2018 is in full flow now, and touchscreen gamers have a fine selection of new goodies to dive into. In our roundup of the latest games for Android and iOS, we have the obligatory big offerings from super-companies, some resurgent oldies, and a smattering of strangeness, too.
Here are our favorite new games for you to play on mobile, and at the bottom we’ve left games that came out a couple months ago, just in case you missed our roundup last time.
The Sims Mobile
The mobile versions of The Sims have always been watered down affairs, and you’re destined for disappointment if you expect the full-on construction/life management experience of the PC version here.
However, The Sims Mobile is fun unto itself, focusing more on leading your created character from unemployed mope in a shabby apartment to urban high-flyer (or just seeing how long you can keep them living on the breadline). The Sims now actually speak English as well, though I for one always enjoyed their strange dialect of yore.
Evoland was always an intriguing concept, taking you on an adventure that evolves visually as well as mechanically as you progress from rudimentary 8-bit pixels to fully-fledged 3D graphics.
The sequel is along the same lines, though of course with a new adventure this time, creatures to fight, and mini-games to play. Anyone who’s played games for a couple of decades will appreciate its wealth of homages.
Siege of Dragonspear
Speaking of people who’ve played games for decades, Siege of Dragonspear is an expansion for Baldur’s Gate, which came out nearly 20 years after the original and is a must for fans of the classic cRPG series.
It’s much the same format as the original games, as you create a hero, band with others, and head off on an adventure across the Sword Coast. It’s pretty hardcore stuff and can get fiddly on a small screen, but tablet-owning RPG fans owe it to themselves to give it a try.
Turn-based puzzle games are one of the best fits for mobile devices, as you don’t need to worry about sweaty fingers sliding off the keys at inopportune moments. Infinite West is a western-themed puzzler that combines the tactical nuance of chess with the gunslinging pizazz of six-shooters.
There’s a huge variety of enemies, requiring you to adapt your approach: do you go out all guns blazing, hunker down behind a desert rock, or aim for the explosive barrel next to your target? All key questions in this bespoke mobile tactics-fest.
Part Time UFO
If the cutesy style of Part Time UFO gives you deja vu, that might be because the developer, HAL Laboratory, is behind such classics as Kirby’s Dream Land and the Smash Bros. series.
This mobile adventure casts you as a UFO which takes on whimsical tasks for anyone from farmers to kitchen chefs, grabbing things with your claw to shift cargo, throwing dogs around, stacking Tetris blocks, and other strange tomfoolery. It’s wonderfully weird, clever, and devoid of in-app purchases.
For those of you enamored with the 80s, this isn’t a mobile game recreation of the classic movie about breakdancing. Sorry. For those among you enamored with 80s/early 90s gaming, however, Beat Street is a cutesy tribute to classic beat-em-ups like Streets of Rage and Final Fight.
Take charge of one of several teen heroes tasked with beating up evil anthropomorphic animals around a city. The controls are designed for minimum fiddliness, letting you do all manner of fly-kicks, rising uppercuts and grapple-throws with little fuss. Also, Online Co-op. You didn’t get that back in the SNES era, did you?
Playdead’s brooding dystopian puzzle-platformer was one of my games of the year when it came out on PC in 2016. Upping the ante from the developer’s previous game, Limbo, it casts you as a red-sweatered boy traversing a nightmarish industrial landscape, where broken, stooped citizens are being oppressed by some mysterious company involved in shady science experiments. You must navigate your way through this landscape using your wits rather than brawn.
Despite its starkness, Inside has a beautiful art style that really pops on the Retina display. It’s not all bad news for Android users either, because if Limbo is anything to go by, it should eventually make it over to Android, too.
This well-loved board game of sneaks and shills comes to iOS adorned with glowing reviews from its PC audience. The turn-based game takes place in a comical Victorian setting of gaslight and guilds, where you build up your gang and send them around town to steal, kill and extort the poor denizens of the city.
You can play through the single-player campaign which contextualizes all your skulduggery in a well-written story, or you can have a more ‘pure’ board game experience against AI or players online. Naturally, we recommend playing against friends for the best shenanigans.
Reigns: Her Majesty
Proving that you can evoke an entire world through minimal graphics, excellent writing and a card-based interface, Reigns was one of the breakout mobile games of 2016. This sequel puts you in charge of a queen instead, expanding the amount of actions at your disposal to keep your court loyal and your people happy – or afraid – either will work.
As queen, you issue orders to those seeking to impress you – whether that’s to slay a beast or assassinate a rival – take on specific challenges to strengthen your grip on the throne, and utilize the new inventory system to use items that affect the course of the narrative. It’s a game of power and court intrigue, so essentially, a game of … thrones?
South Park: Phone Destroyer
All the crass charm and choppy animation of the inimitable TV show comes to mobile devices in the form of this clever little RTS. And yes, it’s written and voice-acted by series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, which for a lot of people will be reason enough to pour plenty of hours into it. To immerse you in the “phoney” feeling, various characters from the South Park universe send you texts in-game, which look pretty much like real texts you’d receive – a nice touch.
It plays well, too, as two teams face off against each other in strategic encounters entailing character classes like tanks, assassins and sorcerers. It’s surprisingly deep, especially when you face off against other players, and to cap it all off, it has a compelling (and obviously hilarious) single-player campaign to boot.
This selection should get you off to a perfect start to 2018. Have you been playing any other new games that we should know about? Do share!