Gangsters are popular fodder in pop culture. The romanticized life of hoodlums are pretty much stock and trade for Hollywood. So it’s no surprise that we see a glut of games that are supposed to simulate the gangster culture. They can range from the sublime Grand Theft Auto series to the rather simple trading game Drug Wars.

With Android fast becoming a popular platform for portable gaming, it is no surprise that we see games of this type start appearing. The major problem for any fan of the genre is to separate the wheat from the chaff. Here’s several games that managed to catch my eye and should please the aficionado.

1. Mob Wars

Mob Wars is the great-grand daddy of them all. Starting on popular social networking site Facebook, it has managed to catch the imagination of millions. Now, it’s managed to shed its Facebook roots and started to branch out as a full-fledged app. Anyone who has played a time-based Facebook game should be familiar with how the game plays: use energy to do missions which earn you experience, use the experience to level up, and wait for more energy to come in. It’s a formula that’s hard to beat and the original delivers, along with pitch-perfect graphics and art direction to deliver what Facebook addict wants.

2. iMobsters

iMobsters uses the same formula as Mob Wars – something that’s hard to avoid. What makes this game different? The graphics are top-notch,  the community is sizzling, and there are a wealth of options available. Mob Wars may have started the genre but it’s iMobsters and its ilk that will perfect it.

3. Mafia Farm

Now for something a bit different. Mafia Farm is a hilarious mash-up of Farmville-esque planting and Mob  Wars missions. It sounds ridiculous – and it is! That’s where the fun is. The cartoonish art direction also helps a lot in setting the tone of this game. Definitely something to brighten things up after all the seriousness of the first two.

4. Pocket Mafia

Pocket Mafia is of the same breed as Mob Wars and iMobsters. The main difference is that it’s probably got a whole lot more content. It looks a bit hokey though – admittedly the photoshopped opening screen contributes to that. However, it does still have something solid behind it and if you need something a bit different from your main mobster game, Pocket Mafia may scratch the same itch – in a different way.

5. Gang Wars

Gang Wars is more of the same, but in a slightly slicker package. Optimized for mobile play, this little app works better on a smartphone than your tablet. It’s the best bet for any user hoping for mobile gangster MMORPG action. Game like these are better with a lot of players and considering the amount of reviews on this app’s page, expect a whole lot of them.

6. The Streetz

The Streetz is more of the same. What it brings to the table is better graphics and a more manageable time investment. Some games require users to log-in constantly – becoming time sinks for players. The Streetz is a bit more forgiving and expects you to play around fifteen minutes a day. Good for anyone who wants to have a game while on the go.

7. Crime Story

Crime Story is a rather different mafia-themed game than most. It does away with minimalist mission and energy design and goes for a more action-oriented approach. Of course, it still does have a level grind, but it’s less a point-and-click and more interactive in a way. Smooth graphics and animation round out the package. It is still a bit buggy though. Users will probably have to do some jury-rigging to get this baby working properly.

8. Mob Empire

Mob Empire may seem like the same old formula, but it delivers a nice little twist to the genre. It touts  itself as the first location-based MMORPG and it does manage to deliver its promise – users can check in and own real-life locations, even fight over them. It also provides a way for Facebook users and Android users to interact – characters are fully carried over. It’s a pretty nice little time waster for any fan of the gangster game genre.

9. 9mm

And now for something on the other side of the gangsters – 9mm is a very nice action game where players kill gangsters. Lots and lots of gangsters die in very stylish ways – the dual uzi in the screenshot above being an example. A very good 3d shooter, 9mm delivers third-person shooter action to tablets. Similar to the gaming classic Max Payne, 9mm has a decent storyline and smooth graphics. It also happens to support multiplayer with it’s Free-for-all and Team Deathmatch modes. A decent buy for anyone looking for a bit of action.

10. Grand Theft Auto III

I saved the best for last – Grand Theft Auto III is the quintessential gangster game. An open-world crime epic, Rockstar’s classic comes to Android via its 10th Anniversary edition. Liberty City is a hive of scum and villainy to rival Mos Eisley and this port to Android brings it to life. The game may be ten years old now but the gameplay is still fresh and nothing says “gangster” than randomly jacking a car and leading the police on a high-speed chase around the city.

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