2018 was a great year for mobile gaming. Not only did we get heavy hitting, console-quality games on the go in the form of PUBG Mobile and Fortnite, but we also got some fantastic single-player experiences such as Donut County. While the debate rages on about mobile gaming being as immersive or high fidelity as to what's available on PC, PS4, and Xbox one, there's no denying that 2018's mobile games show that the smallest screen can have the biggest and best experiences with only a few compromises.
What's more, you won't need the latest and greatest smartphone to sample any of these games and in some cases, you won't have to pay to play them either. So if you own an Android or iOS device and want to game on the go, here's what you should check out.
Best mobile games of 2018
PUBG Mobile is perhaps the best game to hit smartphones this year. This is thanks to developer Lightspeed and Quantum's meaningful, small screen-friendly interpretation of the PC and console hit complete with excellent moment to moment gameplay that in some cases, exceeds the versions it was based on.
Much like Pokemon Go in its heyday in India, PUBG Mobile is the rare game that's captured the attention of those who don't usually play video games either. It helps that Lightspeed and Quantum are extremely vocal on what to expect from the game, pushing updates at a steady clip.
From bringing in maps like Miramar, Sanhok, and Vikendi that are present on PC to collaborating with the likes of Mission: Impossible and Resident Evil 2, there's always a reason to log into PUBG Mobile.
Asphalt 9: Legends
With a wealth of races, new controls and stellar visuals, Asphalt 9: Legends is the pinnacle of the long-running franchise. Since its launch we've seen more cars, more tracks, and even additional visual effects added in at a steady clip. The fact that it runs well on older smartphones like the iPhone 6s is an added bonus. Own an iPhone XS, XS Max, or XR? You'll be able to play it at 60fps too for a fluid, responsive experience.
On the Android side of things, Asphalt 9: Legends is equally polished. Be it mid-range devices like the Xiaomi Mi A2 or high-end smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Asphalt 9 runs exceptionally well. This could end up being one of the most versatile games, looking as good as it plays on both Android and iOS.
The beginning of the year saw many searching far and wide for Fortnite iOS invites, and as 2018 draws to a close the enthusiasm around Epic Games' colourful, cartoony shooter slash impromptu building constructor hasn't faded. From modes that let you play as Thanos from The Avengers to letting you sculpt your own battle royale paradise and the promise of even more to come, Fortnite is well worth checking out if you haven't already.
A word of caution if you plan on playing it on Android: it isn't as well-optimised as its iOS counterpart yet, chugging along at without the same visual punch even on high-end Android hardware although Epic plans to rectify this in the months to come.
Also, Fortnite isn't on the Google Play Store. Instead, you'll have to use Epic's own website to get the game and sideload it via your browser or if you're on a Samsung device, you can use the Samsung's own app store store to play Fortnite.
While 2018 might be the year of the battle royale, Alto's Odyssey makes the list for keeping the endless runner genre relevant, and more importantly, delightful.
Sporting gorgeous art, memorable music, and some unique gameplay elements coupled with the tried and tested controls of its predecessor, Alto's Adventure, there's little amiss with this gem of a mobile game. If you want a mobile game that's easy to play and gives you a sense of discovering something new every time you play, then Alto's Odyssey is exactly what you need.
We really enjoyed the game whether we played it in the morning or late at night after an exhausting day at work. The game has such a nice, relaxing feel that it never feels like a chore to play. To top it off, the variety in scenery, weather, and time of the day in Alto's Odyssey gives it near endless replay value.
It's free with ads on Android and a Rs. 399 purchase on iOS ($4.99 in the US).
Donut County has you moving a hole to swallow objects, making it bigger in size. And though this simple gameplay mechanic would be enough to make a competent puzzle game, it's layered with a bizarre story involving racoons, delivery apps, and of course donuts.
While it's available on PS4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One, the game feels right at home on iOS thanks to intuitive touchscreen controls. Sadly, there's no Android release just yet, though given that publisher Annapurna Interactive's other games have made it to the platform, it's just a matter of time before those of us on Google Play can give it a go.
But if you're on iOS, it's Rs.399 on the App Store ($4.99 in the US).
Buy: Donut County (iOS)
- Reigns Game of Thrones: A faithful adaptation of Game of Thrones lore coupled with Reign's Tinder-esque gameplay makes for an addictive swipe and play experience. Available on Android and iOS.
- Pocket City: SimCity minus EA's predatory micro-transactions, always a good thing. You can try out a free version of this city building game before buying it too. Available on Android and iOS.
- Shadowgun Legends: This free-to-play first-person shooter sports slick gunplay and feels like Destiny in how you progress from mission to mission what with massively multiplayer elements aplenty. It looks good and controls well, making this early 2018 release worth a download. Available on Android and iOS.
- Florence: This 30 minute adventure deals with the pitfalls of relationships through mini-games. A combination that works well with an art style not too far off from contemporary web comics. Available on Android and iOS.
- Gorogoa: Launched on iOS last year, Android users can check out this beautiful puzzle game now. If you're looking for a short, imaginative take on the genre, look no further.
Which is your favourite mobile game of 2018? Let us know via the comments.
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