With an astonishing 6 billion mobile devices expected to be circulating worldwide by 2020, there’s an exceedingly good chance you have a smart something or other a few yards away right now. That also means you have access to the largest – and fastest-growing – segment of the gaming market.
But with hordes of mobile games arriving with little fanfare on a weekly basis, trying to figure out what, exactly, you should be playing on Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone or a Google-powered (GOOG, GOOGL) Android device is a daunting task. Still mindlessly crushing candy? Can’t stop sharing a few words with friends? Then put your thumbs to good use and try something new – like these 10 awesome, brand new titles:
‘Pokémon Quest’ (iOS, Android | Free)
Tired of walking into traffic while trying to capture that elusive Pelipper? Then “Pokémon Quest” is your new, significantly safer, mobile Pokémon option. Meander around Tumblecube Island collecting goodies, acquiring ingredients and, naturally, fighting critters. Its laid-back, idle play style is perfectly suited for younger gamers, though old-school Pokéfans may find its lack of tactical control a little off-putting. Still, it’s free, adorable, loaded with Pokémon and pretty gentle when it comes to asking for real-world cash.
‘Golf Club: Wasteland’ (iOS | $2.99)
Earth is in ruins. The upside? The cracked freeway sliding into radioactive muck creates a lovely, sloping par 5. Help Martian explorers putt around on their former planet in this creative take on mobile golf. Beautiful, hand-animated visuals and a haunting original soundtrack make this a must-experience if you have any interest in slow-paced, thought-provoking, post-apocalyptic sports. Can this be the start of a new genre, please?
‘Diamond Diaries Saga’ (iOS, Android | Free)
Just what we all needed – another addictive, gem-blasting puzzler from “Candy Crush” makers, King. The twist here is that the round gems (in this case, colored jewelry) cascade down the screen, jostling and dropping like pachinko balls. Beautifully polished and loaded with that classic King compulsion loop, “Diamond Diaries” may well become your next go-to mobile puzzler.
‘Westworld’ (iOS, Android | Free)
The dusty, diabolical HBO sci-fi hit heads to mobile devices in the form of a park management simulation. As a Delos trainee, you’re tasked with building the park, creating hosts and trying to keep your guests happy (and alive, preferably). Though knowledge of the show certainly helps, “Westworld” will please fans of classic management games with its multiple strategic layers and increasing complexity. Be prepared to wait (or pay), however, as many of the park’s coolest attractions take time to create.
‘Six Ages: Ride Like the Wind’ (iOS | $9.99)
The makers of cult classic “King of Dragon Pass” have finally released their long-awaited follow-up, and we can safely report that it’s another big win for strategy fans. A heady mix of “Civilization” and a Choose Your Own Adventure game, “Six Ages” lets you evolve a small clan into a world-spanning empire. Ridiculously deep and “just one more turn” addictive, it more than justifies its relatively steep mobile game price tag. There is so much game here, 10 bucks is an absolute steal.
‘Bloons TD 6’ (iOS, Android | $4.99)
The once-mighty tower defense genre has seen better days, but while other franchises have fallen by the wayside (R.I.P. “Kingdom Rush”), the vaunted “Bloons TD” keeps right on popping. Stop the advancing balloons by upgrading a wealth of monkeys. It can be a bit overwhelming at first — there are a TON of monkeys to unlock, each with its own upgrade paths, plus a zillion different kinds of balloons — but with nine maps and loads of depth, it delivers hours of balloon-shredding fun.
‘Suzy Cube’ (iOS | $3.99)
Inspired by classic “Mario” games, this sweet 3D platformer from perennial iOS favorites Noodlecake and developer NorthernByte Software gets it right with tight controls and charming presentation. There’s not much in the way of story – collect coins, avoid the baddies and jump, jump, jump – but its strong gameplay foundation carries it through.
‘Total Soccer: Road to Glory’ (iOS, Android | Free)
Few of us will ever attend a World Cup match, but anyone with a mobile device can at least enjoy some world-class soccer with this sporty card-based effort. Build a squad featuring real players from real-world leagues and take to the pitch, using card power-ups to influence the outcome. Though it takes a while to build a serious contender, “Total Soccer” introduces some cool new ideas that should keep any soccer fan happy during World Cup match halftimes.
‘Dead Island: Survivors’ (iOS, Android | Free)
Brain-eating zombie basher “Dead Island” has shambled over to mobile devices, but “Dead Island: Survivors” is notably different from its console kin. A blend of action and tower defense, “Survivors” lets you defend an island by designing ghastly traps and devious weapons to halt the advancing hordes. If all else fails, you can get your hands dirty by walloping the undead dummies yourself – or with others via co-op play. Two brains are better than one, after all.
‘Isoland 2: Ashes of Time’ (iOS, Android | $1.99)
Point-and-clickers will fall for this quirky quest. You’ll have to solve a mix of logic and inventory-based puzzles as you navigate a curious island caught in an odd time warp, though its clever, nonlinear design means you can solve them in any order you wish. You also needn’t have played the first “Isoland” to understand what’s happening; this well-written, beautifully hand-drawn sequel is a fine standalone adventure.
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