Tech

The top 11 mobile games to play in 2020

The top 11 mobile games to play in 2020
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Contrary to what your parents told you about video games addling your brain, countless studies (like this one published in American Psychologist) have shown them to increase cognitive function, enhance spatial awareness, decrease depression, and elevate mood through activating reward centers in the brain. Considering these benefits in conjunction with their boredom-busting abilities, there’s no reason not to download a few new games to try out right on your phone so no matter where you’re stuck, you’re not just relegated to endlessly scrolling the often depressing timelines of social media.

We sought out the current most popular paid mobile games to see where folks are turning to do exactly that, and below is you’ll find a mix of classic and new games, simple and complex, and something for everyone no matter what your preferred style of mobile gameplay entails. Whether you want to indulge in a blast from the past by revisiting a childhood favorite or expand your horizons with something totally new to you, read on to see what’s currently keeping mobile gamers entertained.

We also researched the best Nintendo Switch games for you and the whole family in case you want to expand your gameplay.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn a commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing, expert advice and our own research. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Minecraft

Minecraft, which debuted to the public nearly a decade ago, is still going strong with mobile users who want to “explore infinite worlds and build everything from the simplest homes to the grandest of castles.” The escapism provided by creating your own little universe in which you’re the designer is unmatched, and you can play in two modes: creative provides unlimited resources so you’re free to build to your heart’s desire, and survival mode teaches you to make weapons and armor which you’ll use to fight off mobs.

In addition, you can purchase a monthly subscription to Minecraft Realms, where your world is always online and you can invite up to 10 friends to join you in your realm for $3.99 a month (up to two additional friends) or $7.99 a month (up to 10 friends).

Mojang
$6.99

Monopoly

You know it, you’ve played it, and you probably love it: it’s Monopoly, the real estate game where everyone battles it out to become the filthy rich landlord of Park Place and Boardwalk, all while collecting major cash along the way. The digital version is brought to you by Marmalade Game Studio and offers up a 3D experience where animated hotels and businesses let you experience the classic game in an all new way.

There are several ways to play, including a single player version that pits you against their AI robots, offline multiplayer where you pass the phone around, and online multiplayer that pairs you with competitors across the globe for a variety of challenging experiences. A quick-play feature also lets you finish in record time, in case you’re hankering for the game play but don’t have long to spare.

Marmalade Game Studio
$3.99

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

Hope’s Peak is a place where elite high schoolers go to get an elevated education, but Makoto Naegi, the main character, is there out of luck only after winning a lottery in which he was chosen to be the “Ultimate Lucky Student” until he loses consciousness on the day he’s set to enter the academy and wakes up to a spooky scene inside that doesn’t seem anything like what he was promised. He quickly finds out he’s stuck here until death unless he finds someone to kill–which will allow him to escape–and soon he and the other 15 Ultimate Students are tasked to discover what exactly is going down.

This game is more expensive than some of the other options here, but if you like your adventures Battle Royale-style, the 3D map, 2.5D motion graphics, and bonus features like the “intimacy gallery” that lets you replay your favorite characters and events as you wish, are the perfect thing to keep you entertained at home or on the go.

Spike-Chunsoft CO, LTD.
$15.99

Bloons TD 6

Like the original, Bloons has you use monkeys wielding weapons in order to pop as many balloons (hence the terms “bloons”) as possible in a series of tower defense games, this of which offers brilliant visuals, 43 original maps including some with 3D objects that block your view, 21 monkey towers, single player offline mode, and unlockable skins and voiceovers that give you a customized good time on each and every play.

The makers of the game, Ninja Kiwi, promise they respect your time and support, and thus they offer regular updates to the game to keep it fresh and fun no matter how many times you log in. An average 4.8 rating across nearly 100,000 reviews can’t be wrong, so download Bloons TD 6 and see what all this monkey business is about.

Ninja Kiwi
$4.99

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

It debuted way back in 2004, but GTA: San Andreas continues to dominate with gamers today with its action-packed roleplay that lets you get in the driver’s seat and complete non-linear missions both on foot and in your vehicle, and explore the multitude of options that open to you as you proceed to higher levels at your leisure.

The fictitious state of San Andreas is based on real life locations like Los Angeles and Las Vegas, using the laid-back but grimy desert feel to transport you to another universe where you can act out your wildest fantasies in a setting that is both comforting (as the game’s a classic from many folks’ younger days) and adventure of carrying it with you to play on the go wherever you might find the time. As the Editor’s Choice award review notes, this “hugely ambitious blockbuster game… never fails to entertain.”

Rockstar Games
$6.99

Geometry Dash

Classic 2K action brings you five new stories through which to play, as well as a new “Run The Streets” mode that takes the player from the court to the outside world where they’ll be able to square off against NBA greats and build up the backstory of MyPlayer on their journey from college baller to NBA star.

A quick-match feature helps you find other players to square off against, and the 2K Beats soundtrack features jams from Drake, Diplo, T-Pain, Offset, Travis Scott, and more. While this is a great option for basketball fans who want gameplay at their fingertips, there are some complaints on the shooting accuracy that will hopefully be resolved with further updates so keep your eyes peeled for those should you download this one.

RobTop Games AB
$1.99

NBA 2K20

Classic 2K action brings you five new stories through which to play, as well as a new “Run The Streets” mode that takes the player from the court to the outside world where they’ll be able to square off against NBA greats and build up the backstory of MyPlayer on their journey from college baller to NBA star.

A quick-match feature helps you find other players to square off against, and the 2K Beats soundtrack features jams from Drake, Diplo, T-Pain, Offset, Travis Scott, and more. While this is a great option for basketball fans who want gameplay at their fingertips, there are some complaints on the shooting accuracy that will hopefully be resolved with further updates so keep your eyes peeled for those should you download this one.

2K
$5.99

Terraria

Terraria wants you to “Dig! Fight! Explore! Build!” and it implores you to do so by combining different game genres like collection, combat, and construction in your own customizable worlds in varying sizes and experiences while more than 300 enemies make themselves known. Many longtime players have weighed in to rate this now-mobile version as opposed to previous desktop PC action, and their comments are mostly positive and praise the game’s transition into this new format with only some minor gripes about game instability and a few visual issues.

The top review sums up the benefits of plopping down $5 for this one: “It’s a huge, sophisticated experience that’s easy to spend hours with—a universe of densely layered surprises, where every session is exciting.”

505 Games
$4.99

The Game Of Life

Whatever it is you want to do in real life, you can achieve or try out first by playing the fictionalized version via The Game Of Life. College, marriage, kids, jobs–it’s all here and ready for you to tackle as your digital avatar goes from simple game piece to developed, complex character right before your eyes.

Online multiplayer options match you with an appropriate challenger with local play allowing you to pass one phone around your friends and, like Monopoly, a fast mode that gets you to the yellow square at the end faster. 4.5 stars out of 5 across almost 22,000 ratings shows quality approval from buyers across the board, so dive into this classic wherever you go today.

Marmalade Game Studio
$2.99

Heads Up! - Trivia on the go

Heads Up is a game for friends, as you use your phone like a cue card hold it to your head while friends give clues as to what word is currently showing. Once you’ve gotten it correct, simply tilt your head and phone downward to switch to the next clue and keep the fun rolling! All sorts of deck themes are available such as those based on the television show Friends and the Marvel Universe movies, and more generalized categories like celebrities, animals, accents, and superheroes are also up from grabs. At less than a dollar, it’s a great way to have fun with friends and challenge your brain to a little trivia.

Warner Bros.
$0.99
Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)