2014 has been a great year for mobile gaming fans, and as the last installment in our Best Apps of 2014 series, we were determined to pin down the best mobile games of the year. From a perfect touch screen adaptation of GTA San Andreas for smartphone and tablet, to the modern classic Bioshock making its successful debut on iOS, to one of the best mobile adaptations of FIFA in recent memory, this year had a lot of heavy hitters.
But, in the end, it was the surprisingly simple hits that made the top of our list. The best game of 2014? Threes! Watch below to see why, and keeping reading to see our other 5 finalists, chosen by our expert panel of app reviewers.
Threes! easily took the top spot as our favorite mobile game of the year. It’s unique gameplay, matching multiples of threes by sliding adjacent tiles, proved original and addictive. Not surprisingly, it spawned hundreds of clones shortly after its explosive success. One of these was 2048, which gained popularity and a huge following in it’s own right.
In the end though, Threes! is the original, and its charming design and addictive nature made it an easy choice for best mobile game of the year.
There are good games,there are great games, and then, there’s Monument Valley. In a league of its own, this puzzle game pits you as Prince Ida, trekking through minimalist, geometrical, dream-like stages, bending worlds to create a path to get to through the game.
What makes Monument Valley stand out most is its beautiful and colorful graphics, as well as a mind-boggling gameplay that really challenges your intellect. On top of that, it’s got a fairy-tail like story–with you as Princess Ida– to help keep and capture your attention.
Although it was launched in 2013, it wasn’t until 2014 that Flappy Bird became the talk of the town, a super difficult game in which you had to guide a bird through all kinds of obstacles. It grew even more legendary when its creator decided to remove it from the Google Play and the App Store because of the accompanying stress and noted ‘addictive qualities’ of its massive viral success.
By then, the phenomenon had grown enough to spawn thousands of clones and many parodies of the game. For both its addictive and frustrating gameplay, its retro-throwback feel, and the whole buzz that it created, Flappy Bird definitely deserves a spot on the list.
Botanicula, released on PC and Mac in 2012, is a classic adventure game that captivated people with its gameplay (point and click exploration), story (following five creatures trying to save their trees), and lovable characters. The surprise came this year when, after much anticipation, the game was finally launched on mobile. For both its high level of replayability, its intensive gameplay, and its optimized touch screen support as a point and click game, Botanicula is a must-play game of 2014.
Angry Birds Go!
Although the Angry Bird series had previously made the Bad Piggies spin-off, it wasn’t until this year that our favorite little birds finally left their catapults behind to successfully venture into other genres. We had the RPG Epic, as well as the Transformers action game, but Angry Birds Go!, developer Rovio’s debut into the world of racing, is our top choice of all Angry Bird games in the series.
It’s the closest thing to Mario Kart you’ll ever get to play on a smartphone, and the words Mario Kart aren’t used here lightly.
Old formulas, new games
Surprisingly, none of the best games of the year are heavy hitters (aside from maybe Angry Birds Go!). This year, it looks like games that adopted classic styles, themes, or simple concepts, along with stunning visuals, came out on top.
Make sure to check out the rest of our Best Apps of 2014 series.