#LoveIndies: 5 top indie mobile games

The Steel Media team offers its top picks

#LoveIndies: 5 top indie mobile games

This week UK studio Failbetter launched the ‘Love Indies Week’ to celebrate independent developers and their communities.

All week indies have been calling out to their communities and spreading the word on social media to leave reviews and help promote their's and others' games.

It’s a great initiative - so we thought we’d get in on the act and name some of our favourite indie games.

Top picks

The following list contains our words, trailers and store links to some of our favourite games (there are, of course, still many more out there!).

On that note, if you want to find others, why not check out our weekly Indie Spotlight feature where we highlight the hottest titles from the small studios, or check out the Big Indie Pitch for the up and coming stars of tomorrow. Be sure to also check out the #LoveIndies hashtag on Twitter.

But anyway, here are some of our top indie picks.

Click here to view the list »
  • My Child Lebensborn

    My Child Lebensborn logo

    By PocketGamer.biz staff writer Iain Harris

    You’d be forgiven for thinking that two of My Child Lebensborn’s most prominent influences were weirdly at odds with each other.

    On the one hand, the gameplay is influenced by the light and kid-friendly My Tamagotchi while its story explores the dark horrors suffered by Lebensborn children in post-World War II era.

    And yet, the two couldn’t come together any better as you are tasked with raising and caring for a Lebensborn child in 1950s Norway.

    The game succeeds in blending the love and care of My Tamagotchi’s management gameplay with a blunt historical accuracy reminiscent of the times.

    As a freshly-faced parent to your Lebensborn child you’re tasked with the usual duties of care such as bathing, feeding and trying to craft a comfortable atmosphere.

    Sweet child of mine

    What truly offsets this though are the various prejudices that dogged European countries liberated from Nazi control. As your child’s guardian you are then burdened with trying to find a way to explain why society acts the way it does.

    Based on a series of real-life stories, My Child Lebensborn’s ambition to raise awareness of what happened wouldn’t be out of place in a documentary.

    Conversely though, the intimate bond that forms with your child through its iteration as a mobile game could seldom be replicated elsewhere.

    You can find My Child Lebensborn on the App Store and Google Play.

  • Mini Metro

    Mini Metro logo

    By PCGamesInsider.biz editor Alex Calvin

    So first off, yes, Mini Metro is a PC title as well as a mobile one and as such you'd probably expect myself - editor of award-winning* PC games trade site PCGamesInsider.biz to have spent hours building an inner-city railway on my rig.

    The opposite could not be more true - I have poured hours into this delightful puzzle game from New Zealand developer Dinosaur Polo Club on mobile, defaulting to turning on my phone for a quick game in spare moments of my day.

    Mini Metro has you making and managing subway system for a variety of differnet cities including London and Paris.

    Minimalist experience

    Using the touchscreen, you have to connect stations with different underground lines. This is an inherently satisfying process, with the bold colours of world famous transport networks popping against the white creating a gorgeous and minimalist experience.

    Aesthetics are all well and good, but this is also a perfect puzzle game - and by that I mean a title that gives you all the tools you need to succeed and then never really lets up with the challenge.

    You are constantly on edge, never being able to be complacent as new stations are added, stretching the transport infrastructure you have so carefully planned to the absolute limit.

    All of this is tied together by the chilled and ambient soundtrack from composer Disasterpeace - of Fez, Hyper Light Drifter and Reigns fame - keeps you calm and makes Mini Metro a far more serene and enjoyable experience than it would be otherwise.

    This delicious cocktail of fantastic puzzle gameplay with a huge amount of polish makes for a game that you open your phone to play for five minutes and end up spending a good hour with.

    *My mum reads it I think.

    You can find Mini Metro on the App Store, Google Play and Steam.

  • Florence

    Florence logo

    By Pocket Gamer news editor Emily Sowden

    Florence was a surprise to me. It had some big names behind it, a wonderful art style, a premium price tag, but it was only 40 minutes long.

    Before I played it I felt a bit weird, thinking whether it'd be worth it for such an experience. Afterwards, I had no doubt it was worth every penny.

    First love

    Developed by indie studio, Mountains, Florence is a narrative tale about the realities of your first love.

    While that storyline really dragged me in and dug up a tonne of different emotions in me while playing, its beautiful, uplifting ending has been what's resonated with me even five months later.

    I fell in love with the game in the first few minutes - the fluidity of its controls and the creativity it brought to even the most mediocre tasks, like brushing your teeth.

    It especially tickled me how much feeling Mountains managed to convey into the dialogue segments despite words being absent altogether.

    It's a game you have to play with an open mind to fully enjoy. Sure, it's a bit pricey on paper, but it's a whole, detailed package that everyone can enjoy.

    You can find Florence on the App Store and Google Play.

  • Alto's Odyssey

    Alto's Odyssey logo

    By Pocket Gamer editor Ric Cowley

    Alto's Adventure wasn't exactly the most unique game ever – the endless runner had been done before in numerous ways before it hit the scene – but its quiet, calm atmosphere and gorgeous graphics made it a stand out mobile game for many years.

    A sequel wasn't exactly inevitable, but I'm glad that Alto's Odyssey exists. After all, how does one advance the auto-runner genre? By adding big walls, apparently.

    Oasis of calm

    There's nothing wholly new and original in Odyssey apart from said walls, which give you a new move to utilise (wallriding) to keep your combo chains going beyond the usual do-a-backflip-and-pray-there's-a-rail gameplay of the original game.

    You also enter different distinct environments this time around which offer unique movesets – some don't feature walls, for example, while others have enormous streams you can ride for a speed boost.

    But the core game, the beautiful serenity of just gliding down an enormous hill at whatever pace you deem fit, remains. And it is gorgeous.

    You can spend hours replaying Alto's Odyssey and never feel like you've spent more than a few minutes in the game. It's an oasis of calm in this vast chaotic desert we know as life.

    You can find Alto's Odyssey on the App Store and Google Play.

  • Reigns: Her Majesty

    Reigns: Her Majesty logo

    By PocketGamer.biz editor Craig Chapple

    I’m a huge fan of simple, casual games on mobile. And I also enjoy a good story.

    So when the original Reigns launched it was the perfect game. Simply swipe left or right to make key decisions that will affect the your people, army, the church and/or the treasury, then watch what happens to your story.

    But while it’s casual in that sense, the balancing act to keep everyone happy but not too happy, makes for a deep and challenging experience. But it's one that’s a delight to play and filled with smart humour and real consequences for some of your decisions.

    Royal blood

    With Reigns: Her Majesty developer Nerial has created an excellent sequel, this time from the perspective of the queen.

    There are some key differences to its predecessor, including a larger overarching story at play. Meanwhile, playing as the queen means you are treated completely differently than as you were as the king in the original Reigns.

    Many of the choices you make have largely similar consequences as they did in the first game. Make the people too happy and they’ll trample over you to kiss your ring; anger them and they’ll chop of your head.

    The simplicity meshed with depth is still here (though Her Majesty’s bigger focus on a core narrative strengthens the latter), the writing is slick, the dark humour remains and there are various challenges to keep you engaged over time.

    All of this combines to create a delightful experience, with a very much relevant narrative that pokes at real-world events.

    You can find Reigns: Her Majesty on the App Store, Google Play and Steam.