Home   >   Features's mobile games of the year 2023

Yes, we couldn't resist one more opportunity to point you at what you should be playing! Here are the team's favourite games of 2023's mobile games of the year 2023
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While our Pocket Gamer Mobile Games Awards does a great job of picking and praising the very best games of the year, and the Top 50 Mobile Game Makers heaps attention and praise on the talented teams and companies that are making them (and sister-site's Pocket Gamer Awards throw the judging open to the public), we couldn't resist spinning back to deliver a personal backslap to our own best games of 2023.

We asked each of the team to pick their favourite game of 2023, as well as some honourable mentions. Here's what they chose:

Daniel Griffiths

Daniel Griffiths

Editor -

Arena Breakout

Yes, it's tough to get started with. Yes, finding the right loadout can involve a little too much trial and error. And yes, rival ace players won't give you a break, but this fast-paced, fresh take FPS feels so right and is my weapon of choice in the rare moments I get a little extended playtime.

Of course, there have been countless big name FPS games on mobile but all of which feel somehow weighed down by the baggage of their original incarnations. Be it on console or PC, big name FPS games are built for the hardware and avail themselves of all the big screen and hardware control luxuries that their 'home format' can offer. The result is that mobile adaptions always feel like a lesser experience - a trimmed down 'will that do' version, designed to tick a box and occupy a presence.

Arena Breakout is different. Being built for mobile, it takes inspiration from 'the greats', but does its own thing in a way that the other half-baked mobile clones don't. If you love (or loved) FPS games in the past, do check out the best FPS on mobile.

Honourable mentions

I've got to hand it to Monopoly GO. What a brilliant take on an old favourite and a textbook way to build a game. Everything about Monopoly GO feels polished and perfect and it's no wonder that it's so successful and such a firm favourite internationally.

And special mention to Unpacking! As someone who loves moving home (yes, really) and getting everything organised this one just resonated so perfectly for me. Beautifully designed, a great soundtrack and absorbing gameplay that makes long journeys fly by. And hats off to developer Witch Beam Games for sticking to their guns and making this a premium ad-free experience that's worth its (relatively high) £9.99 price.

Craig Chapple

Craig Chapple

Head of Content

Monopoly GO

The best mobile game of 2023 surely has to be Scopely’s Monopoly GO.

Launched globally in April, the title has already surpassed $1 billion in revenue, with the publisher claiming the title generates more than $200 million per month. It’s also garnered more than 100 million downloads, though that’s of course backed by significant user acquisition and propelled by a good IP. But Monopoly GO is the epitome of Scopely’s success - matching the right IP with the right game and the right developer.

In a year when it’s been tougher than ever to launch a mobile title (Playtika famously said it wouldn’t even release something new until market conditions changed), it’s a truly amazing feat to become one of the year’s biggest games. Even moreso when the market is often dominated by longstanding stalwarts.

So far I’ve just talked about metrics and the industry landscape. But most importantly, Monopoly GO is fun to play. It owes a lot to Coin Master, but where I never quite understood Moon Active’s hit game, Monopoly GO brings high quality production values and, for me, more of a fun factor. Even just rolling the dice feels good.

Meanwhile, unlike some mobile games where I find it can be easy to get lost in endless tutorials of a game playing itself, here things get started quickly, new features are explained with ease, and things just get moving at apace. It doesn’t ask for much, the gameplay doesn’t cut deep, but it’s an enjoyable, quick play.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some buildings to bulldoze and new cities to complete.

Honourable mentions

Chrome Valley Customs, Royal Kingdom

Paige Cook

Paige Cook

Deputy Editor

Oxenfree 2: Lost Signals

This game would always be off to a head start with me as a big fan of the first game. As someone who owns all of the gaming platforms, I was pretty spoiled for choice regarding where I played the game.

Enter Netflix. Given that I was already paying for my subscription, it was a no-brainer to play the game using the service on my mobile. The experience was a pleasant one; I didn’t run into any technical issues, and the game’s beautiful artwork still looked stunning on my screen. The game supports a touchscreen controller, but I could also play on a larger screen using my tablet and connect a controller, which was seamless.

I’m a big fan of narrative-based games, and Oxenfree 2 gave me a fun horror adventure with some interesting characters to get to know along the way. Yes technically the game isn’t mobile exclusive but I would highly recommend it as a mobile experience. Those unfamiliar with Oxenfree can also play the first title as part of the Netflix subscription.

Honourable mentions

We’ve seen some great mobile games this year, so it was tough to pick just one. Here are two that almost made my top spot!

Monopoly GO! - This is possibly my most played mobile game of the year; it captures enough of the Monopoly IP that we know and love for it to feel familiar but adds a twist to make it original and suited to daily mobile sessions. It’s a game I’ve enjoyed picking up and playing when I have a spare moment, and while the gameplay loop is quite simple, it's enjoyable to see myself progressing each time I play.

Monster Hunter Now - As someone who works remotely, I like to go for walks to get out of the house and I’ve found myself staying out longer so I can also have a quick monster hunt session! I was surprised by how well the game managed to capture the spirit of the Monster Hunter series; it’s a satisfying experience that also encourages you to be just that little more active.

Aaron Astle

Aaron Astle

News Editor

Monster Hunter Now

If you’d asked me at the start of the year if I’d be playing Monster Hunter every single day, I’d probably have furrowed my brow a bit and asked in return who possibly has that much time. The series is known for its lengthy hunts and challenging beasts that could each set you back half an hour or more, so in no way did I expect to fit in hunting on the daily.

Roll on Monster Hunter Now, announced, revealed, and released all within 2023. And being a mobile adaptation, Now understands that time is key. Hunting is condensed dramatically and demands fast-paced moves to take down monsters as quickly as possible. You only have 75 seconds to beat down each behemoth, which is just perfect for me when I’m out and about with a couple of minutes to spare.

Knowing I can fit in a quick fight or two while queuing, waiting to meet someone, or whatever the case may be, makes it so much easier to boot up the game, see what monsters are in the area and take them down. This may not be exactly how Niantic wants people to engage - I’ve rarely played while walking - but it’s certainly succeeding in giving me a daily dose of Monster Hunter I’d otherwise be missing out on.

I’m still glad the Pukei-Pukei made it in as a launch monster too, and hopefully next year we’ll get some of my other favourites like the Tigrex, Kecha Wacha and Astalos.

Honourable mentions

I’d first like to highlight Reverse: 1999, one of a very small handful of mobile games to grab my attention without the power of an IP I was already invested in. Time travel stories done right often catch my interest, and Bluepoch’s debut title is one of them, weaving a narrative through all parts of the 20th Century from Beatlemania to the Wall Street Crash.

The character designs are fresh and unique, and while I wish the gacha was slightly more generous - I’m still trying to get Regulus, a pirate radio host from the 60s - building a team of characters from whatever random recruits join your ranks is a fun time all the same.

Also worth a mention is Pokémon Go. Obviously, it’s far from a new game and including a 2016 title in a 2023 list is a bit of a cheat, but this year is actually the first time I’ve picked Go up. Like, ever. This summer, I decided to finally give the game everyone had been raving about a chance and wrote all about the experience of coming seven years late to the party.

I mainly picked up the game to fill in more Pokédex entries now that they can be compiled across titles. And it’s always exciting when I spot a Pokémon that’s hard to come by on Switch and hasn’t been registered to my Dex yet, giving me a good reason to check in now and then towards catching ‘em all.