When Pokémon Go took to the Apple and Google Play stores, it had the whole world over rushing outside, eyes down and screens out for weeks. It brought a community together. It made cities tangible, made childhood dreams real and the summer of 2016 a magical point in time. But for all its great success (and failure), the app was nothing new. The mobile platform has been flourishing for over a decade now; it claims a vast majority of games industry profit every year, with Go but a case in point. See, smartphones are accessible. Most everyone has one, and whilst they might not play host to superstar graphics they’re certainly very capable of entertainment.
From VR and battery packs to the biggest app titles in town, here’s how to make the most of your own pocket computer.
Understanding The Market
No matter your model, no matter your brand, an understanding of what’s out there is the first step to a portable enjoyment. On any given app store, there’ll be games and, much like other consoles, mobile apps have different genres and types. The limited scope of a small screen with few controls tends to mean these are easily grouped: for example, puzzle games, shooters, hack and slash, right down to digital versions of board games or card games and all the way through to emulations of early Nintendo titles. These days, you can also play casino games on your phone, with some casinos offering a flawless mobile experience (and you don’t even need to use real money if you use the free spins offered by most casinos). And you can do all this anywhere, anyplace. The sky is the limit (as long as there’s 3G).
Free, Freemium and Paid
Most games on smartphone stores come free, albeit with an ad or two dotted about the place. It’s important to understand the difference between free and ‘free,’ however. These days, microtransactions are everywhere. They can offer boosts, bonuses, gear – the point is, they cost cash. When browsing for prospective games, it can sometimes be better to purchase a title rather than download free. That way, all the costs are up front.
Some games will also require additional equipment. VR specific or opt-in titles will need a headset, for example, and others can be so battery-draining that a portable charger can be almost mandatory (see Pokémon Go above). Having games wherever you go is nice, but not at the expense of your most practical everyday tool. Be sure to plan ahead.
Today’s Big Titles
With all that said, let’s get into a few recommendations. Whilst hidden gems do certainly exist, the biggest and most popular games on the major stars are generally the most fun. PUBG mobile takes the PC game into your pocket, a battle royal of squads and shots that’s sure to lighten up any commute. Clash of Clans is more strategic: players must build, collect and establish their kingdom before heading off to war. And then, of course, comes Candy Crush. One of the first really ‘big’ apps, it follows in Angry Birds’ puzzling footsteps to keep you engaged on a lunch break.
The world of apps and games is as diverse as it is deep. Start here, then go anywhere!