Mobile phone technology has advanced by leaps and bounds since the first “brick-like” devices were released in 1983. Thanks to this progress, today’s gamers can enjoy a huge variety of fun online phone games, from strategy and shooting games to mind-boggling puzzles. You can even play online slot games on your phone while sitting on the train or during a flight with onboard WiFi!
But which of these games have stood out, and how many of them have you played? We take a look at seven exceptional mobile phone games that rose to the top of the mobile gaming industry.
1. Angry Birds
The puzzle game Angry Birds was released in 2009, just two years after the arrival of the first iPhone. This iconic title from Finnish developer Rovio Entertainment hooked people with its easy-to-learn, hard-to-master gameplay, as well as its cute characters and cartoony graphics.
In the world of Angry Birds, some evil green pigs have stolen a bird’s eggs, and it wants them back! On each level of the game, the player is required to use a slingshot to fling different types of birds at the pigs in order to eliminate them.
However, the devilish pigs built various fortresses out of different materials, making this challenge harder than you might expect. To defeat the pigs and return the eggs, players had to master the slingshot and the various types of birds they could shoot with it!
At the peak of its popularity in May 2021, the (some might say addictive) game was played by 200 million people and has subsequently been turned into two feature-length animated films.
2. Candy Crush Saga
The second online phone game on our list is another puzzle game from the early 2010s, which many people likely had a crush on at some point. Created by mobile game developer King, the objective of Candy Crush Saga was very simple – to match tasty-looking candies on a grid in groups of three or more before your time runs out. Successfully matching these symbols got you points and exploded the candy combos, causing more sweets to drop from the top of the grid.
But if you wanted to rack up a really big score, you had to create combinations of matches and make use of the special candies which were created when you matched four or more sweets of the same type. Each level of the game also had different objectives to achieve if you wanted to progress to the next stage.
Candy Crush Saga has been downloaded more than half a billion times, with the game earning the developer a whopping $1 billion (£722 million) in 2014, thanks to in-app purchases!
3. Clash of Clans
The third mobile game on our list sees us stepping away from the puzzle genre and entering the world of strategy. In Clash of Clans, players had to build up their own villages while preparing to attack those of other gamers. Players used resources to upgrade their buildings, troops, spells and units, which enabled them to successfully defend their village while attacking those of their opponents. The overall objective of the game was to gain ranks in player-vs-player leagues, but you got smaller challenges each time you played, such as collecting the most trophies by attacking and defending or upgrading your base.
Clash of Clans exploded onto the scene when it was first released in 2012 and went on to spawn an entire genre of mobile phone games.
4. Flappy Bird
Whether you loved it or hated it, Flappy Bird was undoubtedly one of the most popular mobile phone games ever made. This title was created by one person, a Vietnamese developer who released games through his development company, dotGears.
The goal of this game was straightforward: all you had to do was guide a bird between the gaps in pipes. But this was easier said than done. Once the game began, the bird would fall towards the ground while a screen tap would cause it to leap into the air again. The player had to correctly time each tap to prevent the bird from hitting the ground or any part of the pipe.
This infuriatingly simple game became a worldwide hit, but the game developer eventually pulled it from both the Google and Apple app stores after realising how addictive it was. However, before it was removed, Flappy Bird generated approximately $50k (£36k) a day for the developer through in-game ads.
5. Pokémon GO
If the words “Gotta catch ’em all” mean anything to you, you probably already know all about Pokémon GO. This was the world’s first popular augmented reality (AR) game, which overlaid a virtual world filled with Pokémon with the real world of the player. Players could “see” in-game locations and Pokémon on their phones and had to move around in the real world to access these locations or capture the wild Pokémon.
This game may no longer be as popular as it once was, but it was a complete cultural craze when it first came out. Millions of people around the world could be seen with their phones out and AR engaged as they vied to catch rare Pokémon or partake in Pokémon battles with other players. At the height of its popularity, Pokémon GO earned the developer more than $10 million per day and less than a year after its release, it had earned a total of $1 billion!
For people who owned phones before smartphones arrived on the scene, there will always be one game that stood above the rest: Snake. This was another simple but addictive game in which the player had to guide a “snake” (represented by a few dots) around an arena while eating pellets (represented by slightly different dots). Each time the snake ate a pellet, it got longer, making it harder to navigate safely around the arena (because it wasn’t allowed to touch either itself or the sides). The aim of the game was to get as high a score as possible from eating pellets before you crashed and died.
While games that were virtually identical to Snake already existed on home computers and video game consoles, this game became a cultural icon when it was released on Nokia phones in the late 1990s, simply because people got to enjoy it on the go. This quote from the article, “The history of Snake: how the Nokia game defined a new era for the mobile industry,” neatly sums up how important this game was at the time of its release:
“Snake was a milestone moment for the mobile gaming industry, and much of what we see today can be linked back to the dawn of the cellular serpent navigating the small, black-and-white screen. It brought smiles, happiness, brain stimulation, and it was just something to do now and then – or better yet, fill the time on a drab afternoon bus ride back from school. It also showed us what can be done on a phone, perhaps making us a little bit more demanding for future years to come.”
7. Online slot games
From the legendary Starburst to Fluffy Favourites and its hit sequel Fluffy Too, to the long-awaited Superman: Last Son of Krypton, online slots rank among the most played online casino titles in the UK and have helped to revolutionise mobile gambling.
Slot machines have become increasingly popular as virtual casinos give people easy access to a range of new and classic slot titles. As technology advances, so do everyone’s favourite slot games, with incredible graphics, innovative features, and engaging storylines offering new worlds of entertainment. While many of the best mobile games have been discontinued, online slots continue to evolve. To discover more of the best mobile slots, check out our extensive library.
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