The best Android and iOS games in 2020

The best Android and iOS games in 2020

What are the best RPGs on a smartphone? What about the best RTS, FPS, racing, or puzzle games? Just for you and NextPit, I have pieced together this selection of the best mobile games, both free and paid, that made a mark on me this year on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. 

This vast selection will be limited to just 2 or perhaps 4 games per category at most. I tried to cobble a useful list and not take the simple route by parroting the rest of the industry where the most popular generic games are concerned, at least not in a systematic manner. Every game that is mentioned in this list concerning the best games of 2020 is a title that I have personally played for that added touch of authority and authenticity. 

I will, therefore, base this selection on my personal experience, and while they are subjective, I would also take into account the needs and preferences of the widest audience possible. This is why the games have been classified in several categories, first by mode (solo/offline or multiplayer) and followed by genre. 

Without further ado, here are the best Android and iOS mobile games of 2020! 

Summary:

  1. The best multiplayer/mobile board games for remote fun with family and friends
  2. The best single-player/offline games on Android and/or iOS during quarantine
  1. The best RPG and adventure games to immerse yourself on Android and/or iOS
  2. The best FPS/TPS shooter games on Android and/or iOS
  3. The best strategy and RTS games for management fans on Android and/or iOS
  4. The best racing games for speed devils on Android and/or iOS
  5. The best puzzle games for the IQ-savvy on Android and/or iOS
  6. The best sports and fighting games to vent on Android and/or iOS

Editor's Choice: Call of Duty: Mobile

NextPIT Call of Duty Mobile
Released at the end of 2019, Call of Duty Mobile remains the best smartphone game in 2020 while taking all categories into consideration. / © Innersloth

Pros

  • Well optimised graphics
  • Runs at 60 FPS
  • Intuitive touch controls
  • Supports external controller
  • Varied content with updated maps, weapons, and characters each month
  • Very active community
 

Cons

  • Too many microtransactions
  • Cheaters abound playing on PC with keyboard/mouse
  • Really, there are way too many microtransactions!

Personally, I still connect to my Discord server that was created in December 2019 regularly, back when I spent most of my unemployed days playing Call of Duty: Mobile with strangers who have since become friends. Call of Duty is not the most exemplary mobile title in this selection. 

This is MY game of the year, the one that I spent more time on compared to Red Dead Redemption 2 or Death Stranding on my old PS4 Pro. I played it in the evening after work and have paid for each Season Pass every month since December 2019 without ever regretting it once.

It is the most optimised mobile FPS title that I have enjoyed so far, and I also discovered it to boast of the most ergonomic controls to date. It made PUBG Mobile feel totally cheesy in my opinion. And the game has evolved a lot ever since it was released, taking pointers from the Call of Duty console version in order to remain consistent with the rest of the franchise. Even the weapon animations have become more and more elaborate, following after the progress made in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, for example.

However, I have to admit that it is packed with in-app purchases and the game's economy is a very aggressive one. I am totally opposed to its loot boxes which sometimes require spending several tens, or even hundreds of euros just to obtain rewards that can be obtained randomly. 

In addition to these loot boxes for cosmetic in-game items, there is the purchase of the Season Pass or battle pass each month (which costs around €15) that does not bother me. As the game was released exactly a year ago, I've been playing it non-stop since. The content is varied and continues to renew itself with each new season, making it a brand new game of sorts in many ways.  

Weekly and seasonal challenges also enable users who play-for-free to receive new weapons and other cosmetic items without having to fork out a single cent. The game mode selection also offers a unique way to refresh the catalogue, while the ability to create private server games is a real plus if you have a bunch of friends to play with. Hands down, Call of Duty: Mobile is the best smartphone game this year.

The best mobile games NextPit recommends for you in 2020

The best multiplayer/board mobile games for remote fun with family or friends on Android and/or iOS

The goal here is to offer a selection of multiplayer board games. These happen to be casual games that can be easily installed and launched in a jiffy for an evening spent in quarantine to play with your loved ones remotely before uninstalling them and never having to touch them again.

Among Us

NextPIT Among Us
Since its initial buzz this summer, Among US has remained one of the most popular mobile games / © Innersloth

Pros

  • Easy to understand game mechanics
  • Tense atmosphere
  • Best method to know who are your true friends
  • Perfect for would-be evil geniuses without the consequences
  • Private game room creation for up to 10 players
  • Requires plenty of analytical thinking skills
 

Cons

  • Ads and in-app purchases
  • Repetitive gameplay
  • EVERYONE has been talking about it for months

I know I know. There is nothing else to know about Among Us. It is very clear that this game that has been the buzzword over the course of summer, and it has survived significantly longer than most other games that were once in vogue. Who still remembers Fall Guys, for instance? Nobody. 

To put it simply, Among Us is an unpretentious Wild Wolf game in which you play the role of a crew member who is in a spaceship that comprises four to ten other crew members. However, at least one or more of the crew happen to be impostors who are out to eliminate the rest of the crew.
 
The problem is, the impostor looks like everyone else and quietly goes about sabotaging the ship, sneaking through the air vents, tricking the other players and trying to trap the others, all in an effort to remain unnoticed while picking off the rest of the crew one by one.

At the same time, "normal" crew members must perform tasks to repair the ship, and are unable to communicate with each other unless the body of a member killed by the impostor(s) is reported. Survivors can then openly discuss about the impostor's identity, and rightly or wrongly attempt to name a culprit who will then be kicked out of the game.

If the impostor is eliminated, the crew wins. But if the group accidentally eliminates one of their own, an innocent person, they are kicked out and the game resumes until another body is found, and a new vote is enforced, and so on. 

Betrayal, lies, negotiations, intrigue, and deviousness are therefore required in a game that allows you to launch multiplayer games and create private games that can be personalised accordingly (movement speed, number of impostors, etc.). 

Skribbl

NextPIT Skribbl
You can also play Skribbl no your Web browser / © Skribbl.io

Pros

  • Free to play
  • Simple game mechanics that allow anyone to dive right in
 

Cons

  • In-game ads
  • Not available on iOS
  • Poor optimisation and clunky user interface

A Pictionary clone, Skribbl is a very simple party game. Each person will get their turn, where they must draw using their finger, a word that was picked beforehand among three options. The other participants must then guess the word as quickly as possible.

The faster a player answers correctly, the more points he/she collects. You can play it on your smartphone or computer by inviting up to 12 friends followed by creating a private room. Skribbl allows you to create a private game with your friends, pick the language of the words to be guessed (French is supported), and even add on words of your choice.
 
Each player can view the proposed answers of the other competitors in the chat (when someone enters the correct answer, it will remain hidden from view). One can also imagine a scenario in which you are playing with your friends in a videoconference setting simultaneously to have some added banter and bickering. 

The mobile app is free but it remains crowded cluttered with the presence of ads. It's really a kind of “one-off” title or app that I would download for a particular evening in lockdown, completely forgetting about it the next day. This is simple and just good enough for a few minutes or hours of entertainment to waste.

Mario Kart Tour 

NextPIT Mariokart Tour
It is about time that Mario Kart Tour is available as a multiplayer title / © Innersloth

Pros

  • Easy gameplay mechanics
  • Suits all age groups
  • Visually consistent with Nintendo's console titles
 

Cons

  • Too many in-app purchases
  • Repetitive gameplay get old fast
  • Pay-to-win mechanics

I don't like Mario Kart Tour simply because it is one of the most blatant mobile games that intends to milk you out of every penny. There are plenty of microtransactions involved and it took over half a year before an actual multiplayer mode that works was available. The gameplay is also too simplistic and repetitive for my liking.

But as a family game or even for children or relatives who know next to nothing about video games, Mario Kart Tour is a good introductory title. The game's mechanics is simple: you just need to swipe to the left and right, without having to meddle with acceleration and braking moves, making it very accessible to gamers of all ages.

The game does not require a lot from the gamer, whether it is brain power or a vested interest. The multiplayer mode allows you to go up against seven other players, be they your friends or strangers who are located nearby geographically. In order to access multiplayer from the game's menu, tap on Multiplayer that is located at the bottom of the screen.

Crossy Road

NextPIT Crossy Road
Crossy Road is an unpretentious and fun party game to play for an evening / © Innersloth

Pros

  • Free-to-play
  • Local multiplayer
  • Easy to master
 

Cons

  • Ads and in-app purchases
  • Maximum of 4 persons per game
  • Server stability issues
  • Game gets boring quickly

Crossy Road is an arcade platform game. Your goal is simple: to cross various roads and streams without dying as you get run over by all kinds of passing vehicles, ranging from trains to trucks, cars, and other dangers. The ultimate aim is to travel as far as possible while staying alive.

The game offers a local multiplayer mode, where you and your loved ones can connect over a Wi-Fi network and play together in a private game. Each session can accommodate up to a maximum of four players. It's not the craziest multiplayer out there, but it's a hobbyist's game that has the merit of being mainstream enough and easy to pick up. 
 
The game is free but displays some ads as well as in-app purchases in order for you to unlock new characters. However, I doubt that you will play it long enough to be tempted to invest money in this purely ephemeral game that you will most likely uninstall at the end of the night when you get tired of pub games.

The best offline single player games on Android and/or iOS during quarantine

Multiplayer is fun. But sometimes, you want to cut yourself off from everything and everyone else in the world and fully enjoy an actual game without any micro-transactions, without any FOMO feeling and the constant nagging that urges you to play so as not to miss out on anything, not to lose on levelling up your character, etc. In short, a game night in which we occasionally indulge in so that we can relax and escape from reality, while diving head first into a story that is more interesting than your typical in-app purchase titles with its addictive lootboxes.  

GRIS

NextPIT GRIS
Gris is a masterpiece with stunning art direction / © DevolverDigital

Pros

  • Easy-to-understand mechanics
  • Soothing atmosphere
  • Sublime graphics
  • Great soundtrack
 

Cons

  • NONE

Gris is a game that could be described as semi-contemplative, as its visual identity delivers the idea of an emotional and interior journey. It also pushes us to explore the personal trauma experienced by a young girl. This platform game is strangely soothing as it aims to arouse strong emotions in you by evoking heavy and serious themes.

The gameplay is reasonably simple but perfectly balanced so as not to get you too involved while undertaking the journey. The artistic direction is simply amazing, and so is its haunting soundtrack. The story is not told via speech bubbles, pre-recorded dialogue or cutscenes, but moves forward in a very different manner. 

It's up to you to understand the story that continues to unfold itself in a raw manner, right before your very eyes, so that everyone will be able to obtain something different from Gray. Almost everything in this game is a masterpiece, from the animation to the sound and execution. On the side, you will have to solve simple puzzles as you guide Gris through his journey. There are no fights or deaths to deal with in this game.

Dead Cells

NextPIT Dead Cells
Dead Cells has much going for it / © Innersloth

Pros

  • Gameplay evolves accordingly 
  • Fantastic pixel art graphics
  • Well optimised touch controls
 

Cons

  • NONE

Yes, this is a premium mobile game that costs €8.99 ($8.99). While you might think that this is expensive, you get what you pay for - this I guarantee. Released this week on Android, I first discovered this little indie game that really impressed me on the PS4. 

It was developed by the Bordeaux-based studio Motion Twin, where this 2D rogue-like action-adventure and platform game (a genre of games that involves exploring dungeons filled with enemies). You step into the role of a hero who is a failed alchemic experiment by a king who since then, has turned all of his subjects into monsters by wanting to administer a miracle cure in an effort that has gone wrong.

Your quest is centered around death and revenge, with the main point that death is not the end in Dead Cells. I will not tell you any more in order to let you discover this simply sublime game. The original gameplay on both the PC and console is very edgy and requires good reflexes and responsiveness.

Hence, I was quite skeptical about using touch controls to play it. But the port proved to be really successful, allowing you to map the touch keys as you wish for a better grip. You also have the option of enabling an Auto-Hit mode which allows you to automate your character's attacks (without having to tap on the screen).

The game also provides external controller support and I was able to play it using my Dual Shock 4 without any issues (I was also able to connect a controller from Xbox One). For €9, it's an excellent mobile game that is almost 3 times cheaper than its console versions when they were released. 

The best Android and iOS mobile games sorted by genre

The best RPG and adventure games to immerse yourself on Android and/or iOS

It's totally obvious and I am sure you have heard it before: RPGs are one of my favourite genres even if it has become so predominant that it now encompasses a bit of everything and anything. When it comes to mobile games, I find that the RPG "format" enables one to experience the best value-for-money in terms of game length time and replayability. In 2020, we were treated to actual games that worked, which you can invest hours in just like any self-respecting console or PC game.

Sky: Children of Light

NextPIT Sky Children of the light
Sky: Children of Light is one of the best looking games in 2020 / © Thatgamecompany

Pros

  • Sublime graphics
  • Great soundtrack
  • Atmosphere and level design 
  • Multiplayer cooperation comes naturally
 

Cons

  • In-app purchases
  • Repetitive gameplay
  • Touch controls spotty at times

"Sky: Children of the Light" is the first iOS-exclusive title (and now ported over to Android), and also ranks as one of my biggest smartphone video games of the year. It is a sublime indie game from Thatgamecompany, to whom we owe the excellent "Journey." 

The music is engaging, the graphics beautiful and the overall atmosphere impressive. I experienced similar sensations when playing this, akin to those that I felt while replaying Shadow of the Colossus, albeit in a less creepy manner. We play the role of a tiny character, a Child of Light, who progresses in gigantic and magical landscapes. 

The objective of the game is to collect spirits and send them to the stars. But overall, this is a contemplative and explorative game. You wander across vast expanses. But the particularity of this game is its "social" dimension.

As the developers of "No Man's Sky" initially (and deceptively) promised, you may meet other players or other "Children of the Sky." Sometimes you will have to call on them to overcome certain obstacles. You will therefore be able to communicate and even interact via a range of gestures (though these are quite limited). 

I love the magical and fantastic atmosphere, the gigantism of the level design and the most reassuring feeling of meeting other players after having covered vast expanses alone, feeling small in the big scheme of things. 

Genshin Impact

NextPIT Genshin Impact
Genshin Impact is a very good open world adventure game that looks like Zelda: Breath of the Wild. / © miHoyo

Pros

  • Zelda-inspired graphics
  • Soundtrack that is reminiscent of Zelda titles
  • In-game atmosphere and level design that resembles Zelda
  • Evolving and varied gameplay
 

Cons

  • Anime style does not appeal to everybody
  • Paimon character is insufferable
  • Gacha game mechanics (random rewards unlocked via in-app purchases)

Genshin Impact is an open-world RPG that has been a hit on the mobile platform, racking up 14 million downloads in a matter of just four days after its release in late September.

The game is an open world that screams of Zelda: Breath of the Wild that is available on the Nintendo Switch at every turn. Some even say that this is nothing but a clone of Nintendo's masterpiece, especially when the game also places emphasis on various Japanese overtones with its manga-like characters. There are also gacha mechanics (in-app purchases with a lottery system) to contend with. 

But it is, above all, a visual masterpiece on the smartphone. The game is sublime and really makes you want to get lost in the open world while being entertained by a not-so-original soundtrack that keeps you engaged. This game is very resource intensive but if you have the hardware specifications for it, the graphics are well worth checking out, especially at 60 FPS. 

Once the huge 5GB update is completed, you will be completely immersed in the world of Teyvat. You play the role of a Traveler of unknown origins. Your twin was abducted by a deity who intends to banish you to the world of Teyvat.

An invitation to travel that will let you cross paths with different characters that you can take turns playing, each equipped with their own abilities that will influence the gameplay that is based on a fairly classic but well-crafted combat system. It really is a gem of a game.

Evoland 2

NextPIT Evoland 2
Evoland 2 is an excellent title that pays tribute to games of old. / © Playdigious

Pros

  • Very original game concept
  • Scalable gameplay and graphics
  • Developer really put in their effort
  • No ads or in-app purchases
 

Cons

  • Rather hefty entry price point
  • Evoland 1 and 2 are so similar, there is no incentive to get both

I could very well have integrated the first opus into this category, as both Evolands happen to be great titles on their own. The concept is to make you (re)discover the history of video games in an original manner via gameplay and ever evolving graphics. You go through several periods of video game history, chronologically, and each change of the timeline has a direct impact on the way you play.

Evoland 1 and 2 will each take you through an exciting storyline, developing and evolving as you go along. It's a unique way to present an action-adventure in a more narrative manner as compared to other mobile RPGs.

There is a lot of humour, Easter Eggs, and references to video game culture in this game. You will find yourself switching from 2D monochrome to real-time 3D combat as you progress, unlocking new game mechanics along the way that shake up gameplay while refreshing it. You will be hard-pressed to find anything as unique as these games.

The best FPS/TPS shooter games on Android and/or iOS

I already pointed Call of Duty: Mobile out to you at the start of this list, so I don't think I need to mention it again. I am also quite sure you are not reading this article for me to explain the merits of Fornite or PUBG Mobile to you. We will therefore be interested in FPS or TPS shooting games that are slightly off the beaten track and bring a zest of originality to an overexploited video game genre.

Shadowgun War Games

NextPIT Sky Shadowgun War Games
Loved Overwatch? Shadowgun War Games is THE FPS for you / © Madfinger Games

Pros

  • Smooth and responsive touch controls
  • Runs in 60 FPS 
  • Efficient gameplay with well-balanced classes
  • External controller support
 

Cons

  • Limited number of maps, characters, and modes
  • In-app purchases

Shadowgun War Games is the latest masterpiece from the now well-known studio Madfinger Games, to whom we owe the Dead Trigger franchise to. The previous instalment, Shadowgun Legends, was a really great title as well prior to the servers being deserted.

The game was clearly inspired by Destiny and offers a futuristic shooter that is set in a universe with a nod to the space opera genre. War Games is a little more down to earth but relies on the same recipe: nerve-wracking gameplay, ergonomic touch controls and graphics that push the limits of your smartphone. 

War Games is in many ways similar to Overwatch, with a 5v5 PvP where each player embodies a character that has their own abilities and powers. The game is fairly new so the content is not as rich as the other games ranked higher in this selection. Its launch was a bit chaotic as well, suffering from a number of bugs that seemed to have been patched - at least for most of them. 

However, Madfinger Games remains a solid reference in the world of mobile FPS, and we can hardly do better elsewhere. Again, you can expect a system of micro-transactions here while the number of players is logically less important than for Call of Duty or Fortnite.

Bullet Echo

NextPIT Bullet Echo
Bullet Echo is a TPS with original gameplay and provides an extremely tense atmosphere / © ZeptoLab

Pros

  • Original tense atmosphere
  • Battle royale that requires strategic thinking
  • Stressful yet enjoyable gaming experience
 

Cons

  • In-app purchases
  • Limited number of players per game
  • Requires headphones

Bullet Echo is a TPS (third person shooter) played from a top-down view, with one exception: Bullet Echo emphasises on the tactical aspect of combat. This is a multiplayer game, so you will have compete against other players in an arena. Both audio and visuals play a crucial role in delivering great gameplay mechanics. 

Basically, you move around the map in a semi-blind manner. For those who have played Age of Empires, it is somewhat akin to exploring an unknown area, where the Fog of War hides any potential dangers that lie before you.

When playing the game, the direction in which your rifle's barrel is pointed at will provide a visible field of vision, enemies included. You will then be able to pick up various bonuses to improve your weapon, heal yourself, obtain more ammunition, or items like bulletproof vests. 

You will also need to keep your ears peeled in order to hear where your opponents are because you make noise when you shoot or move around the map. You will need to manage your movements well, especially at places on the map that you intend to make a dash for in order to make them visible. I really like the tension that emerges from these fights as well as the tactical aspect that work extremely well together.

The best strategy and RTS games for management fans on Android and/or iOS

The Escapists 2

NextPIT The Escapists 2
The Escapists 2 is a strategy game like no other / © Team 17 Digital

Pros

  • Good balance between resource management and strategy
  • Carries the original element of excitement
  • Cool pixel art graphics
  • Sandbox option offers free and varied gameplay
 

Cons

 

  • Price
  • Unstable multiplayer experience

The Escapists series was not released in this year, but there were two resulting titles that make for excellent strategy games. You are a prisoner and must collect and craft various items and while planning your escape, all without attracting the attention of the guards.

The Escapists 2, compared to the initial title, carries the merit of offering more varied and spectacular escape possibilities, as well as more scenarios. They're a bit more expensive, but they're paid games with no in-app purchases or ads. It seems to me that they are also available in Google Play Pass.

Of all the strategy games that I've played, The Escapists 2 provides the player with the most freedom to think up their schemes. It is not a pure RTS (real-time strategy) as we generally would understand it, but more like Tropico, Total War, or Civilization (of which I did not integrate the last mobile port here because it is an overpriced microtransaction trap).

It combines all of the key mechanics of mapping a map and referencing its environment, collecting, producing, and managing resources while adding the element of the stress of not getting caught. Learning the patterns (behavioral patterns) of the AI ​​that you are up against in order to adapt your strategy and remain one step ahead makes The Escapists 2 a strategy game without a doubt.

You can escape from five prisons, starting with a basic prison and moving through higher security establishments. You can also play with your friends in local multiplayer, which happens to be one of the franchise's coolest new features!

Company of Heroes

NextPIT Company of Heroes
If you're a die-hard RTS fan, Company of Heroes is a perfect fit for you / © Feral Interactive

Pros

  • Well optimised touch controls
  • Intuitive squad micro management
  • Rich content with high replayability value
 

Cons

  • Interface is a little bit cluttered on smaller displays
  • Its price

Feral Interactive has been at the heart of many (successful) ports of PC/console games to the Android platform for several years now, including luminaries such as Rome: Total War or Tropico. Company of Heroes is the latest example and I have been waiting for it since the release of an iPad version last February.

I immediately hear the zealots of free-at-all-costs screaming at the €14.99 that one will have to fork out to play this very good real-time strategy game. But if you love World War II games, absolutely love picking off Nazis, can't get enough of RTS (Real Time Strategy), then this title is clearly worth the price.

Gameplay is basically micro-managing your squads, of which you control two of them. It is therefore necessary to progress through each level by accomplishing different military objectives by alternating between strategy (movement, positioning of troops) and combat phases. You will have to juggle all of this while managing your resources and building followed by improving your bases. 

In short, Company of Heroes does not reinvent the genre but has the merit of being very complete and above all, very well optimised. We find all the key moments of the progression of American troops on D-Day in Normandy while the skirmishes (combat phases) are really nice. 

The best racing games for speed devils on Android and/or iOS

It's the genre that interests me the least and also one of which I have the least amount of knowledge. Just so you know, the last racing game that I actively played was Motorstorm Arctic Edge on the PSP way back in 2009, and prior to that it was F1 2002 on the Nintendo Gamecube, which was wildly popular in its day. When it comes to mobile games, racing titles are dime a dozen which are presented on an endless basis since the basic gameplay mechanics remain relatively simple. The genre's mobile benchmark still remains: Asphalt 9: Legends, that was released in 2018. So I will once again try to roll back the years and be my hipster self, advising you on what I think are the best alternatives to that particular title of which it would be irrelevant to present here. 

Grid Autosport

NextPIT Grid Autosport
While Asphalt 9 is the most popular racing game, GRID is the most realistic / © Feral Interactive

Pros

  • The most realistic racing game
  • Rich content that ensures replayability
  • No ads, in-app purchases, and therefore no pay-to-win
  • Officially licensed vehicles
 

Cons

  • Its price
  • If only it ran on 60 FPS

A whole lot more simulation and less fancy than Asphalt 9, GRID Autosport is still an excellent port made by the folks at Feral Interactive. GRID features realistic graphics, intense and demanding driving gameplay to guarantee thrills.

The price of admission may be high, but it's a one-time purchase with no additional or hidden costs. All DLCs are included. For €11, you'll have access to 100 cars and 100 maps with multiple control and difficulty options to suit your driving style.

It is a graphically intense game and Feral's title doesn't support all smartphones (but the full list is available from the game's info page on the Play Store, several 2020 models are listed). The game has not been updated since December 2019, which is a shame since I would have liked driving along to a 60 FPS mode. 

But that's just a minor infraction. Not only is the content rich and varied, but the real strength of this game lies is its physics. Between GRID and Asphalt, it's day and night. Driving is far more punitive on GRID but only becomes more enjoyable once you have learned to master it. 

If you are looking for the best car racing simulation and are fed up with freemium models to unlock tracks and vehicles, this is the game I would highly recommend. 

Data Wing

NextPIT Data Wing
Data Wing brings some originality to smartphone racing games / © Dan Vogt

Pros

  • Visually arresting and original
  • Great audio
  • Tense gameplay
  • High replayability
  • Free with no ads or in-game purchases
 

Cons

  • No gameplay innovation

Data Wing is a bit of a wild card when it comes to originality since it absolutely does not resemble a generic racing game. Who says you need a car to race? In Data Wing, you play the role of a, er, data wing, which is a triangular mouse-cursor-like vehicle tasked with transporting data through a computer system.

Everything about this game reminds me of Tron, Synthwave and "Cassette Futurism", that retro-futuristic style based on floppy disks and VHS from the future or CRT screens coated in white or gray plastic specific to the 80s.

You navigate your Data Wing across different racing circuits at the behest of Mother, an AI that doesn't seem to be very sharp. Your main purpose in "life" is to carry data from one point to another and you are very dispensable.

To heck with history, who cares? It is the gameplay and the atmosphere that are the strengths of this game. The touch controls are fine and the levels are fascinating to contemplate. The game has a hypnotic slant to it fueled by its frantic pace and neon colors that scroll at full speed on the screen. 

Data Wing ends pretty quickly, but I found it to be surprisingly very replayable. Completely free, there are no advertisements or in-app purchases in sight, making it a breath of fresh air blown over the catalog of racing games that are struggling to renew and innovate themselves. 

The best puzzle games for the IQ-savvy on Android and/or iOS

If you've read my numerous, sometimes controversial, moody reviews and posts, or ever had the misfortune(?) of getting sucked into a debate with me at 2 a.m. in the comments section, you are undoubtedly aware that my IQ is "over 9,000"! If you dream of finally being able to nail my mouth with an argument or unstoppable rhetoric, working your brains is essential. So I have listed my best thinking games or "puzzle games" here which are not vulgar mini pub games or boring chess games or worse ...a slew of Sudoku puzzles.

Card Thief

NextPIT Card Thief
Card Thief brings an original twist to turn-based card games / © Arnold Rauers

Pros

  • Original concept
  • Visually arresting with great character design
  • Simple and hassle-free gameplay
 

Cons

  • Learning curve can be steep
  • A pun on "Car thief"

"Card Thief", for most of the Francophiles or Anglophobes among you, is based on discretion, cunning, and theft. You play the role of a thief who has to literally sneak through a deck of cards, collecting treasure while avoiding being spotted.

You must therefore browse a deck of cards by carefully selecting your routes according to the suite assigned to a particular card displayed on the table. For instance, you begin at the bottom left segment of the map, and must loot the treasure on the map that are placed two rows higher prior to arriving at the map's exit located at the top right corner. You can also use Equipment Cards to aid you in your thieving activities. Don't be too greedy, otherwise you might run out of points and get caught by the guards' cards!

You'll be performing tasks like putting out torches, calling in pickpockets and other shenanigans to get through the cracks. The principle is this: it is easier to learn on the job than to explain, and each turn only takes a few minutes. In absolute terms, it could be said that this is the same mechanic as Solitaire and Hearthstone, if that can help you visualize the game better.

Card Thief offers daily challenges and in-depth strategies, as well as a nice progression system that lets you upgrade equipment cards as you complete various levels. The learning curve is a bit steep, but it's a rewarding game for fans of turn-based strategy card games.

Bridge Constructor Portal

NextPIT Bridge constructor Portal
The Bridge Constructor concept includes Portal elements delivers some pretty cool gameplay variety / © Headup

Pros

  • Cool Portal references that varies gameplay
  • Failure in this game can still be fun
  • Easy to learn but deep gameplay mechanics ensure high replayability value
 

Cons

  • A rehashed concept seen in untold variations
  • In-app purchases

"Another variation of Bridge Constructor", you might say. Yes, but not in the least. Portal is, in my opinion, the best of the series. We might share the same gameplay which consists of arranging a predefined number of parts and mechanisms in order to build a bridge between point A and a point B so that it is sufficiently stable in order to ferry a vehicle across without having it fall into the void. 

Except that this version also incorporates original crossovers with the classic Portal from Valve. You have to deal with the laws of physics, yes, but also a few "surprises" from the Enrichment Center of the Aperture Science Laboratories. And if these references absolutely don't resonate with you and you haven't played Portal or Portal 2 before, then go play Portal and Portal 2, you won't regret it!
 
Bridge Constructor games are based on a key element: gravity. Your structure is only kept whole by the force exerted on the parts that compose it, pressing against each other, all under the influence of gravity. This card castle mechanic is further spiced up by the addition of Portal game elements such as portals (obviously), repulsion and propulsion gels, cubs, and other references to the cult Valve game. Even GLaDOS comes to point the tip of its eye!

The best sports and fighting games to vent on Android and/or iOS

Motorball

NextPIT Motorball
Not as ambitious as Rocket League, Motorball is more entertaining than FIFA / © Noodlecake Studios

 

Pros

  • Great for trolling opponents
  • Far more original than FIFA and simply a whole lot more fun
  • Simple and effective gameplay
 

Cons

  • Too simple graphics
  • Poor controls
  • Lots of in-app purchases

Do you know about Rocket League? This is a football game with cars from an indie studio that became a major eSports title, and was purchased by Epic Games last year. Personally, I have spent hundreds of hours on it on the PS4. That's why Motorball caught my eye. 

The principle remains the same, you control a car by swiping your finger on the screen and the goal is to kick a soccer ball with your vehicle and score goals to win. The games are 1 against 1, and you can pick up various bonuses and boosters to go faster and eliminate your opponents. 

Unlike Rocket League, Motorball is a top-down view game. The controls are easy to learn but handling requires some getting used to. The game is pretty funny, you can even troll your opponent at the end of the game with pop-up messages, just like on Rocket League.

Brawlhalla

NextPIT Brawlhalla
If you are a die-hard RTS fan, Brawlhalla is right up your alley / © Innersloth

 

Pros

  • Exciting gameplay
  • Numerous competitive modes
  • Neat visuals
  • Plenty of playable characters
  • Perfect for gaming with friends
  • External controllers supported
 

Cons

  • Lots of in-app purchases
  • Selected good game modes are seasonal

Brawlhalla is a cross-platform fighting game from Ubisoft where 8 players compete in an arena. The goal is to eject your opponents from the arena which is made up of a series of platforms located in the void - somewhat like WWE's Royal Rumble. 

The more punches that you take, the harder will it be to get back onto the platform once you have been ejected. If you fall into the void, you lose. The fighting is frantic and it's every man for himself, like the famous fighting game Super Smash Bros. from Nintendo. 

You can unlock new characters and new weapons, while the free-to-play dimension of the game would mean the necessary evil of dealing with many in-app purchases. 

Visually, the game is very cool. The gameplay is very exciting, where you can play against Xbox One, PS4 or Switch players. The game even supports Bluetooth controllers for a greater degree of control. It is highly competitive with various modes and several recurring and/or seasonal events. 

I have only played very little of it so far but the different game modes, the ability to create private games and the training mode to perfect your combos promise very good replayability value thanks to the depth of the game's mechanics.

How NextPit selected the best mobile games for Android and/or iOS of 2020

If you are a regular NextPit reader, you will know that each Saturday, I publish a selection of "5 Android and iOS apps" that I have spotted on the respective app stores or that the NextPit Community has recommended to me on our forum. I would then proceed by installing and testing out several applications every week, mobile games included. 

I have also played a lot on smartphones over the past several months, where it has even become my main game console. I have therefore selected the games that have made a deep impression on me the most this year. This is not a "Best Of" article to reward every good game that was released in 2020. There are simply too many of them, and it is therefore entirely on a voluntary basis on my part should certain titles be omitted even though they are deserving to be there. 

I have limited myself to the most popular and traditionally enjoyed genres in the market - namely strategy games or RTS, racing games, FPS, etc. This selection is certainly arbitrary since it is based on my own gaming experience, my feelings and my preferences where video games are concerned. 

Despite everything, I still try to draw up a list that corresponds to the vast majority who might not think along the same lines as I do, in order to make the selection relevant for as many gamers as possible. And I obviously take into account certain objective criteria, such as the irritating presence of microtransactions or the presence of unwanted ads.

When it comes to mobile games, quality often comes at a price- a recurring theme that happens here more than in productivity apps. Many titles in this selection are indeed paid apps. In fact, each paid game that was included in this selection was purchased by myself using my own money, otherwise, I would never have included it in the article. 

What do you think of this selection? What are your top mobile games in 2020? Do not hesitate to share your recommendations and tell the gaming experiences that have impressed you the most this year in the comments! 

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