Video games have evolved over the last three decades. Graphics are now more realistic than ever, thanks to the continuous advancement in gaming hardware. Soundtracks are now more defined, thanks to game studios allotting more resources on that end. Stories are…well, they still vary from game to game. Some games manage to produce stories that are arguably better than a lot of Hollywood movies, like The Last of Us. While some games take pride in the most convoluted and impossibly incoherent stories, like the Dark Souls series.
The advent of touchscreens
However, it can be argued that video games evolved the most in gameplay mechanics. During the old days, fighting and platform games were undoubtedly the kings, simply because of arcades. But as new gaming systems arrived, complete with game-changing controllers, game developers have found newer ways for games to be played. Things were pretty much set for a long time: buttons and analog input for handheld and home consoles, and a keyboard and a mouse for PC.
The rise of smartphones completely changed the gaming landscape, to the point that handheld consoles are now slowly being pushed out of the picture. And the primary reason is touchscreens, which gave game developers yet another way for game interaction. In some ways, touchscreens are similar to a PC mouse. They provide a fast and accurate way to interact with games. However, not all game genres can effectively make use of touchscreens. So to help you in choosing which games to invest time on, not to mention money, we’ve put together this list to make things easier for you.
1. Puzzle Games
Puzzle games arrive in different flavors, but all of which have the same goal: to make you scratch your head in frustration while you find the best way to solve a given puzzle. They can be in the form of point-and-click hidden item games, numbers games, and jigsaw games. The most popular, of course, are the tic-tac-toe-like match-three puzzle games, like the massively popular Candy Crush Saga. Puzzle games are typically level-based, which allows you to play them in just short bursts. And thanks to them barely requiring any complicated button inputs, puzzle games are, simply put, tailor-made for mobiles.
2. Strategy Games
Considered as one of the most popular thanks to StarCraft, strategy games usually involve numerous characters for you to control in-game, with the goal of powering them up and deploying them to go head-to-head with an opposing faction. They are objective-based and you advance the game by completing levels or missions. Strategy games, as the name implies, requires a lot of planning, not only in preparation for combat but also for resources management. Some games, like the Fire Emblem series, raise the stakes higher by employing permanent death to characters that die in-battle. Typical strategy games usually require a lot of on-screen menu interaction. A PC mouse is best deployed for that sort of thing. But guess what else is? Yep, touchscreens.
3. Racing Games
Racing games don’t really need much explanation. Unless you’re having trouble with the instruction to “GET TO THE FINISH LINE AS FAST AS YOU CAN BEFORE ANYONE ELSE”. That pretty much sums up racing games, no matter if you’re riding a vehicle or directly controlling a character. Customization is part of the genre, too, to make getting to the finish line fancier. Racing games are best played neither with a controller or a keyboard, though, but with a dedicated racing wheel, which typically come with expensive price tags. Smartphones, however, provide the next best thing: Screen tilting, as in the ability for you to “drive” by tilting your smartphone similar to a racing wheel. Yes, it looks a bit ridiculous out in public, but it’s much better than pressing left and right buttons.
4. Life Simulation Games
Simulation games are games that allow you to simulate a real-life activity. They can be a farming simulation, flight simulation, or a truck driving simulation. Depending on what the game is simulating, it may or may not be best compatible with mobiles. But there’s a specific one that is: life simulation. A life simulation game allows you to live the life of another person and do the usual things humans do. The best example would be The Sims series. Life simulation games are similar to strategy games in that they typically require micromanagement and frequent use of on-screen menus. And this immediately makes them similarly best played on smartphones.
5. Turn-based Role-Playing Games (RPG)
RPGs are usually divided into two sub-categories: classic turn-based RPGs and fast-paced action RPGs. Both have the same gameplay mechanics. You explore a vast world and collect items along the way, interact with non-playable characters (NPC), battle monsters, complete side-quests, and advance the plot until you reach the ending. However, the two differ in combat mechanics, and one of them is not exactly smartphone-friendly.
Classic turn-based RPGs are better suited for smartphones because their combat system simply centers on selecting options from a set of menus, and then you just watch things unfold. This is incredibly easy to do on a touchscreen, much more than with physical buttons. But it’s also worth noting that there are some games that combine combat mechanics from turn-based RPGs and action RPGs. Instead of selecting from menus, these games require you to simply tap and drag on-screen to perform basic battle commands. These hybrids are good with a smartphone, too.
6. Platform Games (Platformers)
As the name suggests, platform games involve platforms for you to navigate around (usually by jumping over). They come with a 2D side-scrolling gameplay, in which you simply advance by moving from the left side of the screen to the right (or vice versa). You control a character to collect items and avoid enemies along the way until you reach the end of each level.
Normally, platform games are best played with physical buttons, not with in-game transparent buttons. But mobile game developers worked around this by making your character already automatically moving and all you need is to tap on the screen to navigate. Platform games with this tweak are subcategorized as endless runners. And no doubt you’re aware that they’re heaven-sent for smartphones.
And there you have it, the 6 kinds of games (or genres) that are best suited for mobiles. You can also check out our list of games NOT best played on mobiles, so you know which ones to steer clear from.