Say what you will about mobile games, but they’re a key part smartphone ownership. In most of modern society, our smartphones are a lifeline. Odds are, everyone has a couple games on their phones, even if they’re not the best platforms for it. (At least, not yet.)
Mobile gaming has expanded since the days of Bejeweled and Snake. From augmented reality games to RPGs or shooters with impressive graphics, mobile gaming is more than just a way to kill some time. Big companies don’t release mobile games as frequently as they do console or PC games, but when they do, they’re worthy of the title.
Here are some of the best mobile games released this year.
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
An augmented reality game from Niantic, the giant behind Pokemon Go, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is what longtime Harry Potter fans have only dreamt of for years. It was announced in 2017, sparking excitement for fans of the series. The game was released in June 2019.
The game brings magic to the muggle world, where the player is encouraged to walk to locations where magical phenomenon have occurred and quickly dispel it. Successfully banishing a monster or magical entity will reward the player with a stamp.
The game fell short with its stamp collecting motif, and the lack of customizations found in Niantic’s other games. Still, it maintains a promising player base of loyal Harry Potter fans.
Dr. Mario World
Perhaps mobile gaming isn’t that far past Bejeweled. Dr. Mario World’s main premise revolves around clearing levels by connecting groups of three or more. There’s a bit more to the plot of Dr. Mario World than similar games, and each doctor has their own unique ability.
Characters have to be unlocked and are hidden behind paywalls or random luck, which makes the game a little frustrating for players don’t want to pay for features. Dr. Mario World also offers a competitive online mode where players compete to see who can clear a level fastest.
Mario Kart Tour
Mario Kart Tour is the second Mario brand mobile game released this year. If you thought motion controls were bad, wait until you discover touch based controls!
The game is very enjoyable, as all Mario Kart games are. The deep test of friendship they provide between is a time-honored tradition. Mario Kart Tour follows the same basic premise: race, improve your kart, race some more, compete against others in a hair-ripping experience.
The controls are the biggest hurdle in the game. Once you master them, the game is a delightful ride around the tracks. As with Dr. Mario World, there are tasks and unlocks that players can earn, providing access to better kart upgrades and different characters.
Another Pokemon game to come to the mobile world, this time from Nintendo directly instead of Niantic. Pokemon Masters is an unusual game, where players team up with NPCs from the Pokemon universe to battle. Joining forces with other masters will improve your team and abilities.
Like the world of Detective Pikachu, NPCs in Pokemon Masters have one partner Pokemon that helps them in battle. Your default beginning Pokemon is the electric mouse mascot—you know the one. You progress by facing others in battle and befriending them. It’s a fun experience, but not quite enough to make it our game of the year.
Best Mobile Game of the Year
Call of Duty: Mobile
Call of Duty doesn’t sound like a franchise that belongs on a mobile platform, as the first person shooter usually draws in competitive players. With an established name like Call of Duty, putting it on mobile is designed to appeal to the more casual, on-the-go gamers.
While the game calls for precision and accuracy, the mobile version manages to merge quality mechanics and aim into an enjoyable mobile first person shooter experience.
Mobile games are an enjoyable way to drop in and experience a game, kill time, or enjoy it as a hobby. As more developers expand to mobile platforms, the quality and frequency of mobile games will increase. This year, though, it was Call of Duty: Mobile that stood out among the rest.
For more of our Year in Review 2019 series, head to our hub page.