Mobile games make up a large part of the gaming community these days. From PUBG to Pokemon GO, these got downloaded most.
Video games have never been more popular than they are right now. No matter where gamers choose to play, there is guaranteed to be a wealth of great content to consume. Even though console gaming hype is still high following the release of the PS5 and Xbox Series X almost a year ago, a huge part of the reason behind the celebrated place games hold in modern-day culture is mobile gaming.
Whether on an iPhone or Android platform, there is a massive variety of titles and experiences to explore. Some of these games, in particular, have broken through to become gigantic hits with millions upon millions of downloads.
Updated January 14th, 2022 by Geoffrey Martin: The mobile gaming market continues to thrive, seemingly each and every week, with new titles being added all the time. Despite the success of console and PC gaming, mobile games still get bigger and bigger all the time, mostly down to how easy it is to try them out. You are likely able to find a genre that suits you in the mobile gaming space which makes it very appealing, especially because most of them are free-to-play. No matter your gaming preference, there is certainly a mobile game you should be able to find and enjoy.
Homescapes is a long-running free-to-play puzzle adventure game that blends match-three puzzles with restoring a massive manor house. Match-three puzzle games seem to be all the rage in the mobile gaming space and Homescapes just so happens to be one of those game types.
Homescapes has a truly beautiful art style and lulls you into its gameplay with some simpler puzzles before really laying down the ax to challenge your skills. As you progress through the puzzles, you are able to upgrade and restore the house which adds to the addictive qualities of the game.
Marvel Contest of Champions is a frenetic arcade fighting game where you face off against a plethora of Marvel characters. It should come as no surprise that a Marvel game happens to also be one of the most popular mobile games. Ditching a simple aesthetic in favor of some truly remarkable visuals, Marvel Contest of Champions is sure to wow you.
Your main goal in the game is to accrue new Marvel characters while building a strong and diverse roster who you can take to events and tournaments. Plus, the fighting aspects are weighty and responsive, making you feel like you are a part of the epic fights.
Disney Tsum Tsum is a super adorable puzzle game all centered around Disney goodness. The gameplay in Disney Tsum Tsum revolves around creating chains of cute Tsum Tsum plushie bubbles in order to pop them and get combo scores. As mentioned before, puzzles games are the perfect fit for a mobile device.
What makes this game truly unique is that each Tsum Tsum has its own special skill that can be used during the puzzles. You are encouraged to collect as many of the plushies as possible to fill out your wholesome roster of Disney characters.
The Mario Kart franchise is a console gaming tour-de-force, so it was only natural that it would eventually find its way to smaller screens. Mario Kart Tour makes a few gameplay changes from its previous iterations, including the addition of a controversial gacha system and somewhat automated driving.
Though these changes were met with some criticism, the popularity of Mario and his friends zooming around in tiny cars endures. Plus, it’s because of this game that the world was blessed with seeing Tanooki Mario behind the wheel, which is maybe the most adorable thing ever.
It would be impossible to talk about the most downloaded mobile games of all time without a tip of the hat to this classic title. There’s no denying the fact that Angry Birds is one of the biggest IPs of all time, and it got its start in mobile gaming.
The original release was nothing short of a phenomenon, paving the way for multiple spin-offs and sequels that have all become wildly successful in their own right. While the franchise might not be the most popular thing around at the moment, credit must be given where credit is due to this genre-defining game.
The Sonic franchise features some of the most downloaded games in the entire world. Its foray into the endless runner genre was also a success in that regard. Sonic Dash is a surprisingly competent title, mainly due to the fact that the endless runner genre perfectly complements the breakneck speed and play style of a Sonic game.
Its massive popularity on iPhone and Android has made it one of the strongest performers in the Sonic franchise — and despite the recent bungled release of Sonic Colors Ultimate, with a sequel to the surprisingly decent movie on the horizon who knows what non-console game heights Sonic might hit next?
Speaking of popular franchises delving into the endless runner genre, the Mario series ventured into this genre with Super Mario Run. While at first appearing somewhat bland, Nintendo ended up impressing gamers with the vast wealth of content in Super Mario Run, turning it into one of the most downloaded mobile games of all time.
The endless runner genre is a unique match with Mario’s traditional playstyle. The way the various features have been adapted to fit mobile play and the variety of level design in Super Mario Run make it the game that it is.
A list like this can’t be made without mentioning the once-raging popularity of Flappy Bird. Easily one of the most addictive titles ever released on mobile devices, the popularity of Flappy Bird was so immense that the creator actually shut down the game and removed it from stores due to stress. Add in the fact that iPhones with Flappy Bird in them have been sold for ludicrous prices since the takedown of this game, and it is a true testament to the frenzy this title caused across the world.
Dragon Ball is easily one of the most popular franchises of all time, with its games being fairly successful in their own right. This is especially true for Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle, which has quickly grown through a steady stream of content updates to become one of the most downloaded mobile games in the world.
Dokkan Battle features a unique gameplay system that combines card collecting, puzzles, and board games into a flashy and entertaining package. Although the game might feel somewhat grindy at times (especially if you don’t want to spend a fortune) it remains a surprisingly polished title.
Alright, listen: everyone knows about Among Us. Released to little fanfare in 2018, this social deception game exploded in popularity recently thanks to Twitch streamers. Frustrating, frantic, and fun, the game puts groups of up to ten players in the roles of adorable space blobs.
As the group attempts to complete tasks and repairs around the ship, they are secretly hunted by one or more players posing as an ally. Figuring out who the imposter is before they can kill everyone and win the game is incredibly enjoyable. The game gets even better (and also worse) when played with a group of close friends.
Nothing has grabbed hold of middle-aged moms, teens, and anyone looking to kill time quite like match-three puzzle games. Games like Bejeweled took Facebook by storm, but none came close to the staying power of Candy Crush. An evolution of the Tetris formula, players are tasked with joining like-colored candies in a grid to gain points.
With Candy Crush Saga, the casual puzzle phenomenon was one of the first major successes in the free-to-play genre. Though the gameplay is fairly simple and repetitive, the addictiveness at the core of the design still holds strong. Perfect for quick gameplay sessions, the convenience of Candy Crush Saga is second to none.
Endless runners have existed for a long time. Given the general simplicity of their design, it makes sense that the genre would flourish in the mobile marketplace. In Temple Run, players are tasked with guiding an adventurer seeking a golden idol through a dangerous temple.
Easy to learn but difficult to master, Temple Run has spawned several spin-offs, a book series, and even a potential movie tie-in. For those with an itch that can only be scratched by an Indiana Jones-esque auto-runner, the Temple Run games are here to become a new obsession.
For those who want a game with a bit more depth, Clash of Clans provides engrossing strategy mechanics wrapped up in an adorable isometric art style. Adding to this winning formula is the fact that the game is playable online. Teaming up with friends to fight battles and earn gold is thrilling; the fact that the game is free is icing on the already delicious cake.
Sure, there are micro-transactions galore and the impulse to spend just a few dollars for perks is difficult to ignore. But the engrossing gameplay keeps devoted players coming back for more.
Perhaps one of the most simple games on this list, Fruit Ninja sees players doing nothing more than swiping their fingers erratically across the screen. The task? Cut as many fruits as possible while avoiding explosives that can end the round.
The ease of play combined with the addictive nature of racking up points was a proven recipe for success as Fruit Ninja is now one of the most played mobile titles of all time. With motion-controlled and virtual reality versions of the game, there are multiple ways for gamers to enjoy the fruit-cutting action of Fruit Ninja.
The original version of PUBG rose to prominence at the beginning of the current battle royale craze. Starting its life on PC before migrating to consoles and mobile phones, this competitive online shooter gives players a simple goal: be the last one standing at the end of the match.
Though games like Fortnite have since overtaken PUBG in terms of pure Battle Royale popularity, none can deny the influence this game had on the many battle royale titles that came after.
Ever want to enjoy the thrills of an endless runner but with a horizontal twist? Jetpack Joyride is exactly that. Players pilot Barry Steakfries through a variety of locales as he tries to escape with the titular jetpack from a top-secret lab. Like most successful mobile titles, Jetpack Joyride is accessible while still offering a challenge for those that want it.
The game offers additional tasks and missions to increase the score. Combine that with a wacky cartoon aesthetic and a steady stream of updates and it’s easy to see why Jetpack Joyride hit in a big way.
In the beginning, there was only darkness and from that darkness, a voice proclaimed thusly: “BE DOO BE DOO BE DOO”. Okay, so maybe Minions weren’t the origin of the universe, but the impact that they have had on pop culture cannot be overstated.
Having started as little more than silly sidekicks in the Despicable Me franchise, these denim-clad yellow beans quickly became some of the most identifiable characters on the planet. Despicable Me: Minion Rush may be little more than a Temple Run clone with brand recognition, but the popularity of these critters has launched the game into a massive success.
With the battle royale phenomenon still going incredibly strong and new titles popping up every day, it only makes sense that one of the most downloaded games ever on mobile devices is a name many people may not have heard of. Garena Free Fire is a 50 player free-for-all much in the vein of PUBG or Fortnite.
Yet even though it isn’t necessarily the most original concept, Free Fire is a surefire success, topping download charts everywhere and raking in billions of dollars.
Yet another entry in the endless runner category, Subway Surfers proves that old adage true: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Combine the gameplay of Temple Run with a little bit of the attitude found in something like Jet Set Radio and it’s simply a recipe for a smash hit.
Subway Surfers doesn’t break the mold in any meaningful way, but it takes the well-worn formula and executes it with skill and finesse. It even spawned an animated series on Youtube!
The undeniable champion of the mobile marketplace, few games have taken the world by storm like Pokémon Go did when it released in 2016. It was only a matter of time until Nintendo brought these little pocket monsters into actual pockets by way of smartphones after all.
Though somewhat barebones when it released, Pokémon Go exploded in popularity almost overnight. People walked all over their hometowns in search of creatures to catch and nostalgia to experience. The subsequent addition of more Pokémon (along with new battle and raid systems) created what is undeniably the most successful mobile game of all time.
Next: Everything You Need To Know About Pokemon Go In 2021
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Connor Marsh is an editor, writer, and gamer based in New York City. A lifelong love of video games led to him pursuing the field of video game journalism. With a background in grammar and editing, he is happy to join two of his biggest passions here on The Gamer. Outside of games, Connor is an avid composer of music and lifelong performer.
Mobile games make up a large part of the gaming community these days. From PUBG to Pokemon GO, these got downloaded most.