With so many games released on mobile each year, it's tough to name a favourite. It's been a year with an abundance of record-breaking and critically acclaimed titles, not least including Arena of Valor (Honor of Kings), Lineage 2 Revolution, Monument Valley 2 and many more.
Cream of the crop
But it's not always the most famous games that make the biggest impact on us.
Below the PocketGamer.biz team shares their games of the year, along with a few honourable mentions.
Game of the Year: Golf Clash (Playdemic)
There are many great games that you'll enjoy immensely for a short while and remember fondly, but are unlikely to repeatedly go back to.
And then there are games are so enjoyable that they become part of your daily routine.
For me this year, that was Golf Clash, the surprise hit from UK developer Playdemic. The title and studio have also been named as finalists for various categories in the Mobile Games Awards, dontcha know!
Playdemic had previously developed games like Gourmet Ranch and Gang Nations, but at the start of 2017 it pivoted to the sports arena with Golf Clash. And it's paid off big time.
The game is sublime. It deftly hits that sweet spot of easy to play, tough to master. Simply swipe back from the golf ball and then let go to hit it in the direction you want.
You'll take turns with a real opponent to pot the ball in the least amount of shots. And it's this multiplayer component I always find fascinating in games like this - the extra pressure of a stranger judging you as you hopelessly strike the ball into the water or expertly pot the ball from great distance. It's these player-created moments that mean you could play the same courses over and over and it'll never get boring.
Messaging also adds some extra spice to proceedings, allowing you to send (polite) thiny-veiled pre-set insults to your opponent, ridicule yourself, or congratulate them on the perfect shot.
The clever betting system is also a delight. It's not completely original of course, but betting your coins on winning a game in the title's various tours (the more money you bet, the tougher your opponent, but the greater the reward), adds yet more tension to proceedings than just random matchmaking with as little at stake as a ranking position.
It's pretty clever with monetisation too, taking cues from Supercell's Clash Royale's chest system to dole out rewards and upgrades - check out our IAP Inspector's analysis of the game for more on this.
But the monetisation is by no means heavy-handed. Golf Clash is a brilliantly designed game that never feels like it's reaching into your pocket to take your money. It's been made for fun first, and the money has followed because of it.
Honourable mentions: Football Strike, Fire Emblem Heroes, Toon Blast
Game of the Year: Snoopy Pop (Jam City)
In a year of fantastic releases on mobile, I was somehow more interested in losing myself to Jam City's licensed Panda Pop reskin Snoopy Pop.
I don't particularly care for Peanuts. I've never held much love for Snoopy. My last major experience with bubble shooters was when I was a child and one of the three games I had for the PlayStation was Bust-A-Move 2 (Puzzle Bobble 2, if you prefer).
But Snoopy Pop kept dragging me back in, thanks to a thoroughly enjoyable collection of levels and a weirdly engaging metagame for such a casual title.
Through hours of play, I noticed that the game actually gives you a helping hand when you're struggling by rearranging bubbles in the levels to ensure you have a better chance of finishing. This is basically unheard of in free-to-play.
Each level is essentially a collection of smaller puzzles, with each obstacle having one optimal path that you have to find to even come close to completion. You're awarded three stars every time you finish a level. That helps – they're bloody hard at times.
And the metagame rewards you with Peanuts-themed artwork – a completely pointless reward earned from procedurally-generated objectives that jump from super easy to "hours of grinding" once you complete them.
I churned around level 223, months after the game first launched. But there's still a part of me that remembers the joy of finally clearing a level, getting the three stars and immediately moving on. I haven't felt it with anything else this year.
Honourable mentions: Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, Monument Valley 2, Toon Blast, Homescapes
Game of the Year: Battlejack (Nexon/Grand Cru)
In the endless ebb and flow between the gameplay and metagame of free-to-play mobile games, Battlejack: Blackjack RPG has a strong claim to breaking new ground.
As the name suggests, the core gameplay is based around dealing out a hand of cards that get as close to 21 as possible. Get 21 - a Battlejack - and your heroes perform their strongest attack. Go bust and you get nothing. Worse, the turn counter for their special attacks won’t increase.
This risk-reward mechanic is further enhanced by other attributes such as the health of your troops, how far they are into a battle sequence and the rewards you expect to gain with victory.
Combined with the sort of deep metagame we’ve come to expect from a mobile RPG - hundreds of characters to summon, level-up, evolve, and equip with runes, plus PVP missions and Alliance Raids - and the mix is both exciting and mundane.
Which given you have the option to autoplay most of Battlejack’s missions is exactly as it should be.