Menu Menu

The best mobile games of all time

Whether it’s free to play strategy games, endless runners, or simple indie titles, there’s usually a mobile game out there for everyone. With all that choice, we’ve trawled through our own download history and picked the best ones we’ve ever played. Don’t worry, Angry Birds isn’t on this list.

Mobile gaming gets a fair share of criticism from experts. For many ‘serious’ gamers they’re often considered a pale imitation of their console or PC counterparts, riddled with aggressive monetisation models and intrusive advertising. If big franchises move over to mobile, a huge wave of backlash is almost always inevitable.

Dedicated fans can become irate very quickly.

Yet, there are a wealth of indie titles and big-name games available for mobile that utilise its potential effectively. Gorgeous graphics, simple controls, and enjoyable gameplay can be found in so many titles for your smartphone, some of which won’t cost you a penny.

We thought it was high time that mobile got the love it deserved, which is why we’ve picked our favourite games over the years that demonstrate how great portable titles can really be.

It may be time to clear out your storage space and make room for some new apps. At least now you finally have an excuse to clear out all those old photos from 2015 that you never look at anymore.

Doodle Jump

Way back in the early days of smartphones, it took a while for people to fully understand how portable gaming on a phone could really work. Many were used to 8-bit, basic graphics on flip phones that ran at a smooth 10 fps.

Doodle Jump was one of the very first games that demonstrated how easy and addictive phone games could be. Utilising tilt controls and an endless score system, it was quick to gain traction and became a popular title during the late noughties. It’s still available today, too, so you can go on a nostalgia trip or a novel history lesson if it takes your fancy.

There’s usually seasonal events to get stuck into, with changing environments and outfits frequently added. Give it a try and let us know how well you score up.

Infinity Blade

This one was impressive for its advanced graphics when it released in 2011, and it still holds up today. Wacking medieval enemies never looked so damn good.

Infinity Blade has an endless loop system of combat that sees you level up and gain new armour with increased experience. There are various alternative paths you can take to reach the end of the loop, with new enemies unlocked as you go. It’s fantastic stuff and was a huge hit – two sequels dropped in the following years.

Unfortunately, Epic Games has since removed all three titles from App Stores, meaning its no longer available to download. It’s a staple of early mobile gaming though and worth mentioning. Plus, there’s always playthroughs to get stuck into on YouTube if you fancy something to watch.

Tiny Wings

Before Flappy Birds truly took off in 2013, there was Tiny Wings, an indie platformer that had addictive gameplay alongside a wonderful art style. It’s not free, but costs less than £2 and has no micro-transactions. Plus, the music is simply delightful.

It was made by an exceptionally small development team and sees you traversing over bumpy islands in the hopes of out flying the impending sundown. You can multiply your score with bonuses and challenges, and there’s even a multiplayer mode. Not too shabby.

It’s still available too! We’d definitely recommend snatching this one up and taking flight.

Alto’s Odyssey

Similar to Tiny Wings, Alto’s Odyssey is built as an endless runner of sorts, as you descend the mountains of various natural environments. We’ve played this one through a ton, attempting to beat our high scores and unlock new abilities (ranging from magnet items to wall sticking abilities). It’s a paid game but, once you’ve purchased it, there are no sneaky in-game fees. Handy.

This one’s on our list because of its gorgeous art direction, lighting effects, and general smoothness. It all runs seamlessly and has plenty to unlock and keep you coming back for more. Being a fairly recent title, Alto’s Odyssey proves that this genre is very much alive and well and has plenty more to offer in the way of unique style and creativity. A must play.

We’d recommend this one for those long commutes to school or work when you’re in need of killing a half hour or two. Now all we need is a bit more money to actually go skiing down mountains in real life. That might be a bit more expensive, mind.

The Simpsons: Tapped Out

Unlike quite a few other games in this list, Tapped Out is a free-to-play world builder that has a premium currency and plenty of opportunities to part with real cash. ‘Donuts’ can be used to buy extra buildings and decorations for your town that are otherwise unavailable.

While it may ask for your hard-earned bucks from time to time however, Tapped Out has a huge amount you can do without paying any money. We’ve played this one for years and have never used the premium currency. There’s still a ton of fun to be had, people.

Tapped Out has you complete tasks for residents of Springfield as you create the town from scratch. You’re free to design it however you want, swapping out all manners of buildings and items to create a customised, unique town. We love this genre because it’s particularly rewarding to return to frequently, with new events and seasonal content added regularly.

Pocket Build

Speaking of town building, this one takes the same approach as Tapped Out, but removes the heavy unlockables and levelling up system. You’re free to build almost anything from the outset, making this a much more open timewaster that’s easy to dip in and out of.

You can add dragons, medieval-themed houses and populate your world with varying characters. This one’s around £2 or $3 USD, but everything in-game is free. If you’re after a creative and breezy experience, Pocket Build is definitely for you.

Multiplayer is soon to be added too, so you can have a look at your friends worlds. Or ours, for that matter. Just don’t judge our poor design choices too harshly, we’re no architects.

Temple Run

Let’s take things back to basics for a moment. Temple Run first found success in 2011, becoming exceptionally popular and spawning a sequel that would build on the first’s strategic, endless runner gameplay. The simplicity of the original and its arcade style is hard to beat however, and we’d say it’s still one of the best endless runners around.

The game would inspire plenty of others in the genre such as Subway Surfer, Sonic Dash, and Minion RushTemple Run is where most of it started though, and it’s still available to play today.

Reckon you can unlock every item and hit the leader boards? We can’t, that’s for sure.

Sonic Runners

What’s Sonic doing on a list like this, right? Yes, while the new movie looks a bit like a car crash happening in slow motion, Sonic’s had an uncharacteristically good run on mobile. The ports of the original games are all well done, Sonic Dash is a great game, and Sonic Runners is perhaps the best and most unique offering of the bunch.

Built by Gameloft, Sonic Runners takes elements of endless platforming and restricts them down to linear levels, with a loose storyline that strings the environments together. This one’s a great one for a few minutes of original gameplay in a fun package, and it has a wealth of familiar environments and villains to get lost in.

If you’re a fan of SEGAs mascot and you need a reminder of why anyone liked him in the first place, check this one out.

Those are our top choices when it comes to mobile games over the last few years. We’re sure there are plenty of others, so make sure to drop us a comment on anything we might have missed.