If you’re like us, you’re probably easily overwhelmed by mobile gaming. Jumping on the App/Play Store, you’re immediately assaulted with a plethora of games of several different genres. There are thousands of poor clones and microtransaction-filled cash grabs, and with dozens coming out every day, it’s hard to filter through all the noise and find the games that truly deserve your attention — of which there are plenty, including several exciting and original experiences we can’t wait to get our hands on this year.
That said, here’s a list of our most anticipated mobile games of 2018. We think there will be something here for everyone, whether you dig strategic challenges, cryptic puzzles, wielding magic, playing with friends and family, or getting lost in love stories. Regardless, we think you’ll be blown away by the unique and vibrant art style of each, as they are all visually striking. Anyhow, let’s dig into them!
Bad North (from Plausible Concept)
Strategy games on mobile devices have frequently been limited to tower defense titles or have just ended up being more time-management sims, lacking the depth strategy nerds want deep down. But Plausible Concept aims to bring a strategy experience to mobile this year, which is often reserved for game consoles, with Bad North
Following the story of a young Prince and Princess, Bad North sees you attempt to regain your lost kingdom and islands from a relentless viking horde. You’ll be bouncing around from island to island, protecting and recruiting nobles and commoners you meet along the way from the Nordic raiders. But each battle will be different, so you’ll have to be own your toes and adapt your strategies for each new environment.
Despite Bad North being a somewhat brutal affair, in which defeat is only one wrong step away, the developers strive to make the controls and gameplay as accessible as possible. Not an easy task for a real time strategy game on mobile, but one they have approached through having seemingly mainstreamed tactics and by making the controls simple and easy to jump in. However, there’s plenty of depth hidden away in how each unit works, so it won’t just be a walk in the park.
Although Bad North is also heading to PC and consoles, it looks to be right at home on mobile devices, with a vibrant, minimalistic art style, with less of a focus on realism and instead on creating its own aesthetic.
If you’ve been looking for a deeper strategy experience on your phone, then the charming yet brutal Bad North may be the perfect fit.
Sky (from That Game Company)
Coming to iOS platforms in 2018 is Sky, the follow up to That Game Company’s magnificent, gorgeous and Game of the Year Award-winning Journey. In it, you’ll venture through a desolate, beautiful floating kingdom in the sky, in a persistent online world that you will be able to experience with friends and family.
Similarly to Journey, Sky focuses players’ time around climbing to the top of the largest peak in its cloud kingdom. It appears playing with others will be a key element to the experience, as you explore mystical temples and fly through the endless sky, all with the use of a couple of simple touch commands. It’s god damn beautiful, and I want to lose myself in it for hours, dancing through the dazzling clouds and stunning mountains.
Arriving exclusively to iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV) to begin with, Sky looks like such an elegant and wondrous game, giving That Game Company a great chance at encapsulating fans all over again with its whimsical style and collaborative gameplay and tone.
The Gardens Between (from The Voxel Agents)
Are you are a big puzzle fan but want a bit more heart and soul to them? Then The Gardens Between from The Voxel Agents is one to keep an eye on. A visually stunning puzzle game in which two best friends, Arina and Frendt, use time manipulation to move through and explore a surreal world of garden islands.
The beautiful environments and world are sure to capture your attention and bring you in, but the surprisingly deep story and smart, intricate puzzles will likely keep you playing. Together, the young duo will travel forwards and backwards through memories to solve puzzles and learn each other’s secrets, revealing a deeper story about their friendship and growing up together.
After playing it at PAX Aus last year, I can safely say the puzzles and levels are great. It’s incredible how much of each level and environment is incorporated into each puzzle and solution — manipulating time to build paths that used to exist, swapping items between the two friends you control at the same time, and clever visual cues. At the end of the demo, I just wanted more of these intricate and satisfying puzzles and to see how the narrative explores the friendship between Arina and Frendt.
Like Bad North, The Gardens Between is coming to PS4 and PC, but it’ll truly be at home in your hand. Although only Apple devices have been confirmed so far, there’s a good chance it’ll eventually make its way to Android, too.
Florence (from Mountains)
One game from this list you’ll be able to play very soon is Florence, the first title from the Melbourne studio Mountains. Twenty-five-yearold Florence Yeoh has been in an all-too-familiar rut and cycle of chores, work, and sleep, but that all changes when she meets a cello player named Krish. Florence tells the tale of their young love, the crazy highs and bitter lows that accompany it, and, of course, celebrating love itself.
Taking inspiration from slice of life graphic novels and webcomics, Florence is a visual novel told through various mini-game vignettes encapsulating Florence and Krish’s relationship. From brushing your teeth in the morning together to texting each other when apart, each episode depicts and delves into the everyday stuff relationships go through, but also shows the more tender and intimate moments as well.
Having created a game about love and relationships, the developers would be remiss not to utlise a certain holiday. Yes, Florence is coming out on the 14th of February (just to iOS devices for the time being, unfortunately) and is an experience you’ll want to play through with your significant other to make it all the more special.
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery (from Portkey Games)
The most highly-anticipated game on this list by far has to be Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, the latest Harry Potter spinoff title in which you’ll be able to create your own character and experience life as a Hogwarts student. Are you already sold? I thought so, but let me give you some more details anyhow so you know what you’ll be spending hours upon hours obsessing over later this year.
Set prior to Harry Potter’s arrival at Hogwarts, you’ll be exploring a relatively unknown period in the HP universe, but one that’s sure to be filled with plenty of familiar elements you’ve come to love reading the books and watching the movies. Throughout your seven years (yes, you go through every year!) at Hogwarts, you’ll likely cross paths with the likes of Bill Weasley and Severus Snape, while mastering spells and magical abilities, attending classes with various famous professors, socializing, and battling fellow Hogwarts students.Story-wise, no details on Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery have been shared, but given the name, it’s fair to say there will be some sort of mystery to solve as you complete your school-related tasks.
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery has the potential to be the next big mobile game fad, following Pokemon GO in 2016, which took the world by storm. Although I think Pokemon has a greater appeal, Harry Potter is a huge franchise, and if Hogwarts Mystery gives us the experience I hope it does, with in-depth RPG elements and significant ability to upgrade your character and fun online activities to do with friends, and is worth revisiting on a regular basis, then it could be what we all end up talking about and playing throughout 2018.
Well, there they are! Are you as excited as us? Already pre-ordering Florence in anticipation of its release next week? Or can’t wait to create your own character in Hogwarts Mystery and experience life as a student at Hogwarts? Did we miss some you are eager to play in 2018? Let us know in the comments.