Ports or coversions of games from one platform to another can be quite tricky. This is especially true when porting games to phones and tablets, as these titles have to be designed with workable touch controls and account for smaller screen sizes.
It’s rare these days for a console or PC game to grace the App Store in a totally unplayable state, but it can be hard to find games that make their transition to mobile look easy. It’s even rarer when a mobile port comes out and it’s just so dang slick it feels better than it did on its original platform, but these games exist. Here are five of them:
FTL has been hanging around the App Store for ages, but it’s still the perennial go-to recommendation as an airplane game or an entree into dedicated mobile gaming. Why? Because it kicks ass. Subset Games made the ultimate Star Trek roguelite in a single try, and its pausable, menu-based gameplay is perfect for touch.
I’m sure that The Gardens Between plays just fine on other platforms, but this narrative puzzle adventure is so smartly designed for mobile that you wouldn’t think twice about playing it elsewhere. You can hop between sessions on your phone or tablet and play in either landscape or portrait mode without missing a beat, which also helps sell the game’s mechanic of effortless movement-based time manipulation.
Hey, do you like Zelda? Do you want something like Zelda for you phone, but like, in a way that doesn’t suck? Severed is the game for you. There are tons of games on the App Store that borrow some (and sometimes more than just some) inspiration from Nintendo’s flagship action-adventure franchise, but most of them make the mistake of implementing clunky controls and/or simply fail to rise to the level of quality that one might consider “good.” Severed is not like that. It’s like Zelda, but good, and especially so on mobile.
Turn-based strategy games have always been a great fit for mobile play, and Steamworld Heist serves up some of the most digestable-yet-deep experiences within the genre. It’s also a game that has somewhat quirky movement and aiming mechanics that feel better to wrangle using touch than on any other control scheme.
Gorogoa is a puzzle game about perspective, and nothing gets you closer to the game’s art than a screen you can hold right up in front of your face. In mobile form, this game also has the benefit of feeling like you’re actually interacting with its scenes in a tactile way, as you poke and prod your way through different layers of beautifully illustrated scenes.