As an avid gamer who has become somewhat jaded with the state of the industry lately, the Nintendo Switch has been an absolute breath of fresh air. I love being able to boot up a console-quality game in seconds while on the go.
When I say console-quality I’m not exaggerating either. Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is the exact same game it was on PS4 and Xbox One with only a slight frame rate dip and no anti-aliasing. Even the new Doom is going to be available!
This is what mobile gaming on Android could be like. After all, the Switch uses mobile technology. Maybe we won’t see Doom, but there’s no reason that a flagship Android phone can’t handle some pretty impressive 3D titles.
So why don’t we see more of them? Battery life could be an issue, but a power pack would solve that problem (think: Pokemon Go) and you could always just play plugged-in if you don’t mind the couch. Likewise, controls could be an issue, but that wouldn’t affect every game, and controllers are a cheap and effective fix anyway.
Most modern phones could certainly manage a lot of the best indie titles and probably several last-gen titles too. Games like X-Com, Minecraft and Knights of The Old Republic show how well this can work. If not, developers could give them the Final Fantasy XV treatment and remake them from the ground-up for mobile.
We might start to see more adventurous titles make their way over from PC and console
The Razer phone is potentially just around the corner and the Switch’s success has demonstrated there’s still a demand for more involved mobile gaming. We might start to see more demanding titles make their way over from PC and console. Let’s take a look at some of the games that would be perfect for the platform… and a few that we can only dream about!
The top 7 PC and console games that should be ported to Android
Thumper has successfully made the transition to Switch which means it can work on mobile hardware. It’s a rhythm game crossed with an infinite runner, with a dash of Wipeout thrown in for good measure. The controls are limited to left, right and a few other inputs, but it’s the timing that really makes or breaks your success. It wouldn’t be quite as immersive on a small screen but the game’s ‘rhythm violence’ is engaging enough that it would still be a ton of fun on the commute.
There’s genuinely nothing quite like Thumper. For that reason alone, it deserves a massive audience!
Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty
This is a niche choice but it makes a lot of sense. Clearly Oddworld Inhabitants is down for bringing games to Android (see Munch’s Odyssey and Stranger’s Wrath) but it has omitted the two biggest titles which also just so happen to be the best suited to mobile gaming. What was the thinking here?
Abe’s Odyssey and Abe’s Exodus are slow-paced, stealth-based platformers in the same vein as something like Flashback. It’s the character and environmental designs that make these games such standouts. With the New ‘n’ Tasty re-release, they’d look gorgeous on that AMOLED display sitting in your pocket.
Endless Space is a well-received and highly complex strategy game set in space. The game and its sequel would provide something really deep to sink your teeth into on mobile, while the turn-based gameplay would be a good fit for on-screen controls. The graphics are stunning but that’s as much down to the art direction and some nice effects as it is to polygon pushing. Suffice it to say, this would be a great addition that isn’t outside the realms of possibility.
Sonic Mania has been a big hit across consoles and PC this year and there’s zero reason it couldn’t also be brought to Android. After all, the game runs on the same engine that powers the mobile-only ports of Sonic 1, 2, and CD. Those same ports prove that the controls would work just fine too. The graphics are a little more impressive but I’m sure a port would make it across with most things intact.
In fact, this is such a no-brainer to my mind that the only logical explanation for it not being on Android is that it might have cannibalized sales on other platforms and forced the price down.
IMHO, more platform games belong on Android in general. Touch input here works just fine (see Sonic, VVVVVV, Limbo) and these games aren’t so graphically demanding. That means they wouldn’t drain the battery too fast either.
If you’re going to bring another platformer to Android, it might as well be Shovel Knight. This is one of the best retro-inspired titles out there thanks to its precise controls and colorful world. There’s plenty of DLC to keep us playing for hours too.
There are countless more indie titles like this that would work wonderfully on Android too, such as Axiom Verge, Owlboy, Fez and Inside to name just a few. With Android being so indie-developer-friendly, it just doesn’t make sense to me that there aren’t more here!
People love Rocket League. It is brilliant in concept (cars + soccer) and even better in execution. It’s easy to pick up but incredibly fun to master the physics-based gameplay, resulting in some ridiculous matches and crazy moves.
It could be tricky to bring the controls over in a sensible way though. But racing games can work on Android and again, controllers are always an option. The engine is scalable – I’ve seen it run fine on some pretty low-powered laptops – and the multiplayer bouts seem like a good fit for spurts of handheld gameplay.
Stardew Valley is a farming sim mixed with an RPG. It has a top-down, pixelated graphics style that is reminiscent of Pokemon and it would be perfect for mobile gaming. If there’s one thing that mobile gamers love, it’s farming. With Minecraft being such a hit on mobile, it seems there’s a demand for sandbox games too.
Stardew Valley is charming, addictive, rewarding and ideal for picking up on the go. It would make a great addition to the Play Store and is yet another example of an indie game that is just screaming out for an Android port.
Dream games we’d love to see (but probably never will)
The Witcher 3
Given that this is one of the most graphically-impressive games on the PC right now, it seems unlikely that it would make the jump to Android any time soon unless it was remade from the ground up. CD Projekt Red is a relatively small studio and is currently busy with Cyberpunk 2077, though. In short, it’s not happening.
But imagine how awesome this would be. Even without the high-end graphics, The Witcher 3 is one of the most in-depth and engaging RPGs out there. I love this game but I just don’t have enough time to sit down and really get into it. Being able to complete quick side quests on the bus or relax for an hour in bed with it? We can only dream – or stream from our PC, as I explained how to do here.
Open world games generally lend themselves well to portable play thanks to their sandbox nature. Breath of the Wild proved this perfectly.
When it comes to console open-world titles, few are as well regarded as Fallout 4. You can get lost in this world for hours and being able to take it on the go with you would allow you to put off work indefinitely. Perhaps it’s no bad thing that it’s unlikely to come to mobile after all.
Guess we’ll just have to make do with Fallout Shelter.
Portal 1 & 2
This seem like a random one, but I’ve always felt this series would be a good fit for mobile. Sure, FPS controls are tricky on a touch screen but this isn’t a twitch-based game (apart from a little bit of precise platforming) and a bluetooth controller would solve the problem anyway.
Meanwhile, the short puzzles in Portal would be perfect for quick bursts of gameplay. While we’re at it, we can also pine after a bunch of other older FPS games, like Half-Life 2, Halo and the original Deus Ex.
Here’s the thing: Portal is already available for Android – as long as you have a Tegra Shield. Better yet, if you happen to have root and GLTools, you can play it on pretty much any device just fine. In other words, it’s not the hardware that’s the problem here. So really there’s nothing stopping Valve, except perhaps an exclusivity deal?
To say PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has been a success would be a massive understatement. The game is still only in Early Access and yet it’s already the most played game on Steam. That’s thanks to a unique blend of survival and shooter, that makes for tense, suspenseful gameplay. Every battle seems like a unique adventure and the balance is seemingly perfect.
This would be a hard one to bring to mobile for sure, but that’s why it’s called a wish-list!
Like Rocket League and Battlegrounds, Overwatch is an immensely popular multiplayer title that has a highly active community and super-addictive gameplay. It’s pretty graphically demanding, but the engine is surprisingly scalable. Reportedly, it’s possible that this could one day make it to the Switch. But I wouldn’t hold your breath for an Android version.
No Man’s Sky
While there was some backlash upon its release, that was down to the game’s failure to deliver on its lofty promises and not the core gameplay itself. What’s there is still pretty interesting and a relaxing way to pass the time. Frequent updates have improved the offering significantly and once again, this would be ideal for dipping in and out of on the go.
The graphics alone mean this is unlikely to ever happen, but something like No Man’s Sky would be great. Someone? Anyone? Please?
So those are our picks. What games would you like to see make their way to Android? What do you think are some of the best ports already on the platform?