Mobile Mavens

The mobile games that stood out most to indie developers in 2018

Our indie mavens weigh in

The mobile games that stood out most to indie developers in 2018

As another year closes, we've been tapping into that festive feeling. No, not by drinking - that's all year round.

Instead, we've been reminiscing over the past year's best and brightest regarding mobile games. For starters, we've wrangled some finalists for Game of the Year, Best Live Ops and the People's Choice accolades at the Pocket Gamer Mobile Games Awards 2019, which takes place on January 22nd.

On top of that, we even delved into our picks for personal favourite games of the year. 

Of course, no end of year content would be complete without asking our Indie Mavens what their favourite games of the past year were. 

Specifically, we asked them:

What is your favourite mobile game from 2018 and why?

Astrid Refstrup CEO Triple Topping Games

My favourite mobile game? Tough one! There are several:

1. Florence: I'm often referring to this game when I have to explain to people that games can be so much more than they expected. It's well designed visually, story-wise and the length of the game. You feel with the character and the game stays with you even long after you have finished it.

2. Dandara: Got it both on the Nintendo Switch and because of the clever mobile control design I ended up playing it on mobile which normally would not be the case. The game has a really tight control design, beautiful graphics and clever level designs.

3. Don't Trip: I have been following this game for a long time. It's fun when I just have a few minutes to kill; the controls just feel really good.

Molly Heady-Carroll Co-founder & Lead Artist Arcane Circus

My game of the year is Identity V. Yes, it is derivative in its gameplay and art style, something that is normally a big turn off for me. But I am choosing it more for what it represented to me:

None of my hardware can run other asymmetrical horror games like Friday the 13th or Dead by Daylight, and I was excited to finally get to play this type of game for the first time.

NetEase's Identity V

Then I realised: There are lots of other people in the world who may be in the same boat! It's really awesome that not only are mobile games so accessible, but they are also matching console game experiences more and more closely with every passing year.

So let’s hear it for Identity V, for proving that smartphone games can compete with console games and be more accessible at the same time!

Tanya X. Short Creative Director Kitfox Games

I can't seem to stop playing FlipFlop Solitaire.

I loved solitaire as a kid, so maybe I'm biased, but it seems self-evident that FlipFlop is a masterpiece of elegance, like all of Zach Gage's games.

Zach Gage's FlipFlop Solitaire

I got sucked in by the easy achievements, and now it's just my favourite way to puzzle away my commute, or that hazy evening hour when it's not quite time to go to bed, but I also want to poke my phone without getting stressed.

I also can't help booting up my favourite time-waster of 2017, good old Battle of Polytopia, so give that a try if you're at all keen on a civilisation-growing game that only takes 15 minutes and has no exploitative in-app purchases.

Aaron Fothergill Co-founder Strange Flavour

I have a horrible feeling a lot of the games I’ve been playing are the same ones I was playing last year.

I did add one called LookYourLoot to the obsessive playlist for a good chunk of 2018.

It’s one of those where you’re never quite sure if it’s the original or a clone though.

Another I’ve been playing a lot lately is Warpside. It’s a fun (and simple) space shooter where there’s a major tactical element in how you upgrade your ship and what weapons you pick.

It’s got its flaws, but it’s rather fun.

Pierre-Luc Vettier CEO Zero Games Studios

This year I've been playing a racing game called "Baguette, Fromage et Pistons", a very French racing game.

It's been released in 2017, but it's well made, challenging and driving sensations are very good. Also, Hillclimb racing games are very rare, so it's a bit refreshing.

I also played a bit of and Idle Miner Tycoon, which are also quite addictive.

Diane Landais Co-founder / Programmer Accidental Queens

I was about to say Monument Valley 2 but realised it came out in mid-2017. Still one of my favourite for 2018 though.

With that one aside, the game I enjoyed the most this year is probably Don't Trip. It doesn't look like much at first - a goofy, infinite-arcadey game, well made but not unforgettable.

The control scheme sells it, though: you're supposed to use your thumbs as "feet" for the in-game shoes. Put one foot down, swivel your phone around, then place a second foot. Then keep going. The gameplay videos I could find only capture the screen (and it's dizzying).

But seeing it in action is as fun to watch as it is uncomfortable to play. The trailer shows how it's physically played for a couple of seconds and I've witnessed experience players doing it much faster than that - it really turns into an oddly impressive performance.

Going against the trend of super streamlined and smoothed out touch experiences, as a lot of free-to-play arcade titles do these days, is refreshing.

I wouldn't play it for hours on end, but I appreciate the fact that I can still be surprised by clever and unconventional uses of touchscreen controls in 2018!


A footy game fanatic and experienced editor of numerous computing and game titles, lively Chris is up for anything - including running Steel Media! (Madman!)