Mobile gaming is the latest trend to shape the entertainment space. Though people have been gaming on iPhones and Android devices for well over a decade, mobile developers have started to create titles specifically for smartphones—not just ports.
Though millions of gamers can be clumped under the ‘casual mobile gamer’ category, there’s a growing number of competitive titles. For example, the world’s most-played mobile games by player count are Free Fire with 725 million active users, closely followed by Call of Duty: Mobile with 500 million, and PUBG Mobile with 300 million.
But peppered in with his hits are other titles, like Candy Crush Saga, Among Us, and Gardenscapes. These casual titles might not be the flashiest in the industry, or revolve around major eSports competitions, but they provide a fantastic gaming experience for players. That’s because these games are well-suited for a smaller screen and limited mobile mechanics.
When looking at the quality of the playing experience, which games are best for smartphones? Let’s take a look at a few promising genres that don’t revolve around MMOs and battle royales.
Slots are the world’s most popular casino game—and they translate perfectly for the mobile experience. While other casino titles like blackjack and roulette are also available for smartphone gaming, it’s the slot experience that blends the excitement of spinning reels with next-level graphics and audio design.
They also tend to build on gaming and pop culture interests. For example, the game Book of Dead brings the adventures of Rich Wilde to life. Rich Wilde is an anthropological adventurer—similar to heroes like Indiana Jones. Players are able to explore the world with him, adding a new dimension to the game as they spin the reel.
City-building and town-building games are exactly like they sound. Players seek to build a 3D town or city one block at a time. The goal isn’t just to create an aesthetically pleasing hometown (although that’s also important). Instead, it’s about managing resources and planning the city out from a bird’s-eye view.
In other words, players step into the shoes of city planners and landscape architects. These titles were originally part of the early simulation-PC boom, including titles like SimCity and Zoo Tycoon. Today, there are tons of titles that cover building simulations—but those that focus on cities tend to be the most popular.
Puzzles are a massive category of mobile games, including match-three puzzles (Candy Crush Saga), word puzzles (Wordle), and even adventure puzzles (Lara Croft Go). For the sake of this article, we’re going to focus on hard-boiled puzzle titles that will push your brain to the limit.
First, there are games like Monument Valley and Lumen. Both draw heavily on optical illusions and light-play, challenging players to use their minds in novel ways as they level up. Another great option is Hidden Folks, which draws on the magic of Where’s Waldo? Only this puzzle will fit in your pocket.
RPGs are role-playing games that allow players to step into the shoes of a main character. Similarly, decision-making is an important part of these games. Casual RPGs slow down the action, usually zeroing in on storylines and self-guided adventures more than tackling the latest boss battle.
If you’ve heard of hits like Stardew Valley, they fall under the category of casual RPGs. However, there are dozens of creative and boundary-pushing options. Endling, for example, forces players to navigate a destroyed habitat as a fox, offering substance, a stunning visual design, and a meaningful storyline.
Trivia is one of the most enjoyable pastimes. While many remember playing trivia at a local establishment or possibly even for charity, there are now plenty of digital options. These run the gambit of tricky puzzles, pop culture, celebrities, and many more—all you need to do is find a topic that suits your interests.
Similarly, many trivia games are designed to be multiplayer, adding a new social dimension and letting you play with friends. Some, like TRIVIA 360, are designed for short and quick sessions, while others like Official Millionaire Game take a more cinematic and long-form approach to trivia.