When you think of mobile games — that is, games you play on your smartphone or tablet — there’s a reasonable chance you’re thinking of Candy Crush, FarmVille, or the hundreds of not-so-subtle clones that plague the various app stores. No judgement if you enjoy those games, but they’re not everyone’s cup of tea. If you’re looking for something that feels more like a high-quality game and less like thinly-veiled gambling, this is the list for you.
Note: many of these games are data-hungry, so be sure you have Wi-Fi turned on!
Bluk (Genre: ‘Physics Adventure’)
Bluk from Pixelape Studios is the exact kind of relaxing, high-quality game that you could waste long amounts of time on without complaint. The game is simple but not easy; gamers are tasked with jumping a block from one pillar to the next, each level becoming progressively more complex. The points you receive depend on the complexity of your jump — take a ‘Leap of Faith,’ for example, and you’ll get a bunch of points if you pull it off…fail, though, and you’ll fall to your death. Players are given only one chance to revive themselves before having to start over.
Polyforge (Genre: ‘Arcade’)
Polyforge is another beautiful, simplistic yet progressively difficult game. This game revolves around music and the beautiful sounds that can be formed using increasingly complex shapes spinning at different speeds. Players are tasked with tapping the screen to play a note on each face of a geometric shape. Play the same note twice and you lose. Each round that is successfully passed leads to a faster, more complex shape, producing faster, more complex sounds.
Parallyzed (Genre: ‘Arcade’)
No, that’s not misspelled. Parallyzed is a side-scrolling ‘atmospheric adventure platformer’ from Double Coconut, and the name refers to the parallel nature of the game style. The game’s story revolves around twin sisters Red and Blue who, during a moment of anger, suffer a tragedy. Players must reverse this tragedy by entering the mind of their in-game sister, playing in a parallel game world to complete the mission of restoring one back to life.
Stellar Fox (Genre: ‘Puzzle’)
Stellar Fox is one of those games you play when you want to relax or calm down — it’s difficult to be anything but calm or relaxed when you play this game, especially if you pop in a pair of earbuds. The story revolves around the baby stellar fox who is swept away from its mother by a strong breeze. The mother stellar fox, in an effort to help the baby get back home, lights up the sky as a bright star. Players must help the baby fox in its mission to get to the bright star, its mother.
Evil Cogs (Genre: ‘Adventure’)
Maybe you’re not in the mood for sweet and relaxing — maybe you want something dark and sinister, but with a side dose of adorableness and excellent graphics. Thus enters Evil Cogs, a game that takes players straight into the action — that is, into a world where shadows obscure the frightening creatures you can hear hiding in the darkness. “You were born in deep darkness…born to kill it,” players are told at the start of the game. The game physics take some time to get used to, but this title’s worth the effort.
Alto’s Adventure (Genre: ‘Action’)
This game enjoyed high popularity for a while, and so there’s a decent chance you’ve already played it. If you haven’t, now is the time to give Alto’s Adventure a try. This mobile game is as simplistic as it is enjoyable with graphics and a dynamic, beautiful atmosphere that is almost without comparison. This game tasks players with skiing down slopes in search of llamas, requiring you to jump over rocks, slide down clothes lines, and more. The physics are great, and the game takes things up a notch by continually changing the time of day and scenery.
Shadow Fight 2 (Genre: ‘Action’)
Shadow Fight 2 from NEKKI is a great take on classic fighting games with a dash of RPG tossed on top. Players equip their character with a variety of weapons and armor sets, using them combined with martial arts to dominate demon bosses, vanquish enemies, and ultimately succeed in closing the Gate of Shadows. Think you can handle it? Don’t underestimate this title.
Mars: Mars (Genre: ‘Action’)
The somewhat unusual name aside, Mars: Mars is a fun, colorful game that involves sending the first batch of volunteers to where else? Mars. This is made possible via MarsCorp, ‘the first company cutting enough corners to make human flights to Mars finally viable,’ according to developer Pomelo Games. That fun tidbit of info ushers players into a somewhat complex action game in which they navigate an astronaut through various landscapes, doing so with limited fuel and a wonky jetpack.
Beat Stomper (Genre: ‘Arcade’)
There’s no much to explain here: the app revolves around music and carefully timed screen taps. Check out the video above to get a picture of what it offers, and be sure to check it out if you love music!
Soul Knight (Genre: ‘Action’)
Last but not least is Soul Knight, a retro-styled game that will trigger nostalgia in many players. In this game you’re tasked with fighting against high-tech aliens to restore balance to your magical world. Or something like that. The storyline here isn’t important; it’s all about shooting aliens.
If you’re on the hunt for high-quality mobile games, you can’t go wrong with any of the above options. They do require a decent device, though, so if you’re still rocking an ancient handset, head into our Android or Apple hub for reviews of the latest and greatest phones!