Smartphones have always had the potential to become powerful video game machines. With processing power and built-in graphics cards that rival and outperform today's portable consoles, most smartphones are more than capable of running many of today's titles. However, due to the lack of support from Apple and Google, the app stores of both services were full of games that, instead of prioritizing fun, looked for ways to monetize, exploiting casino mechanics, gambling and swallowing. -currencies, instead of giving us memorable experiences. Apple and Google had in their hands the power to finish with video game consoles as such, but by not giving enough support – highlighting the real games – giving them the necessary value, the stores were filled with garbage.
Luckily, all of this is slowly changing and 2017 brought some of the best mobile games in a long time. Somehow, it feels like both iOS and Android are maturing as platforms; enough so that studios risk again offering us quality titles, at reasonable prices.
This year, for example, I played Professor Layton's latest adventure, Laytons Mystery Journey, on my iPhone. Given the nature of the game – various puzzles that are solved through the touch screen – the game was perfect for mobile. Level 5, the developers, bet first on mobile, launching it on iOS first, followed by Android and finally the Nintendo 3DS.
Other pleasant surprises came from The Witness, Life is Strange and The Talos Principle. Games that, like Layton, work brilliant on a touch screen because they are mainly Puzzles games. But whose graphic quality did not cease to amaze me. Life is Strange, in particular, caught my attention quite a bit. Featuring one of the best charismatic stories and characters in a long time, this epic title ($ 2.99 per episode) is shown in all its glory, with Unreal Engine 4 running smoothly on my iPhone 8 Plus or iPad Pro 9.7.
And the surprises this year have not stopped coming. If yours are not puzzle games, but platform games, two excellent titles in this genre have recently reached the Apple App Store: FEZ, an acclaimed platform title that works great on iOS, and Inside, a platform game / puzzle with a spectacular story and setting:
For these games where touching the screen is not the optimal method of control, we have controls such as the Steelseries Nimbus that turn our iPad or iPhone into a true video game machine.
Despite having the Switch – and also the Playstation Vita and 3DS – this year I found myself many times simply carrying my iPad, which I carry with me everywhere to work (that's where I write most articles) – next to the Nimbus, for to play. Apart from Inside and Fez, I usually play quite a lot of Neon Chrome, an excellent dual stick shooter, Sproggywood, a very fun rogue-lite, and many, many more titles, such as Grid AutoSport, Oxenfree, Frost, Death Road to Canada, Planescape: Torment, Morphite , Legend of Grimrock, Downwell, Neverending Nightmares, Gorogoa. The list of quality games is quite long.
The point is simple: the App Store has once again been filled with titles worth playing. Titles with premium prices, but that give us premium experiences. Games that have nothing to envy other platforms and that we can take with us everywhere because, well, today, we do not detach ourselves from our smartphones at all.