With each passing year, more and more people are playing video games. The video game industry is huge – raking in USD 21.5 billion in 2013. People aren’t just playing games at home on their consoles anymore. More people are playing games on their smartphones, even those who were never into gaming to begin with.
Mobile games have a bad reputation. If you pay a visit to the iPhone’s Appstore you might get your answer as to why that is. There happens to be a lot of low-quality games available. Developing games for mobile devices is a fairly inexpensive venture so people and companies try to capitalize on the popularity of smartphones. Over half the people who play video games play games on their smartphones. Add that to the fact that over 4 million iPhone 6 devices were preordered in one day and you get a clearer idea as to how huge the smartphone market is and how much potential there is. That’s why you have developers trying to come up with the next big thing like “Angry Birds’’ and then you have developers who clone popular games to try and make a quick buck. The result of this is that the Appstore gets filled with low-quality, badly developed games and clones of popular titles. There isn’t anyone really monitoring the quality of the apps that are allowed to be sold in the Appstore.
So what makes a good smartphone game? The best kinds of games tend to be those that are designed specifically for the device you’re playing on. It sounds like such an obvious thing, but there are quite a few games available that try to mimic games available on home consoles or PCs. Great games designed for consoles will not necessarily be fun on smartphones. The most popular way to control games on phones is through touch screen, so the majority of the time your view is going be obstructed in some way. The other way to control games is by motion controls, tilting your device, which isn’t always accurate, can get frustrating. Playing a first-person shooter on your phone will get annoying after some time and this is the case with the popular first-person shooter “Bioshock’’ which was recently released in the Appstore. The port isn’t bad, but it doesn’t play as well on the phone as it does on consoles.
The best kinds of games use your phone’s touch and motion controls efficiently. They keep things simple. The phone’s screen size is not as big as tablets, so it’s best when developers keep the screen clutter free. “Canabalt’’ was one of the first popular titles released for the iPhone, creating an entire new sub-genre called the “Endless Run”. In “Canabalt’’ your character automatically runs across the screen and the only controls you have is tapping the screen to make the character jump over obstacles. This simplicity lent to the game’s addictiveness and was later replicated in some form in countless other games, including the popular “Temple Run’’. Another game that did a fantastic job with controls was “Ridiculous Fishing’’. Where it used motion and touch controls efficiently. You tilt your device as your line descends into the water to grab the fish you want, and then you tap on the fish as they’re flung into the air so you could shoot them for cash.
The games I have the most fun with on my phone are puzzle games. My favorite is probably “Threes’’. “Threes’’ is a straightforward puzzle game that does an amazing job hooking you in. It’s charming, addictive, and a lot of fun. The aim is simple; match up the numbers on the board to accumulate higher numbers until the board is full. Another highly acclaimed puzzle game is “Monument Valley”. In “Monument Valley’’ you have to lead your character through mazes that are inspired by M.C. Escher. These environments are optical illusions and look impossible to traverse and you must interact with the environment to discover the solution to finish a level.
I also really enjoy adventure and role-playing games. “Terra Battle’’ is a fairly new game developed by Mistwalker. Mistwalker is helmed by legendary game developer Hironobu Sakaguchi who is the creator of the massive “Final Fantasy’’ franchise. ‘’Terra Battle’’ is a tile-based tactical role-playing game, which mixes in some puzzle elements. “Waking Mars’’ is a fun adventure game that lets you traverse through underground caves on Mars where you encounter alien lifeforms that you have to interact with to progress through the game.
The most popular games that people play on smartphones are those you can play in quick-short bursts. Like in “Bejeweled’’,”Temple Run’’,“Angry Birds,’’ and countless others. “Super Crate Box’’ is one of my favorite pickup-and-play games on the iPhone. It takes place on a 2D map with crates that pop up randomly to give you weapons that you have to use to take out never-ending waves of enemies. The main goal is to survive as long as possible while taking out as many enemies as you can. Another one of my favorites is “Super Hexagon’’. “Super Hexagon’’ is a fast-paced game where you control a little triangle navigating through a maze that is quickly “collapsing” – the levels are unbeatable and the longer you survive the harder the game gets.