It's been a pretty spectacular year for mobile games, with all sorts of unique titles sprouting up, many by surprise. With top-knotch games launching on a near weekly basis, it's been quite a task narrowing my top choices down to just ten entries. I've opted to present my list in no particular order -- these games all excel at very different things, excellent exemplars of what their genres do best. Without further ado, here are my favorite games of 2017.
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp
Is Animal Crossing essentially an exercise in capitalism run amok? Maybe, but I sure can't get enough of it. The Animal Crossing formula translates perfectly to the mobile platform. It's easy to play in short bursts, and offers hundreds of adorable furniture pieces and other decor to craft and collect. It's a brilliant little ray of sunshine that's the perfect remedy for the bleaker aspects of real life.
Zach Gage is a design mastermind--he breathes new life into tried and true genres like word puzzles and classic card games. He never misses a beat in his latest project, Flipflop Solitaire, which turns all of your expectations about solitaire on their heads.
Old Man's Journey
If it's a bucolic indie experience you're after, look no further than Old Man's Journey. It's the perfect game to soak up and enjoy, taking your time as a moving story of life and love unfurls in lovely pastel hues.
A Normal Lost Phone
I'm a sucker for visual novels and narrative games, so I was glad to see the genre truly break out onto mobile this year. Leading the way was A Normal Lost Phone, which sees you crawling through photos, text messages, e-mails, and more as you try to uncover the identity of the owner of a lost phone.
Square Enix released Meshi Quest this past summer to little fanfare, but it's an excellent little restaurant sim. It may not do anything especially groundbreaking, the mechanics are excellent, gameplay is frantic, and the hand drawn illustrations of each dish are mouth-watering in their careful detail.
Layton's Mystery Journey
Layton's Mystery Journey is well worth its premium price tag. It's a full-lengthProfessor Laytongame full of challenging puzzles and the twists and turns of any good Layton mystery.
Ticket to Earth
The term "match-three" may be cringeworthy at this stage in the history of mobile games, but Ticket to Earth somehow manages to take that very mechanic to create one of the best, most innovative RPG experiences on mobile, and in gaming in general, this year. It also weaves an affecting tale of a space colony desperately trying to return home.
What's not to like about an open-world RPG replete with cat puns? But rather than resting on gimmicks alone, Cat Quest is a masterful sandbox RPG that draws from western and eastern influence alike to create something truly special.
Reigns: Her Majesty
Reigns returns with a more feminine bent as you assume the role of a queen. Her Majesty features razor sharp writing, dark comedy, and more of the irresistible Tinder-esque gameplay we've come to expect from the Reigns franchise.
We haven't played anything quite like Gorogoa, which makes it a stand out in the puzzle genre this year. The game features lovingly crafted hand-drawn artwork and some dastardly difficult puzles that will make you feel like a true genious once you uncover the solution.
Don't miss out on our review editor, Campbell's, top games of the year. What are your favorite games of the year? Let us know in the comments below.