Let’s face it; people just seem to be getting busier every year. Everyone’s working, commuting, travelling, or something all the time these days. Even just having a family and that means losing exclusive TV privileges. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on enjoying video games! Luckily, the world of mobile and handheld games has really stepped up to the plate to provide quality games that can be enjoyed regardless of where you are, and how little time you might have. Plus, aside from the Nintendo Switch, they’re cheaper than other full-size console and PC gaming! So they’re budget-friendly, too (as long as you can control your in-game spending, that is).
Between mobile phones, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita, and Nintendo Switch there are a lot of handheld and mobile game platforms out there. That means a lot of games came out in 2018 across all of these devices! So which ones are the best? Which are worth spending the money on, or using your limited free time to play? We have created a list of what we believe are the Top 10 Mobile/Handheld Games of 2018 to help you answer those questions! We tried to keep it balanced between mobile and handheld games, and using all of the current devices. Hopefully, that means you can find a new game to play and that you can take with you anywhere.
10. Radiant Historia Perfect Chronology
- System: Nintendo 3DS
- Publisher: Atlus USA (NA), Deep Silver (EU)
- Developer: Atlus, Headlock
- Release Dates: Feb. 13th, 2018
Radiant Historia Perfect Chronology is the extended version of Radiant Historia, remastered and re-released for the Nintendo 3DS. Set in the middle of a civil war in the fantasy land of Vainqueur, you play as a soldier named Stocke. Stocke has the ability to wield the White Chronicle, a magic device that can help him navigate multiple timelines and change the course of history. Using the White Chronicle, Stocke has to stop Vainqueur from desertification! He has to travel across multiple timelines to do this, and the choices you make and timelines you unlock will affect the ending of the game.
Radiant Historia Perfect Chronology is a complicated story as all time-travel tales tend to be, but it handles that story really well. It remains easy enough to follow and understand, weaving an interesting narrative through multiple timelines. The turn-based battle system has also been praised for its uniqueness which keeps it from feeling forced or repetitive. Perfect Chronology adds even more content to the original game, and while not directly related to the original narrative, it’s still a good extra story and fun to play. For RPG fans looking for something for their 3DS, Radiant Historia Perfect Chronology is one of the best released in 2018.
- System: Android, iOS
- Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
- Developer: Mountains
- Release Dates: Feb. 18th, 2018
Florence is an interactive story and puzzle game for mobile phones. It follows a 25-year old woman named Florence who lives alone, settled into a routine of working at the same job and using her phone on her morning commute. But when her phone breaks one morning, she follows the unexpected sound of music to find a street performing cellist named Krish. After going on a few successful dates, Florence and Krish move in together. She encourages him to pursue his career as a professional musician, and he awakens a passion for painting in her in return.
Florence was made in response to so many games lately being incredibly violent and has no physical fighting or violence at all. Instead, it’s meant to tell a realistic story that people can actually empathise with. In addition to the story itself, there are also puzzles to play that correspond with Florence’s everyday life. Florence is a game that shows that a story doesn’t have to be big or epic with the world hanging in the balance to be worth telling; no matter how simple, all stories are important. For someone just looking for a game to relax and enjoy without stress and pressure, Florence is an oasis in the desert of gaming.
- System: Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Mac OS, Linux, Microsoft Windows
- Publisher: Raw Fury
- Developer: Long Hat House
- Release Dates: Feb. 6th, 2018
Dandara is a platformer known as a “Metroidvania” game, meaning it combines gameplay elements from both Metroid and Castlevania. Its main character is based on the real historical figure Dandara, a female Afro-Brazilian warrior during Brazil’s colonial days who eventually committed suicide rather than return to her previous life as a slave. You play as Dandara in the mobile game. The world is full of oppressed people that are being pushed nearly to extinction, but now Dandara is here to help them! Gameplay consists of warping around the world, making great use of the touchscreen on mobiles.
Dandara is an interesting concept for a game taking a little known historical figure and bringing her into the spotlight. It’s especially powerful given the current state of our world, considering it’s about a dark-skinned woman saving oppressed people. Dandara is fun to play and has gameplay clearly made for touchscreen mobiles. That makes it a great game for commuters and other busy people who only really have time for a mobile game, but still, want something with a meaningful story to tell. Dandara might win your heart in a surprising way.
- System: PlayStation Vita, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, Linux
- Publisher: Bifrost Entertainment
- Developer: Konjak
- Release Dates: Jan. 23rd, 2018
Iconoclasts is a platformer game set in a fantasy world that is ruled by a religious organisation called One Concern, with a corrupt leader simply known as Mother. You play as a self-taught mechanic named Robin who does her best to help people in need. The problem is that One Concern only allows licensed mechanics to work, and Robin finds herself a target for their assassins. Trying to escape with her life, Robin finds herself swept up in a religious war between One Concern and an opposing religion called Isi. Both religions want to harvest a mysterious substance known as Ivory for themselves because of their power.
Iconoclasts is another “Metroidvania” game, using fighting, exploring, and puzzles all as means to tell the story. Iconoclasts has over twenty boss battles, and a heavy emphasis is placed on these as you complete levels to learn the story. With plenty of action, engaging and fun puzzles, and great character development Iconoclasts is entertaining to play. Not a lot of new games are being released for the PlayStation Vita these days, so if you’re still using a Vita you won’t want to miss Iconoclasts. It shows that at least some developers haven’t forgotten this handheld exists! Plus it’s now available on the Nintendo Switch, too.
6. Alto’s Odyssey
- System: Android, iOS
- Publisher: Snowman
- Developer: Team Alto
- Release Dates: Feb. 21st, 2018
Alto’s Odyssey is the sequel to the very popular Alto’s Adventure, but you don’t have to play the first game to enjoy the second (though we do encourage you to go back and play it anyway, it’s a great mobile game!). Alto and his friends are in the rolling dunes of a sandy desert this time with their “sand boards” and are ready to do some awesome tricks. In addition to the regular challenge modes in Alto’s Odyssey, there’s a new zen mode to unwind with along with all new characters and tricks from the original game. And it’s free to play, with features like Zen mode available right from the start!
Alto’s Odyssey is the kind of game that can be enjoyed casually or intensely, and that’s entirely up to you. If you want to learn how to do every trick in the game and become a master of the dunes, you definitely can. And if you just want to relax and get over some stress enjoying the beautiful landscapes and seamless graphics in zen mode, you can do that, too. Alto’s Odyssey is easy to pick up and hard to put down! Even if you haven’t been into skateboarding and snowboarding games before, it’s worth checking out just to see how actually beautiful this game really is. And since it’s free you have nothing to lose!
5. Pokémon: Let’s Go! Pikachu!/Eevee!
- System: Nintendo Switch
- Publisher: The Pokémon Company, Nintendo
- Developer: Game Freak
- Release Dates: Nov. 16th, 2018
Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! are the first full Pokémon games to be released on a console, and the first Pokémon titles for the Nintendo Switch. They are remakes of the famous 1990s titles Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow, and have been remastered with incredible modern graphics. It is set in the original Kanto region, where you begin your great Pokémon adventure with the intent to catch all 150 Pokémon! And maybe a few special extra ones, too. Along the way, you can train your Pokémon, challenge gym leaders and other trainers, and try to catch as many wild Pokémon as you can
Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! especially appeal to Pokémon fans that played the original games as children, but the games’ demographic is quite broad. Pokémon: Let’s Go is the beginning of a story, so even people without any prior knowledge of the series can get into it and enjoy it. It also has a direct link with the mobile game Pokémon Go, letting players transfer their Pokémon between the two games. There are a few new surprises even for old fans of the games in Pokémon: Let’s Go, such as special legendaries and forms of Pokémon, as well as new features like being able to style your Pokémon’s hair. Overall it’s a fun game that appeals to many ages and people!
4. The Room: Old Sins
- System: Android, iOS
- Publisher: Fireproof Games
- Developer: Fireproof Games
- Release Dates: Jan. 25th, 2018
The Room: Old Sins is a mobile puzzle game and the fourth in its series. Set at the turn of the 20th century, it’s up to you to discover the fate of a high society couple named Edward and Abigail by investigating their mansion. The most interesting part of the house is the dollhouse in the attic, which mimics the huge manor. Upon investigating the dollhouse, you begin to unravel the truth. Edward had discovered a piece of Null, which can warp reality, and it slowly drove him to the brink of insanity. Abigail tried to save him but... well, you’ll have to play The Room: Old Sins to find out what happened!
The Room has quite an audience of avid mobile players already, and Old Sins was worth waiting for and well-received. Gameplay consists of “escape room” inspired puzzles and exploring, and occasionally interacting with the Null as well. The Room: Old Sins presents quite a few challenges, but luckily it also has a hint system with no penalty for use that you can use once the timer has cooled down. With difficult puzzles and an intriguing mystery, The Room: Old Sins can challenge your mind and spice up your mobile game life with something that is truly interesting to play. Just a warning that you might not want to stop until you learn the whole story!
3. Shadowgun Legends
- System: Android, iOS, TvOS
- Publisher: Madfinger Games
- Developer: Madfinger Games
- Release Dates: Mar. 28th, 2018
Shadowgun Legends is a first-person shooter game set in a consumer-driven society. You play as an elite mercenary known as a Shadowgun when your very way of life becomes threatened by an alien race called the Torment. When the Torment attack Earth, a full-scale galactic war begins - and you’re right in the heat of it! If you can’t defeat the Torment and drive them away from the planet, everything will be over on Earth as you know it.
One of the biggest appeals of Shadowgun Legends is that it’s actually free to play! So whatever your gaming budget may be, Shadowgun Legends fits in it. And for a free-to-play game, it’s massive. Shadowgun Legends features over 200 single player campaign missions, and various other gameplay modes and arenas. If you’ve been playing the Shadowgun games before, you can also look forward to the return of many favourite NPC characters. Whether you want to play against the environment and AI or against gamers from around the world, Shadowgun Legends has a lot to offer for first-person shooter fans.
2. Octopath Traveler
- System: Nintendo Switch
- Publisher: Nintendo, Square Enix (JP)
- Developer: Square Enix Business Division 11, Acquire
- Release Dates: Jul. 13th, 2018
Octopath Traveler is a turn-based role-playing game that became one of the bestselling Nintendo Switch games of all time thus far. At the beginning of the game, you are given the choice to start with one of eight different protagonists. As you play, you will slowly work towards discovering the other seven. As the story unfolds, you begin to learn how all of these characters are connected to a secret plot to unleash the God of Life and Death on the world! And of course, it’s up to you to stop this evil plan and save the world from certain destruction.
Octopath Traveler has a really interesting art style that sets it apart from other games. It’s done in an aesthetic called “HD-2D,” which combines Super NES character sprites and 16-bit graphics with high definition effects. The story also has the unique twist of being changed based on what protagonist you choose to play as; they all have their pros and cons, with differing abilities that will change how you can progress through the game. Seeing how everything comes together, in the end, is really satisfying, and keeps gamers hooked and playing for hours. So for fans of turn-based games, those curious about the graphics, and people just looking for a new way to tell a story, check Octopath Traveler.
1. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
- System: Nintendo Switch
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Developer: Bandai Namco Studios, Sora Ltd.
- Release Dates: Dec. 7th, 2018
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the fifth instalment in the crossover fighting series Super Smash Bros., and the first title for the Nintendo Switch. Just like previous games in the series, you control one character playing to defeat all the others on a stage in a battle royale. You can use a wide variety of moves, with each character having their own unique strengths and weaknesses. You can also use the environment to your advantage and knock your enemy off the screen - just be aware they can do the same thing to you! There are even special items that can be used to power up your character or damage your enemies, such as using Pokéballs to release NPC Pokémon into the arena.
A huge appeal of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is easily its character roster. The game includes every character from previous games in the series, along with Nintendo mascots and some new characters, too! And more are set to come out starting in 2019 as paid DLC, such as Joker from Persona 5. There are 103 different stages to fight in, so it’s hard to get bored. There’s also a new feature called Stage Morph that allows you to pick two stages, and the game will switch at certain intervals between the two. Along with all the old gameplay modes, there are three new ones to check out as well. Oh, and there’s also a single player adventure mode! Super Smash Bros. Ultimate really is the ULTIMATE version of the game, and arguably one of the best and most diverse multiplayer games there has been released for handhelds ever.
From puzzle and story games to shooters and full-on role-playing games, mobile and handheld games have come a long way. They don’t have to be restricted to having access to a TV or a high-powered computer anymore to enjoy a great game. Most of them can be played even just on the train or bus to work, between your classes, waiting for a friend, or in bed at night. And with a huge variety of genres out there for every level of gamer, it’s no surprise that the mobile and handheld game world has continued to grow - and get better every year!
Have you tried any of these games yet? Are you itching to get any of them now? Did we miss any of the best ones in 2018 that you feel should be on our list? When do you usually find yourself playing mobile or handheld games? Let us know in the comments below!