10 Must-Play Mobile Games

-Fallout Shelter-

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Developer: Bethesda Game Studios, Behavior Interactive

Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

Release: June 14, 2015

Metacritic Rating: 71

This game warrants a try from any fan of the Fallout series. The concept is fairly simple: build and manage your own vault while protecting its inhabitants from the harsh wasteland. At its core it’s a stripped down simulation game with some rpg elements, allowing the players to upgrade the vault’s rooms as well as its inhabitants. You can send vault dwellers into the wasteland to tackle quests and missions or simply explore and loot. The game offers in-app purchases, but doesn’t lean too heavily on them and can be pretty rewarding, even without paying-to-play, if you’re patient. Overall, the game is well-made and fun  so I recommend giving it a try.

-Lords of Waterdeep-

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Developer: Playdek

Publisher: Wizards of the Coast

Release: November 21, 2013

Metacritic Rating: 90

Based on the successful boardgame of the same name,  Lord of Waterdeep is an extremely fun D&D themed experience. The app plays very to similar the actual game,  challenging players to compete to establish a stronghold on the city of Waterdeep. Gameplay is turn-based, with each turn allowing players to assign agensts to tasks, sabotage rivals, buy buildings, or send heroes on quests. The game is fairly complex and surprisingly challenging, even on the easier difficulties. But, once you get the hang of it it becomes rewarding and pretty damn fun. 

-2048-

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Developer: Gabriele Cirulli

Publisher: Gabriele Cirulli

Release: March 9, 2014

Metacritic Rating: N/A

2048 is probably the most played game on my phone. It’s a simple puzzle game that revolves around sliding numbered tiles within a 4×4 board, and trying to combine matching numbers to double them. The goal is to build up to 2048, but you can exceed that score if you develop a sound strategy. It seems easy, but becomes extremely addictive the longer you play.

-Human Resource Machine-

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Developer: Tomorrow Corporation

Publisher: Tomorrow Corporation, Experimental Gameplay Group

Release: June 1, 2016

Metacritic Rating: 86

Human Resource Machine is probably the best programming-based puzzle game I’ve played. Now, if you want to learn how to program it’s an engaging and useful app initially. However, later levels can be pretty difficult and daunting to beginners. If you already know how to program then the game probably won’t be too fruitful. Regardless, I’m enjoying it so far, and it can’t hurt to give it a try if you’re interested.

-Plague Inc.-

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Developer: Ndemic Creations

Publisher: Ndemic Creations, Miniclip

Release: May 26, 2012

Metacritic Rating: 80

There’s something oddly satisfying about occasionally being the bad guy. Sure, being the hero and saving the day is nice, but we all get that itch to wreak a little havoc now and then. Plague Inc. scratches that itch. The player is tasked with wiping out the human race by spreading a new plague on a global level. You choose your method of worldwide destruction, ranging from a simple parasite to a zombie virus. It’s plays like a RTS- simulation combination and allows the player to evolve their plague however they see fit. It’s a good time and will definitely garner a bit more respect for Greenland and Madagascar with anyone who plays it.

-Guild of Dungeoneering-

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Developer: Gambrinous

Publisher: Versus Evil

Release: July 14, 2015

Metacritic Rating: 88

The Guild of Dungeoneering is a turn-based dungeon crawler RPG that actually more closely fits the description of a dungeon building card game. Players manage a guild of wannabe heroes and send them out on quests to explore dungeons. However, instead of controlling the hero within the dungeon, the player builds the world around the free-thinking adventurer. At the start of each turn the player is provided with a handful of cards that contain pathways, treasures, or enemies that they can place within the dungeon for the hero to interact with. If your hero survives the dungeon they gain traits and skills. This progression system, like the game itself, is definitely unique and engaging. The combat within the dungeons is card based and each hero, and enemy, has a different deck of attacks at their disposal. These decks are based on the game’s class system and experience gained by successfully surviving quests. The characters are subject to permadeath, and trust me, they will end up dying eventually, but that makes your guild’s growth even more satisfying.

-Reigns-

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Developer: Nerial

Publisher: Devolver Digital

Release: August 11, 2016

Metacritic Rating: 87

Reigns is half Tinder and half medieval strategy. It’s a rare game in that, initially, it feels like a standard decision-based mobile game, but it suddenly takes a one-eighty and becomes so much more. The player controls the ruler of a kingdom, makes decisions by simply swiping right or left towards the corresponding choices, and then lives (or dies) with the consequences. If, and when, the king eventually dies, the player takes control of the heir to the throne and must continue ruling the kingdom. It’s clever and packs a ton of surprises, creating a great experience.

-Lifeline-

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Developer: Three Minute Games

Publisher: Three Minute Games

Release: February 2016

Metacritic Rating: 77

Lifeline is a text-based game in which the player must guide a stranded astronaut to survival on a mysterious planet. You play the role of the character’s figurative “lifeline” as you simply hold a conversation with the hero. The game is set in real-time so your phone will receive sporadic notifications from the main character as events unfold on the planet. It’s an intriguing concept that doesn’t always hit the mark, but provides a unique experience for those that give it a shot.

-Middle Manager of Justice-

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Developer: Double Fine Productions

Publisher: Double Fine Productions

Release: December 13, 2012

Metacritic Rating: 71

Middle Manager of Justice is simulation game where the player is tasked with managing, training, and housing a team of newbie superheroes. You hire freelance heroes and upgrade them through training and combat, and it’s surprisingly fun. The game was created by Double Fine Productions who created classics such as Psychonauts and Brutal Legend, so I had high expectations going into it. Now it’s free-to-play and offers in-app purchases and, unfortunately, like most games of that ilk, it can get tedious at points. However, the clever writing and appealing design make up for the games flaws.

-Dictator 2-

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Developer: Tigrido

Publisher: Tigrido

Release: November 3, 2016

Metacritic Rating: N/A

I really enjoyed the concept of the first Dictator game, but  the game felt pretty limited after a while. The sequel however, expanded on all of the facets from the first game that worked, and greatly improved upon them. Dictator 2 is a strategy game that revolves around running a country and tending to its inhabitants. Each turn you must make decisions that affect your country, eliminate scheming enemies, establish your defenses, and try to increase your wealth and armies. Once you have a firm command over your country, you can venture outward to conquer the rest of the globe. Combat involves building an army from your country’s resources and supporters and compiling it into a deck of troops. The actual battle is a simple turn-based card game that is easily learned, but proves to be just challenging enough. This game offers tons of replay value and options to keep you entertained for quite a while.

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