It's that time of year again! Join us as we highlight some of the best mobile games of this past year.
Before diving into picks and talking about games, I just need to say that 2023 felt like a real turning point for gaming on iOS, and not in a good way. This year, I played what feels like fewer mobile games than ever, and I chalk quite a bit up to what the reality of mobile gaming is now, which--with a few exceptions--looks a lot like "run with a subscription model or die."
More than ever, the App Store looks like the nightmare marketplace everyone previously (and somewhat prematurely) made it out to be. There's a small sliver of games that are actually worth your time and attention, and many of those are now just solid but unexciting safe bets, many of which you are asked to pay for on a recurring basis to have access to.
This is the headspace I'm in heading in to these awards, so it feels less like the celebration of mobile gaming that it should be. Still, though, there are things I played that I think other people should also check out. So, with that, the awards will roll in piecemeal across this week and wrap up just before we turn over to 2024. See below for the honorifics:
For each of these categories, I'll choose a winner and mention some notable runner-ups. Any game nominated or chosen for any of these cateories is then eligible for the final category, Best Game, which is the culminating category where I will construct a ranked list of my favorite games from this year.