Top 30 mobile games of 2016

The Best of ...Dec 28, 2016 at 7:10a PSTby Adrian Werner

Top 30 mobile games of 2016

Thanks to Pokemon GO everyone talked about mobile games this year, but it wasn’t the only interesting title that appeared recently. Here’s our list of the best mobile games of 2016!

Another year is coming to an end and once again it proves to be very fruitful for mobile gaming. So many titles have been hitting smartphones and tablets every week that even devoted gamers have found it difficult to catch on to, let alone check out, all the notable releases. That's why we've prepared a list of top thirty mobile games of 2016.

If you notice that your own favorites are not on our list, share your picks with us in the comments section. We’d love to hear which mobile games cought the attention of our readers this year.

30. Pokemon GO

Pokemon GO – get up and go!

Pokemon GO – get up and go! [1:55]

IN A NUTSHELL:

  1. Developer: Niantic
  2. Genre: Augmented Reality RPG
  3. Platforms: iOS, AND

Pokemon Go was without a doubt the most high-profile mobile release of the year. The production is based on the brilliant idea of combining exploration of the real world with tasks carried out in a virtual world accessed through a mobile device. Pretty much everyone has gone completely crazy about this game and we've seen some records broken in terms of the number of mobile app downloads and developer's revenue.

To be honest, the game itself is not that impressive, because after a while the mechanical simplicity and relatively modest content become dull. Lately, though, the creators have finally started to add new features and additional Pokemon, so there is yet some hope for improvement. Still, the thing about Pokemon GO is that the players become a part of a social phenomenon. This summer, Pokemon maniacs took to the streets by millions, leading to numerous chance meetings with other players and forging many new friendships. Currently, the madness has subsided a bit, but there's still no problem with meeting other fans; there is also no denying that walking and collecting digital creatures, as simple as it may be, is still fun.

  1. More about Pokemon GO

29. Fallen London

Fallen London – iOS Trailer

Fallen London – iOS Trailer [0:47]

IN A NUTSHELL:

  1. Developer: Failbetter Games
  2. Genre: Adventure
  3. Platforms: iOS, AND, WWW

This year has finally seen the release of a mobile version of Fallen London, the debut game from the Sunless Sea developers Failbetter Games. The game takes place in an alternate version of the Victorian era, where the British capital was moved a mile underground due to a deal Queen Victoria struck with an ancient organization known as the Bazaar. The story begins in the third decade of the metropolis being underwater, surrounded by a marvelous ocean known as the Unterzee, which is full of mysterious islands and sea monsters.

The game combines a text adventure game with RPG elements. The mechanics are quite sophisticated, but the game's biggest advantage lies in the great stories it unravels. The city is densely filled with delicious little episodes, which we can shape with our decisions. Combined with the excellent setting, it creates one of the best plots available on mobile devices.

  1. More about Fallen London

28. Space Grunts

Space Grunts – Trailer

Space Grunts – Trailer [0:50]

IN A NUTSHELL:

  1. Developer: OrangePixel
  2. Genre: Turn-based strategy
  3. Platforms: iOS, AND, PC

We like it when mobile developers try to offer us something inventive, especially if in addition to a fresh formula the game also offers polished gameplay. That's exactly the case of Space Grunts. When browsing the app's profile in the App Store or Google Play, at first glance we may think it’s an old-school shooter. We control, from a top-down view, a 25th-century commando, who must find his way through a base full of aliens and murderous robots located on a strange planet. All of this, however, was implemented in the form of a turn-based strategy.

This solution, unlikely as it sounds, seems to be working extremely well when put into practice. As we control only one soldier, the pace of the game is very fast, and the high level of difficulty makes it essential to occupy the right positions on the map and use the correct type of weapon. Additional excitement comes from the fact that the ammunition we find along the way is scarce, and stronger types of bullets are very rare, so you have to keep them in reserve for the hardest battles. 

  1. More about Space Grunts

27. Super Mario Run

Super Mario Run introduction

Super Mario Run introduction [1:57]

IN A NUTSHELL:

  1. Developer: Nintendo
  2. Genre: Platformer
  3. Platforms: iOS, and soon AND

For a long time, Nintendo was reluctant to develop games for the mobile market, preferring to promote their own portable consoles instead. In the end, however, the Japanese giant, encouraged by the success of Pokemon GO (the company owns roughly 30% shares of this franchise) decided to try their luck on smartphones and tablets. The result is Super Mario Run and we must admit Nintendo delivered here.

The team led by Shigeru Miyamoto did not simply try to recreate on touch screens what worked on the consoles, which is a wise choice. Instead, the title was designed for mobile devices from the ground up. What we got is a runner, a game in which the character automatically runs towards the right side of the screen, and we only issue simple commands such as jump. All in all it’s nothing original, but the entire charm of Super Mario Run lies in its implementation. The controls are very sensitive, and the levels were clearly designed by experts. There are no procedurally generated roads or infinite journeys here. Instead, each map was hand-built and encourages repetition to beat subsequent high scores. What's more, Nintendo opted for a very nice business model. We get a free demo, and if we like what we see, we can unlock the rest of the content once. There’s no other micropayments.

  1. More about Super Mario Run

26. Never Alone: Ki Edition

Never Alone – Ki Edition

Never Alone – Ki Edition [1:26]

IN A NUTSHELL:

  1. Developer: Upper One Games
  2. Genre: Platformer
  3. Platforms: iOS, AND, PC, XONE, PS4

Never Alone: Ki Edition is a conversion of an excellent platform game by Upper One Games, which appeared two years ago on PC and consoles. From the very beginning, the game earns a ton of extra points thanks to a fresh setting. The authors based their story on the beliefs of the Inuit, native people of arctic and subarctic areas of Greenland, Canada, Alaska and Siberia. They have faithfully recreated this culture thanks to the help from consultants: tribal elders, as well as Inuit descendants engaged in popularizing the mythology of their ancestors.

During the game the player assumes the role of a girl from the Inupiaq tribe, who leaves the village with a mission to stop the eternal snowstorm. During the adventure, she's accompanied by a white fox. In terms of gameplay, it is a very well implemented platformer, in which we explore the map, avoid traps and fight various opponents. Then there are the numerous clever logic puzzles, the solving of which requires the player to switch between the girl and her fox and use the unique abilities of both characters.

  1. More about Never Alone: Ki Edition

25. Adventures of Mana

Adventures of Mana – Trailer

Adventures of Mana – Trailer [2:19]

IN A NUTSHELL:

  1. Developer: Square Enix
  2. Genre: Action RPG
  3. Platforms: iOS, AND, PSV

Console gamers probably remember Secret of Mana, a series of action RPGs from Square Enix. Fewer people know that the cycle began with a Game Boy title, which was released in Europe and the United States 25 years ago under the title Final Fantasy Adventures. This year we had the opportunity to dust off this forgotten classic thanks to its remake: Adventures of Mana.

When refreshing their old works, Square Enix has had a bad habit of taking the easy road; Adventures of Mana is different. All the graphics have been developed from scratch, replacing simple sprites with lovely, colorful 3D visuals. The content remains the same as in the original. We get an extensive campaign, an interesting story and a nice arcade combat system. The fun is occasionally supplemented with logic puzzles. All in all, the production is a good example of how a re-edition of a classic should look like – the only things that were changed were the outdated elements, namely visuals and control – while retaining all of what the fans loved in the original.

  1. More about Adventures of Mana

24. Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy VII – PS4 Trailer

Final Fantasy VII – PS4 Trailer [1:45]

IN A NUTSHELL:

  1. Developer: Square Enix
  2. Genre: jRPG
  3. Platforms: iOS, AND, PC, PSV, PS3

The aforementioned Adventures of Mana was not the only Square Enix classic to have arrived this year on mobile devices. We've lived to see the conversion of the legendary Final Fantasy VII – the production that was one of the main reasons why Sony gained a leading position in the console market in the second half of the 90s.

In the case of Final Fantasy VII the authors have only refreshed the original game, revving-up 3D elements such as character models and effects. The production stands out among its better-looking competitors, but makes up for it with exquisite art design and excellent soundtrack. Above all else, however, the old story hasn't aged a bit. This is one of the most extensive jRPGs available on the mobile market, featuring interesting plot and characters you will quickly feel truly attached to. The turn-based combat system works as good today as it did at launch, especially now that the authors have added an option to disable random encounters. If you haven't yet had the chance to play this legend, a mobile version should be a good opportunity to correct this error.

  1. More about Final Fantasy VII

23. Legend of the Skyfish

Legend of the Skyfish – Launch Trailer

Legend of the Skyfish – Launch Trailer [1:30]

IN A NUTSHELL:

  1. Developer: Mgaia Studio
  2. Genre: Action adventure
  3. Platforms: iOS, AND

Mobile developers take delight in creating clones of popular console series. The Legend of Zelda was one of the franchises that had fallen prey to this procedure, and we've seen several more or less successful copycats of that cycle. It wasn’t until this year that we could see the market grow up to offer something fresh in this category. The result came as the outstanding Legend of the Skyfish.

The game takes us to a land inhabited mainly by fishermen. They were unable to stop their greed and overfishing led to the awakening of the sea beast known as Skyfish, whose curse has turned most people into misshapen fish-like humanoid slaves. We play as a character who escaped this fate and must find a way to save the rest of man(fish)kind.

Legend of the Skyfish is an elaborate action adventure game, founded on the cornerstones of 8- and 16-bit iterations of The Legend of Zelda series. We observe the action from a camera mounted high above the head of the heroine, and the campaign focuses on exploration of the world, solving puzzles and battling the enemies. Freshness of the gameplay is increased by the fact that our only weapon is a fishing rod. We use it to attack enemies directly, and the line and hook can be used to "catch" objects and opponents, manipulate the environment, and get past some obstacles. This significantly alters the gameplay and makes the game something more than just a simple clone of the classic franchise.

  1. More about Legend of the Skyfish

22. Bully: Scholarship Edition

Canis Canem Edit – Launch trailer

Canis Canem Edit – Launch trailer [0:53]

IN A NUTSHELL:

  1. Developer: Rockstar Games / War Drum Studio
  2. Genre: Sandbox action game
  3. Platforms: iOS, AND, PC

For several years now Rockstar has been practicing a nice little tradition, offering mobile conversion of their PC and console classics just before Christmas. This year's title was Bully: Scholarship Edition. In the game we play as a teenage delinquent who is transferred to a boarding school and has to find his place in the new environment, learning how to effectively maneuver between many various groups and circles of students.

Bully: Scholarship Edition is a variation on the classic Rockstar sandbox formula. The world has an open structure and is bristling with large mandatory quests, numerous shorter and optional side quests and a number of mini-games. All this, as usual, is very well designed, and the tasks are very diverse. We also need to remember to regularly attend classes. What's more, the school setting gives it a unique climate and significantly boosts the attractiveness of the game.

The conversion itself came out very well. Finger-touch controls proved to be surprisingly well-polished, and for the traditionalists the option to play on the gamepad has been prepared.

  1. More about Bully: Scholarship Edition

21. Mazes Of Karradash 2

IN A NUTSHELL:

  1. Developer: 68K Studios
  2. Genre: RPG
  3. Platforms: iOS, AND

Mazes Of Karradash was one of the most interesting mobile RPGs of the last year and its continuation repeats the feat without any major problems. Like the prequel, the game is a dungeon crawler, heavily inspired by PC games from the end of the ‘80s and early ‘90s. The player controls a team of adventurers, going on an expedition to a multi-level dungeon. The game features a first-person view, jumping as movement, 90 degrees turns only and a turn-based combat system.

The genre standards are very nicely executed, offering a lot of depth while having undergone slight modifications to fit into mobile formula. Strategic elements add to the game's overall originality. Between excursions into the dungeons, we visit a battered town on the surface and help with its reconstruction, which allows us to access new items and skills.

  1. More about Mazes Of Karradash 2

20. Titan Quest

Titan Quest – Android trailer

Titan Quest – Android trailer [0:30]

IN A NUTSHELL:

  1. Developer: Iron Lore / DotEmu
  2. Genre: Action RPG
  3. Platforms: iOS, AND, PC

The mobile market is anything but short on Diablo clones. What is missing are games in this genre that are actually good. Most of them are simplified and often mutilated by the aggressive implementation of microtransactions. That's why we've welcomed the conversion of Titan Quest with joy.

The game originally appeared on PC in 2006 to an enthusiastic reception. Among the things that were exceptionally praised about the game was the adoption of a setting inspired by the ancient mythologies, allowing us to visit antique versions of Greece, Egypt, Babylon and China. The game was criticized for not enough innovation, but the mobile market doesn't mind, since large-scale action RPGs providing a few-dozen-hours long campaigns and complex progression systems are scarce on mobile devices. What's more, the authors were able to quite efficiently translate the controls to touch screens.

  1. More about Titan Quest

19. Pathfinder Adventures

Pathfinder Adventures – Launch trailer

Pathfinder Adventures – Launch trailer [0:35]

IN A NUTSHELL:

  1. Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
  2. Genre: Digital card RPG
  3. Platforms: iOS, AND

This year, Obsidian Entertainment, a well-known developer, mostly popular among PC players, has finally arrived in the mobile market, and it was a highly successful debut. Pathfinder Adventures is based on an adventure card game of the same title, and the devs have successfully recreated all the charm of the original on touch screens.

The game allows us to play solo or in co-op with a handful of friends. During the game, we act exactly the same as in classic RPGs, that is travel around the world, undertake quests and battle monsters. We do it, however, by playing cards from the deck which we build for our hero. The game also includes a progression system and cut-scenes, during which we have to make hard plot-related decisions.

The rules governing the gameplay are well crafted, and the whole game can pose for an RPG so efficiently that it should appeal even to people who don’t normally digest card games. An additional advantage is that the authors are gradually adapting consecutive campaigns from the paper original, releasing them as large, paid expansions.

  1. More about Pathfinder Adventures

18. Final Fantasy IX

Final Fantasy IX – PC trailer

Final Fantasy IX – PC trailer [1:42]

IN A NUTSHELL:

  1. Developer: Square Enix
  2. Genre: jRPG
  3. Platforms: iOS, AND, PC, PS3, PSV

Final Fantasy VII wasn’t the only installment in the series to see a mobile conversion this year – turns out FFIX was given a similar treatment. The procedure was the same in both cases – the authors refrained from making a complete remake, as the game's backgrounds were entirely pre-rendered and developing them from scratch would be too costly. And so the list of changes is limited to tweaking 3D elements, such as characters and visual effects. Still, the results are good, especially in the case of Final Fantasy IX, the prettier of the two converted games.

The mobile conversion was done well and can be a good opportunity to remind yourself of this production, or discover it for the first time. When the game made its debut on the first PlayStation, the gamers were underwhelmed, having been accustomed to a more mature atmosphere delivered by FF VII and VIII. As a result, the fairytale-like qualities and humor of Final Fantasy IX met with a rather cold reception, and many people were unaware that the game was simply returning to the 16-bit traditions of the series. To overlook this production would be a great mistake, though, because it's a great jRPG. With an extensive campaign, interesting combat system and brilliant characters, dozens of hours spent on adventuring could pass in a flash.

  1. More about Final Fantasy IX

17. Gear Club

IN A NUTSHELL:

  1. Developer: Eden Games
  2. Genre: Racing
  3. Platforms: iOS, AND

The last good year for realistic racing games on the mobile market was 2013, when we witnessed the release of Real Racing 3 and GT Racing 2. This year, the drought finally came to an end, and the players got something new and remarkable in the racing category. Gear Club originally appeared as an AppleTV exclusive under the title GT Spirit, and later, after renaming, also hit smartphones and tablets.

As the game focuses on simulation aspects, and it delivers almost everything a fan of the genre could wish for – stunning visuals, wide selection of cars, variety of tracks and high level of realism, along with a physics engine that separately simulates the behavior of the engine, drive, suspension and car aerodynamics. Additionally, the game features an extensive tuning system, implemented in the form of a virtual garage that can be expanded to house more than a dozen of highly customized cars. All this adds up to an impressive production, which is not surprising, as the game was developed by Eden Games, the creators of the Test Drive Unlimited series. The only serious issue is the lack of a traditional multiplayer, because we can only race against "ghosts" – immaterial records of other players' achievements. We hope this will be corrected in future updates, though.

  1. More about Gear Club

16. Steins;Gate

Steins;Gate – Trailer

Steins;Gate – Trailer [2:35]

IN A NUTSHELL:

  1. Developer: Nitroplus
  2. Genre: Visual novel
  3. Platforms: iOS, PC, PSV, PS3

Mobile devices, especially tablets, are a platform perfectly suited for adventure games belonging to the visual novel genre, in which many Japanese developers specialize. As a result, more and more often we are witnessing conversions of PC visual novel classics. The most important release this year was Steins;Gate. Originally the game was released for PC in 2010 and is considered a masterpiece of the genre.

The game gained this kind of reputation mainly thanks to the wonderful plot. It focuses on time travel and features more unexpected plot twists, flips, and turns than a neurotic pretzel. Mechanically, the game's a typical visual novel, which means that the gameplay boils down to tracking the story and making decisions at key moments. The choices, however, have a large impact on the development of the plot, sometimes directing it on a completely different track.

It is a pity that the English version of the mobile Steins;Gate is only available on iOS. For some strange reason, the Android version is currently available only in Japanese.

  1. More about Steins;Gate

15. 7 Mages

7 Mages – Trailer

7 Mages – Trailer [1:59]

IN A NUTSHELL:

  1. Developer: Napoleon Games
  2. Genre: RPG
  3. Platforms: iOS, AND, PC

The aforementioned Mazes of Karradash 2 is an excellent choice for players looking for old-school dungeon crawling, only pared down to fit mobile gaming. However, if someone doesn't want the simplifications and prefers to play something more complicated on their smartphone or tablet, 7 Mages would be the ideal solution.

The game enables us to control a party of seven characters. We observe the action from the perspective of its commander, movement takes place in jumps, and turns can only be carried out by 90 degrees to the right or left; all this implemented in a turn-based combat system that can and will teach you a lesson. This is not a game that leads the player by the hand. Instead, it demands a lot of patience, but the time invested in the game will be repaid by depth and satisfaction. Another advantage is the story, inspired by the movie Seven Samurai and its American remake – The Magnificent Seven. We lead a group of ruthless mages (and only mages!) hired to neutralize a group of bandits terrorizing a certain island. The fact that the party includes only people with magical abilities gives the gameplay a unique character, and thanks to a very diverse array of spells the battles are anything but repetitive.

  1. More about 7 Mages

14. Crashlands

Crashlands – Launch trailer

Crashlands – Launch trailer [1:31]

IN A NUTSHELL:

  1. Developer: Butterscotch Shenanigans
  2. Genre: Surivival sandbox
  3. Platforms: iOS, AND, PC

The game allows the player to become an interstellar courier whose ship breaks down and crashes on an alien planet. Our task is to collect all the packages and goods scattered around its surface, repair the broken parts of our vessel and be back on the road. It will not be easy, as the planet is full of aggressive animals, and early on we stumble across the traces of a conspiracy which may lead to a takeover of the whole galaxy.

Crashland is a survival sandbox, which at first glance looks very much like Don't Starve. Our priority is to survive, obviously. And so we have to explore the world, look for supplies and raw materials, use crafting to create new items and construct bases to provide shelter to our hero. The game is much more focused on story missions than most other typical survival sandbox games. The combat system is arcade and reminiscent of old-school shooters, and an additional attraction is the war raging on the planet between four races, the course of which we can shape with our decisions.

  1. More about Crashlands

13. Lost Frontier

Lost Frontier – Launch trailer

Lost Frontier – Launch trailer [0:34]

IN A NUTSHELL:

  1. Developer: Mika Mobile
  2. Genre: Turn-based strategy
  3. Platforms: iOS, AND

Thanks to the excellent series of action RPGs, Battleheart, studio Mika Mobile has made a good name for itself on the mobile market. This year, the team has decided to try something new. The result was a turn-based battle strategy, Lost Frontier. The authors also decided to try something different this time and set the action of the game in a fantasy version of the Wild West, where history mixes with occult elements. Taking on so many new challenges turned out good for the team at Mika Mobile and the result of their work is definitely worth a recommendation.

Most of the time in the game we spend fighting in turn-based battles, and the combat system, though easy to learn, offers a lot of tactical depth. One more enjoyable thing is the unusual approach to the fate of individuals. There is no accumulation of experience points in this game. Instead, during each mission we are encouraged to treat our subordinates as cannon fodder and sacrifice their lives for any scrap of tactical advantage we can get.

In total, we get an interesting, sophisticated and extensive turn-based game that's a must-try for every fan of the genre playing on mobile devices.

  1. More about Lost Frontier

12. Reigns

Reigns – Launch trailer

Reigns – Launch trailer [1:08]

IN A NUTSHELL:

  1. Developer: Nerial
  2. Genre: Strategy
  3. Platforms: iOS, AND, PC

There's plenty of kingdom management games out there, but it turns out that even in this department it's still possible to create something original. This year the case was proven by Reigns, a game modeled on… Tinder, the popular dating app. The idea seems absurd, but as it often is when it comes to mobile game, what sounds ridiculous turns out to be working perfectly in the end.

The game focuses on decision-making in the face of events that are randomly picked from a deck of cards. With each card we can swipe our finger left or right across the screen, choosing one of two actions. The game remembers each of our decisions and takes them into account as our career as a ruler develops. The consequences of minor and major choices quickly begin to pile up, contributing to our growing list of problems. Sooner or later the mistakes will lead to our death, forcing us to restart the game. The experience isn't at all frustrating, though, because due to far-reaching randomness, each round is different, and every death is a valuable lesson, allowing us to survive a bit longer on the throne the next time we try.

  1. More about Reigns

11. Rush Rally 2

Rush Rally 2 – trailer #1

Rush Rally 2 – trailer #1 [0:32]

IN A NUTSHELL:

  1. Developer: Brownmonster Limited
  2. Genre: Racing
  3. Platforms: iOS, AND

The title we liked the most among this year's racing games is Rush Rally 2; all the more so because the production takes on the rarely seen subject of rallying. The authors have developed an excellent driving model providing a sweet mix of arcade and simulation elements. The gameplay is dynamic, but the cars behave quite realistically and you need to spend a lot of time to master the controls. At the same time, fans of more spectacular challenges will enjoy the Rally Cross Mode, where there are numerous cars racing on a single map, and to win you have to push the rivals off the road and use controlled collisions to brake before sharp turns.

At launch, the production looked noteworthy, but thanks to the updates it got even better with each passing month. Already impressive graphics were improved even further; new cars were added, as well as multiplayer mode, implemented in the form of direct network competition. In total, Rush Rally 2 is a title not to be overlooked by any fan of racing games.

  1. More about Rush Rally 2

10. The Banner Saga 2

The Banner Saga 2 – Launch trailer

The Banner Saga 2 – Launch trailer [1:34]

IN A NUTSHELL:

  1. Developer: Stoic
  2. Genre: RPG
  3. Platforms: iOS, AND, PC, XONE, PS4

Another thing we've lived to see this year is the release of The Banner Saga 2, the second chapter in the saga recounting the tale of a doomed Viking expedition. The story is on par with the excellent first installment in the series, once again offering us likeable characters, interesting plot and great amounts of freedom to shape the story through our decisions. At the same time the narrative is a direct continuation of the original, and it's recommended to complete the prequel, if you haven't yet, before playing the second part.

Also the gameplay mechanics offer more of the same, which in this case is not a bad thing, because the first part had absolutely nothing to be ashamed of in this department. Once more we fight in turn-based battles leading a small party using a combat system that, while easy to learn, surprises us with its tactical depth. Between the battles, we are busy managing our caravan. 

Lack of big changes may irritate some, because several errors of the original still remain, but not enough to spoil the whole picture. We got a good piece of RPG with tons of atmosphere and a great story, which lasts for hours of grade A fun.

  1. More about The Banner Saga 2

9. Jade Empire: Special Edition

Jade Empire: Special Edition – iOS trailer

Jade Empire: Special Edition – iOS trailer [1:08]

IN A NUTSHELL:

  1. Developer: BioWare / Aspyr Media
  2. Genre: RPG
  3. Platforms: iOS, AND, PC

Another interesting production that we were able to play on mobile devices this year was Jade Empire: Special Edition, the conversion of an excellent RPG from BioWare, which originally appeared in 2005 on the first Xbox. While the game itself is quite old, over the eleven years that have passed since its launch it lost little of its appeal. Much of the credit goes to the setting, unusual for a Western RPG, inspired by Asian mythology and history. The game's story appears to be timeless as well, in no small part due to the morality system that avoided a black-and-white division between good and evil. Instead, our decisions can be described as following the philosophy of open hand, e.g. striving for harmony with the world, or the path of clenched fist, in which priority goes to improving ourselves and our standing.

Before the release we had some concerns about the controls. After all, the game was the first RPG from BioWare to feature an arcade combat system, almost resembling a beat 'em up game in that aspect. Turns out, though, that the authors were able to efficiently translate the mechanics into touch screens, and controls don’t cause any problems at this point. In any case, however, the traditionalists were provided with the option to play on pad as well.

  1. More about Jade Empire: Special Edition

8. Clash Royale

Clash Royale – Trailer

Clash Royale – Trailer [0:30]

IN A NUTSHELL:

  1. Developer: Supercell
  2. Genre: Strategy
  3. Platforms: iOS, AND

Studio Supercell is currently one of the most popular teams creating games for the mobile market, a reputation owed to such blockbusters as Boom Beach, Hay Day, and above all, Clash of Clans. This year, the developer strengthened its position even further by creating yet another hit, this time in the form of Clash Royale. The game quickly made it to the top of best-earning productions in App Store and Google Play, and doesn't even think about leaving that spot.

Clash Royale is set in the same realm as Clash of Clans, an online strategy where two players face each other as two rulers beginning the game in castles on the opposite ends of a map. The purpose of each party is to overthrow the competing monarch by sending units into battle through clearly defined paths. At the same time we take care of the rear, using spells and building defenses. Then there are the card game elements, allowing the player to build a deck containing cards that summon units or activate actions such as spellcasting. The production is focused on multiplayer mode and workes perfectly in this role. Currently, it's one of the best mobile game for those seeking to compete with other players. The community is large and very active, and the developers often organize various interesting events.

  1. More about Clash Royale

7. Love You to Bits

Love You to Bits – Trailer

Love You to Bits – Trailer [1:17]

IN A NUTSHELL:

  1. Developer: Alike Studio
  2. Genre: Adventure
  3. Platforms: iOS, PC, planned for AND

Another gem of this year is the adventure game Love You to Bits. It’s the debut production from studio Alike, founded by people who have previously developed Tiny Thief and both games have much in common in terms of atmosphere and mechanics. The story revolves around an aspiring astronaut who's in love with a female robot named Nova. As a result of an accident, the hero's beloved is badly damaged, and her parts are scattered across the galaxy. And so it’s our job to gather them all and put our darling back together.

The gameplay focuses on puzzle solving. The campaign consists of a series of levels, each of them focusing on extracting a part of Nova. During our quest, we face numerous aliens who guard the pieces. Our task is to figure out how to use the elements of the environment to distract or neutralize our enemies. Puzzles are very diverse and creative, and solving them is a lot of fun.

  1. More about Love You to Bits

6. Plants vs. Zombies Heroes

Plants vs. Zombies Heroes – Teaser

Plants vs. Zombies Heroes – Teaser [0:36]

IN A NUTSHELL:

  1. Developer: PopCap Games
  2. Genre: Strategy
  3. Platforms: iOS, AND

When the devs announced Plants vs.Zombies Heroes, the idea of remaking the brand into a strategic card game seemed misguided. The reality turned out to be quite different, though. We got an extensive battle strategy whose card game elements have significantly enriched the gameplay. What's more, the mechanics, though very different, are heavily inspired by the major installments of the cycle, which originally belonged to the tower defense genre.

The fun in Plants vs.Zombies Heroes revolves around battles waged between two commanders located on opposite sides of the screen, whose positions are connected by a vertical road divided into several rows. By playing cards, we spawn a unit on the track, after which it automatically begins to march towards the enemy. The player is also given cards that activate special abilities, and the essence of the whole gameplay lies in expanding and improving our deck. The game works well in online skirmishes, but at the same time, the production also features, what is rarely seen in this category, an extensive and interesting single player mode.

  1. More about Plants vs. Zombies Heroes

5. Deus Ex GO

Deux Ex GO – Launch trailer

Deux Ex GO – Launch trailer [0:59]

IN A NUTSHELL:

  1. Developer: Square Enix
  2. Genre: Logic
  3. Platforms: iOS, AND

For some time now, Square Enix has had a habit of taking their popular PC and console brands and then developing turn-based logic games based on them only for mobile devices. It may sound like a rushed tactic, but the results of this approach somehow turn out to be excellent. This has resulted in the two earlier gems in the form of Hitman GO and Lara Croft GO, and this year the creators scored a hat-trick thanks to Deus Ex GO.

In the game we control the protagonist of Human Revolution and Mankind Divided, Adam Jensen, and we must perform a series of short but dangerous infiltration missions. The gameplay takes place in turns and has a stealthy feel to it. The player must perform the tasks quietly, plan several moves ahead and efficiently utilize all the abilities. The game is quite difficult, but never so much so that we might give up in frustration. What's more, the mechanics are richer than in other GO productions and the tasks offer a greater variety of objectives and methods to achieve them.

  1. More about Deus Ex GO

4. Sorcery! 4: The Crown of Kings

Sorcery! 4: The Crown of Kings – Trailer

Sorcery! 4: The Crown of Kings – Trailer [1:35]

IN A NUTSHELL:

  1. Developer: inkle
  2. Genre: Digital gamebook
  3. Platforms: iOS, AND, PC

This year, inkle released Sorcery! 4: The Crown of Kings, thereby closing the cycle that has revolutionized mobile gamebooks. The last entry in the series has certainly met the high expectations of the fans. Once again, the developers offered a massive campaign, whose nonlinearity has only increased in comparison with the previous parts. As usual, we got a three-dimensional map, a number of animated elements enriching the text narration, and a combat system modeled on the RPG formula.

The game is in every respect bigger and more complex than the previous installments. This time we have the complete freedom to explore the world, and the campaign is longer. As if that wasn't enough, many nice new ideas were added, e.g. the option to use disguises to confuse opponents, or the presence of seven deities existing in the game world, who generously reward their followers.

  1. More about Sorcery! 4: The Crown of Kings

3. Samorost 3

Samorost 3 – trailer #2

Samorost 3 – trailer #2 [1:55]

IN A NUTSHELL:

  1. Developer: Amanita Design
  2. Genre: Adventure
  3. Platforms: iOS, AND, PC

Studio Amanita Design is doing better and better when it comes to converting their PC games to mobile devices, and in the case of their latest work, Samorost 3, we had to wait a brief six months. The game continues the tradition of the previous two installments. We get an atmospheric adventure game, in which we lead a little alien through subsequent screens that make up an expedition to uncover the mystery of of an evil force endangering the universe and use a magic trumpet to do it. There's a good deal of puzzles in the game and they are usually quite creative. The level of difficulty is high, but there's no aimless wandering around the world and usually we know what and where needs to be done, the problem is just how to achieve it.

We get everything that Amanita has gotten us used to by now: interesting puzzles and beautiful graphics. What's new is the scope. This is by far the most ambitious production among Amanita's works and perhaps also the best one. And finally, the mobile version of the game is five times cheaper than the PC edition.

  1. More about Samorost 3

2. SteamWorld Heist

SteamWorld Heist – Launch trailer

SteamWorld Heist – Launch trailer [2:46]

IN A NUTSHELL:

  1. Developer: Image & Form
  2. Genre: Turn-based tactics
  3. Platforms: iOS, AND, PC, 3DS, XONE, PS4, PSV

Fans of tactical turn-based games should check out SteamWorld Heist. The game has come a long way before it eventually hit mobile devices. Originally, it debuted on 3DS, then it migrated to home consoles and PCs. The fact that it began as a portable console project, however, made it a good candidate for conversion to smartphones and tablets, and the process went smoothly.

The production continues the story from previous games from Image & Form, SteamWorld Tower Defense and SteamWorld Dig, but all you need to know about them is that the players' actions had led to the destruction of the planet and forced the population of robots to escape into space. The spaceships inhabited by those creatures are powered by steam, so now water has become the most valuable resource. The campaign tells the story of a band of pirates under the leadership of Captain Piper Faraday, who raids ships and robs them for their precious water supply.

The gameplay is standard for tactical turn-base games, but it is diversified by the fact that maps look like taken straight from a 2D platform game. Regardless, the game offers complex combat mechanics and high level of difficulty, and the wide selection of special abilities of our subordinates guarantees a large variety of skirmishes.

  1. More about SteamWorld Heist

1. Space Marshals 2

Space Marshals 2 – Launch trailer

Space Marshals 2 – Launch trailer [1:04]

IN A NUTSHELL:

  1. Developer: Pixelbite
  2. Genre: Action
  3. Platforms: iOS, AND

The first Space Marshals was one of the best mobile games of last year and the second part took up the mantle without any problems. The continuation brings us to the well-known universe in a distant future, where the typical science-fiction atmosphere has been seasoned with elements of Western. We play as a space sheriff who must take out some dangerous gangs.

What makes the gameplay in Space Marshals 2 so successful is its tactical nature. The sheriff is alone and not very resistant to damage; that’s why jumping into the middle of a group of enemies is always a bad idea. Instead, we must use a stealthy approach, quietly sneak up behind enemies' backs, distract them, or silently eliminate them. Sooner or later, though, we will be detected and when in combat we have to use cover, attack from the flank and make use of a rich arsenal of useful gadgets.

Space Marshals 2 requires not only reflexes but also considerable cunning, which is also what makes completing the missions so satisfying. What's more, the game can boast very attractive graphics and a large variety of missions, so for those looking for ambitious mobile shooters this is probably the best thing this year has to offer.

  1. More about Space Marshals 2