As a busy adult who is always on the run doing adult things – like paying bills and being tired – I’m not ashamed to admit that my iPhone is where I spend the most time playing video games. The best video game platform at any given time is the one you have with you, so it goes without saying that if you play games on your phone, you should at least be playing excellent ones. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the best mobile games of 2022 so far.
In this article, you’ll find a list mobile games that GamesHub staff (well, mostly just me) have personally been spending an obscene amount of time on. Most are attached to mobile game subscription services like Apple Arcade and Netflix (and devoid of in-app purchases), some are obtained with a one-off purchase, and some are free-to-play with optional microtransactions. But all the games here have been picked because we think they’re great to play as-is, and because they don’t require you to sink additional money to have a fantastic time with them.
Have we missed out on something great? Be sure to tell us on Twitter.
Here are our picks for the best mobile games of 2022 so far:
If you’re after a list of what we think are the best games of 2022 overall, or some console-specific lists, head over to one of the following articles:
From the creator of the excellent Downwell, a game where you endlessly tumble into a pit, shoot guns from your feet, and do your best not to ever touch the ground, comes Poinpy. It’s a game where you have to collect fruit with your juice maker, and feed it to a giant cat.
But it might as well be called ‘Upwell’, since Poinpy shares the same kind of excellent and compulsive action-platforming principles of trying to chart a course through the stage by bouncing off walls and enemies in an effort to never touch the ground – which rewards you with the high of earning big score multipliers.
Read: Netflix Games finally has its killer apps, thanks to Devolver Digital
An always satisfying ‘pull-back and launch’-style touchscreen control schemes make it a joy to interact with, as does Poiny’s squishy nature, as well as a number of different stage mechanics that help you overcome gravity to achieve constant upward momentum. It feels so giddying to achieve a great run, because of the quick thinking required to do so, and because of how quickly you can be stopped in your tracks.
Its announcement and sudden release were a delightful surprise. The fact that it’s an exclusive game to Netflix subscribers makes it even more surprising, but it was certainly the first real winner in the video streamer’s new mobile game strategy. Best mobile game of the year so far? I say yes. – Edmond Tran
Forget Wordle. Forget it! It’s just not the same since the New York Times purchased it, says the word-game hipster. Instead, focus your energy on the absolute best new mobile (and PC) word game this year, Knotwords from Zach Gage and Jack Schlesinger, both of which have worked on incredibly-designed mobile games like Good Sudoku and Spelltower, among many others.
Simple, elegant, and incredibly clever, you can think of playing Knotwords like solving a crossword, only it’s cut up into a variety of sizes, each with its own small pool of letters that must be used. Kind of like a sudoku puzzle, but with letters.
The fact that it’s not a straightforward anagram solve makes the feeling of accomplishment much sweeter – often you’ll have to piece the word together from multiple pools of letters. With the difficulty of the standard set of puzzles gradually escalating over the course of the week, it’s an incredibly satisfying game to keep up with. Overcoming the absolutely massive Sunday puzzle will make you feel like a genius.
Kudos must also be given to the game’s generous approach to daily streaks. If you forget to play one day, not all is lost – simply start and maintain another 7-day streak and you’ll retrieve your old streak and stack that new one on top. It’s a very friendly and welcome approach that makes Knotwords all the more delightful. – Edmond Tran
I’ve always liked the ebb and flow of collectable card games, but I generally seem to reach a point where I get completely lost in the sheer depth of them. The strategies get too numerous, building a workable deck of 30+ different cards fries my brain, and I often realise 3 minutes into most matches that I don’t have a chance in hell of winning or getting better. Marvel Snap solves these very particular problems for me, with its fast, focused, but no-less complex game design.
Created by former Hearthstone director and designer Ben Brode and several other Hearthstone veterans, Marvel Snap draws from the deep well of Marvel Comics characters to build a mechanically rich and varied card game, but one where matches are limited to only 6 turns in total (taken simultaneously by both players), and decks are limited to 12 cards.
The goal is to accrue the most ‘power’ at 2 of 3 locations, which are randomised from a large pool of locations each match, with each affecting the game in different ways – meaning you can’t necessarily play a deck you know inside-out on auto-pilot. That’s pretty smart!
The result is an incredibly snappy (heh) and dynamic card game where you’re in the thick of the action in less than a minute, poring over your possible moves, future setups, and how the locations on the board will help or hinder you this time. Before you know it, you’ve hit the high-stakes climax, the match is over, and you’re instantly craving more.
Being a free-to-play game, Marvel Snap did run into a bit of controversy around a monetised event during its soft launch. However, the development team were quick to respond, scrapping future events like it, returning any currency players sunk into it, and distributing its awards for all. The move bodes well for the future of the game. Personally, I haven’t felt the need to spend to progress yet – card acquisition is largely randomised for all players, with real-world money only really affording you cosmetic variations of cards and additional in-game currency.
With the dozens of hours I’ve already poured into this, I have no hesitations in recommending Marvel Snap for the card game-curious. – Edmond Tran
Can you really argue with an Apple Design Award winner? The Australian-developed Wylde Flowers is one of many life simulator games that have cropped up in the wake of Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing: New Horizons, but thoughtful touches (and a magical twist) in Wylde Flowers go a long way.
It’s got everything you’d expect – farming, animal rearing, fishing, hunting, romance, etc. – all wrapped up in a lovely aesthetic. The streamlining of certain activities makes the daily tasks of maintaining your farm far less onerous (especially for a mobile game!) but it’s the game’s approach to narrative which really makes it stand out from similar titles.
Where games like this often sport a cute, lighthearted facade, as well as a mute protagonist to aid with the pure, cosy escapism, Wylde Flowers actually turns that idea on its head. Throughout the game, vocal protagonist Tara (who also happens to be a witch) actually encounters major prejudice from the inhabitants in her new home, and her struggle to become accepted mirrors the struggle she has in revitalising her family’s farm (as well as real life issues). It’s a heartfelt story that brings real narrative stakes into the game – an additional hook for keen players.
Read: How Wylde Flowers incorporates escape and empowerment
Wylde Flowers is certainly one of the highlights on the Apple Arcade subscription service this year, and absolutely worth a look if you need a fresh new life sim you can pick up and play at almost any time. – Edmond Tran
Into The Breach
Into The Breach is, hands down, one of the best games of all time (at least, according to me). It’s a perfectly-distilled turn-based strategy game, where every move you make has the capacity to completely turn the tide of a battle. In the game’s perpetual war between giant mechs and bug-like kaiju (portrayed in adorable fashion), battles take place on an 8×8 chess-like grid, with every enemy movement resulting in a devastating amount of destruction to buildings and your mech team – unless you can stop it.
Every upcoming enemy action is clearly telegraphed, as are the results of your possible actions, which means there’s a lot of mental exercise happening in Into The Breach. The game features a large number of mechs and themed squads, each with their own, singular, unique abilities.
You’ll make tough decisions and sacrifices – block an attack and lose the life of your pilot, or sacrifice the citizens and risk losing the whole campaign? You’ll learn that pushing and pulling enemies is often far more effective than killing bugs outright. You’ll pore over every possible move to make sure the result of the effect is ultimately beneficial. You’ll somehow pull off impossible ‘Hail Mary’ manoeuvres using your abilities in creative new ways.
Into The Breach is absolutely incredible. And it’s even better when it’s on a gaming platform you always have with you. Arriving in 2022 as part of Netflix’s exclusive mobile game offerings to subscribers, it’s joined Poinpy in making Netflix Games seem like an essential service – particularly with its good touchscreen interface and all the new features in the game’s Advanced Edition update.
The best game of all time, now on mobile? It’s an easy inclusion for one of the best mobile games of 2022. – Edmond Tran
Before Your Eyes
There’s no denying that we were pretty skeptical about Netflix’s foray into mobile games, but given that Before Your Eyes is the third Netflix exclusive on this list of ‘Best Mobile Games in 2022’, it’s fair to say the streamer has definitely turned things around this year, and won us over.
Like Into The Breach, Before Your Eyes was a pre-existing game that was released to great acclaim, and now seems like the perfect fit for mobile. An incredibly moving narrative game about looking back on life in the face of death, the truly remarkable thing about Before Your Eyes is that it’s a video game you control with your eyes.
As you recall the life events of the main protagonist, you’ll interact with the world using your blinks. A blink, whether intentional or accidental, will cause your flashbacks to jump forward in time, meaning your comprehension of the incredible story might be different to someone else’s, depending on how dry or itchy your eyes get.
It’s literally a game where life flashes before your eyes, and it feels especially suited to mobile devices. Every smartphone these days has a camera, after all, and we spend so much time staring at them and holding them so close our faces that this method of storytelling in Before Your Eyes feels so perfectly organic. – Edmond Tran
How strange it is to have a brand new arcade game from legendary SEGA designer Yu Suzuki in 2022 – the mind behind 1990s classics Outrun, Super Hang-On and many more. And how strange it is that it’s an Apple Exclusive mobile game.
The medium, and this style of arcade design, is actually a match made in heaven here: Air Twister is a shoot-em-up game that feels best when you play through it once and leave, to give it another go in future. Kind of like revisiting an arcade machine every so often.
Essentially a spiritual successor to Suzuki’s Space Harrier, Air Twister is a ‘flying forward’ style shooter where you fly through 3D stages and lock-on to enemies to eliminate them (think more recent titles like Rez and Panzer Dragoon). The aesthetics are like a 1970s retro-futuristic fever dream, with a soundtrack that’s channelling its best Queen impersonation, complete with a falsetto vocalist that sometimes narrates what’s going on in the game through song.
Though you’ll be playing the same stages over and over again, a long meta-progression track rewards you for returning, helping you unlock new cosmetic outfits, new abilities, and new weapons, which evolves how you approach those same stages in an effort to get to later levels more quickly.
It’s a strangely endearing game, and part of me thinks that this just wouldn’t fly with any other video game publisher or platform. So kudos to you both, Yu Suzuki and Apple, for making this cool thing happen. – Edmond Tran
There’s nothing like a good mobile roguelike to keep you occupied as you begin to half-watch a TV show on the couch, eventually devoting 100% of your attention to what’s happening in the game as the stakes get high.
Dicey Dungeons was originally a PC and console game, but its simple mechanics, strategic thinking, and bright, colourful aesthetic make it feel perfectly at home on a mobile device – even moreso than my previous roguelike mobile go-to, Slay the Spire.
Working with the idea that you have to deal with the hand (or rather, dice) you’re dealt, Dicey Dungeons is a dungeon crawler with turn-based battles where the power of your attacks, and effectiveness of your abilities, is determined by the dice you roll at the start of each turn and how you use them.
It’s not all about rolling 6’s – a variety of character classes feature unique abilities that might require lower numbers, or a specific combination of numbers, and powers that manipulate the value of your die come in very handy there.
There’s an innate satisfaction that comes with rolling a bunch of dice, and there’s also an innate satisfaction from putting the perfect number in exactly the right slot to do a bunch of damage to one of the many quirky enemies.
It’s one of those perfect pick-up and play games you can jump into for a few minutes without needing sound on, or to spend hours in, while you jam to the frankly excellent soundtrack by Chipzel. – Edmond Tran
Are there any iOS or Android mobile games you think we’ve missed in this list of the best mobile games in 2022? Let us know on Twitter: @GamesHubDotCom.