John Wright is our head of Developer growth and really loves games. So much so that when I asked him for his favourite mobile games, he couldn’t resist adding console games as well. Here’s his story:
Gaming has been part of my life as long as I can remember, I was gifted my first console (Commodore 64) when I was 5 years old as a hand-me-down for my favourite cousin, soon after that I developed a fiery passion for everything that had a controller and buttons. I went from Commodore to Atari to Sega Master System to NES to Nintendo Gameboy in short succession, every new system brought more adventures and escapism from the everyday life of a young boy growing up in East London. The Gameboy especially made an impact on me, the fact I could play games on the go was mystifying, who would have known this simple device was the early dawn of mobile gaming. I’ve been heavily invested, both personally and professionally, in this huge arena of fun most of my life and have played 1000’s of games over the years. Today I’m going to share with you my top 10 games in no particular order:
Final Fantasy 7 — Square Enix
The easiest one in my selection, my favourite game of all time, a true masterpiece of the PS1 era and my only “paid” game in the list. Whilst it is a console port the controls are easy to handle even on an iPhone which undoubtedly as a gamer is normally a major concern for any mobile port. The story, character development, materia system, FMV’s and traditional turn-based fighting style is immortal in my opinion. Cloud and co are being brought back to life in one of the biggest gaming remakes in history with the relaunch of FFVII:Remake on PS4 this year, why not play this version on the go now whilst in preparation for the (delayed) launch?
Angry Birds II — Rovio
Angry birds is the biggest Mobile First IP in the industry today in my opinion, the games resulted in a franchise of toys and movies for Rovio, however, it all began with flinging different birds with attack patterns at different structures trying to destroy your arch-nemesis The Pigs! This is one of the very few sequel titles that unquestionably beats the original (and spawned a multitude of spin offs versions including Star Wars and Transformers IP’s). A true timeless masterpiece which I find myself revisiting when traveling or those “what to play now?” moments.
King’s League II — Kurechii
The only title in my list which is available only on Apple Arcade. Whilst I never played the original I cannot imagine it would hold a flame to the sequel. This is potentially the only game in the past two years that I’ve played from front to back and scratching my itch for a more traditional level ’em up, JRPG style game with side quests and warts and all gameplay. Definitely challenging at points with ultimate weapon and relic style quests having to be attempted after much grinding through tournaments and storyline battles.
Sonic the Hedgehog — Sega
The old speed ball and rings (ball and chain), possibly the first game that I truly bonded with as a child on my Sega Master System, the game that still gives me nightmares of drowning as not finding an air bubble in the Labyrinth Zone. Whilst another console port, I feel like the controls were improved drastically over the first year of Sega launching it on mobile, now it’s another title that I find myself revisiting when nostalgia is calling me. I still find the utmost gratification when getting to the end of a zone and beating doctor Robotnik (Eggman) and progressing on the next area to face another array of challenges and new enemies to try and defeat.
Helix Jump — Voodoo
A true titan of mobile gaming, 300m+ downloads in 2018 alone, the infamous Helix Jump by Voodoo. This title single handedly gave 100’s of developers an idea to change their mobile strategy and move to the green pastures of Hyper Casual. I don’t think there’s a better game out there for passing a few minutes of time, the concept is easy to understand and follow but hard to master at the latter levels, colour sequences change regularly so you definitely feel the progression through out and ultimately stay hooked trying to outdo your previous best score.
Gwent — CD Projekt Red
As a huge The Witcher fan (both from console gaming and the new Netflix TV show) it’s a must have here, I spent hours building out my deck and playing against people on the console version so now the fact that I get to play against other actual people opened an entire new universe of pleasure beating other, seemingly weaker to start and harder later, opponents. Whether your deck includes mythical monsters or black drabbed nilfgaardians the game play, card collection and PvP system will keep you hooked and going back for more (just don’t get too hooked as you can easily spend big on IAP).
Call of Duty: Mobile — Activision / Tencent
A game that I never thought would really happen, the development took from what I know of well over 2 years to complete and I’m glad it did. A major concern for me with MMO style games on mobile is the fact that the amount of data/wifi strength needed to result in non glitching smooth game play and no “ARGH I’m lagging” moments which thankfully hasn’t happened to me yet. The title takes all the best bits from the more well known console version into the smaller screen giving hours of fun heavy battle sequences, just don’t use a landmines unless you’re one of “those people”.
Pokemon Go! — Niantic
Imagine this, it’s summer 2016, a group of late 20’s early 30’s friends are all in the pub enjoying sweet conversation over a beverage. No, it was a time of friends buying portable chargers and walking their dogs 3 times a day, fixated on trying to catch the rarest Pokemon they could and getting to that magical 151 first generation number. Whilst the years have gone by, more generations of Pokemon have landed and even though I don’t play every day like I used to, I do play from time to time and the endless catalogue of Pocket Monsters to collect is incredible. This game is a true star appealing to both men and women and children of all ages, sadly Harry Potter: Wizard Unite wasn’t a follow up for Niantic but having even one game like this in your portfolio is enough to make you a billion dollar gaming company.
Plank — Kwalee
A game that’s very close to my heart, during my tenure at ironSource I worked very close with the team at Kwalee on dozens of titles and this was probably my favorite. The mechanic was simple but truly effective, hitting the timing and getting that “Perfect” was sublime, the competitive edge and need to go further than ever before to save those poor trapped animals from the cages was real to me. We had droves of people internally playing the game all trying to unlock that final animal which if I remember right was a score of 5000+ and I achieved under half of that. My favourite Hyper Casual game of all time.
Johnny Trigger — SayGames
I’m not sure what’s more addictive, the awesome gameplay or the thumping techno music and echoing sound of “headshot” every now that happens in beat when you nail a bad guy. SayGames have done wonders in their first year and this is by far my favourite title from them. I’m still doing backflips, baseball slides and hunting down bosses whilst trying to find that DragonBall Z Vegeta costume and laser gun that I’ve seen on Instagram but I’m sure it will be around the corner and in my possession soon….
Flippy Knife — Oleg Beresnev
Fortnite — Epic Games
Arena of Valor — Tencent
Paint Hit — MAG interactive
Duel Links — Konami