- Brought to you in association with ZTE - follow along as our intrepid editors Matt Swider and Nick Pino road trip across the US to CES 2018. They're testing out the latest tech along the way, and you can keep track of their journey on The Road to the Show 2018 liveblog. Plus, we've got even more great tips on how to plan your next adventure.
Gaming on the go: the top 10 mobile games to play on your next trip
Gaming on the Go: Introduction
There has long been a precedence for passing long hours on the road with a mobile handheld device. For those of us born two decades or more ago, the go-to gadget was the Game Boy. For the modern generation, though, mobile gaming via smartphone has taken the mantle from Nintendo's handheld and has brought a bevy of great games along with it.
What that boils down to, more or less, is that if you aren’t the driver, you’re a passenger with a golden ticket to adventure and can partake in the portability provided by the phone in your pocket.
If you need some direction as to which worlds are worth exploring during your travel siesta, we've assembled a guide to the top 10 mobile games you can enjoy from the comfort of your go-to device for your next cross-country expedition, regardless of whether you're an iOS or Android user.
1. Monument Valley 2
The first Monument Valley was a gorgeous puzzler that perplexed and confounded, but also brought heaps of satisfaction to its massive player-base of well over 24 million. Monument Valley 2 is no less successful. Leveraging optical illusions, Ustwo Games’ latest hit exhibits an usual mother-daughter story in an M.C. Escher-inspired world.
2. Device 6
Sorry Android users, if you don’t have an iPhone then you’re unfortunately missing out on one of the best games period of this generation. Released in 2013, this hidden gem transcends conventional gameplay elements in favor of converging its puzzles with an interactive novella format. In Device 6, you’ll use photos, text and sounds to help the protagonist, Anna, escape from an island.
- Play Device 6 on iOS
3. Chrono Trigger
Forget the best mobile games, let’s talk about one of the greatest games of all-time: Chrono Trigger is a Japanese role-playing game (JRPG) that came out all the way back in 1995. Now this game may be 23 years old now, but its multiple endings and time travel mechanic will keep you coming back for more.
4. TouchGrind Skate 2
Miss the days of playing Tony Hawk Underground 2 on your friend’s Xbox? Well, even if you’re not particularly nostalgic for the popular skateboard games of the early 2000s, you’ll enjoy TouchGrind Skate 2 for its practical use of your smartphone’s touchscreen. It’s pretty much the video game equivalent of Tech Decks, so get ready to do a kickflip with your own two fingers!
5. Lara Croft Go
No, Square Enix’s Lara Croft Go isn’t a Tomb Raider-skinned Pokémon Go. In fact, this turn-based puzzle game came out in 2015 before any of us were even thinking about the augmented reality phenomenon. Using an art style similar to Monument Valley, Lara Croft Go is a gorgeous re-telling of a classic PlayStation franchise wrapped in a tough-to-master turn-based puzzle game.
6. Rollercoaster Tycoon 3
Forget all the bad press you’ve heard about various mobile versions of Rollercoaster Tycoon – this is a full-fledged port of the divisive (yet, admittedly very good) Rollercoaster Tycoon 3. Granted, it works best on larger-screen tablets, but even on phones RTC 3 is worth checking out for its comprehensive coaster-building tools as well as its guilty pleasure CoasterCam mechanic.
- Play Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 on iOS
From the creators of Guacamelee and Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack comes Severed, an RPG-style action-adventure title that subverts your expectations for touchscreen controls. There are no virtual buttons in place here, just a pristine 3D world brimming with surprises around every corner.
- Play Severed on iOS
8. Life is Strange
You might have heard of Life is Strange when it came out on PC and consoles in 2015. We never imagined we would be saying this, but the iPhone handled this game shockingly well. You’ll certainly need headphones for the full effect, but a road trip is now the perfect time to experience the five heartbreaking episodes of Chloe and Max.
- Play Life is Strange on iOS
9. Rules of Survival
It may be a shameless knock-off of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), but we have to hand it to NetEase Games for going all the way with Rules of Survival. All of the features you would expect from PUBG are here – including everything from scaling huge maps to maneuvering vehicles across said maps to be, in their words, the last one standing.
If you like Stranger Things, Oxenfree is the closest thing we’ll likely ever get to a full-on video game adaption of the Duffer Brothers’ beloved Netflix series. It plays like an ode to classic 1980s teenage horror films. As a rebellious teenager named Alex yourself, you will have to deal with the repercussions of a mysterious island’s supernatural curse.