The popular way to describe the first Reigns is something along the lines of a combination between Game of Thrones and Tinder. The same can be said for the sequel, Reigns: Her Majesty, a game where you take the role of a monarch — in this case a queen, unlike the king in the first game — and you have to make choices by swiping right or left.
Monument Valley is one of the best mobile games ever made, and one that is extremely important to the development of mobile as a platform. It’s one of the first truly huge single-player games on phones, and the sequel, Monument Valley 2, is better in just about every way.
Ironhide Game Studio probably doesn’t need to innovate much to continue producing quality games. Kingdom Rush is fantastic, as are both of the follow-ups, despite not changing much with the formula. As I said, they don’t need to make big changes … but they did with their latest release, Iron Marines, and it’s worked out fantastically.
Thimbleweed Park is an adventure game made in the style of the classics and made by a pair very familiar with the classics in Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick, creators of Maniac Mansion and Monkey Island. It’s a noir mystery set in 1987, and has shades of Twin Peaks in its bizarre but charming story.
There are shades of Monument Valley, Journey and even some Legend of Zelda, at least from where I’m sitting. It’s an inspired world, carefully built from end to end, and visually, stands out above all else this year.
You know that feeling when you’re asked to describe a game and your mind just blanks? I have been playing Million Onion Hotel for the past couple of months, and I’m still not sure I can answer that question. But that’s half of what makes the game so interesting.
The whole thing is a tribute to the VHS era of horror/slasher films, and it nails the aesthetic in a big way. There are multiple killer skins you can find (or purchase) and the game features some of the silliest killing animations out there. It’s not subtle, but it’s also up-front about that. This is as silly as an overly bloody game can get, and it feels great to play.
Cat Quest is an adorable action RPG from The Gentlebros about saving your sister from an evil sorcerer. Along the way you’ll travel across the land completing quests and fighting a variety of monsters, with witty and cute banter to accompany you.
Card Thief is a card-based stealth game from TiNYTOUCHTALES and Arnold Rauers, the second such game from those developers to appear on our list this year. The first was Miracle Merchant, which we called the No. 16 Android game of 2016, but before that game came out, Card Thief was taking up all of our time.
Love You to Bits is a point-and-click adventure puzzler from Enric Jorda and Alike Studio, developers behind the equally charming classic, Tiny Thief. That game is no longer available due to Rovio removing the game from Google Play, but this newest game was self-published and has found critical acclaim on all platforms.