The 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)

The 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)

From memory, I feared I might struggle to come up with a decent shortlist for our obligatory Best smartphone games of 2014 countdown, but - having trawled through the Mobo-archives - it’s quite the opposite: there are too many!

As such, over the next few weeks, I’ll be bringing you not 5, not 10, not 15 (I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this), but the 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014.

Rather than spend several days painstakingly trying to put these 30 games into some sort of quality-based order, I’ll list them alphabetically.

If you’ve been playing something particularly enjoyable, feel free to let us know below (bearing in mind that it might well appear as the list is updated).

Ok, them's the formalities out of the way. Ready for the 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014? Let’s rock!

The 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)1. 80 Days

Developer: Inkle

Price @ App Store: £2.99

Price @ Google Play: Coming December 16

From the guys behind Sorcery! and Sorcery! 2, 80 Days (as in Around the World in Eighty Days) is a globetrotting choose-your-own adventure book with endless replayability.

I said: 80 Days is a hugely fantastic and fantastically huge interactive story that demands to be played over and over. Ready to go again, Phil?

The 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)2. ALONE

Developer: Laser Dog

Price @ App Store: £1.49

Price @ Google Play: £1.49

ALONE is technically sort of an endless runner, but don’t let that put you off! Freemium nonsense this is not. Hold your finger down to guide a lightning-fast vessel through rocky terrain.

I said: ALONE isn’t perfect (there are definitely times when the odds are insurmountable), but it’s hella fast and ultimately very enjoyable. No power-ups, no in-app purchases, no grinding; just a very pure test of skill and reaction.

The 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)3. The Banner Saga

Developer: Stoic

Price @ App Store: £6.99

Price @ Google Play: £3.49

Aww man, such fond memories of playing The Banner Saga. It deftly juggles turn-based battling with story-based decision-making and resource management. Genuinely epic stuff.

I said: The Banner Saga ain’t cheap as far as mobile games go, but you get what you pay for, specifically an insanely good turn-based tactical RPG wrapped up in a fascinating what-the-hell-happens-next story. So. Very. Good.

The 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)4. Blackwell 1: Legacy

Developer: Wadjet Eye Games

Price @ App Store: £1.99

Price @ Google Play: £1.81

Point-and-click games work remarkably well on touchscreen devices, and Blackwell 1: Legacy is just one fine example of several offered by Wadjet Eye games (see also: Gemini Rue).

Here we’re controlling Rosa Blackwell as she inherits the family ghost – who just happens to be a detective, and while that might sound like a rather silly premise, Blackwell is full of adult themes like murder, suicide and mental illness.

I said: Blackwell 1: Legacy is an interesting point and click adventure, and sets the bar fairly high for the rest of the series. If they’re all as good as this, I’ll be a happy chap indeed.

The 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)5. Calculords

Developer: Ninja Crime

Price @ App Store: £1.99

Price @ Google Play: £1.87

I took a while to get into Calculords, but I vividly remember the turning point when – having levelled up – I managed to beat two beastly opponents back-to-back. Thrilling stuff!

I said: Calculords: turn-based Plants vs. Zombies meets Countdown’s numbers game.

The 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)6. Crazy Taxi City Rush

Developer: SEGA

Price @ App Store: free (with IAPs)

Price @ Google Play: free (with IAPs)

I was reluctant to check out Crazy Taxi City Rush since it takes the good name of Crazy Taxi (one of my favourite games of all time) and gives it a freemium makeover. But dozens of hours later, it remains a guilty pleasure.

I said: Crazy Taxi City Rush does a surprisingly good job of moulding the familiar Crazy Taxi experience into a freemium package for mobile. It's not without its problems, but even Crazy Taxi veterans (hi) will likely walk away satisfied.

The 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)7. Deadman’s Cross

Developer: Square Enix

Price @ App Store: free (with IAPs)

Price @ Google Play: free (with IAPs)

Guardian Cross was one of my guilty pleasures throughout 2013, so you can imagine my excitement when the game was given a zombie makeover this year.

I said: Deadman’s Cross is – predictably – pretty much just Guardian Cross with zombies aplenty, but it’s far from some lazy undead makeover. Most definitely worth a look.

The 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)8. Deep Under the Sky

Developer: Sarah Northway

Price @ App Store: £2.49

Price @ Google Play: £2.49

The developers describe Deep Under the Sky as "A zen-paced arcade game about exploding jellyfish." Couldn't put it better myself. So I won't.

I said: Deep Under the Sky is one of those games that’s so good, I almost worry that my insane rambling doesn’t do it justice. In case there was any doubt: it’s one of the best mobile games I’ve played this year.

The 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)9. Dodo Master

Developer: Semir Saleh

Price @ App Store: 69p

Price @ Google Play: 69p

Tough but fair, looks and sounds great, no annoying in-app purchases, Dodo Master is a fantastic platformer plain and simple. Indeed, I described it as "one of the best platformers the App Store has seen to date".

I said: Dodo Master mightn’t be entirely original (jump, double jump, smash), but it shines thanks to its visuals and its stellar level design. A steal at 69p.

The 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)10. Dream Revenant

Developer: Bulkypix

Price @ App Store: £1.49

Price @ Google Play: n/a

In Dream Revenant, you're invited to wander around the subconscious of cartoonist Carson Hughes, as he lies in hospital in a coma. It's every bit as weird as it sounds, and one of the finest looking games of the year.

I said: When a game that’s buggy as all hell somehow remains thoroughly endearing, well, you’re onto a winner. Dream Revenant is a memorable experience, and one your eyes will thank you for.

The 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)11. Flappy Bird

Developer: Dony Nguyen

Price @ App Store: removed by developer

Price @ Google Play: removed by developer

True, Flappy Bird wasn't released in 2014, but it was January/February this year when the game exploded in a frankly inexplicable way, so much so that the developer - fearing the game was ruining people's lives - removed the game from the App Store and Google Play. Weird.

I said: Flappy Bird is an odd game. It should be rubbish, but there’s something oddly endearing about it. And heck, its ludicrous popularity must count for something, too. Dong Nguyen has arguably nailed the free-to-play/quick blast/easy-but-hard thing.

The 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)12. FTL: Faster Than Light

Developer: Subset Games

Price @ App Store: £6.99

Price @ Google Play: n/a

I have to admit, I wasn't quite sold on the idea of FTL: Faster Than Light being a life-changing experience, but there are some who believe it's as good as mobile gaming - or indeed just gaming - gets.

I said: If you can get past the difficulty and the randomness, FTL is arguably one of the best games available on the iPad. Indeed, the iPad release is widely being hailed as the “definitive version” of FTL. Check it out.

The 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)13. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Developer: Blizzard Entertainment

Price @ App Store: free

Price @ Google Play: n/a

Here's another game that's consumed some people's lives this year. Warcraft? Good. Card battling? Good. You might find it hard going if you're not willing to fork out for IAPs, but Hearthstone is hugely enjoyable nonetheless.

I said: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is a thoroughly enjoyable card battling game, with a solid concept at its core, and a generous amount of polish. Be prepared to lose more than your fair share of online battles, but otherwise it’s a winner.

The 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)14. Hitman Go

Developer: Square Enix

Price @ App Store: £2.99

Price @ Google Play: £2.99

Surprisingly, Hitman Go isn't some watered-down version of a console game, or a cheap franchise cash-in. It is, in fact, a super-stylish turn-based board game, and it's bloody brilliant.

I said: Hitman Go is an ultra-stylish puzzle game for Hitman fans and virgins alike. Heck, I’d never played a Hitman game before, and I love it.

The 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)15. Leo's Fortune

Developer: 1337 & Senri LLC

Price @ App Store: £1.99

Price @ Google Play: £2.99

Like Dodo Master, Leo's Fortune is an original smartphone platformer with an all-new protagonist. I described the gem as "a little bit like Sonic with a dash of puzzle action and a sprinkle of physics-based seasoning". Delicious.

I said: Leo’s Fortune is easily one of the best platformers on the App Store – if not the best platformer, and a fine example of just how outstanding smartphone/tablet gaming can be when it’s done right.

The 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)16. Monster Hunter Freedom Unite for iOS

Developer: Capcom

Price @ App Store: £10.49

Price @ Google Play: n/a

To be honest, I never quite got around to dedicating the several hundred hours required to give 'Monster Hunter Freedom Unite for iOS' the proper review treatment, but rest assured it's worth your £10.49. Classic PSP monster hunting, now on your iPhone and iPad.

I said: What is Monster Hunter Freedom Unite? Released in Japan as Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G, it’s a PSP-based expansion of Monster Hunter 2, and has notched up – according to Capcom – “3,700 thousands” sales. That’s 3.7 million to you and me.

The 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)17. Monument Valley

Developer: ustwo

Price @ App Store: £2.49

Price @ Google Play: £2.49

When developers flat out ignore my review code requests without so much as a cursory "Sorry, we're all out", I tend to let their output float on by. Alas, Monument Valley is easily one of the best games of 2014 - if not the best game of 2014. Bah.

I said: Well, I didn't say anything because I didn't review it, but Monument Valley sees you guiding a "silent princess" from A to B across a series of adaptable towers. It looks - any plays - fantastic, and it's cheaper than a Starbucks. Enjoy my £2.49, you bar stewards.

The 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)18. République Episodes 2 & 3

Developer: Camouflaj

Price @ App Store: £2.99 (includes Episode 1 only)

Price @ Google Play: £3.20 (includes Episode 1 only)

Stealth saga République originally landed in 2013, and this year saw the arrival of Episodes 2 & 3 (via in-app purchase), namely 'Metamorphosis' and 'Ones & Zeroes'. I wasn't exactly bowled over by Episode 1, but come the end of Episode 3 I was ravenous for more. Definitely worth sticking with.

I said: République Episode 3 is easily the best instalment yet. If Episodes 4 and 5 can keep it up, I’ll be a very happy gamer indeed.

The 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)19. Shadow Blade

Developer: Crescent Moon Games

Price @ App Store: £1.49

Price @ Google Play: £1.20

As Kuro, run, jump, double jump, wall jump and air dash as you hack and slash your way through enemies. I'm constantly surprised that no one else seems to have played this. Have you?

I said: Shadow Blade is a stylish and relatively fast-paced gore fest that’s well worth the £1.49 entry fee. We’ll surely be recalling this one when it comes to the Best Smartphone Games of 2014.

The 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)20. Skullduggery

Developer: ClutchPlay Games

Price @ App Store: £2.99

Price @ Google Play: Pencilled in for 2015

Ping a skull around 24 levels, smashing things, collecting coins and battling screen-sized bosses. If this list were in some sort of quality-based order (as opposed to alphabetical), Skullduggery would be right near the top.

I said: In short, Skullduggery is a great physics-based platformer. I could’ve saved myself some time and written that 600 words ago, but, y’know.

The 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)21. Smash Hit

Developer: Mediocre AB

Price @ App Store: free (with IAPs)

Price @ Google Play: free (with IAPs)

I positively gushed in my Smash Hit review back in March this year, and didn't hesitate to pay £1.49 to unlock stats and checkpoints. In fact, I did so after my very first run. It's that good.

I said: Smash Hit is excellent. There’s a ton of fun to be had in the simple act of smashing glass with balls, while the challenge of nailing the perfect run will hook others. There is nothing bad here, friend.

The 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)22. Super Crossfighter

Developer: Radiangames

Price @ App Store: £1.49

Price @ Google Play: £1.18

Having grown up playing hardcore shoot 'em ups from Cave and Treasure, and having incredibly fond memories of the more recent Geometry Wars, I loved Super Crossfighter - an enhanced version of Super Crossfire.

I said: Super Crossfighter recalls two classic games, namely Space Invaders and Geometry Wars, but stands out on its own with your fighter's ability to leap across the screen. Looks great, sounds great, things constantly exploding… Brilliant.

The 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)23. Surgeon Simulator

Developer: Bossa Studios

Price @ App Store: £3.99

Price @ Google Play: £3.99

Have you always dreamed of popping eyeballs and/or smashing in teeth, but couldn't quite get the necessary qualifications in order to do so legally as a "doctor" or "dentist"? Surgeon Simulator is the game for you.

I said: Surgeon Simulator for the iPad does a good job of recreating the charming frustration of the 2013 original, and offers two brand new surgeries. Bloody (literally) good.

The 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)24. Tengami

Developer: Nyamyam

Price @ App Store: £1.49

Price @ Google Play: n/a

Tengami is easily one of the most stylish App Store games of 2014 (sorry Android users, you'll have to sit this one out), described as "an atmospheric adventure game set inside a Japanese pop-up book." Gorge(ous).

I said: Tengami is an incredibly stylish adventure, with puzzles that might well have you pulling your hair out. A few tiny niggles prevent us from rolling out the 5/5 carpet, but it’s well worth checking out.

The 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)25. Thomas Was Alone

Developer: Bossa Studios

Price @ App Store: £1.99

Price @ Google Play: £1.99

Thomas Was Alone is a BAFTA award winning, utterly engaging, highly emotive tale about... rectangles. For serious. Currently on sale for just £1.99 at both Google Play and the App Store (usually £5.99). Go get it!

I said: Thomas Was Alone is an indie gaming triumph, proving that memorable, moving and thoroughly enjoyable games don’t need to have a blockbuster budget.

The 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)26. Threes!

Developer: Sirvo LLC

Price @ App Store: £1.49

Price @ Google Play: 64p

Threes! is a fantastic little puzzle game, whether it's a quick blast on the toilet, or a prolonged one-more-go session on the couch. Unfortunately it spawned countless money-grabbing clones (free with ads), but Threes! remains the best by a long shot. Oh, and it was Apple's Game of the Year.

I said: Threes! is one of those games that makes you wonder: how did no one think of this before? Simple on the surface, it’s actually a surprisingly deep – and addictive – puzzle game. This will easily be one of the best smartphone games of 2014.

The 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)27. VVVVVV

Developer: Terry Cavanagh

Price @ App Store: £1.99

Price @ Google Play: £1.99

Having released one of the best smartphone games of 2012 in Super Hexagon, Terry Cavanagh brought his 2010 indie platformer VVVVVV to the App Store and Google Play this year, and it's fugging great.

I said: I find myself running out of adjectives here, but VVVVVV is brilliant, unique, sublime, memorable, hugely endearing; all those things and more, and you’re doing yourself a great disservice if you don’t play it.

The 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)28. The Walking Dead Pinball

Developer: Zen Studios

Price @ App Store: £1.49

Price @ Google Play: £1.28

Zen Studios continued churning out top-tier pinball tables throughout 2014, my personal favourite being The Walking Dead Pinball, notable for including new voice work from the cast of The Walking Dead Season One *sniff*.

I said: The Walking Dead: Season One is one of my favourite games of recent years, and The Walking Dead Pinball does a great job of pulling on ye olde nostalgia valves. Top stuff.

The 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)29. The Walking Dead: The Game Season 2

Developer: Telltale

Price @ App Store: free with IAPs (Episode 1 is free to play)

Price @ Google Play: free with IAPs (Episode 1 is free to play)

The Walking Dead: The Game Season 2 was one of my favourite games of 2014 on any format, being - for my money - more focused, more tense, more brutal, and arguably even more moving than Season 1.

I said: Er, I  didn't say anything 'cause I played it on the Xbox 360, but you should be in safe hands with the mobile version. Heck, Episode 1 is free to play, so nothing to lose by checking it out.

The 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)30. Wave Wave

Developer: Tom Janson

Price @ App Store: £1.99

Price @ Google Play: £1.68

Wave Wave is like Super Hexagon on an acid drip - as if Super Hexagon wasn't already bad enough; the kind of game Guantanamo Bay detainees are forced to play before bedtime.

I said: Wave Wave is like some sick psychedelic experiment in human reaction time. Morbidly fascinating, and oddly enjoyable.

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22 comments

JanSt / MOD  Dec. 4, 2014 at 14:20

Boooh...
Okay, at least you didn't post them as some idiotic slideshow like so many silly websites do,
but a "part 1" in the title would be fair. That said, I take my customer hat off, and put the mod hat back on...

lcurdie / MOD  Dec. 4, 2014 at 14:58

Or with a 'Next'/arrow button that's nigh on impossible to find :p

Ok, point taken! 'Part 1' added :D

JanSt / MOD  Dec. 4, 2014 at 15:22

Gracias :D
I could fill a massive rant about slideshow 'lists' and top 20s spread over 12 pages...

drugmonki  Dec. 4, 2014 at 19:26

I was looking for the next button for at least 10 seconds. Not getting those back... ;)

JanSt / MOD  Dec. 4, 2014 at 19:32

I was looking for the next button for at least 10 seconds. Not getting those back... ;) I fell for that, too... Lweis' humour is way off today. :p He'll be fired soon ;)

drugmonki  Dec. 4, 2014 at 19:37

I was looking for the next button for at least 10 seconds. Not getting those back... ;) I fell for that, too... Lweis' humour is way off today. :p He'll be fired soon ;)

Well let him at least finish this series, i'm on tenterhooks for parts 2 and 3. It only rivals my wait for a new Sky Force game :) Oops! Hope i've not jumped the gun!

JanSt / MOD  Dec. 4, 2014 at 19:52

:D

lcurdie / MOD  Dec. 4, 2014 at 19:55

Thanks guys :p

I've just been informed by my favourite press lady that 80 Days is coming to Google Play and the Amazon Appstore on December 16. Good news indeed.

drugmonki  Dec. 4, 2014 at 19:58

Thanks guys :p

I've just been informed by my favourite press lady that 80 Days is coming to Google Play and the Amazon Appstore on December 16. Good news indeed.


Ah that's great, looking forward to giving that a try.

JanSt / MOD  Dec. 4, 2014 at 20:04

what on earth is a press lady, you swine? Oh... right...

spruceyb  Dec. 11, 2014 at 22:28

JanSt / MOD  Dec. 11, 2014 at 22:47

Hm... looks like something I might enjoy... Thanks

lcurdie / MOD  Dec. 13, 2014 at 00:24

Two Dots

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.weplaydots.twodotsandroid&hl=en
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/twodots/id880178264?mt=8

Hmm, I vaguely remember sidestepping this because it was free. Might give it a shot before I get to 'T'!

drugmonki  Dec. 13, 2014 at 20:01

spruceyb  Dec. 14, 2014 at 21:08

Two Dots

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.weplaydots.twodotsandroid&hl=en
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/twodots/id880178264?mt=8

Hmm, I vaguely remember sidestepping this because it was free. Might give it a shot before I get to 'T'!


It's pretty much freemium done right. 5 lives that regenerate at rate of 1 life every 20 minutes.
It's worth playing.

JanSt / MOD  Dec. 19, 2014 at 20:52

Monumeny Valley is great, though, imho, it does rely on trial and error....

SpeedyG  Dec. 22, 2014 at 22:05

Playing Machinarium and its fantastic. Graphics, music, mood, interaction is great is another indie success story imo. My best game of 2014.

JanSt / MOD  Jan. 1, 2015 at 12:41

Okay, so I watched a couple of 80 Days videos, read the description, read a couple of reviews...
what is it about? No offence, but it looks like an animated interactive kids book... WHAT?

drugmonki  Jan. 3, 2015 at 14:13

Okay, so I watched a couple of 80 Days videos, read the description, read a couple of reviews...
what is it about? No offence, but it looks like an animated interactive kids book... WHAT?


It is really a interactive book that you play through making decisions that influence a lot in the game. It took me a little while to figure that out though as i assumed at first i was just reading a book and the "real" game would start soon. After a full play through i have no desire to do it again. It was just too long and i know that if i was going back to it during a play through i was likely to have forgotten what had got me there or my strategy. That may just suggest i have poor memory.

Strangely though i much prefer GoT: Ep. 1, a similar game. I think that is because i can see the result of my actions rather than having to read them.

drugmonki  Jan. 3, 2015 at 14:16

I don't know how Sky Force hasn't made this list. Yet a new theme for a pinball game has. Should probably be titled "MY 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)" not "The" :P

drugmonki  Jan. 3, 2015 at 14:18

Sky Force hasn't even been reviewed?! Blasphemy!

lcurdie / MOD  Jan. 8, 2015 at 15:37

I don't know how Sky Force hasn't made this list. Yet a new theme for a pinball game has. Should probably be titled "MY 30 best smartphone/mobile games of 2014 (Complete! 1-30)" not "The" :P
Haha! You're exactly right, drugmonki. I am but one man, and covering all the best mobile games (never mind the rubbish ones) is a full-time job. There were a few others I meant to try but simply didn't have time, most notably Wayward Souls, and Two Dots (recommended by spruceyb).

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