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The 28 Best Mobile Games of All Time

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Rovio Entertainment

Ever since mobile phones were invented and have evolved into an essential part of our lives, gaming has become an integral part of the mobile gaming landscape. And these days, it becomes a daunting task when you're on the lookout for the very best mobile games.

We’ve gotten so used to watching our fellow mass transit riders staring down at their phone as they do one of three things - mess around with some apps, chat with friends & family, or pass the time with their favorite mobile game of choice. It’s easy to get addicted to and overwhelmed by the flood of games littered across the App Store and Google Play storefronts nowadays - there’s a flood of copycat games and a long list of titles that do the bare minimum on a visual/mechanical level. We made sure to wade through all the shovelware and arrive with this list of the 25 most essential mobile games that belong on your mobile device of choice.

A ton of genres are represented here - match-three puzzlers, strategy RPGs, first-person shooters, endless runners, etc. The variety of mobile games on this list should keep you satisfied and provide you with endless hours of replay value.

1. ‘Temple Run’ (series)

Temple Run is considered the OG of endless runners. Before the mobile gaming market got flooded with original and licensed titles within that genre, Imangi Studios’ marquee mobile time killer captured everyone’s imagination. The Indiana Jones vibes have always been strong here - running for as long as you can while evading a massive creature, collecting coins, and utilizing slick maneuvers to stay alive brings out everyone’s heroic archaeologist spirit.

2. ‘Subway Surfers’

Since we’re on the topic of iconic endless runners, we have to mention the signature city runner known as Subway Surfers. The young graffiti artists featured in this game are tasked with surviving as long as they can while they navigate every inch of the big city they inhabit. The game’s bright and bubbly exterior makes it a lot more approachable for all the younger gamers out there, which is part of the reason why it still holds a decent spot within the top game's rankings across the App Store and Google Play storefronts. Now, where’s our hoverboard?

3. ‘Candy Crush’ (series)

Candy Crush and its many follow-ups will forever be considered as the definitive match-three mobile puzzler experience. All those yummy sweet treats and sodas are at your fingertips as you match them within a vast collection of challenging puzzle scenarios. If there’s one game that you’re likely to see your grandparents still play on the regular, it’s most likely a Candy Crush game. It’s hard to step away from this mobile puzzler once you’ve started ascending to the highest levels of puzzle difficulty.

4. ‘Angry Birds’ (series)

Slingshotting birds into random structures full of evil pigs sounds like an intense fever dream, right? Thankfully, you don’t have to be under the influence of anything to properly experience that weird scenario. The mainline Angry Birds series encapsulates that casual puzzler approach to mobile gaming and has remained a widely recognizable staple ever since it first flew onto mobile devices. Now excuse us while we tend to our bird flinging, pg smashing activities.

5. ‘Genshin Impact’

Genshin Impact is the sort of AAA action RPG that feels right at home on stronger hardware. We don’t know how Chinese video game development and animation studio miHoYo did it, but they managed to fit all of its goodness within the confines of mobile devices. Hopping into this game’s vast realm full of magic and other fantastical elements is comparable to the sense of wonder associated with The Legend of Zelda franchise. Genshin Impact’s continuous flood of meaningful content means it will likely thrive for years to come.

6. ‘Sky: Children of Light’

Thatgamecompany is known for creating games full of wonder and splendor that break the confines of everyday genres. If the PS3 gem called Journey blew your mind, then Sky: Children of Light will do the exact same. Within the gorgeously animated Kingdom of Sky, you and another sky-faring player set out to explore the open skies as you venture through its seven realms. As you get closer to your co-op partner and increase your ability to stay airborne, you’ll attempt to restore the fallen light taken away from the kingdom’s vast constellations.

7. ‘Geometry Dash’

Stay in perpetual rhythm, dodge a wealth of dangerous hazards, and try your hardest to complete the many stages thrown your way. Those objectives lie at the heart of Geometry Dash, a deceptively simple mobile platformer that mixes in elements of rhythm-game-based mechanics. The game’s unique soundtrack is strong enough to push you to keep playing and comes to grips with its huge variety of stage elements. Half of the fun for Geometry Dash comes from creating your own custom stages and seeing if your game creation skills are up to par.

8. ‘Call of Duty: Mobile’

Mobile phone/tablet technology has come a long way, hasn't it? Now the brisk and frenetic feel of the Call of Duty series’ traditional gunplay has been perfectly adapted for mobile devices. The mobile version of the world’s most popular first-person shooter throws in the signature multiplayer modes and Battle Royale experience that console players have been enjoying for the longest. And since Zombies Mode has also become a part of this game’s mobile package, it truly has morphed into something equally comparable to the series’ home console experience.

9. ‘Plants vs. Zombies’ (series)

Who would ever envision a scenario in which your normal everyday plants would be the last line of defense against the walking dead? The Plants vs. Zombies games are founded by that battle premise and thrive because of the well-tuned battle mechanics featured within them. Setting up different types of plant life based on their strengths and weaknesses across a grid-based battle map is the name of the game. And it still manages to be as engrossing as it was when it initially debuted. Mobile strategy games don’t get any better than this.

10. ‘Fruit Ninja’ (series)

Slicing up all sorts of fruits with the tip of your fingers elicits a special type of enjoyment we never even knew existed before Fruit Ninja became a thing. There’s so much fun to be had as you swipe across your mobile screen as fast as possible and utilize a varied array of powerups to cut down every piece of fruit that comes your way. Both the first game and its sequel have a penchant for sending players into a mode of zen when it comes to pulling off huge combos via fruit slashing.

11. ‘Alto's Adventure’

The endless runner genre got one of its most serene installments to date with the 2015 release of Alto’s Adventure. Instead of staying in perpetual motion upon a vertical track, this super chill game allows you to travel via a snowboard across some beautifully animated locales. Completing all sorts of tasks while pulling off dope tricks has the power to put anyone who plays it into a state of maximum zen.

12. ‘Marvel Strike Force’

There are a ton of traditional turn-based RPGs all over the App Store and Google Play storefronts. Once Marvel Comics’ and Foxnet/Scopely stepped up to go that route, mobile gamers ended up getting one of the best comic book-based games of all time. Marvel Strike Force features a vast collection of Marvel heroes and villains that can be attached to different parties for battle. Mixing and matching the game’s iconic characters for clashes across Marvel Strike Force’s many modes is an activity that has and will remain engrossing for years to come.

13. ‘Clash of Clans’

The tower-defense, strategy RPG that inspired countless copycats is none other than SuperCell’s smash hit, Clash of Clans. The game’s signature art style goes hand in hand with the chaotic action that erupts once rival clans come to blows. Besides all the wild skirmishes that erupt from time to time, you’ll spend a ton of time constructing your kingdom, strengthening your troops, and creating the finest layout you can. Clash of Clans’ influence can be felt throughout a wealth of other mobile tower-defense games for good reason - it’s just that damn good.

14. ‘Dragon Ball Legends’

Never mind the obvious copycat games that feature characters that bear a striking resemblance to Super Saiyans - this officially licensed Dragon Ball Z fighting game is the only one you need. Dragon Ball Legends features surprisingly strong visuals that help its midair battles look and feel as close to the anime as possible. All your favorite heroes and villains are in attendance here as you place them in various teams for the hard road ahead. Shooting off ki blasts, smashing your opponent with a devastating strike, and landing the team-based Rising Rush attack all combine to make this superpowered fighter a blast to play.

15. ‘Pokémon GO’

No one figured Pokémon GO would end up being the juggernaut it turned out to be when it launched in 2016. There was a time when anyone with a mobile phone could be seen with their heads down exploring their towns looking for Pocket Monsters. This augmented reality mobile game is still a force to be reckoned with within the genre due to its iconic license and addictive gameplay goal - “GOTTA CATCH ‘EM ALL!” Now, where’s that damn Shiny Charmander?

16. ‘Monument Valley’ (series)

Monument Valley is a supremely tranquil and surreal experience that will put anyone that plays it at ease. The main gist of the series relies on players manipulating the environment in an effort to guide a princess to her ultimate destination and avoid the Crow People. The minimalist art design goes hand in hand with the puzzle-based mechanics Monument Valley relies on. The series provides plenty of visual splendor and a gaming experience that will enrapture you from the jump.

17. ‘Raid: Shadow Legends’

We’d bet the farm that you’ve seen at least one ad for this turn-based RPG during your dedicated YouTube sessions. And once you finally take the plunge, you’ll quickly understand why Raid: Shadow Legends gets so much attention. This game provides traditional RPG mechanics that incorporate a huge lineup of class-based warriors for your many battles. There’s a ton of fun to be had as you employ warriors from the realms of Light and Dark to save the kingdom of Teleria.

18. ‘Jetpack Joyride’ (series)

As far as infinite runners go, Jetpack Joyride employs a horizontal view as you move from left to right through hazard-filled locales. The name of the game here is all about keeping your jetpack-fueled lil’ guy airborne and far away from laser beams, missiles, and so much more. The presence of playable mechs increases the fun factor for this endless runner, plus the coin collecting activities attached to the gameplay make it even more of an addictive time waster.

19. ‘Clash Royale’

Once Clash of Clans made the transition over to a different type of tower-defense gameplay mechanics, Clash Royale was born. And just like the mega-hit that came before it, this series spinoff manages to be just as engrossing. Clash Royale’s arena battles allow you to create the best card decks and use them to overcome your opponent’s base. The fast and furious action perfectly appeals to mobile generals who think fast in the heat of battle. The game’s convivial 1v1 and 2v2 skirmishes will certainly keep you busy.

20. ‘Empires & Puzzles’

Getting locked into battle with all manner of beasts is cool and all. But when you get to do it through it within the confines of a match-three puzzler structure makes those battles that much more enticing. Empires & Puzzles offers those combined gameplay styles and has succeeded immensely because of them. Matching up different gems on the game board and using the powers gained from them to land devastating attacks never grows stale. This long-running puzzler/RPG is undoubtedly one of the best mobile games that just never gets old.

21. ‘Among Us’

Among Us took the world by storm in 2020 and turned out to be one the best “whodunit” games we’ve ever seen & played. The social deduction mechanics of this game make way for some hilarious situations between friends. The murder mystery of it all presents Among Us as this generation’s version of Clue - gamers young and old revert to it as the go-to title for game night. We for one love playing as the imposter and sabotaging everyone else’s ship duties! They’ll never know it was us...

22. ‘Downwell’

Gunboots! We love ‘em and we need ‘em. After you spend a couple of hours using them during your countless adventures during a procedurally generated well, you’ll come away with the same opinions. Downwell is all about venturing as deep as possible and blasting all the baddies beneath you with furious firepower. The nice array of weaponry, upgrades, and unique items available in Downwell give you a ton of stuff to collect & utilize during your cavernous adventures.

23. ‘Hearthstone’

The strategic card battler to rule them all is right here before you. And it has maintained its spot as the top dog in the genre for the longest time now. Hearthstone sticks to a medieval fantasy theme as it lets you customize decks full of Warcraft characters. The constant updates and expansions for this essential pick on our list have turned Hearthstone into one of the most rewarding card battlers of all time.

24. ‘PUBG MOBILE’

Before Fortnite stepped into the battle royale realm and took the top spot, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds’ was the game that defined the genre and garnered the most attention. Once it finally made its way over to mobile devices, players were surprised by how close to the source material this port ended up being. PUBG MOBILE plays just as well as its console counterpart and has steadily been introducing special events to keep its dedicated player base satisfied.

25. ‘Asphalt 9: Legends’

Whenever you get a good look at this mobile racer in action, the first thought that probably enters your brain is “how is this thing running on my phone?” The graphical presentation produced by Asphalt 9: Legends is phenomenal and the fast-paced races/chases are just as amazing. The licensed rides you can hop into all look lifelike, the track layouts are exciting, and the huge suite of modes available to you make Asphalt 9: Legends the go-to racing game for all mobile gaming addicts.

26. ‘League of Legends: Wild Rift’

There are a ton of MOBAs out there and most of them exist on PC. Riot Games’ League of Legends has reigned supreme as the genre king since its grand debut and it has thankfully been brought over to mobile devices. League of Legends: Wild Rift takes the 5v5 battles of the main game and perfectly maps all of its balanced battle mechanics onto mobile devices. The fact that you can earn every champion for free through your gameplay efforts is an awesome reward, so you’ll have plenty of reasons to keep racking up wins with your League of Legends squadron. This handheld MOBA takes its rightful place on this list as one of the best mobile games you have to play.

27. 'Apex Legends Mobile'

Just like Call of Duty, Apex Legends has made a successful transition from consoles and PC to mobile devices. The appropriate changes to the game's control scheme have been made to help players enjoy the breakneck pace and intense shootouts that erupt in this battle royale game for the ages. With exclusive "Legends" in play such as Fade and Rhapsody, Apex Legends Mobile offers both casual and hardcore players even more reason to hop into the game's bite-sized team-based skirmishes. This is certainly one of the best mobile games for FPS diehards.

28. 'Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel'

If you watched the cartoon and always wanted to pull up on someone in real life to duel, chances are you're always checking for video game adaptations of the Yu-Gi-Oh! collectible card game. Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel offers one of the strongest digital forays into the longstanding universe of the manga/anime to date. It features a thorough tutorial that brings you to speed on the game's many rules, single-player campaigns that break down the mythology behind certain card types, and online battles to hop into the competition against the very best Yu-Gi-Oh! duelists. The addictiveness of this digital card game easily makes it one of the best mobile games that'll keep you occupied for years to come.

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