Best games of 2018

Pop bubbles, play pool, become a neighbourhood god, a viking nhân vật, or start a craft beer empire in 2018’s best new thiết bị di động games for iPhone và Android.

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Photograph: ChucklefishFarming’s far from the whole story in this charming sim: there’s plenty of crop management and animal-rearing, but getting to lớn know the other inhabitants of the town around you is just as important, with some touching stories to be uncovered. Inspired by the Harvest Moon games, it’s more accessible, but with lots of scope for endless tinkering with your farm alongside ticking off in-game achievements.

Piffle

Android/iPhone, không tính tiền (with in-phầm mềm purchases)


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Photograph: Hipster WhalePiffle comes from the same developer as Crossy Road, và it’s just as characterful and compulsive. It’s a puzzler with shades of classic brick-breaking games Breakout và Arkanoid. Dressed in a cat onesie, you fire “Piffle balls” to lớn clear each level’s screen of blocks, while taking advantage of bowling-ball power-ups, explosive dynamite bloông xã và other power-ups. The in-app purchases – for coins that can be used lớn keep playing when you fail a màn chơi, or khổng lồ buy power-ups to help – aren’t aggressively forced upon you, while daily challenges and themed levels stop it from getting samey.

Football Manager 2019 Mobile

Android/iPhone, £8.99


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Photograph: Sports Interactive/SegaThe 2019 edition of this ever-popular football management slặng adds new features to an already excellent game. Those include a new training system, the ability to manage in Russia or China, và transfers negotiated in real-time for quicker offers and counter-offers. Otherwise, what’s not broken ain’t been fixed: FMM zeroes in on tactics, transfers & training, so you can blast through seasons quickly whether you’re playing on a train, in front of the TV or (heaven forbid) at work.

Reigns: trò chơi of Thrones

Android/iPhone, £3.79/£2.99


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Photograph: Devolver DigitalThe Reigns & Reigns: Her Majesty games are marvellous, using a Tinder-style interface khổng lồ test your skills as a monarch by swiping left or right on binary decisions. The third game in the series comes with a high-protệp tin licence: HBO’s trò chơi of Thrones. You’ll be ruling Westeros as Cersei, Jon, Daenerys, Tyrion or Sansa, making your decisions ahead of the ever-coming winter. It’s a perfect fit, and while you will regularly meet an untimely, brutal over, the game’s structure means you’ll face new situations every time you replay it. And you’ll want to lớn vày that a lot.

Pocket City

Android/iPhone, £3.49/£3.99


Photograph: Codebrew GamesThere is an official version of the classic town-planning game SimCity on thiết bị di động called SimCity BuildIt, but its freemium moneygrubbing makes my teeth itch. Pocket City is a great alternative sầu. This is a loving homage to lớn classic SimCity, as you plan residential, commercial & industrial zones, plus the utilities và entertainment required to lớn keep your growing population healthy và happy. It’s sensibly stripped down for phones, too, never burying you in sub-menus or overloading the economic complexity. Whether you work your way through its quests to build a megalopolis or let loose in its no-restrictions sandbox mode, it’s a reminder of why virtual town planning was so addictive all those years ago.

Donut County

iPhone, £4.99


Photograph: Annapurna InteractiveYou wait ages for a game where you play a hole in the ground, then two come along at once. Donut County heavily “inspired” a similar game called Hole.io, which topped app-store charts earlier this year. Donut County the better of the two, thanks to a storyline that amps up the quirk factor with its anti-hero, a scenery-swallowing raccoon (he “drives” the hole) called PJ, who is trying lớn make amends for landing his friends và their homes 999 feet underground. The physics are the satisfying thing here: swirling your hole underneath objects to lớn tip them in feels just right, while the way it grows each time turns the levels inlớn a careful puzzle of progression from small khổng lồ big items, rather than a pure rampage.

Wonder Blade

iPhone, £2.99


Photograph: Huang YueFengIts princess-rescuing trope may feel over-familiar, but there’s nothing else tired about Wonder Blade. It’s a sparky side-scrolling action game in which you mix about groups of enemies with sword-swipes, magic spells and Mortal Kombat-esque execution moves. There’s plenty of humour in the bug-eyed characters you meet. On the grounds that there aren’t enough games that also feature chase scenes where you ride a pig, dressed as a bloông chồng of Swiss cheese, pursued by a giant castle-shaped monster, this one’s a keeper.

One Hour One Life for Mobile

Android/iPhone, £4.99


Photograph: Jason RohrerThis PC-game port starts with an inventive premise: you play a character for 60 years from baby lớn old age, with each year taking a minute of real-world time. When they die, you start again as a baby – but benefiting from the actions và inventions of your first character. This, in a massively multiplayer world where other players are buzzing about with their own life cycles – including some who will be parenting you when you respawn as a helpless infant. The fascination comes from exploring the world và its objects, and figuring out how you can break them down và then recombine them to create new items that will help you và your descendants. Unselfish planning for future generations? Given current issues from Brexit to lớn climate change, it’s a timely conceit for a game.

Asphalt 9: Legends

Android/iPhone, không tính phí (with in-ứng dụng purchases)


Photograph: GameloftThe Asphalt racing franchise is firmly in Need for Speed street-racing territory, featuring physics-defying jumps and drifts, as well as nitro boosts that remain sadly unavailable for your real-world hatchback. Asphalternative text 9 has been engineered for Mobile gamers who aren’t that experienced with racing games: it can optionally handle acceleration & steering automatically, leaving you to focus on the stunts and scenery – even if that scenery is often about to lớn slam itself into your bonnet. The game’s system of in-phầm mềm purchases also seems fairly tuned. Its timers system means you’ll need to switch cars sometimes to lớn keep playing, but you’re not overly pressured to pay.

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Alphabear 2

Android/iPhone, không tính phí (with in-phầm mềm purchases)


Photograph: Spry Foxthiết bị di động games where you make words from letter tiles with a Scrabble-style points system are 10-a-penny. Alphabear, launched in 2015, was one of the better ones, and this sequel builds on it well. It’s designed as a single-player game, with a story mode leading you through levels with various gameplay restrictions to keep you on your toes – from time limits to lớn bonuses for specific kinds of tiles. Around this, there is a system of cartoon bears to lớn be unlocked. These have sầu their own special powers và score-multipliers (such as earning you extra points for words ending with ‘s’). If turn-based multiplayer word games such as Words With Friends feel a bit intimidating, this is a more relaxed alternative.

My Child Lebensborn

Android/iPhone, £2.59/£2.99


Photograph: TeknopilotLebensborn was an initiative in Nazi Germany that involved sending children to be adopted by “racially pure” parents, both within Germany and occupied countries. Factor in themes of bullying và abuse, and it’s no wonder that a nội dung warning about potential dibức xúc is the first thing you see. The game has you trying to lớn parent a Lebensborn child in Norway, and their experience at school is far from idyllic. In fact, you’ll probably feel increasingly bleak the more you play, as your desire to fix things surges at the same rate as your fury that you can’t. A worthwhile, if not always pleasant experience. Read the full review

Pocket-Run Pool

iPhone, free


Photograph: Zach Gage with Denver CoulsonPocket-Run Pool seems very simple: it’s a top-down, drag-to-ayên pool simulator with decent ball physics. But there are some twists that make it much more interesting. There are score-multiplier pockets, which rotate after every shot – hitting the 10-ball inlớn the 10x pocket scores 100 points. High Stakes mode introduces a gambling element where you play for chips with quirky challenges such as bumpers on the table, or “death balls” that instantly kết thúc your game. Insta-Tournament gets you competing in your own time against other players’ best scores. It’s ideal for quick goes when you have sầu five sầu minutes to kill, & more than capable of making you miss your train stop or bedtime.

Space Pioneer

Android/iPhone, free (with in-tiện ích purchases)


Photograph: Vivid GamesThis is a game about exploring an infinite galaxy, exploring planets, collecting loot và uncovering the odd ancient mystery. It’s firmly action-focused: when you beam down lớn a planet, you’ll run around blasting aliens while keeping a cchiến bại eye on your health, sometimes encountering satisfyingly big bosses to take on. What keeps you playing is everything around that – turning loot into upgrades for your weapons và fighting skills, for instance, or building a space base. Space Pioneer is not aggressive sầu about asking for money, either. There are no sudden difficulty-cấp độ lurches to nudge you towards in-app purchases, so you can play at your own pace.

The Sims Mobile

Android/iPhone, không tính tiền (with in-phầm mềm purchases)


Photograph: Electronic Artsdi động gamers have sầu been playing neighbourhood-god in The Sims: FreePlay, a cut-down version of the life-simulator Sims games on PC tuned for điện thoại thông minh habits, since late 2011. It’s now been superseded by The Sims Smartphone, which is much closer to the bigger, better PC games. It suits the rhythm of mobile play (short bursts rather than long sessions), letting you micromanage your Sim people & see their work, love sầu lives và home decor evolve sầu. There are energy meters & a timer that locks you out of the game, both designed khổng lồ nudge you towards in-ứng dụng purchases, but it nonetheless retains the magnetism of the PC games as your community develops.

Evol& 2

iPhone/Android, £6.99


Photograph: Shiro GamesThe first Evolvà was essentially a megaset of the best bits from the history of role-playing games, from monochrome Game Boy questing khổng lồ Final Fantasy-style battles. The sequel continues in that vein, packing in knowing references for long-time game và anime fans without bamboozling everyone else. From pixel-art platforming to lớn 3 chiều open-world exploring, Evol& 2 sends you through a montage of fun moments, both familiar & novel.

Fortnite

iPhone, free (with in-tiện ích purchases)


Photograph: Epic GamesA playground craze the likes of which we’ve not seen since Minecraft, Fortnite is a colourful, rather creative sầu battle-royale shooter: 100 players begin a match, one remains at the over. Where Fortnite prevails over its rival PUBG, which also appeared on phones this month, is that it feels natural on a touchscreen, from the smart placement of the on-screen buttons khổng lồ double-tap gestures that make aiming while running painless. You might tải về it for your kids, but you’ll want to lớn play it yourself.

Alto’s Odyssey

iPhone/Android, £4.99


Photograph: Team AltoAlto’s Adventure, from 2015, was a beautiful-looking, endless snowboarding game, but developer Snowman has swapped snow for s& for the sequel, with a desert theme providing plenty more scenery lớn gawp at. You’ll be swooping down slopes, flipping somersaults while airborne, và avoiding obstacles from rock-piles lớn chasms, taking in sunsets & storms. It’s calming and meditative sầu, with a zen mode that strips out the scoring aspect for an even more relaxed experience.

The Room: Old Sins

iPhone/Android, £4.99


Photograph: Fireproof GamesThe fourth in a series of super-tactile puzzle-box games, Old Sins bucks the law of diminishing returns: it’s the best yet. Exploring a ghostly doll’s house, you solve sầu a physical puzzles by manipulating the objects you find there, sliding open secret compartments, rotating statues & ringing bells. Experimental tapping will only get you so far: real progress (and intense satisfaction) comes once you tune in to The Room’s twisty logic.

Hero Academy 2

Android/iPhone, không tính tiền (with in-phầm mềm purchases)


Photograph: Robot EntertainmentThis turn-based strategy game sits somewhere between Hearthstone & Clash Royale, because you battle with fantasy character cards. There’s a well-designed solo mode lớn teach you how khổng lồ fight & build a decent dechồng, ready for taking on other players online. There’s a lot of scope to lớn sculpt a deông xã for your preferred battling style, using archer- and spell-heavy ranged attachồng tactics khổng lồ up-cthất bại brawny brutes, but the intricacies don’t feel overwhelming.

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Meteorfall: Journey

Android/iPhone, £2.59/£2.99


Photograph: Eric FarraroMore fantasy deông chồng building here, but Meteorfall is focused on solo play, with elements of dungeon adventuring woven in to its thẻ battling. You choose a character, get a basic dechồng of attaông chồng cards, then swipe your way through fights with monsters, stopping off lớn expvà and tăng cấp your deck & level-up your nhân vật. Deaths are unavoidable, but you can save sầu the gems earned by playing to lớn unlochồng some new cards for the next time round. It’s a tight, cleverly focused card battler with an irresistible one-more-go factor.

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