The best mobile games to play now: iOS and Android
Mobile games have come a long way since Snake, so we thought we'd share some of the best available today.
Long gone are the days when the peak of mobile gaming was Doodle Jump, as fully-fledged experiences can now be had in the palm of your hand - and we have the best to play right now for both iOS and Android.
What's great about mobile gaming is that many are free-to-play and offer tons of content without having to spend a penny – something most welcome in a world of £70 games and expensive consoles.
We've got plenty on offer down below from platformers and turn-based RPGs to 100 player battle royales.
On the iOS side of things, you can also try out an Apple Arcade free trial to unlock 200+ games on your iPhone or iPad.
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So, to all the dribbly-nosed, sticky-handed children of the world asking us if we have any games on our phones, we say to you, "Yes, yes we absolutely do."
Best games on mobile: iOS and Android
Below are our picks for the best mobile games to play right now. New games are coming out all the time, so be sure to check back in often if you're hankering for something new to play
Otherwise, prepare for hours of your life to be consumed by these great games and in many cases – for free!
Call of Duty: Mobile
Call of Duty has dabbled in app-based gaming before, but finally hit its stride when the franchise was rebooted with Call of Duty: Mobile. Featuring content from throughout the series, the game managed to implement the classic Call of Duty multiplayer mode surprisingly well with a variety of maps and weapons, as well as the signature Zombies mode and even a 100-player battle royale free-for-all.
Die-hard Warzone fans may wish to wait for the release of Warzone mobile, but for FPS fans, this is one of the best blockbuster experiences on mobile.
Rise of Cultures
While dubious ads for this one might put you off, we're here to say that the game itself ain't so bad. A lot of mobile games come under the genre of "idle game" - which means that after a while, the game plays itself, and you only have to check in every now and again.
Rise of Cultures is a great example of this, which means you can fit it around your busy schedule. It's also a great game for history fans who love Age of Empires but don't quite have the time to play. Maybe not one for core gamers, but great for casuals.
More than just a battle royale game, Fortnite is a cultural phenomenon that features multiple ways to play. Fortnite is changing all the time, but there's almost always something tempting in the battle pass that you work towards over time, earning XP across all the different modes in the game.
It's a great way to spend your spare time, and it's free to start playing too! It also runs particularly well with mobile controllers like the Backbone One. Of course, though, you'll need a good internet connection to get the most out of it.
Honkai: Star Rail
From miHoYo, developers of Genshin Impact (also on this list) comes their latest gacha turn-based RPG set in a science-fantasy world populated with godlike dimensional beings called Aeons that can power on mortals.
Honkai: Star Rail is far more focused and linear than Genshin Impact, and it's far easier to jump into as a result. If you are stuck between the two but only have a limited amount of gaming time, we reckon you'll get on better with Honkai: Star Rail.
It is a sequel in the Honkai series, but don't worry if you haven't played any of the others, as you'll quickly be brought up to speed.
With a gorgeously simple art style and heaps of cutesy characters to boot, Two Dots is one of the most underrated games on mobile, in our opinion, and it offers multiple ways to play as well.
On top of the hundreds of free levels in the main part of the game (which is a fun spin on the match-three puzzle formula), Two Dots also has weekly treasure hunts where you can peruse beautiful artwork in search of characters, items and other random stuff (think Where's Wally? with a bit more chic).
The battle royale that started it all – PUBG has been available to play on mobile for some years now, and rivals the PC and console versions.
In PUBG, players drop onto an island where the boundaries get smaller and smaller as time goes by, forcing players into closer proximity as they battle to win the chicken dinner.
It started off as quite serious, but now it features many silly antics in the same way that Fortnite does.
You will definitely want a controller for this one, as it will give you a huge competitive edge over other players without one, and means you will stand a chance against those with them.
Before Your Eyes
When we first played the PC version of this game, we were absolutely blown away by its heartfelt storytelling and a very unique gameplay mechanic – you control the game by blinking, with the main character's life quite literally flashing before your eyes.
You can read our Before Your Eyes review to see what else we had to say about it.
Genshin Impact, like Pokémon Go years prior, took the world by storm when it came out for free. This was in the midst of lockdown, too, so - like Animal Crossing - it was a lifeline to those in need of gaming comfort.
It's a gatcha game, which means the gameplay loop revolves around in-game currency being spent to receive a random in-game item. With new items coming out all the time, it might seem a little daunting to start now, but many people do, and there are plenty who swear it's never too late to begin Genshin!
It only makes sense that now we have fully fledged FPS and RPG games on mobile that we should have proper racing games too.
Enter GRID Autosport. Originally released in 2014, GRID Autosport is a fully-featured racing game that has gotten the mobile treatment.
Expect oodles of content with all the DLCs included, over 100 cars and 27 different race locations with multiple variations for each.
For the uninitiated, the GRID series are developed by longtime racing aficionados Codemasters who are still making games such as F1 23, EA Sports WRC and the Dirt series.
Wayward Souls is a fantasy adventure game that somewhat resembles the old top-down Zelda series, with a gameplay loop more akin to a roguelike. The challenge of this game is a step up from all we've mentioned so far, but we thought it was time to include something that tests your abilities.
If you're a fan of Hades, or even the Souls series, and fancy something similar on your phone, we recommend Wayward Souls.
Super Mario Run
Sometimes we just want a familiar face when we're out and about with only our phone for company. Well, rest assured, because everyone's favourite Italian plumber (unless you're acquainted with a real Italian plumber) is available on mobile. And while it might look like a generic runner, the game is super fun.
It isn't an "endless runner" but an automatic runner with plenty of different stages, each with plenty of coins to collect. There are loads of different modes, too, and a Toad Garden to build and expand with the coins you earn. Happiness in the palm of your hand.
In contemporary life he is ubiquitous; on birthday cakes, in memes, in the crowd at a fancy dress party. The Among Us guy is a cultural icon, and we think this is well deserved. Another game that blew up in lockdown, Among Us is a sci-fi Cluedo in which friends must work together to keep a spaceship afloat, while one to three murderous imposters try to sabotage the whole enterprise.
It's still enjoyed by many today as a quick social game to jump into whenever. Very simple, but truly one of the best mobile games.
On the surface, a blend of The X-Files, Twin Peaks and '80s retro gaming means once you've dived in, you won't be disappointed. And it's no surprise, because this point-and-click adventure comes from the same team that made the iconic The Secret of Monkey Island.
Winner of multiple awards, this title will be a blessing to your mobile. Don't just take our word for it – try for yourself!
While it's true that the craze ended about five years ago, Pokémon Go is still a great game to get into. Wandering around the real world, with an augmented Pokémon-centric reality on your phone, is an absolute dream come true for fans of the franchise.
It's also a great way to get some exercise and vitamin D as you game, but please look where you're going - you don't want to fall down a man-hole as you search for that rare Pokémon.
Slay the Spire
Heralded as one of the greatest deck-builder roguelikes, Slay the Spire almost needs no introduction.
In Slay the Spire, players seek to make it up further the many floors of a procedurally generated spire that features many enemies and a boss at the end of each level.
Simple to play, difficult to master would sum up Slay the Spire best, and its addictive and rewarding gameplay will make any journey pass by in a breeze.
It wouldn't be a complete list without the brilliant Marvel Snap. It's a card game for Marvel fans, sure, but it's also one everyone can enjoy. The diverse decks of cards available are great, and the gameplay loop adheres to that marketing quote of "simple yet addictive".
Like a lot of mobile games, it's a pick up and play kind of affair, but you can also spend all day on Marvel Snap. With the great artwork, slick gameplay and huge range of Marvel characters, we reckon this would be a day well spent.
Another casual one here, but it's so adorable we just have to give it a high spot. In this role-playing sim, players take control of a character who inherits a farm. How they continue with the open-ended story after that is up to them - if you want, you can live a quiet life of solitude, or you could get married and have children.
Just look at that screenshot, though - it's a lovely-looking game. And if you give it a chance, we think you'll have a lovely time.
One of the best video games of all time was released on mobile earlier this year, so we had no choice but to whack it at the top of this list. Papers, Please is a border control officer sim, which is absolutely nowhere near as dull as that sounds.
Your decisions have consequences, both for the innocent (or not) people you're letting into the fictional dystopia of Arstotzka, and for your own family at home. It's a moral dilemma game and, dare we say it, a piece of art. You need this game, and if you haven't already played it, download it on your phone.
What are the best games on Apple Arcade?
And here's one final note: If you're playing on iPhone, it's also worth checking out Apple Arcade, a subscription service that lets you play brilliantly fun games like Alba's Wildlife Adventure, Hot Lava and Warped Kart Racers.
Of everything we've tried on that platform so far, those are our favourites, for sure.
Those games all support controllers, too, which is always a plus if you've invested in a gamepad attachment for your phone. Don't forget you can get an Apple Arcade free trial too!