Say what you will about 2016 in general, you can't deny it was a great year for mobile games. 2016 welcomed a host of creative games across many genres. We saw the explosion of CCGs explode even more, we were treated to a few indie darlings, and, of course, lost our minds over Pokémon GO
. It's been a long ride, but a rich one, and now Campbell and I have the very difficult task of picking out the best of the bunch. Here are my top mobile game picks (in no particular order) for 2016.
Legend of the Skyfish manages to borrow quite heavily from The Legend of Zeldawhile still bringing its own unique flair. Stunning artwork reminiscent of northern European fables draws you at every turn, and the mechanics present fresh challenges that are perfectly suited to touch controls.
Pinball has been done over time and time again, and yet PinOut! still found a way to make this arcade classic fresh, fun, and surprisingly addictive. PinOut! combines your typical pinball mechanics with the endless runner genre. Timed runs and clever board design give the game a frenetic feel that keeps you coming back for more.
Burly Men at Sea is more of a storybook experience than anything else, and we're perfectly fine with that. The tale unfurls around you, but you'll have a say in crucial decisions that control the direction of the story. There are many ways that the story can progress, giving the game a good deal of replay value, too. Burly Men at Sea hearkens back to romance tales in the original sense of the word -- world weary travelers heading out into the unknown to seek adventure.
Leave it to Devolver Digital to combine Tinder's swipe mechanics with a political stat balancing act. With its mixture of Monty Python inspired wit and off the rails fantasy wackiness, you never feel too bad when the peasantry revolts and sticks your head on a pike, or the multitude other ways your reign can come to a gruesome end. The game reveals its layers slowly as you assume the throne again and again in a satisfying progression that makes Reigns well worth the price.
This pretty little platformer is more about exploring and completing quests than it is jumping around bopping cartoon monsters on the head. Its nonlinear levels are a refreshing change to this tried and true genre, and its diverse cast of characters all have different ways of interacting with the world, allowing you to solve puzzles with creativity.
Mini Metro's simplicity belies its elegant design. Choose from one of 13 maps and get to work creating a metro system for a real city. As the city expands, so, too, does your rail network. You'll need to take burgeoning populations and geographic obstacles into account as you grow. It requires a good deal of forward thinking and adaptability to succeed.
Sorcery! 4 brings this fantasy gamebook adventure to a satisfying conclusion. Inkle's ability to transform a classic gamebook into an innovative, animated mobile experience is truly admirable, and the writing is some of the best you'll find anywhere.
This strategic, team-based shooter finally made its way to mobile, and we're so glad it did. You control a charming bunch of robot pirates, each with their distinct personality. If the characters don't win you over, though, the tactical combat will. There's a fun range of weapons and accessories to collect, and each crew member brings their own unique set of skills, allowing for a lot of mixing and managing to keep things interesting.
Essentially Neko Atsume meets Super Mario Bros., Super Cat Tales is a beautiful platformer in every sense. Its colorful landscapes are easy on the eye, and the game handles with grace -- there are no control issues to be found here. Super Cat Tales has a smooth difficulty curve and is just forgiving enough to encourage you to keep going. It's everything a classic platformer should be.
Severed is an ambitious dungeon crawler, full of nightmarish scenery and revolting body horror. At the same time, it's a poignant story of loss and love. You play as Sasha, a girl tasked with roaming an eerie purgatory in search of her lost family members. The story is told through powerful cutscenes and various emphemera you uncover on your journey. The battle system is perfectly suited for touch screens, as you slash and tap monsters in a timed dance that requires coordination and keen strategy. It's one of the most memorable experiences on any platform this year.
What are your favorite games of the year? Tell us about it in the comments below!