8 must-have mobile games for your new smartphone

bestmobilegames primary

Today's Best Tech Deals

Picked by PCWorld's Editors

Top Deals On Great Products

Picked by Techconnect's Editors

Congrats on getting a new high-tech mobile device for the holidays! Someone really appreciates you!

You’ll find that your gadget gives you all sorts of crazy new superpowers, such as the ability to add a beard to any photograph or to find nearby strangers to have sex with. But the real promise of a smart mobile doohickey is the power to keep boredom at bay with a wide array of mobile games.

The app stores are filled with games of varying quality, so figuring out exactly where to start may seem overwhelming. Worry not: We’ve highlighted eight addictive mobile games that you can download right away and try for yourself. Enjoy your newfound freedom to shut out the rest of the world!

Candy Crush Saga

Free: iOS, Android

candy crush saga

Candy Crush Saga is the global phenomenon that has gathered over a half-billion players and counting. There’s a reason for its success: It’s friggin’ addictive.

As a daily New York subway commuter, I can personally attest to the fact that at least a quarter of the people on any given train will be immersed in Candy Crush Saga. That isn’t hyperbole.

Candy Crush Saga is a brightly colored, sucrose-themed mix-and-match puzzle game. It provides players with the strangely satisfying ability to wreak virtual havoc by exploding various types of sweets as you match them across the board.

Although the game is completely free, developer King has concocted an inventive way to squeeze funds from the vast community of crushers. Players must wait several minutes—sometimes hours or days—to get their next game fix after their limited lives are spent. New lives are, of course, available as in-app purchases for the impatient. And fortunately for King, there are a lot of impatient people.

Temple Run 2

Free: iOS, Android

Temple Run 2 is hands-down the best “endless runner” game available. The player maneuvers through an unending jungle maze filled with tight corners and deadly traps while being pursued by a giant killer sloth-bear-monkey monster.

It’s basically Tomb Raider if Lara Croft were restricted to turning, jumping, and diving. The game keeps you hooked with a revolving array of tasks and the ability to earn (or purchase) extras that will help you along your ever-looping journey.

The game doesn’t give players much time to look around when it’s in action, so be sure to hit the pause button every so often and take in the impressive jungle-mountain vistas in the background.

Robot Unicorn Attack 2

Free: iOS, Android

robot unicorn

Adult Swim’s Robot Unicorn Attack 2 is a 10-year-old girl’s Trapper Keeper from 1987 brought to life and repurposed for sarcastic hipsters.

As the name implies, you are a rainbow-spewing robot unicorn with the ability to leap and charge through a beautiful fantasy world filled with floating mountains, dolphins, and giant flying space whales.

It’s an easy game to play: A short tap on the right side makes your avatar jump, a long tap prompts a looong jump, and a tap on the left side causes a charge (which you will need to use to shatter ice barriers and robot monsters that get in your way).

You’ll find assorted in-app purchases available, such as the ability to update the soundtrack with Erasure’s “Always,” the epic heavy-metal ditty “Battlefield” by Blind Guardian, or the theme song from The NeverEnding Story.

Subway Surfers

Free: iOS, Android, Kindle

subway surfers

Subway Surfers is an endless runner in which the player weaves through a looping urban maze filled with hazards and power-ups.

The player takes on the role of a street hooligan who gets caught tagging a train by a security guard. The character does the only logical thing and flees along the subway tracks—against the traffic of oncoming trains. And, of course, as dictated by video game law, hovering gold coins and other goodies abound.

All ever-looping endless-runner games run the risk of becoming tiresome. Subway Surfers’ developers have wisely attempted to keep things interesting by offering monthly updates that place the game in a different city and apply seasonal themes.

Ridiculous Fishing – A Tale of Redemption

$3: iOS, Android

ridiculous fishing

This game’s title is a prime example of truth in advertising. Ridiculous Fishings overall goofiness, however, doesn’t make its original take on gameplay any less fun.

In the game, you are a fisherman who casts a lure into the murky depths, and you maneuver it between 8-bit obstacles by tilting the phone from side to side. Then, on its way back up, you move the lure to hook as many fish as possible before flinging the sea-bound booty up into the air. Why throw the fish in the air? So that you can blast them with your choice of weapon from your expansive and varied arsenal, of course!

The more fish you blast away, the more money you earn. You can spend your cash at the local fishing store to purchase tools such as chainsaws, Uzis, and electrified toasters—you know, standard fishing fare.

Interesting side note: You probably won’t notice it unless you’re wearing headphones, but the exploding fish make a really satisfying squish noise when you blow them out of the sky.

Super Stickman Golf 2

$3: iOS; Free: Android

stickman golf2

The golf video game sector has been a surprisingly robust one. Adding a bit of welcome surreality to this niche is the Super Stickman Golf series.

Super Stickman Golf 2 is a physics-based game that asks players to approximate the strength and angle of their shot as they navigate a strange world of bizarre and moving obstacles.

Also, be on the lookout for secret areas, such as hidden pipes (enjoy that nod, Super Mario Bros. fans) that lead to concealed rooms filled with virtual bucks that you can spend on in-app power-ups.

Dice With Buddies

Free: iOS, Android; Ad-free $3: iOS, Android

dice with buddies

Dice With Buddies is social game based on Yahtzee. It’s a no-frills approximation of the Hasbro game, which is appropriate as the original game included little more than dice and a few scorecards.

Yahtzee was ripe for the turn-based mobile treatment in line with the many other “[blank] with buddies” or “[blank] with friends” apps that allow you to play against your Facebook friends. Don’t have any friends? No worries, sad sack: Dice With Buddies will set you up against a random player!


Free: iOS, Android

Remember the game you played on graph paper in math class when you should have been learning how to calculate the area of a rhombus? Well, it’s back, and it’s beautiful!

Dots is a simplified take on the old line-drawing game, and it features a minimalist color palette that would make Jony Ive smile.

Gameplay is basic: Use your finger to connect as many similarly colored dots as possible. You gain more points by connecting more dots, and even more by completing a whole square in a single turn.

Users play against themselves by scoring as many points as possible within 60-second rounds or within 30 moves. The game provides fantastic feedback in the form of increasingly joyous tones and haptic buzzes according to how many dots you join.

This story, "8 must-have mobile games for your new smartphone" was originally published by TechHive.

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon