Browsing games on any app store yields three types of results: blatant time-wasters that are hardly games, promising games overrun with shady microtransactions, and casual mobile gaming gems. It’s often easier to download something mediocre than to rummage through all the shovelware – after all, a brief session of candy Crush can hold players back before they get to their favorite PC or console where the “real” games are.
That said, there are plenty of mobile games that are downright excellent. For this list, we’re going to look at some reliable gaming experiences that you can play on your phone without the hassle of endless ads or totally invasive microtransactions. They don’t have to be mobile exclusives or brand new releases. They just have to work on your device and they just have to be fun. Here are 10 mobile games that are really good.
Updated on April 26, 2022 by Geoffrey Martin: Mobile gaming continues to thrive in both the independent market and the AAA market. Services like Apple Arcade have also helped provide more high-level mobile gaming experiences for those hoping to avoid the “free-to-play” pitfalls that many mobile games get caught in. While there are certainly plenty of mobile games simply out there for a quick cash grab, without delivering a substantial gaming experience, there are others that stand up to their counterparts. This list continues to grow with great mobile games worth your time and attention.
12 Royal Butter
While battle royale games certainly aren’t for everyone, mostly due to a high skill cap, what if I told you there was a cartoon version of the food-themed genre? Hopefully that premise alone excites you since Butter Royale is a fantastic food-centric battle royale that you can play right now through Apple Aracde.
Butter Royale is basically a wacky, quirky food fight where your guns are all about food. The standard battle royale formula is in this game filled with a closing area and ultimately trying to be the last person standing, however, the quirky characters and goofy weapons make this a fun and light mobile game to be in easy to enter.
11 Cat quest 2
Cat Quest 2, as you might guess, is the sequel to the beloved “meow-vellous” action RPG, Cat Quest. Cat Quest 2 picks up where the original game left off, with your adventurous cat, accompanied by a doggo companion, to save the day in the lands of Felingard and the Lupus Empire.
Cat Quest 2 is a super dynamic RPG that can be played solo or with another player by your side for the journey. You’re able to pick up a slew of quests, fill your loot chests, and of course defeat a host of cartoon villains, all while trying to save the day. Cat Quest 2 is incredibly polished and a whole lot of fun. Don’t miss this mobile game if for some reason it has passed you by.
ten dead cells
dead cells will give your mobile device an action game for the ages. The “Metroidvania” gameplay has plenty of depth, while maintaining the addictive accessibility that makes you want to pick it up again and again.
dead cellsPlayers fight in a dungeon with extremely nervous combat, improving and unlocking new abilities with each death. Every new life is a new dungeon, and due to the difficulty of the game, you’ll always want to come back for another run.
It’s the dark souls side-scrollers, and that might not be everyone’s cup of tea. If you’re looking for something similar with a more arcade feel, try picking up Fortress Tower In place.
9 Without beef
If you haven’t played Oxenfree for many years, download it and get started later. This story-driven indie darling is atmospheric and cinematic, and few people have tried it.
You play as Alex, a teenager caught up in a supernatural mystery on a spooky island. The game consists of exploration and dynamic dialogue, where the player can have smooth conversations with other characters. If you like coming-of-age stories and have the time (a very long drive in itself), try Without beef and discover the mystery for yourself.
8 Alto’s Odyssey
Dozens of games are similar to Alto’s Odyssey, but none of them are so convincing. This relaxing endless runner allows players to snowboard across beautiful ambient vistas while providing enough gameplay variety for every type of player.
There are a lot of goals to achieve and gameplay-busting mechanics, but it also allows for totally endless play. It’s simple, pretty, and satisfying on every level you’re willing to commit to. If you play mobile games for simple and relaxing fun, this one is for you.
seven Monument Valley 2
There is no shortage of puzzle games on mobile storefronts, Monument Valley and its sequel are some of the most unique experiences of the genre. Players must guide the protagonists through the level – a simple concept. However, each level is like a living room of MC Escher, full of optical illusions that can be tricky to navigate.
Navigating these mazes is a fun puzzle, and the game’s presentation only adds to the experience. Everything is so pretty… and confusing. The series is definitely worth checking out if mobile puzzle games are starting to feel the same.
6 Shadowgun Legends
Listen, it’s hard to find a mobile shooter that isn’t terrible…or something you already own on a console. However, sometimes you just want to play a shooter on your phone, and it scratches that itch.
If you put each looter-shooter in a blender and garnish it with Halo, Fate, and Fortnitethen you would get Shadowgun Legends. It may seem obnoxious at first, with text boxes and ads for premium currencies flooding your screen, but it has everything shooter fans could want.
It features single-player quests, co-op, PvP, surprisingly impressive graphics, and satisfying gameplay on mobile. It certainly has a lifespan for players who don’t want to shell out real money for premium money (like most of them do), but the progression system gives players enough loot to bring them back anyway.
5 Space team
Of course, some of the most popular mobile games are those that you play with the people around you. Instead of recommending a reliable game of headbands or charades, you might want to try Space team. It’s quite old, but it’s still one of the best board games on mobile devices.
Once all participants have downloaded the game, they can engage in some of the silliest co-op experiences they will ever have. Space team has players commandeering a spaceship, with each player managing ridiculously named commands. The only way to get things running smoothly is to call out commands to the rest of your team. Soon you’ll be surrounded by friends shouting gibberish at each other in total chaos. It’s good!
Grey is a puzzle-platformer with the aesthetics of a hand-drawn animated film. The narrative is open to interpretation, but the gameplay follows a girl named Gris as she navigates surreal watercolor environments.
There are plenty of great platformers out there on mobile devices, but Gris stands out with its stellar sound and animation. Put on headphones, immerse yourself and let Gris take over you. It’s a game that will remain etched in your memories and is increasingly difficult to find in the mobile market.
3 Pokemon GO
Say what you want – Pokemon GO was an inherently great concept when it launched, and the game has only gotten better since. It’s the closest thing fans of the series will ever get to an authentic mobile experience, and it encourages healthy physical activity and urban exploration.
With new Pokemon, community events, and several additional features, the game is objectively better than when it debuted, and despite its obnoxious popularity, is still a solid mobile game.
2 pocket town
Many “idle” city builders and games flood the app stores from week to week. While most of them are just vehicles for ads and microtransactions, pocket town is probably the closest thing to a good Magnate mobile game that won’t waste your time. It’s a micro-manager’s dream come true.
You won’t have to worry about premium currency or arbitrary build times. Simply build your city, manage your economy, and craft without the constant annoyances featured in similar mobile titles. It doesn’t necessarily have the depth of a PC copy of City Sim, but it looks perfectly scaled down for a satisfying experience on your phone or tablet.
1 Everything from Supergiant Games
First, Bastion made the list, but it seemed a bit too old. It was replaced by Transistorwhat might be better on other platforms, then bonfire, which is their most recent version. However, Supergiant Games develops some of the most compelling games that don’t require oversized hardware to play.
Whether it is the action of Bastionthe tactic of Transistoror the reinvented sports of bonfire, this studio develops unique and atmospheric games that are equally engaging and accessible. Striking visual and sound design, consistent game mechanics and the ability to play them anywhere – why haven’t you tried them yet?
MORE: The Best and Biggest Mobile iOS Games of August 2019
Which mobile games do you think stand out from the rest? Be sure to leave a comment with some of your favorites and share your thoughts!