2014 was another great year for mobile gaming. People can lament all they want about free-to-play on mobile, but if you can’t find enough great mobile games to play, you have far more free time than I do – and I live and breathe mobile games. While perhaps other years have been stronger, and there is some concern with regard to the viability of talented indie developers on mobile, there’s still just too many great games. Plenty of worthy titles got left off my list, and I’m sure I’m excluding some great game that I didn’t play or simply forgot about. So, in order, here’s my top ten games of 2014:
Wayward Souls, $6.99 This game has it all, it’s deep, challenging, and absurdly replayable. Progressing in the game feels like an accomplishment. The art and music were fantastic as well, this was just an all-around amazing package from a developer that knows how to make amazing games.
Threes!, $1.99 The gameplay itself is fantastic, and this is the perfect pick up and play game. But it’s the little things that Threes does with game feel and even with characterization of what could be soulless number tiles, that makes playing it so good. And the game continuing to be tweaked months after the fact says a lot for the care put into this one. Oh, and imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, no?
Crossy Road – Endless Arcade Hopper, Free It’s ironic that Flappy Bird became popular despite its lack of production values, when a game like this, which obviously takes inspiration from that, is so amazingly well-done with little touches that add to the experience. The simplicity of the controls, the multiple orientation support make this a game that fits in to how I want to play it, when I want to play it. And all the characters are extremely satisfying. It’s actually a very similar formula as to why Threes is such a good game.
Out There, $3.99 I enjoy my violent, action-filled games as much as any gamer bro out there, sure. But Out There’s focus on storytelling and discovery, all while constantly trying to manage your resources, was a unique experience that stuck with me. I’m really excited for more people to play this next year, but it’s nice that mobile gamers got to check out this unique adventure first.
The Journey Down: Chapter Two, $6.99 For all the hubbub about Broken Age [$9.99 (HD)] and how the progenitors of the point-and-click adventure game had returned to the genre, SkyGoblin was just doing their thing with the second chapter in their series. This was a top-notch, absurdly charming game, with fantastic storytelling, voice acting, and a world I can’t wait to see more of.
Bitcoin Billionaire, Free This could be either the sixth-best or sixth-worst game of the year, I’m still not sure. The day that I transfer my save from my iPad to my iPhone, where I’ve already prestiged my game progress, is the day I get nothing done any more. It’s a stupidly simple game, but with an amazing structure that I am incredibly angry at for being so addictive.
Mikey Boots, $1.99 If this is where the Mikey speedrunning trilogy ends, then it’s a heck of a way to end it. I didn’t know what BeaverTap could do after Mikey Hooks [$1.99] added grappling hooks to the formula, but the jet boots were a surprisingly good addition.
Smarter Than You, Free The heart of this is a simple rock-paper-scissors game, sure. But there’s a really curious emotional interplay that goes on with the communication aspects, trying to trick your opponent by lying or telling them the truth and expecting them to take it as a lie! It was more strategic and compelling than it had any right to be.
SHREDD Super Hyper Radical Extreme Double Dash, Free I do love pick-up-and-play high score chasers, so the Flappy Bird craze was a welcome one for me, as I liked seeing developers put out their own bite-size challenges. The way Chaotic Box’s take on the genre ramped up the tension as the speed increased through the panic of trying to interpret which of the four actions you needed to undertake was unparalleled.
Monument Valley, $3.99 I think the knocks on the game were that the puzzles were maybe too easy and the game a bit short, which I do agree with for the most part. But as an artistic experience, Ustwo was leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else.