Mobile Games

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Do you play games on your phone whenever you get a spare minute? Well, you’re not the only one. Experts estimate that 2.4 billion people collectively spent 554 billion hours playing cell games! 

With so many fun mobile games on offer, it is no wonder that the cell games sector is growing rapidly. But what exactly is it that can make some of the games on your phone so popular? What are the elements that turn a title into one of the best mobile games out there? Read on to learn more about it. First, though, let’s start with the basics. 

What are mobile games?

As the name suggests, these are games to play on the phone, but you can also play them on your tablet or smartwatch.

The first cell games were launched in 1994, though calculator games can technically count as the first mobile games. Some developers converted what were originally computer games for mobile devices while others developed games specifically for cell phones. Games of both varieties went on to become some of the most fun mobile games around. 

Today, free online mobile games hold a significant market share with experts estimating that the mobile gaming industry will capture more than 50% of the overall gaming market by 2022. While your phone might come with some of the best mobile games pre-installed, there is also a great variety of free game apps to explore. In fact, players rate some of the best free mobile games just as highly as the top mobile games in the paid charts.

What separates the best mobile games from the rest?

The most important factor driving the growth of good phone games across the world is the development of cell phone software. As the graphics capability of phones increased, the best mobile games were able to distinguish themselves by harnessing it to raise their quality to match the level of PC titles

Further, the best mobile games tweaked and optimized their game design to deliver short, memorable sessions and fast-paced action. Most people search for games to play on the phone when they’re taking a short break or are commuting, and so this matches perfectly with what they’re looking for. Killing a few minutes of time on free game apps is the number one use case that developers of cell games are targeting. The best free phone games have figured out how to deliver the most fulfilling experience in the shortest bursts of time. 

Mobile game genres

Whether you’re looking for free online mobile games or paid ones that can be played offline, there’s something catering to every taste! 

Casual mobile games

Some of the best free mobile games are in this genre. In fact, numerous experts attribute the rise of mobile games mainly to casual gaming. For many, they represent everything that is great about mobile games: they're simple to learn and are constantly rewarding to play.

They are also easy games to play on the phone while on the go since many of them can be played with one hand. Combine all this with a constant stream of gameplay innovations and it’s not hard to see why a wide range of people rate these titles as the most fun mobile games to play. 

Battle Royale mobile games

That said, many hardcore gamers believe the best online phone games are in the Battle Royale genre. These cell games pit you against several other real players at a time. To win, you will need to explore, scavenge and battle your opponents in order to survive as the last man standing. 

The thrilling gameplay makes it extremely watchable, which has helped the Battle Royale genre take eSports by storm. If you’re looking for games on your phone that will deliver a shot of adrenaline, you can’t go wrong with this genre!

Puzzle games

Although some consider them a subgenre of casual gaming, puzzle games are so beloved that they deserve a special place among online phone games. When it comes to this genre, the best mobile games are those that keep the gameplay simple but entertaining.

We all love evergreen classics like crosswords and sudoku, of course, but the best free mobile games in this category have invariably been match 3 puzzles. With no end to the variety of level design options, these games can be endlessly engaging for years. Another beloved type is the hidden object subgenre, which challenges your observation skills and keeps you sharp. 

Action games

This genre has no shortage of good phone games. The most famous ones are usually shooters or survival games. Platformers are another popular subgenre here, with a number of classic characters making the jump across from consoles to free phone games

These games generally test skills like your coordination and reflexes. The feeling of accomplishment upon finishing a game is arguably why players love them so much.

RPG Games

RPGs are another genre that successfully made the leap across to mobile, with a variety of good phone games to choose from. This is a genre that has been popular for a long time on PC, and its subgenres have captured a strong foothold in the mobile space. The most popular one currently is the collection MMORPG subgenre, which requires players to collect numerous characters and level them up to compete in battles. 

While these titles often require a lot of time unlike other genres as players need to “grind” to level characters up, they still retain that pick-up-and-play quality that is synonymous with online mobile games. In addition, the top RPGs usually have immense gameplay depth to keep players satisfied for years. 

Monetization of mobile games

Over the last few years, free mobile games have become the norm. Several top mobile games have entirely shifted to a free-to-play model and their success has spurred others to do the same. This means that you won’t need to worry about paying any money upfront when playing most of the games on your phone. 

That makes us wonder: how do developers fund all these free phone games we enjoy? The answer is that many free game apps use some secondary monetization methods to generate revenue.


These mobile games contain a part of the game for free, like the first few levels. Then, you will have to pay to unlock extra features or levels. This method is less common among the top mobile games as the consumer reaction to it is often less than enthusiastic and other more effective monetization methods have been developed. 

Some developers still like using soft paywalls, though, where a few customization options or branching story arcs might require hard currency and so it doesn’t hinder players from completing the core game loop. 

Virtual Goods

Many of the top games monetize with in-app purchases. These include vanity items, boosts, consumables, and power enhancements. Vanity items usually just help you stand out visually, while power enhancements and boosts can have long-term effects on your core game experience. 

Some developers package these items with a gacha mechanic where your chances of getting them depend on your luck. This mechanic is increasingly gaining popularity since the rush of opening a chest and getting that ultra rare item is simply unmatched!


Another common method for free mobile games to generate income is by allowing ads within the game. These can vary from rewarded ads that provide something in-game in return for watching to branded content where companies can embed their ad inside the core game, like a pitchside advertising board inside a football game. Many of the top online phone games also cross-advertise in other game apps with fun little playable ads. 


Some free online mobile games use this approach. As with other virtual goods, different games have varying approaches. Some are traditional in that they restrict some higher level features and require a monthly fee to play the full games on your phone, while others may give persistent bonuses and other benefits to help you progress faster in exchange. 

A newer approach that is gathering steam is the Battle Pass, which has a tiered system with gradually improving rewards depending on how many challenges you complete. A subscription can give you access to additional reward tiers and unlock extra benefits as well as challenges through the Battle Pass. 

Options for Everyone

Whether you're an Android fanatic or in love with your iPhone or iPad, a brave new gaming world awaits you. So many titles are released each year that it is hard to determine the best mobile games among them. There is only one way to settle this – get your smartphone out and start playing!