With an astonishing 6 billion mobile devices expected to be circulating worldwide by 2020, there’s an exceedingly good chance you have a smart something or other a few yards away right now. That also means you have access to the largest – and fastest-growing – segment of the gaming market.
But with hordes of mobile games arriving with little fanfare on a weekly basis, trying to figure out what, exactly, you should be playing on your iPhone or Android device is a daunting task. Still mindlessly crushing candy? Tired of catching ‘em all? Then put your thumbs to good use and try something new – like these 10 awesome, brand new titles:
“Pocket Run Pool” (iOS | Free, $3.99 to unlock full game)
The latest from iPhone game developer extraordinaire Zach Gage (“Spelltower,” “Typeshift”) is easy to pick up and impossible to put down. “Pocket Run Pool” turns billiards into a soothing, addictive, score-chasing strategy game. While you get plenty of mileage for free, plunking down a few bucks to unlock every awesome mode and get rid of those pesky ads is a no-brainer. What’s pool without a little money on the table?
“Dragon Ball Legends” (iOS, Android | Free)
Spike your hair and get ready to go super saiyan – Dragon Ball has arrived on mobile devices. And it’s actually pretty cool. Using cards, players duke it out in epic airborne battles ripped right out of the popular manga and anime. With loads of modes and crisp cartoon visuals, it’s a big, crazy game for fans of the franchise, though its obtuse menus were clearly designed by Vegeta.
“Jurassic World Alive” (iOS, Android | Free)
Pokemon GO-osaurus? Indeed, this Jurassic World-themed augmented reality game plays a lot like the critter catching phenomenon, but instead of hoofing it around town throwing pokeballs at Pikachu, you’re collecting dino DNA from Velociraptors. “Jurassic World Alive” looks great and features a wide assortment of fearsome beasts, but expect the same pitfalls as “Pokemon Go” – namely, wandering into traffic and draining your phone’s battery faster than you can say “Hold on to your butts.”
“Tiny Bubbles” (iOS | $4.99)
Sometimes the coolest games are the simplest. Such is the case with the relaxing “Tiny Bubbles,” which lets you inject color into soapy bubbles. Breaking edges creates larger bubbles and lets colors mix together, turning “Tiny Bubbles” into a sophisticated physics-based puzzler. Beautiful and atmospheric, it’s one of the year’s most innovative mobile puzzle games. An Android version is coming next month.
“Homo Machina” (iOS, Android | $2.99)
The human body requires quite a bit of upkeep to ensure everything is flowing properly. This odd, puzzle-style adventure tasks you with doing just that, helping an army of tiny people operate fantastic machines to keep a man up and running for an entire day. Inspired by the work of physician (and father of the infographic) Fritz Kahn, it features great writing and a stylish aesthetic ripped from the pages of a 1920s scientific journal.
“M&M: Elemental Guardians” (iOS, Android | Free)
Ubisoft’s venerable “Might and Magic” franchise gets a new mobile twist with this gorgeous turn-based strategy RPG. It checks off the standard boxes – recruit heroes, deck them out with glyphs, upgrade their powers and take them into battle – but “Elemental Guardians” really shines in its impressive animations and attention to graphical details. Better still, you’ll rarely feel the need to fork over cash. That’s a special kind of free-to-play magic, indeed.
“Minesweeper Genius” (iOS, Android | $1.99)
Fire up your mom’s Pentium – “Minesweeper” is back, sort of. Bundled with countless copies of Windows, the classic puzzle game gets a clever mobile refresh. The gist is the same, though now instead of simply flagging mines, you’ll need to guide a tiny tile-sweeper named Aristotle to the goal of each bite-sized level. Addictive and affordable, “Minesweeper Genius” is a great match for mobile.
“Super Hydorah” (iOS | $6.99)
Fans of bullet hell games will be in heaven with this throwback, horizontal shoot ‘em up. Reminiscent of greats like “Gradius” and “R-Type,” “Super Hydorah” lets you blast all sorts of tanks, ships and giant tank-ships while narrowly dodging incoming fire. Perfectly suited for mobile, it justifies its price with upgradeable weapons, branching paths and on-point retro graphics. And bullets. So many bullets.
“BattleHand Heroes” (iOS, Android | Free)
They might not be as famous as Marvel’s mightiest, but the superheroic stars of this slick card-based strategy RPG are surprisingly potent. Build a squad of crime-fighters, upgrade their powers, and manage decks as you save the city and take down nefarious villains. You’ll also have to contend with those decidedly evil loot boxes, but with a generous amount of daily energy, you should be able to stay true, just like a real hero.
“Word Domination” (iOS, Android | Free)
‘Word Domination’ brings a new twist to the Scrabble formula. Word nerds will dig this fun twist on the “Scrabble” formula. Played in real-time, “Word Domination” provides a quick, five-round multiplayer match of word building and smart tile usage. It tosses in a cool strategic layer with 45 collectable booster cards that grant potent abilities, such as briefly extending the timer, swapping out tiles or randomly dumping ice blocks on the board. And remember: “QI” is a legit play.