With the early months of 2020 now behind us, there are now quite a few new games for people on iOS and Android to enjoy. While direct ports of popular console or PC games may sound exciting, there’s something to be said for developers offering a twist on a popular formula that makes the game friendlier for those small screens.
There’s a host of such games out already in 2020, as well as a direct port of a Konami classic and a game that’s pretty shameless in its inspirations but still one of the best-looking games out on iOS and Android.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
One of the most seminal games ever made (especially in light of the Metroidvania renaissance of the last decade), Symphony of the Night is an opulent, campy romp through Dracula’s castle. As the vampiric hero Alucard, you explore the sprawling structure in a non-linear fashion, seeking out items and abilities that eventually unlock its deeper recesses and secrets.
This is the Castlevania game from which “Metroidvania” got half its name, and to this day it remains a masterpiece of presentation, level design and satisfying progression. It’s best played with a controller, as the touch-screen controls can be a bit fiddly for the old-school precision required here.
Platforms: iOS, Android (Date TBC)
The much-anticipated action-RPG that can best be described as “Dark Souls Mobile” finally came out in early 2020. The long development cycle was worth it, however, as it manages to squeeze the punishing, timing-and-stamina-based combat of its inspiration down to a small screen.
The game looks absolutely beautiful, throwing you into a moribund fantasy world filled with fallen warriors, broken cities, and environments where it looks like even the skies are rotting. Be warned that this is a very hard game – as intended – and is very much aimed at players looking for a high-challenge, high-rewards experience rather than something more swipey and casual.
Harvest Moon: Mad Dash
Without Harvest Moon, there would almost certainly have been no Stardew Valley. The cutesy farming game where you raise your crops and livestock, build a home, and even get married has a long legacy dating back to the 90s, and this mobile spin-off condenses the typically slow-paced game into a speedier format.
It’s actually a very different game to the mainline series, taking place across myriad stages where you go through the planting and rearing in hyperspeed, complete with a time limit. It throws the farming sim into a puzzle format, and it works rather well. Just be careful not to let your veggies grow too large, lest you destroy the lot and fail the level!
Stellaris: Galaxy Command
Platforms: iOS (Date TBC), Android
This one originally came out last year, but after a series of technical issues, it got taken off digital storefronts for a re-do. Now it’s been re-released (in early access), Stellaris: Galaxy Command is starting to show glimmers of promise, worthy of its grand-strategy origins.
Various elements and depth that make the original Stellaris a meaty slog of a game have been trimmed down, but that grand-strategy spacefaring spirit is still here as you build a space station, form intergalactic alliances for resources and war, and seek to become a big player in the politics of the cosmos.
The game still has a few light years to go before its fully fleshed-out, but the potential is already visible.
Company of Heroes
They don’t make them like they used to, and they certainly don’t make them like the excellent Company of Heroes – the vintage squad-based strategy game set in the chaos of World War II. That’s probably why this iPad port of the game is instantly one of the best RTS games ever released for mobile platforms, demanding, smart, tactical thinking and an iron will to power through some of the backs-to-the-wall scenarios it plunges you into.
The touch controls work brilliantly, offering a couple of control options including a designed-for-touchscreen command wheel or the original command panel. It works with an Apple Pen, too, offering that extra bit of precision as you seek to guide your soldiers through various missions around war-torn Europe.
Want to play all these games on a PC (well, the ones you can’t already play on a PC anyway)? We can show you how to use the MEmu Android emulator to do just that. Or if the above games aren’t quite your speed, see the best offline shooting games for Android you can get in 2020.