If console and PC gaming are grown-ups, then mobile gaming is still an infant. Actually, maybe it’s more like a precocious toddler, forcing everyone to pay attention to it whether they want to or not.
Whichever analogy you prefer, it can’t be argued that video games on smartphones and tablets have made a tremendous impact—and in a short period of time, because mobile gaming as we know it hasn’t even been around for a decade.
Does that mean it’s too early to do a list of the best mobile games? Heck no! Here at GameSided, we love a fierce argument spirited debate as much as anyone, and nothing gets one going like ranking the top games in any category.
In determining the “best,” I took into account several factors, including things like sheer popularity and critical acclaim. I also looked for games that were prominent in their respective genres. In mobile gaming, imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery, and that counts for something. Also, since it’s my list, my personal opinion is in the mix as well. Can’t be helped.
And since so many games appear on multiple platforms these days, I eliminated every title whose claim to fame came elsewhere. For instance, it’s really awesome that some of the “Final Fantasy” games or “XCOM: Enemy Unknown” can be played on mobile devices, but when someone brings them up in conversation, I think console or PC first.
Sometimes the distinction was a bit tougher. “Minecraft” is a bona fide phenomenon, and tons of people (including my own children) play it on tablets. It clearly would have made this list if it was eligible, but it was playable for nearly two years on PC before being released in mobile form. I’m not counting it.
Another one of my addmittedly arbitrary rules: only one game per series. Every “Angry Birds” game would make the list if I didn’t enforce that, so only the original, which spawned a multimedia empire, is included here. In some other cases I went with sequels if they happen to be considered superior to the original, and in one instance, with the most recent version of an annual series.
So now that the explanations are out of the way, let’s get to the list of the top 20 mobile games to date: