There was a time when satisfying the urge to play video games meant a visit to the local arcade. A lot has changed since then – nowadays 80% of the global adult population carries with them a smart device, far more powerful than the dedicated gaming computers of old.
Similarly, many real-world pastimes have been digitised; bingo halls once held a monopoly on their game but technology has provided consumers with more choice and convenience, and today, online bingo rooms and apps allow anyone, anywhere with a stable internet connection to play.
Mobile phones have beckoned a surge in popularity of a new type of game known as the casual game of which many will be featured on this list. These games load quickly, are simple to learn and require play sessions of only a few seconds (in some instances) to advance. They’re designed for the gamer on the go, with sporadic and limited amounts of time to dedicate to a title – think commuters, those new to gaming like the older generations and young children.
Although separate controllers are available for gaming on smartphones, as standalone devices there are some types of games more suited to touch screen inputs than others. We delve into some of the best games that will run fantastically on your mobile phone.
Released in 2018 and developed by Innersloth, Among Us is the multiplayer social deduction game that has taken the gaming world by storm. Its mass popularity was delayed until 2020 when a series of high-profile streamers started playing it, and the viral effect took hold.
Four to ten players are dropped into a space station themed backdrop and are each secretly assigned a role as either ‘crewmate’ or ‘imposter’. It is the role of the imposters to kill crewmates, sabotage tasks and avoid detection, while the crewmates must call team meetings to flush out any imposters based on any suspicious goings-on they have witnessed.
The real joy of the game comes from trying to persuade other crewmates that you are in fact telling the truth and the outcome is always decided by a vote. The game was originally developed for iOS and Android devices and was subsequently ported to PCs and consoles so the controls and concept are well suited to the phone.
Bingo had a smooth transition online with many providers doing a great job at making the game extremely compatible for mobile users.
Along with slots, bingo is one of the most popular casino-style games that has found a new generation of support in the digital world. This is due, in no small part, to how compatible the game is with mobile devices.
Bingo also offers a great social element to online games. Most apps and websites include chat rooms that players can utilise alongside the games – making online bingo, in many respects, not too dissimilar from its real-world counterpart.
As far as mobile ports go (games which have been converted from console or PC to mobile) few are as successful or popular as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG). First-person shooters, although well represented on mobile phones, are not the easiest to transfer to the smaller format.
Primarily, the genre requires constant and often complicated user input which means both thumbs are usually in contact with the screen for the duration of the game. On top of that, consoles offer many buttons and button combinations to perform a variety of tasks, something that is harder to achieve on smartphones.
But the slightly pared back PUBG Mobile manages it well, and the title’s statistics are testament to this. Up to 100 million users sign in to play the game each day.
Award-winning, heavily stylised, a moody, indie platformer from Playdead Studios, Limbo was originally released for the Xbox in 2010 and has an interpretation, true to the original, available in your app store of choice. You control an unnamed boy through a series of perilous traps and environments in search of your absent sister.
Each puzzle was designed to be failed on most players’ first attempts with clues as to the successful method being revealed on each effort. Limbo packs more emotion into its relatively short runtime than most blockbuster titles manage to do in much longer timeframes – it’s really a must-play for any video game fan.
An indie puzzler by developers Ustwo set in a mystical world that could have been plucked from the sketchbooks of M.C. Escher, Monument Valley is a relaxing yet challenging distraction from the real world. The player controls the character Princess Ida through a series of optical illusions, mazes and impossible figures by timing actions and manipulating the environment.
The game has been praised for its art style and sound design, and while short in length is a unique take on the genre and plays particularly well on smart devices. You should absolutely start with the first instalment but if you enjoy Monument Valley and find yourself wanting more, Monument Valley 2 is also available.
Our phones are increasingly indispensable tools to navigate modern life. Not only do they keep us in touch with friends and colleagues, allow us to watch the latest TV shows and movies and let us capture and save photographic and video memories, but they’re also now our portable gaming devices. And thankfully developers have us more than covered with the number of impressive titles available.