On the rise for a few years, mobile gaming came into its own in 2020, with revenues rising to nearly $59 billion in the first three quarters alone. From being an alternative, your own mobile device is quickly becoming a competitor to consoles and PCs. And why should the titles be behind?
From being dumbed-down versions of existing franchises, mobile games are striving to break new ground with top-tier productions to charming indie titles. So to help make up your mind and make your commutes and breaks easier, we present a list of upcoming mobile game titles that should satisfy all tastes.
But before we jump into it, make sure to get your iTunes Gift Cards for future mobile purchases! We’re sure that some of these games will tickle your fancy.
The Witcher: Monster Slayer
It is a great time to be a fan of developers CD Projekt Red. The massive open-world adventure Cyberpunk 2077 is ruling the charts, and the company’s signature franchise The Witcher is showing no signs of slowing down. The massively-popular Netflix series, starring Henry Cavill as the famous monster hunter, has already inspired two spinoffs. And the adventure is coming to your mobiles soon as well.
The fantasy world comes to iOS and Android as a free-to-play, augmented reality (AR) location-based RPG. Think Pokemon Go, only the monsters are less cute, darker, and Witcher-y. Set centuries before Geralt ever picked up the two swords, the game has you play as an inexperienced Witcher who must travel across the unnamed ‘Continent’ to take down monsters. These creatures, both new and familiar, will be superimposed on the screens of your mobiles as the real world transforms into the unforgiving terrains through the magic of AR.
Developed by Spokko, the game also lets you craft all the potions and items you need to get into battles. Real-world time and weather will also affect the proceedings. The Witcher: Monster Slayer is available for tests in several countries and is expected to release in the first half of 2021.
Mobile versions of successful console or PC games are often lazy cash-grabs. That doesn’t seem to be the case with Nier Re[in]carnation, which strives to carry the torch lit by the success of NieR Automata and its prequel NieR.
Though created by mobile-focused developers Applibot, the game is still being guided and produced by Yosuke Saito and Yoko Taro. Centered a bit more around platforming and exploration rather than the action-heavy two console titles, the game will have you control an unnamed female protagonist. She wakes up in a deserted part of the cluster known as “The Cage”. You will also be guided by a floating ghost-like character called Mama, scouring the world to collect memories which will be played in 2D. The Cage itself meanwhile is rendered in glorious 3D.
The game makes our list on a technicality. While it was set to be released on December 23, Nier Re[in]carnation was delayed to the first half of 2021 in Japan and might follow suit in other countries. There are concerns, however, over the announcement that the title will be a ‘gacha game’ — which means that there will be elements of loot boxes and random drops.
Project Cars: Go
Racing games and mobile go hand in hand (pun somewhat intended). And the latest chapter in this historically-successful relationship comes in the form of Project Cars 2. Slightly Mad Studios and Gamevil are bringing the successful series, which has sold more than 2 million copies worldwide, to handheld devices in the form of Project Cars: Go.
The previous games are known as authentic driving simulators and Project Cars: Go aims to replicate that experience on mobile with a twist. In a bid to make the game more accessible, Slightly Mad Studios have opted for a ‘One Touch’ control system, and the mechanic might be familiar to players of titles such as CSR Racing, where you can guide vehicles with single taps instead of accelerating and braking like in Forza Street.
All the other goodness from Project Cars are here, including 50 licensed cars with tons of customization and tracks from around the world, as well as three real-life circuits. The beta was launched in September and according to the developers, Project Cars: Go will rev into action in March 2021.
A heavy-duty collaboration effort, Spyjinx is a spy strategy game from Epic Games and Bad Robot Games — the production company of acclaimed sci-fi director J.J. Abrams.
Described as a “unique mix of action-strategy gameplay, RPG character development and head-to-head multiplayer”, Spyjinx lets you ensue in espionage and heist hijinks with crazy gadgets. The player, known as the Mastermind, can develop a specific character through the Roleplay mode. There’s also base building, which coupled with the multiplayer gameplay, will let you initiate raids and set up defenses; a system which sounds familiar (*cough* Clash of Clans *cough*).
The art style for the action-adventure title seems inspired by Epic Games‘ blockbuster hit Fortnite, which had its own espionage theme back in Season 2. Spyjinx launched a closed beta test on iOS in some countries back in April, and the release date isn’t confirmed as of yet. From the screenshots though, it appears that the speed determines success, and an ‘energy system’ will restrict player movements.
Ports or extensions of established IPs and franchises understandably generate hype, but mobile is a platform where quaint indies shine too. One such awaited title is Impossible Bottles from Honig Studios. The rhythm game has you playing as a scientist searching for an environment-friendly answer to the global energy crisis through the power of music. To do so, you fire up robots with streams of electricity synced with the music playing.
The single-tap gameplay is accessible, the hand-drawn artwork is imaginative and the original music should satiate fans of all eras; each robot represents a decade of electro, from the 1960s all the way up to the 2050s. But don’t get too comfortable, as even a single mistake in sync could wipe out the robots and induce a global blackout!
The levels are split between above ground — with minimal power and darkness — and below ground where you solve puzzles and repair machines. The surreal, charming, Impossible Bottles was scheduled for release last year but is being revised for a 2021 launch window.
The list above is just a taste of all the mobile gaming goodness in store for 2021. The medium is evolving rapidly, and our recommendations should be enough to answer all the whys and hows. So note down the names, keep an eye on the calendars, and game on!