By: Steve Zachmann, contributor
The best/worst thing about a great mobile game is it’s ability to get you (and keep you) addicted. Of all of the games on this list, only one of them I “finished” and put down. The rest I still play, to varying degrees, today. So, without further adieu, here are my top 5 favorite mobile games of all time. Oh, and keep in mind that when I say mobile, I mean iOS and Android.
For me, Tiny Wings was one of the first mobile games that I felt had much true merit as a real game. I know that there were plenty of quality mobile games before it, but it took me a while to embrace the market, and Tiny Wings was a game that grabbed me from both a gameplay, and artistic perspective. Truthfully, there’s not much to it, but what it does, it does superbly well. Not only that but it uses the hardware that it’s made for perfectly.
Ugh. I’m almost embarrassed that Tap Titans is even on this list. For the uninitiated Tap Titans is one of a slew of clones in the Cookie Clicker vein…and for the uninitiated as to what Cookie Clicker is, here is the really quick version.
Cookie Clicker is a game wherein you click on the screen to create cookies. The more you click, the more cookies you make. You can then spend those cookies to build factories that automatically click for you. There’s not much more to it than that. Tap Titans is essentially the same thing, with slightly more depth.
It’s a great clicker game, if you even consider that a genre, and it dug it hooks deep into me. There is something viscerally satisfying about earning and spending resources, only to earn even more resources. Again, I’m completely aware that the entire clicker genre is kind of a joke, but I can’t help it. I love Tap Titans.
The Room is a fantastic puzzle game, top-to-bottom. It’s made better by the way in which it uses the touch interface. The Room is the type of game that I would consider to be a legitimately great game, regardless of platform. It sets out to give the player something and it succeeds wildly in doing that. My wife and I played through the entire series in about a week because we simply couldn’t stop loving the unique puzzle and story structure that the games had to offer.
If ever there was a mobile game with charm, Ridiculous Fishing is it. Here’s the premise…you tap the screen to drop your hook into the water and it sinks down. It continues sinking until you either run out of line, or you snag a fish. Once you’ve snagged a fish the line starts coming back up, at which point you try and snag as many fish as possible on the way back up. Once the hook hits the surface, the fish rocket up into the air and you shoot them with all manner of ridiculous guns.
The thing is, the game is really adorable, despite the fish-centric ultra violence. Not only is the game charming though, it’s also really fun, really challenging, and has a really well balanced progression. You upgrade almost everything you have, from your fishing hat, to your line, to the guns you shoot the fish with, and they all matter. Ridiculous Fishing is absolutely that, but in the best possible way.
Oh, Threes, how I love thee. Simply put, Threes is my favorite mobile game of all time. If you’re not familiar with Threes, you may be aware of it’s rip-off clone, 2048. Threes is not only a more challenging game than 2048, it’s also more polished, more well designed, and not a total clone.
What makes Threes so good is how well it understands it’s platform. It uses the touch interface well, and it can be played in small doses, making it perfect for bus rides, bathroom breaks, waiting for you wife to pick out the perfect pair of shoes (although I’ve watched the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy while doing that). Threes is addicting in the best way. It makes you feel smart for being smart, and gives you plenty of opportunity to learn from your mistakes. Overall, Threes is a near-perfect mobile experience, at least as far as I’m concerned.