Best mobile games for iOS and Android to play in 2024

 (ES composite)
(ES composite)

Mobile games as we know them today are just about old enough to drive. The Apple App Store opened in 2008 and changed everything.

Sure, there were Java and Symbian games for phones out for years before that, and the beloved Nokia Snake. But app stores didn’t just make mobile games appeal to millions of fresh faces; many of those who now play regularly would never have considered themselves even casual gamers in the first place.

Looking for something new to play? Here are 12 mobile games we think you should not miss, including golden oldies that still shine bright today and much newer titles that may have slipped under your radar.

The Room

What is it? Escape room puzzler

The first The Room game is more than a decade old, but still feels fresh today. It’s a puzzle game that plays out in 3D, one of the original escape room video games, before such things had even gone truly mainstream in “real life”. Once you’re done with this roughly three-hour adventure, we also recommend all the sequels. There are three on mobile, and all are great.

Slay the Spire

What is it? A classic card battler

Want to see hundreds of hours of your life evaporate before your eyes? Try this challenging card game. You work you way through a dungeon, representing the floors of a spire. As you progress, you build up your deck and fight nasties, each playing out as a card game.


What is it? It’s Minecraft

Many classic mobile games disappear into the past. An end to updates eventually means a title won’t work any more. But Minecraft is updated regularly, and has been since the mobile version came out in 2011. It’s a cultural phenomenon, and one of the few ostensibly non-educational games that feels both (potentially) educational and creative. You build things in a generated world, either just for the fun of it in Creative mode, or to survive in the main monster-filled mode where resources are more scarce.

Bloons TD 6

What is it? Cartoony tower defence

Of all the tower defence games that would persevere from the genre’s heyday in 2008, you might not expect one such title to star a monkey who pops balloons with a dart. But that is what happens with Bloons. You position monkey turrets across a playfield to pop balloons before they reach the end of a trail. It’s starts easy, but this game has deceptive depth. You could easily spend hundreds of hours on it.

Marvel Snap

What is it? Marvel-themed rapid card battler

We tend to be sceptical of free-to-play games, and having a big brand attached doesn’t help. But this free-to-play Marvel game is a blast. In each round, which lasts just a few minutes, you play cards that represent Marvel superheroes against another player. The fun is in finding wild synergies that ramp up your power to incredible levels.


What is it? Artistic puzzle adventure

Appreciate Gorgoa while you still can. This beautiful puzzle adventure hasn’t been updated since 2020, and already does not function on modern Android phones. Have an iPhone? You’re in luck. Gorgoa is presented like a picture book, with each page, each frame, containing a puzzle or a sliver of story. It won a Debut Game Bafta in 2018.

Rolando: Royal Edition

What is it? A classic puzzle platformer from the early days of the iPhone

Rolando has a realistic claim to be the first truly great iPhone game. It’s as much an important historical record as anything else. It came out in 2008, and is a cute platformer made to embrace the control inputs of the iPhone. You turn the phone to move the game’s characters, and manually manipulate level elements using the touchscreen. The game was removed from the App Store in 2017, but returned in 2019 as Rolando: Royal Edition, with remastered visuals. Sadly, Rolando 2 never got the same treatment.

Monument Valley

What is it? Artistic puzzler

The darling of the mobile game evangelists for years, Monument Valley is an artistic and atmospheric puzzler that plays with perspective. You move parts of a level to allow a character to make it from one end to the other. It won Apple’s iPad game of the year in 2014, but is well worth playing a decade later. You can also finish Monument Valley in a couple of hours, making it the polar opposite of attention hoarders like Candy Crush.

Jetpack Joyride

What is it? Endless runner with style

Most mobile game fans have probably played an endless runner, where you attempt to keep your character moving and alive for as long as possible. Jetpack Joyride is one of the best endless runners of all time. You play as Barry Steakfries, a chap who breaks into a secret (and evil) lab and steals their experimental machine gun jetpack.

80 Days

What is it? Visual novel meets board game

This title comes from one of the master developers of video game storytelling, Inkle. 80 Days is part board game, part interactive fiction. You play as Jean Passepartout, the valet of explorer Phineas Fogg of, you may know this one, Jules Verne’s 80 Days Around the World. Your aim is to make it across the globe and back, but that’s easier said than done. 80 Days is all about the journey, though, and even failed journeys are fulfilling thanks to the brilliant writing.

Japanese Rural Life Adventure

What is it? Stardew Valley, in Japan

Japanese Rural Life Adventure has a clear inspiration, Stardew Valley. You fix up a house in the Japanese Countryside, grow crops, fish and generally work to be self-sufficient in a cosy and wholesome virtual world. But it’s only for iPhone and iPad users for now, as it’s an Apple Arcade exclusive. The rest will have to play the OG, Stardew Valley, but we find a specific charm in the style and sounds of Japanese Rural Life Adventure.

Honkai Star Rail

What is it? Epic RPG with turn-based combat

It’s a minor miracle a game this big can fit in a phone. Honkai Star Rail is a roleplaying game with turn-based combat, full console-grade visuals and a sprawling story. And you can play it for free, although it’s what’s known as a gacha game, meaning you can pay to unlock random items in-game. It’s feasible to play for an awful long time for free, though. And if you prefer the idea of an exploratory action adventure over an RPG, try sister title Genshin Impact instead.