Android gaming took a massive step in 2018. We saw some truly big name releases with PUBG Mobile and Fortnite along with some new games from previously outstanding mobile gaming franchises. The list is varied and includes shooters, RPGs, tower defense games, puzzle games, big cross-overs, and even a quiz game. This list is truly a representation of modern mobile gaming from HQ Trivia’s launch on the first second of 2018 to the predictably positive launch of The Room: Old Sins. There were just a bunch of great titles this year. Our criteria for this list include:
- The game had to be from 2018 or the last few weeks of 2017 because we cut it off during December.
- It had to be a totally new mobile game. For instance, Distraint: Deluxe Edition was new in 2018 and also an outstanding game. However, it’s a re-release of a game from 2017.
- Mobile ports are tricky business. Some people don’t like them and others don’t mind them. We decided not to micromanage things here. They are right in the fray with every other game within reason.
- We did take popularity into consideration but only as a consideration. Obviously, PUBG Mobile and Fortnite are extremely popular for a reason. On the other hand, freemium games get more downloads than premium games because they are a free download. We obviously don’t want a list of games with only 50 downloads. However, this is also not just a list of the most popular freemium games of 2018 either.
This poll is massive just like our apps poll. Make sure to give it a good look before casting your vote! There aren’t any special rules or anything like that. Just vote for the one you like the most! We have basic descriptions and links for each game below the poll if you want to learn more.
As promised, here is a brief description and link to all 20 games in the poll above:
- Alto’s Odyssey – Alto’s Odyssey is a gorgeous 2D side-scrolling runner. Players ski down hills, make huge jumps, and collect little rings to unlock stuff. It stays within the runner archetype. However, any given moment in this game is a screenshot worthy of a wallpaper. It also a Zen Mode with no coins, power-ups, or scoring for a relaxing runner experience.
- Asphalt 9: Legends – Asphalt 9: Legends is one of the most popular new arcade racing games of 2018. It has everything. That includes tons of content, unlockable cars, online multiplayer, above average graphics, and fun, simple controls. Its freemium elements are a little obtrusive occasionally, but it’s otherwise a solid racer.
- Bloons TD 6 – The latest game in the popular tower defense series is just as good as the previous five. It includes a bunch of levels, plenty of towers, an excellent upgrade system, and it’s completely playable offline. Tower defense isn’t as popular these days, but this title shows there are still some great game releases, even in 2018.
- Bridge Constructor Portal – Bridge Constructor Portal combines the fun mechanics of a Bridge Constructor game with the quirky personality of a Portal game. The game features rock solid mechanics, plenty of Portal cameos, and even some Portal elements in the game play. You also get achievements, hardware controller support, and achievements. What’s not to like?
- Cytus II – Cytus II is easily the best rhythm game release of 2018. Players use taps, swipes, and other gestures to the beat of the music to survive the level and achieve a high score. The base game includes a campaign mode with a story line, 35 songs, and multiple step charts per song. You can buy additional tracks and step charts as DLC. The first Cytus game is good too.
- Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition – Square Enix did a couple of excellent games this year, but we particularly liked Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition. It follows the same story as the console and PC version of the game. However, the graphics and game play mechanics were changed for an easier mobile experience. We consider it one step up from a straight port. Square Enix also did Life is Strange, Life is Strange: Before the Storm, and Valkyrie Profile Lenneth. All notable mobile game launches.
- Florence – Florence is a slice of life narrative game by some of the same development staff of Monument Valley 2. You play as 25 year old Florence and players navigate her life as she conducts it. It focuses primarily on her relationship with a man named Krish. The game is definitely something different from what we normally see, even if the genre itself isn’t overly popular as a mobile game.
- Fortnite – Fortnite is one of the two big name battle royale shooter releases of 2018. This one mimics the console and PC version. Players drop into a battlefield, craft various things, shoot the competitors, and become the last person standing. Epic Games tread a lot of unexplored ground with this one, including a non-Google Play Store release. It’s still a beta, but it’s improving all the time.
- Friday the 13th – Friday the 13th is a gory puzzle game for adults. Blue Wizard Digital launched the game on a Friday the 13th and it was a beautiful day. The game features over 100 levels, tons of pixelated gore, a PG mode for a less gory experience, some minor RPG elements, an offline play support. It’s definitely not for everybody, but the animation style helps take the edge off of the gore.
- HQ Trivia – HQ Trivia was literally the first new Android game of 2018. It ran its first quiz show literally moments after midnight on New Years. The addictive game plays like a real life game show and includes actual cash prizes for winners. Games take place every day at 9PM EST and every week day at 3PM EST. The game occasionally suffers from lag issues, but it’s otherwise a good time.
- Kingdom Rush Vengeance – Kingdom Rush Vengeance is the latest game in the venerable tower defense franchise. It uses a lot of the same mechanics as previous games, but also includes boss fights, more towers, more heroes, a bunch of new levels, offline support, and new achievements. Like Bloons TD 6, this game serves as a reminder that tower defense games are alive and kicking on mobile.
- Monster Hunter Stories – Monster Hunter Stories is a port of the popular Nintendo 3DS game of the same name. It’s a turn-based RPG with monster collecting mechanics. It’s not quite the same as other Monster Hunter games, but the premise and feel is there. This one is surprisingly expensive. However, Capcom launched a free demo that also serves as a sort of prologue into the main game. We thought that was an absolutely genius idea.
- Part Time UFO – Part Time UFO is an adorable puzzle game by the developers of most of the Kirby games as well as the first Super Smash Bros. You play as an alien who crash landed on Earth. Players complete missions, unlock customization gear, and enjoy the fun banter between characters. Almost nobody hates this game.
- Pocket City – Pocket City is a city-building simulator similar to SimCity. You build a city with various buildings, roads, and businesses. Players collect money, fix the town after natural disasters, and unlock new buildings and territory for building. It’s basically the mobile SimCity fans asked for, except it’s not actually SimCity. The game also has offline support as well.
- PUBG Mobile – PUBG Mobile hit the ground running in 2018. It’s arguably the most popular game of the year and a good shooter to boot. It features classic battle royale mechcanics, a lite version for lower end devices, and decent graphics and controls. It and Fortnite redefined the mobile shooter in 2018 and we don’t use that word lightly.
- Reigns: Game of Thrones – Reigns: Game of Thrones is a surprisingly addicting mobile card game. Each card has a scenario and players swipe left or right to make a decision. The decision can mean the end of your rule or the continuation of it. This one also contains a bunch of Game of Thrones characters and references for added entertainment value.
- Returner 77 – Returner 77 is another gorgeous indie puzzle game. This one takes place in a sci-fi future where humanity is nearly wiped out by aliens. Players ascend the alien ship in hopes of saving humanity. The graphics are quite good and the puzzles are fun and enjoyable. It also boasts a non-freemium experience and a decent story line.
- The Room: Old Sins – The Room: Old Sins is a shoo-in for this list. It’s the fourth game in arguably the best puzzle game franchise on mobile. The graphics are outstanding and the puzzles are fun and clever. This title also features cloud saves, achievements, and some other neat ideas. It’s also one of the few premium games with over 100,000 downloads.
- Rusty Lake Paradise – The Rusty Lake series is a long running series of point-and-click adventure games similar to the old Telltale Games titles. It features a dark story, plenty of fun puzzles, and simple game mechanics. You’re really into this one for the story more than any challenge, but it’s an entertaining narrative so we don’t mind.
- Shadowgun Legends – Shadowgun Legends is the long awaited sequel to the popular mobile shooter from years ago. It features a sci-fi theme, excellent graphics, a story mode, a co-op mode, and an online multiplayer mode. There’s a ton of loot to collect, some RPG elements mixed in, and a fame system for online players. It’s a great mobile shooter, even if some other titles stole the show this year.
There were plenty of other great mobile games from 2018. If we missed one you think should be here, tell us about it in the comments! Of course, you can also check out all of our best Android app and game lists!