Last year, we made our first Top 10 games of the year list and since then I have been looking forward to the next one. We are seeing a lot of incredible games being launched on the mobile platform across different genres, and it has never been a better time to be a mobile gamer or to write about them.
This year too we have a solid collection of games for you. Games you may have seen in our reviews or our top apps and games of the week lists. It was both fun and difficult to go back through these and pick out the contenders for the best games of the year list, and then slowly whittle down that list to only ten. It would have been even tougher had I actually played all the games that came out this year, but considering that’s impossible, you may find some names missing here, some you may have played and thought were worth including. But that aside, I think we have a pretty good collection here for you this year, so do take a look and let us know what you think in the comments. 2015 was a pretty great year for gaming. Hopefully, 2016 is even better.
10. Angry Birds 2
Never thought you’d see an Angry Birds game in this list? Well, neither did I. However, credit where credit is due. After milking the franchise every way possible for many years, Rovio finally managed to churn out a worthy sequel to the original that retained what was fun about the original game while introducing enough new elements to keep things fresh and interesting. Angry Birds had stopped being fun long ago, that is until Angry Birds 2 came out and I did spend an inordinate amount of time on this game, far more than I had expected, and for that it gets a place on our list.
9. Horizon Chase
Racing genre has become a bit stale these days, and every other racing game now aping the Need for Speed series (including Need for Speed itself) on the consoles. But then Horizon Chase comes along and racing is fun again. Instead of making yet another cookie-cutter racing game, Horizon Chase takes us back to the simpler times with its retro graphics and three button gameplay. Back when graphics weren’t everything, back when it didn’t matter how many licensed vehicles the game had or how much you can customize them, back when it was actually difficult to win and you couldn’t just nitro your way to victory. Not that things are terrible now, but there is a reason we call them the good ol’ days, and Horizon Chase shows us why.
8. Pac-Man 256
Speaking of the good ol’ days, we have a real oldie among us today. It’s hard to find anyone who hasn’t played Pac-Man in their life. But this is not the same game we know but with a delicious new twist that makes it a lot more modern, and dare I say, better. Made by the same people who brought us ‘Crossy Road’, which was in our last year’s best of the year list, the game fuses the old gameplay style with several new elements that goes beyond simply pressing your nostalgia buttons and is actually a lot more fun. If you’re remaking old games, this is how it should be done.
7. Tap Tap Dash
If this list was sorted by the order of time spent on each game, Tap Tap Dash would be at the top. I’m not sure what’s so addictive about this game. Whether it’s the incredibly challenging and fast-paced gameplay that requires split second timing and razor sharp precision, or the never-ending levels that just keep getting harder and harder, or just the simple, no-nonsense nature of it. But I’ve had a hard time putting this game down and really it’s the only one in this list that I’m still playing after all these months. I’m a huge fan of games that require quick, precise inputs and if you do too, you’re gonna love this.
6. Alto’s Adventure
If you go by genre, Alto’s Adventure will most definitely be classified as an action game. But there is something very peaceful and serene about this game. The calming visuals and the beautiful background music altogether makes this a very relaxing game even when you’re trying to score that tricky jump, land that perfect grind, or trying to outpace the mountain elders. Alto’s Adventure is subtle, serene, and calm while delivering plenty of thrills along the way.
5. Rayman Adventures
Although Rayman Adventures couldn’t quite reach the high benchmark set by its predecessors, it’s still a damn fine game overall. I found it hard to get used to the controls but beyond that this is every bit of a Rayman game we have come to expect from Ubisoft, featuring the same crazy level designs, fast-paced action, beautiful and whimsical animation and art design, and an endearing soundtrack. The unfortunate controls is why this game couldn’t be further up the list because otherwise this is an incredibly enjoyable game.
4. Lara Croft Go
Take the fantastic board-game style gameplay mechanic of last year’s runner up Hitman Go and add classic Tomb Raider style action and adventure and you have the recipe of a winner. The game beautifully combines puzzle and action/adventure gameplay styles with lovely art design and ample replay value. The game also has plenty of nods towards older Tomb Raider games, which is always nice to see. This is not just another Tomb Raider title trying to cash in on the name of the franchise. It might be different, but it’s still a thoroughly enjoyable game that does justice to the reputation of the franchise in its own way.
3. Badland 2
The original Badland was quite something. It put you in control of a winged creature barely able to keep itself afloat as it navigated one of the most treacherous yet eerily beautiful environment ever to grace a game, all the while giving the feeling of being totally alone with nothing but the sound of menacing machinery that will shred you to pieces without the slightest remorse. Badland 2 is more of that really, which is fine, as it’s just as enjoyable now as it was two years ago. There are some new gameplay mechanics so it doesn’t feel exactly the same but it doesn’t really matter. This is still an incredibly enjoyable game with absolutely gorgeous visuals filled with even more horrifying things out to kill you, all the while maintaining the eery vibe of the original.
2. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
Not much can be said about Brothers that hasn’t been said already. The game was received to universal critical acclaim when it released on consoles for its endearing story, likable characters, charming puzzles that made brilliant use of two joysticks, beautiful visuals and sound. Although there were concerns as to how this would translate over to the small screen, the developer put all the concerns to rest with a spectacular port that works beautifully on touchscreen, while maintaining everything that was good about the game. It’s one of those games you have to play and I’m glad it’s now on mobile too.
I wish the opening theme of the game started playing as you read this, because it would make this that much more awesome. But it’s not just the absolutely stunning soundtrack, produced by Darren Korb and performed by Ashley Lynn Barrett, that steals the show (Fun fact: this entire post was written while listening to the soundtrack). The game looks jaw droppingly gorgeous, nearly as good as it did on the PS4 and PC. Add to that the superb gameplay and the terrific voice acting, and it’s not hard to see why Transistor managed to work its way all the top of this list. The game does very little wrong and checks all the right boxes. But it’s more than the sum of its parts. Transistor is a work of art, a lovingly crafted one at that, and it shows every time you play it. And for that it gets our best mobile game of 2015.