Once upon a time, the phone was a huge block of plastic with big buttons. People pressed these buttons in order to communicate with other people who had similar big blocks of plastic. At the time, these devices were in no way "mobile", but because aliens endowed us with the ability to innovate, we were able to make these blocks smaller until they could fit in our pockets.
People began listening to music on these things, eventually discovering that they could do a lot more if they made these devices "smart". The world has come a long way from Bounce and Snake. Today, games that are meant for gaming consoles and PCs often get a mobile version with toned-down graphics. If you hopped on a time machine and showed PUBG Mobile on your OnePlus 7 Pro to a person in the 70s, they might do a backflip and skedaddle away, calling you crazy.
You know who is really crazy, though? Apple. Though Google's Play Store has a more diverse crowd of developers, Apple has led the change in innovation in mobile gaming.
Here are five innovative games you might not know about.
Developer: Butterscotch Shenanigans
Platforms: iOS, Android
Crashlands teleports players to a partially randomly-generated world with springy, explodey crabs and flying jellyfish bent on crushing your tiny purple avatar.
You are a galactic courier by the name of Flux Dabes. During your latest delivery, your shipment is derailed by an alien named Hewgodooko. You crash on the planet, Woanope which has the weirdest creatures. The main objective of the game is to find a way out of the world by harvesting materials from the wasteland and crafting stronger equipment while helping the locals with their problems.
The real-time combat requires manoeuvrability and reflexes. You will often find yourself trapped between hordes of monsters who don't like people invading their territory and chopping down trees. The game does a great job of explaining its mechanics. You will be allowed to stray as far as you want from your starting point, but you'll find higher level beasts as you move farther.
It has an astounding collection of weapons and armour, and monsters to kill. The map is randomly for every playthrough, giving each player a different experience.
Did I mention you could tame beasts too?
This game is good for: People who like to laugh while playing, RPG players looking for "something different", people who like gathering materials and crafting stuff.
This game is not good for: People who don't like to laugh.
Developer: Noodlecake Studios
Platforms: iOS, Android
Legendary game designer, Hideo Kojima's Framed plays like a comic book, only you get to choose where the panels will be placed. If placed correctly, the scene that plays will not result in your death, and you will transition to the next scene. However, I found myself often arranging panels incorrectly just to see what happens.
This unique mechanic has been praised by several critics. The game has a beautiful noir art style that uses few colours. The stellar jazz soundtrack will make you want to put on your headphones and sit back as your character moves fluidly across panels.
It is a short game, and there isn't much to say about it except that it's beautiful and well worth the time and money. There is a second part to the game, with the same mechanics and art style, only better. So if you find yourself engrossed in it, give the second one a shot too.
This game is good for: Fans of noir, detectives, jazz heads.
This game is not good for: Those looking for an immersive plot. Framed has a plot, but it is not what it's known for.
3) The Witness
Developer: Thekla Inc.
This is another game from the puzzle genre, but it adds an interesting twist to classic puzzle games by putting you in an open world where you have to solve puzzles to open doors and unlock new areas. The first-person game doesn't tell the player about any story, background or any of the other stuff that will distract from the puzzles.
You start at a lush, green courtyard and have to figure out what to do by yourself. This is a relaxing Zen experience as they traverse beautifully crafted environments and make their way to whatever contraption they find. Some puzzles are easy to find, lined up plainly in sight. Some are more difficult to hunt down and figure out. You'll find yourself scratching your head but not wanting to look up the solutions. The game is well-crafted, offering multiple routes to take and return to if you find yourself stuck at any point.
This game is good for: Puzzle enthusiasts, head-scratchers.
This game is not good for: Those looking for action or dialogue. The Witness puts you alone on an island with puzzles.
4) Papers, Please
You might have passed customs and been greeted with a smile and a cursory greeting to make your stay pleasant. Here's something you don't see every day – a shifting political landscape making your life as a customs officer increasingly challenging by the hour. Papers, Please is a game about pushing papers, checking immigrants' and citizens documents to grant/deny entry into the nation's borders. The nation in question is the glorious dystopian politically-shaken (and ficitional) country of Arstotzka. All you have to do is push papers. Seems easy, right?
Well, you'll develop a new outlook towards immigration officers once you step into this one's shoes. You will have to let enough people in to earn and keep your family fed. There is something of a story in the game, with different political figures demanding favours and occasionally coming in to check on you. There's also a peculiarly funny character who will keep trying almost every day to get past you with poorly forged documentation. You may find yourself getting emotionally attached to the few characters who won't have proper documentation but would just want to visit their sick relatives.
Have a pleasant stay.
This game is good for: People who are good at reading between lines, those who like organising papers, those who get excited by challenges.
This game is not good for: Those looking for a relaxing experience. You'll be on a timer, and will have to sort papers quickly.
5) Thimbleweed Park
Developer: Terrible Toybox
Platforms: iOS, Android
Drawing from pop culture, Thimbleweed Park is one game that will leave you thinking about for a very long time. It's a mystery-adventure game with elements borrowed from popular TV series. You control one of two characters – Agent Reyes (who is a striking resemblance of Kyle MacLachlan from Twin Peaks) and Agent Ray (who is quite like Dana Sculley from X-Files).
A murder brings the two agents to this town with a population of 80 people. You'll be immersed in a grand scheme involving an envious businessman, a shady sheriff and a foul-mouthed clown among other nutty characters. The town itself is shrouded in fourth-wall-breaking mystery.
Thimbleweed occasionally taunts the player for playing. It pokes fun at the genre itself, putting players in a position where they will be questioning their own choices. You'll be picking up little pixels of dust in hopes of them being important, you may eat a rotten hot dog just because it was one of the options and the game is unforgiving when it comes to pointing out how dumb your actions actually are.
This game is good for: Fans of vintage concepts, anyone who keeps up with pop culture
This game is not good for: Those looking for a quick, casual experience. You won't be able to put it down once you start.