It was quite a year in the mobile side of the industry. Plenty of games from indie developers, big names like Halfbrick, and even some PC and console ports all made their debut on iOS and Android this year. There’s so much to choose from, and 2016 is honestly bursting at the seams with incredible mobile experiences.

There’s a little bit of everything for everyone, too. From endless runners to puzzle games to Tinder-like royalty management sims. The following isn’t exhaustive, but it is relatively all-encompassing in terms of what kinds of experiences iOS and Android have to offer. There’s never been a better time to play games on smartphones.

'Love You To Bits' is an imaginative mobile adventure. 

Love You To Bits

Love You To Bits makes you rethink the point-and -click adventure game, abandoning text-based exposition and inventory management for clever puzzles contained within a series of levels. You’re on a mission to collect the bits and pieces of your robot girlfriend that have been sprinkled across the galaxy after she’s been sucked into a wormhole. It’s a charming story tied to a colorful, well-imagined universe that’s a delight to explore.

The peasantry isn't afraid to talk back to you. 


Reigns caused a stir when it was introduced this year as a game that melded Game of Thrones and Tinder together to create an oddly addictive cocktail. You’ll need to keep the populace happy while making sure that the army and the church are satisfied as well. There’s a lot of political wheeling and dealing paired with resource management as you try to keep the royal coffers from running dry. Well written, dark wit completes the package.

'Samorost 3' is a beautiful journey by the people who made 'Machinarium'. 

Samorost 3

Samorost 3 is the first in the series to come to mobile, the previous two entries being flash games from the early 00s. It’s an interstellar journey to try and put a stop to a force threatening the entire galaxy. Players assume the role of Gnome, who travels from planet to planet exploring beautifully wrought worlds that resemble organic, plant-like growths. You’ll meet a fascinating cast of characters along the way. Samorost 3 throws puzzles at you that are challenging, but rewarding. It’s without a doubt one of the most unique experiences on mobile this year.

'Pokémon GO' was the game to beat this summer. 

Pokémon GO

Pokémon GO is divisive, without a doubt, but theres no denying its impact. Niantic Labs used Ingress as a skeleton for this AR Pokémon catching game, creating a huge frenzy this summer as the game seized the country in its grasp. Despite a number of design flaws and frustrations, Pokémon GO stands out for its ability to encourage people to explore and learn more about their neighborhoods while working with random strangers to become champion Pokémon trainers.

Severed weaves a dark, bloody, yet hopeful story. 


Severed is one of the most unique titles to launch on mobile in 2016, with its mesmerizing yet horrific artstyle and understated story. Severed tells the tale of Sasha, a girl trapped in purgatory trying to save her loved ones from an eternity of suffering in limbo. Armed with a one-eyed sword, she explores a series of labyrinthine dungeons, solving puzzles and fighting enemies along the way. The game makes great use of the platform’s touch controls as you swipe and tap, managing time and racing to destroy groups of enemies as they confront you. It’s a story well-told and a dungeon crawler that will find exciting ways to surprise you at each turn.

'Mini Metro' is a fine example of what game design can accomplish. 

Mini Metro

Mini Metro, a subway management game of sorts, sounds terribly boring in theory, but in reality is an accomplished puzzler. Connect stations with skill to ensure that your metro network is running as efficiently as possible. Its simple, iconic design is easy on the eye, especially when your little metro system expands into a complicated urban sprawl. Things get quite challenging as your network expands and you have to accommodate larger crowds of people, but the game is always fair.

Vulture Island is a creative take on an old genre. 

Vulture Island

This clever take on the retro platformer allows players to switch between different characters with different abilities. You’ll need to explore each level carefully to find all that’s hidden there, and you’ll even need to return later on to solve puzzles and open gates once you’ve found tools or abilities to help you access what was once locked away. What could easily be another generic retro riff is actually quite smart, with excellent, non-linear level design and entertaining characters.

'Chameleon Run' is a fast-paced brain teaser. 

Chameleon Run

Mobile may be inundated with endless runners, but Chameleon Run easily makes a case for itself. You control a set of colored blocks, jumping from platform to platform using the game’s flawless controls. The catch is, you can only jump on a platform that’s the same color as you, so you’ll have to think ahead, tapping the left side of the screen to change to the correct color before landing. It’s tough, but the cerebral aspect of what could be a very pretty, generic endless runner makes Chameleon Run some of the most fun we’ve had on mobile this year.

'Lost in Harmony' is definitely the biggest tearjerker of 2016. 

Lost in Harmony

Lost in Harmony is gorgeous in every regard. Set to an orchestrated soundtrack, the game is a combination of both endless runner and rhythm game. Every action you take must be in time to the music. The game’s fantastic story keeps the pace, pushing you forward to its climax. We don’t want to spoil anything, but we can say it’s one of the most affecting stories in a game we’ve seen this year.

'Solitaire' for RPG fans


Having played Solitairica, it’s safe to say that plain old Solitaire still has a few tricks up its lonely little sleeve. This reimagining of the classic card game drops you into a Dungeons & Dragons-esque world. The familiar rules of Solitaire apply here, but the addition of spells, HP, and other RPG mechanics add some much needed zest to the game. Every time you turn over a card, the monster you’re fighting has a chance to attack, upping the stakes a bit as you struggle to clear your deck. It’s unique, funny, and delightfully nerdy.

The appeal of Cyanide & Happiness isn’t hard to fathom; violent, foul-mouthed stick figures are funny. But its enduring success well into 2018, with expansion into an array of multimedia like YouTube, tabletop, and online video games, is an anomaly. Emerging in the mid-aughts heyday of webcomics, C&H survived and outlasted the majority of its contemporaries because of a few strategic and unexpectedly prescient decisions made behind the scenes.

When Bethesda executive producer Todd Howard announced Elder Scrolls VI for the first time earlier this year at the gaming industry’s annual E3 conference he described “a brand new, next-generation single player game.” Those two words set the internet ablaze, sparking speculation that the next entry in the long-running Elder Scrolls series would launch on the next-generation of gaming consoles, rather than current systems like the PS4 and Xbox One. Howard later walked back that statement a bit, but the point remains: TES has always pushed the limits of what gaming technology is capable of, and The Elder Scrolls VI likely won’t be any different.

Most Rick and Morty fans probably remember “Something Ricked This Way Comes” as the one where the Devil sets up a thrift store for cursed objects. It’s a totally fine episode, with the usual good jokes and meta-commentary about storytelling itself, but largely because the plot separates the titular pair for separate, half-baked adventures, the episode falls a little flat. So even when both stories synergize as an anti-capitalist rallying cry, it’s more like a whimper.

Each of the four Purge movies takes place mostly on a single night when all crime is legal. We almost never learn about the lives of these characters before all the trauma begins, but The Purge TV show is about to change all that.

In June, Inverse visited the set of The Purge in New Orleans, where production had just begun for the fifth episode. In touring the set and interviewing cast and crew, we learned that the new show will reveal a new side to the Purge universe in a narrative style remarkably similar to ABC’s Lost — just with a lot more murder.

For most of the summer, iD Tech Camps commandeer the entire third floor of New York University’s Kimmel Center in Manhattan to teach kids STEM-based courses that range from simple robots to machine learning and even designing a video game like Fortnite: Battle Royale. Game design has long been a major tenet in iD Tech Camps curriculum, but it wasn’t until 2018 that a one-week course called “Fortnite Camp and Unreal Engine Level Design” was added. Somewhere around 2,000 students registered for the class, filling up almost every open spot completely with another 4,000 working in the same program to make different games.