What 2019 we have to live in. Now we all carry tiny supercomputers around in our pockets and use them to shoot virtual birds at pigsties. It sounds like something out of a crazy 80s sci-fi novel.
In fact, while Angry Birds may have been one of the biggest successes in mobile gaming, the technology has evolved by leaps and bounds. Since games like Infinity Blade have shown us for the first time that mobile hardware can give consoles real power for their money, the graphical prowess of smartphones and tablets continues to skyrocket.
One of the side effects of this is that there are many games on mobile that first saw the light of day on traditional consoles. This means you don’t have to just waste time on mobile gaming by playing lightweight games designed for mobile from the get-go. Mobile gamers are spoiled for choice, from deep RPGs to awesome racing and everything else.
Pulling the best of these names down to a single list of 10 is not an easy task, so there are some rules of thumb on what to do here. First, there must be a good port of the game. I can’t recommend an awesome game that’s poorly ported to mobile devices, so the critically acclaimed Dragon Quest VIII isn’t here.
Secondly, the game itself should be worth it. We’ve played everything on this list and therefore base it on our real-world experience of real-world gameplay.
Finally, the game in question must be created on a console, or run simultaneously on both console and PC. PC only ports or PC console ports are excluded. Besides, everything goes!
Knights of the Old Republic
Knights of the Old Republic
Knights of the Old Republic was originally an Xbox exclusive. That is the original Xbox. Created by the kings of role-playing games Bioware, this game is actually a kind of prototype for the later Mass Effect trilogy that we all know and love. You can see a lot of nascent ideas forming with KOTOR, funded under the Star Wars license.
Set centuries before the events of the main Star Wars films, KOTOR is free to tell any story he wants without touching any other part of the franchise. The end result is a game with great writing, a solid RPG system, and plenty of playability.
The mobile port is great too, with crisp graphics and thoughtful controls. If you’re a fan of Star Wars, RPGs, or just great games in general, then this should definitely be on your list of games to buy.
Few games have demonstrated just how far mobile graphics and Grid Autosport have come. Created by racing genius CodeMasters, the game is a deep racing game, semi-simulator, with a powerful career mode and stunning visuals. It’s also a crazy battery drain, but the developers have kindly included a battery indicator in the game to prevent you from making phone calls.
The grid works well enough with touch and tilt controls, but it really does ask for a gamepad. Fortunately, there are plenty of options in this regard, but if you tune the difficulty settings correctly, you should be fine too. Without a doubt, this is the MOST racing game on mobile.
Download on Android. (coming soon) or iOS.
Grand Theft Auto San Andreas
Grand Theft Auto San Andreas
The PS2 era of Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto games is well represented on Android. and iOS. You can buy GTA III and the excellent Vice City, which are all worth buying.
However, if you are only going to buy one GTA game on your mobile, then it must be a San Andreas game. This is the best of 3D GTA for PS2. The story is fantastic, has plenty to do, and adds light RPG elements not found in previous installments.
The graphics have been greatly improved and you can lose yourself for endless hours in the middle streets of San Andreas. The biggest problem with the game is control schemes. San Andreas was, of course, designed for the gamepad, and that is by far your preferred method of playing.
However, the touch controls are comfortable and you shouldn’t have any problems completing the game with them. It’s just not as good as a gamepad, which is a common refrain.
Xcom: Enemy Unknown / Enemy Within
Xcom: unknown enemy / enemy inside
The Xcom tactical game series has a long and storied history on PC, but the rebooted game made a splash again when it was originally released for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. Combining base management, resilient units, and challenging tactical combat together has raised the bar for the genre.
It was actually quite unexpected to see such a name appear on mobile devices, but compared to the original releases, the graphics suffered a lot. However, all that tantalizing tactical gameplay and entire storyline remained intact.
If so, then you are in good company with Xcom. Moreover, the app has added Enemy Within content, which makes it even more profitable.
Not all console ports have to be from the modern 3D era, classic games from the 16-bit era count too! Therefore, it would be a serious oversight not to include the Chrono Trigger port for iOS. and Android. in this list.
Widely regarded as one of the best JRPGs ever created, this epic time travel story of Krono and his many companions is more exciting than ever. The app has been recently updated with many improvements and is, for the most part, the best version of the game you can play today.
The touch controls work perfectly even for innovative action scenes that require some subtlety. There is nothing to stop the player from completing the game and this is another important mobile game.
Monster Hunter Stories
Monster Hunter stories
The Monster Hunter franchise has been a hit with many iterations, and Monster Hunter United is actually available on iOS. as well, but not Android. However, these games are pretty hardcore and niche more broadly. This is why Monster Hunter Stories, originally a 3DS game, is the perfect gateway to the world of Monster Hunter.
The game is a turn-based JRPG game with its own artistic style. It tells the story of a young hunter in training and offers hours of research and history.
The mobile version of the game works great with touch controls and has significant visual improvements over the original 3DS. If you want to truly immerse yourself in a beautiful, fun and addicting game, then Monster Hunter Stories is a great choice.
Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions
Final Fantasy Tactics: War of Lions
Both Android. and iOS. are deplorably lacking in quality strategy RPGs in the spirit of the Fire Emblem found on Nintendo systems.
Fortunately, one of the best strategy RPG games of all time has found its way into both iOS. and Android. Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions takes place in Ivalice. Same setting as the underrated Vagrant Story and Final Fantasy 12.
The story and setting are of course as good as you’d expect from a Final Fantasy franchise. Regardless of what is good or bad up to the individual player, the quality of tactical play in the war of Lions is undeniably great. In terms of game mechanics and depth, this game has been the benchmark by which other similar games have been compared since its release.
The isometric touch-based turn based tactical game is perfect and has never looked better. Perfect for short games and at home with any strategy fanatic device.
Final Fantasy IX
Final Fantasy IX
In terms of mainstream Final Fantasy games, we reached 15th place, including several MMOs. Despite the fact that so many games are called Final Fantasy, its popularity is not declining.
Right now, almost all Final Fantasy games released before PS2 are available on mobile devices. PS2 games have been ported to handheld computers, but you don’t need a dedicated gaming handheld to play older games.
Although Final Fantasy VII enjoys a lot of fandom love, its mobile version is not as well known and has several issues that make it less preferable than simply reproducing the original. So consider Final Fantasy IX instead. The latest FF game to hit the PS1 and therefore the most engaging in the series to date.
The iOS. and Android. versions have received massive resolution and clarity improvements, with the addition of a few cheats to help smooth out some of the more complex aspects of 90s gaming.
FF9 is a true return to the basics of the series, with great characters, charming storytelling, and fun gameplay. This is the one found on Android. and iOS.
Before mega hits like GTA and Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar had quite a few quirky games that showcase just how creative a company can be. Bully is a true hidden gem.
You play a schoolboy thrown into the dastardly street of a private school. Think of it like GTA, but only on school grounds. There is a lot to do here, from beating up other children to practicing special skills. GTA DNA is clearly visible in Bully, but it’s actually a separate thing and never has anything like it.
If you missed this gem, then look out for the mobile port, which offers exciting opportunities on the road.
The creators of Transistor first grabbed everyone’s attention with Bastion, a stylish ARPG that at first glance looked a bit like a Diablo clone. In truth, it turned out to be an artistic and disruptive indie game with amazing music and art. This game is also available as a mobile game, but since it was first launched on PC, it doesn’t make this list.
Their next game, Transistor, is due out on its first day on console and therefore deserves to be here. Transistor takes us into the sci-fi setting of the future, contrasting with the village fiction of Bastion. You play a voiceless woman carrying a sword containing the digital soul of a man who dies a few seconds before the story begins.
It’s part ARPG and part isometric turn-based strategy game. Like Bastion, there is more to it than it sounds and Transistor is a name that demands your attention and headphones. It’s optimized for touch control and a great port overall.
Download on iOS.
The game has begun!
The game has started!
This list is certainly not exhaustive. There are many other decent console ports on both iOS. and Android., and there are likely to be many more. Mobile consoles like the Nintendo Switch are also helping developers make sense of AAA content on smartphone hardware. Who would have thought that when Skyrim launched it would one day be portable?
Hopefully this list of the best games will help you add to your mobile game collection and really showcase what is possible, what a gem swap game cannot do.