wing' is a free game that has a lot of layers to it that slowly peel back over the course of its runtime. Initially, the game is set inside a neon-drenched landscape where you pilot a small pointer but as the game progresses, the story reveals that you're actually inside someone's smartphone and the AI of the phone is becoming conscious. It sounds weird, but when you get into it, the gameplay becomes more addictive and the story becomes even more engrossing. It's short, yes, but it's a wild ride. Great soundtrack too.
'Crash Bandicoot: On The Run!'
In a weird way, it feels right that a character like Crash Bandicoot is joining the auto-running genre on mobile games. It makes complete sense. 'On The Run!' sees you charging through the jungle just like you've done before on consoles over the years, except this time around, it's on your phone. Like 'Super Mario Run', you can get caught up grinding and you'll have to pay to play, but it's an enjoyably crazy game with a familiar setting.
It can take a bit of getting used to, and it can be quite picky with what phones it'll work on, but 'Crying Suns' is a dense rogue-lite strategy game that looks and feels like one of those games you might play on the Amiga. It's insanely detailed and every decision you make in the game impacts both the story and your survival, but it also gives you every chance to make the right or better one. 'Crying Suns' takes inspiration from weighty tomes like 'Dune' and Isaac Asimov's 'Foundation', so you can imagine the kind of tactical, logical gameplay that's expected of you.
One of the big indie smash-hits of 2020, 'Among Us' has finally landed on mobile gaming and it's lost none of its charms or addictive gameplay. If you've never played it, now's your chance. Just remember - everyone is potentially sus.
'Monument Valley II'
When we think of storytelling in gaming generally, 'Monument Valley II' is an example of one that does it in such a way that it makes you reexamine everything that's come before it. The art style is gorgeous, the music is soft and inviting, but it's the impact of the story that makes this game so emotionally devastating. You're guiding a mother and a child through a colourful but crazed world of changing shapes and landscapes, often separated by chasms or topsy-turvy architecture. Come into this game with an open mind, and you'll have one of the most rewarding experiences in gaming - not just on mobile.
'Broken Sword: Director's Cut'
For players of a certain vintage, 'Broken Sword' should be a familiar name. The director's cut of the old-school point-and-click adventure may have an updated art style, but the fiendishly smart detective story is still preserved in all of its glory. You'll find yourself smiling to yourself as you pick over a scene and deduce each clue, and with hours of gameplay to it, you'll find yourself captured by it all over again.
Designed by Monaghan native Terry Cavanagh, 'VVVVVV' is heavily inspired by Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum games of the '80s like 'Jet Set Willy' and 'Jumpman Junior', but with a much more mysterious bent to it. The game is loaded with odd imagery and a weird, dreamlike tone to it that almost makes it unsettling when you're not grinding your teeth in frustration at it. Seriously, this game is one of those games where you're going to gnash and curse it and then immediately start playing it again.