The games we play.
As much as I hate to admit it, I really enjoy mobile gaming. When I first got a fancy new smartphone I said to myself, “There’s no way I’m going to fall into the money-sucking rabbit hole of mobile games. I’ve got a powerful console! What will I need mobile games for?” Turns out my willpower and convictions are not as strong as I thought when it comes to the promise of games. But I still exercise restraint and control, as mobile games are constantly playing the “get your credit card number” contest with your willpower, and I only give money to certain games.
The best free mobile games do what we webcomics have been doing for years: give as much content away for free, offer paid goodies so people enjoying your stuff can show their support, and don’t overwhelm strangers with ads.
Here are the mobile games that have caught my attention lately. I recommend giving them a try, if mobile games are your thing.
BLADES OF BRIM. This is a fun “endless runner” with a lot of character. The point of the game is to get as high a score as possible as one of a number of fantasy characters, like a knight or an elf or a beast-man. The real charm of the game is, for me, collecting the various weapons and discovering how they help you and hinder the cartoonish enemy Goons. This is game simply makes me smile when I play it, and I play it often.
DRAGONVALE. The first mobile game I ever played and I’m still playing it. It’s a dragon collection and breeding game, where you mix and match different dragons to see what new hybrid will be produced. There are many games on the market like this, but DragonVale is the one that captured me first. The 2D dragons run the spectrum from elegant to weird to goofy. I’m a fan of the weird and goofy ones, of which there are plenty.
PINOUT. A fantastic pinball game that’s built on progressing levels instead of a static game board. It’s a great twist with a stellar design and a catchy-as-hell soundtrack. Not much more to say about PinOut. It’s simple execution makes it stand out. (It’s also worth nothing that this and the developers’ other games are ad-free whether you pay for their games or not, and that policy alone earned them my money.)
IDLE HEROES. This is one of a genre of RPGs where you collect a team of fantasy characters and level them up not by actively questing (or endlessly grinding) but by leaving them alone. This game tries to entice you to spend a lot of real world money on it, but on the other hand it’s totally ad free, so it’s an understandable trade-off. I gave this a try on a whim and got hooked. The fantasy characters have unique designs and there’s a lot to do, even if you get stuck on a given level.
I still love my fancy console games and immersive MMOs on my PC, but mobile games are filling my need for quick, bite-sized games that I can pick up and put down on a moment’s notice. Sure, I fall down the rabbit hole sometimes and get sucked in, but that’s no different than any other game on any other platform. I’m still playing Skyrim, for heaven’s sake.