Mobile gaming is booming right now, given that it’s incredibly easy to get into with most people owning a smartphone. It’s easy to pick up (literally), low cost, and can be taken travelling – even if it’s just on the morning commute to work.
The app stores on iPhone and Android devices might be a bit daunting at first – it’s hard to know where to start and what games are worth downloading. In this article, we’ve compiled some of the best games to play on-the-go – including offline titles, and games requiring a constant internet connection. Scroll below to find some games that are worth a download.
Mobile games and app stores explained
The Apple App Store and Google Play store are the most used phone app stores, although alternatives exist for Android phones, such as the Galaxy Store on Samsung phones and the App Market on OPPO phones. These stores have thousands of games on offer, including smaller, basic titles available for free download (although these games usually have lots of ads). Consider these if you’re after some easy time wasters, although if you’re looking for games that’ll hold your attention a bit longer, keep reading.
Some of the best mobile games on the go
- Call of Duty: Mobile
- Bloons TD 6
- League of Legends: Wild Rift
- Crossy Road
- Pokemon GO
- Monument Valley 2
- Mario Kart Tour
- Alto’s Odyssey
- Plants vs. Zombies 2
Call of Duty: Mobile
Call of Duty: Mobile is the mobile spin-off to the massively popular Call of Duty series, packed with tonnes of maps, guns, gamemodes and even a huge Battle Royale mode. Although a lot of the game involves pay-to-win mechanics, including the ability to buy guns with real money, the game is still really compelling and fun, with matches lasting anywhere between two and 10 minutes. It’s great for either a casual phone gamer or an avid Call of Duty fan, with the controls easy to pickup. Just mind all the popups – the game tends to advertise its new packs and bonus content often. Best of all: the game is free to play. You just need an internet connection, as this game can only be played online – so make sure you’ve got a good phone plan!
Bloons TD 6
You might remember older titles in the Bloons Tower Defence series, where you’re tasked with placing monkeys around a map to pop balloons before they reach the other side of the stage. Bloons TD 6 is the newest in the series and is available on iPhones and Android devices, with tonnes of playability and stages to get you thinking. It’s easy to learn, and offers heaps of variation in how you can play it. This game costs $7.99 in Australia.
League of Legends: Wild Rift
League of Legends: Wild Rift is the mobile spinoff to the massively popular League of Legends game available on PC and Mac platforms. League of Legends: Wild Rift involves 10-20 minute games in a strategic battle arena, with teams of five players versing five other players. It’s well thought out, and is difficult enough to keep your attention. It’s available on both Android and Apple devices, and is free. Just make sure you’ve got an internet connection when you play, as every match is online. For more information, read our full League of Legends: Wild Rift review.
Crossy Road originally came out in 2014, and is still a terrific game to have on your phone. The rules and the controls are simple: you need to cross the road, and you do so by tapping the screen in the direction you want, dodging cars and lakes as you go. You can unlock new characters to play as you progress through the game, with some characters altering the map to look vastly different (animal characters from Australia, for example, make the map look like the outback). This game is free, and available on both Apple and Android devices.
The worldwide mobile phenomenon is unlikely to be forgotten anytime soon, and is likely to keep your attention, even if you’re not a big Pokémon fan. Pokémon Go involves a lot of travel, and is great for car trips, as gameplay involves finding, catching and battling Pokémon using augmented reality. It’s fun and keeps your attention very well, and is as easy to put down as it is to pick up. Best of all – the game is free, available on Apple and Android devices. This game requires an internet connection, so make sure you’ve got a reliable phone plan!
Shop around for a new phone plan
Some of the games on this list will need you to have a decent internet connection to play regularly – and most need updates now and again over time. For both of these things, you’ll need a decent phone plan. You won’t necessarily need lots of data though, as phone gaming doesn’t suck up too many gigabytes outside of app downloads and updates. Below, you’ll find some prepaid and postpaid plans worth checking out.
Here is a selection of postpaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database with a minimum of 10GB of data, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see a wide range of plans from other providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.
Here is a selection of prepaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database with a minimum of 10GB of data, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see a wide range of plans from other providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.
Monument Valley 2
Monument Valley 2 is a game involving challenging puzzles, where you move through uniquely designed levels and try to make sense of the geometry presented to you. It’s kind of hard to explain, but it’s really a game about perspective, and how looking at problems at different angles can lead to solutions. It’s a very rewarding game to play and is level based, meaning it’ll get progressively harder as you go. Monument Valley 2 is available for $7.99 on the App store and on the Play Store.
Mario Kart Tour
Another easy to pick up game is Mario Kart Tour, the mobile version of the popular Mario Kart series. In this game, you can race up to seven people around the world wherever you are (provided you have data!), across a collection of tracks. As you play, you collect drivers, karts and badges, with the game being ultimately endless, perfect for killing a few minutes. You can pick this game up for free on Android or Apple platforms.
Alto’s Odyssey is a beautiful adventure game where you’re tasked with sand-boarding from one side of the map to the other in a vast desert, with beautiful locations to explore. It’s a very simple game, but of course stages become more challenging as the game progresses, and as you pick up powerups. The game costs $7.99 in Australia, and is available on both the App Store and the Play Store.
Plants vs Zombies 2
Plants vs Zombies 2 is an easy to play strategy game, where you place plants around a map and defend your side of it, as zombies storm in from the other side. It gets you thinking and is easy to learn, with plenty of worlds to play through. Available on both the Play Store and the App Store, Plants vs Zombies 2 is free to play, however there’s lots of ads. Regardless, it’s tonnes of fun.
Hearthstone is a fantasy card game that you can play anywhere, provided that you’ve got the data to use it, as it’s all online. The game involves chipping away at your opponent’s health by battling their cards with yours. It’s easy to pick up with tonnes of different play styles to learn, with matches putting you up against other players or the game’s AI. There’s no need to pay for anything, although the option is there if you want to give yourself some more cards. The game is available for free on the App Store or the Play Store.
Do I need a gaming phone?
No, you don’t need a specialised phone to play games on your phone – although a phone built for gaming will typically have better performance. Generally, if your phone can download a game, it should be able to play it bearably, but a more expensive gaming-centric phone will perform better.
- Read more: ROG Phone 3 review: A smartphone for gamers
Phone gaming: Things to keep in mind
Phone gaming is an easy thing to pick up, but there’s just a few small things you should keep in mind:
- Battery: Phone gaming chews through your phone battery life very quickly, so make sure you’ve got a decent power bank ready to charge your phone up!
- Storage space: Having lots storage space is important for phone gaming, but what matters more is being conscious of the space your games are taking up. Make sure to delete older games you’re not playing!
- Phone age: If you’ve got an older phone, say four or more years old, you might not be able to get newer games, as developers won’t be rolling out updates for these systems. Just be aware that you might not be able to play new titles,
- If you’re after a new phone, check out our 2021 smartphone ratings.