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Video games that formed the business

Call of Duty Mobile

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

There are an limitless variety of debates on-line about one of the best gaming platform. Nevertheless, when it comes to reputation, cell gaming sits atop the throne, at the least in the meanwhile. The largest purpose is accessibility. Folks already purchase smartphones, and gaming is one thing you are able to do on nearly any smartphone. In reality, there’s a entire class now for gaming smartphones. It’s not arduous to see why it’s so common. Nevertheless, the platform has its justifiable share of iconic cell video games that helped drive the business ahead in its early days.

This record was exceptionally troublesome to place collectively. Early cell gaming had a smattering of video games that positively helped push the envelope, however we’re at the moment within the golden period of cell gaming, so there are loads of nice video games paving the best way right now. Listed here are a few of the greatest and most iconic cell video games of all time.

Essentially the most iconic cell video games of all time

Indignant Birds

The undisputed king of early cell gaming.

Worth: Free / Premium / Free to play


  • Indignant Birds was the primary cell sport to hit one billion downloads, which it did again in 2012.
  • The franchise as an entire is the primary to hit 5 billion downloads, which it did in 2022.
  • Regardless of not being common for years, it nonetheless sits atop the pantheon of the most-played cell video games ever.

All people is aware of that Indignant Birds goes on this record, so let’s get it out of the best way first. Indignant Birds dominated cell’s early gaming historical past, simply overshadowing most of its competitors. The unique Indignant Birds hit its one billionth obtain again in 2012, and was, by far, the primary cell sport to do it. Your entire sequence was the primary cell gaming franchise to achieve over 5 billion downloads, which it achieved in 2022.

What made Indignant Birds nice? The very first thing is the sport itself. Flinging birds into buildings and pigs to clear ranges was enjoyable. The controls had been easy, it was family-friendly, and early video games had been low cost to get into and play. It additionally got here out in an period the place its competitors wasn’t tremendous heavy. Certain, we had notable hits like Doodle Bounce and Fruit Ninja, however Indignant Birds was one of many nice early cell puzzle video games, whereas the opposite two had been nice arcade video games. You may’t speak about iconic cell video games with out Indignant Birds.

Name of Obligation: Cellular

One among gaming’s hottest shooters hit cell working and hasn’t stopped but.


  • With 100 million downloads in its first week, Name of Obligation: Cellular holds the document for the most important cell sport launch of all time.
  • Its 148 million downloads in its first month can be the best of all time, with Pokemon Go’s 130 million coming in second.
  • The net multiplayer shooter continues its franchise’s proud custom of high quality and recognition.

Name of Obligation: Cellular is comparatively new, but it surely’s already a staple within the gaming neighborhood and top-of-the-line cell video games ever. It has over 500 million downloads as of this writing, and that’s coming off of a record-breaking 100 million downloads in its first week. Sure, development has slowed, however the sport continues to get excessive ranks, new content material, and strong participant numbers. It’s Name of Obligation, however on cell, and everyone knows how a lot folks like Name of Obligation.

The primary-person shooter style is much more crowded than another genres, however Name of Obligation: Cellular matches proper in. Its success stems from doing nearly every little thing proper. There are a number of sport modes, glorious graphics, excellent controls, above-average social options, and loads of issues to do. There are extra common FPS shooters like Cellular Legends Bang Bang or Garena Free Fireplace, however neither had the instant affect that Name of Obligation: Cellular had.

Sweet Crush Saga

The all-around common sport that dominated the mid-2010s.


  • Some of the common cell video games of all time, with 245 million energetic gamers at its peak. All people is aware of about Sweet Crush Saga.
  • Like it or hate it (we hate it), was one of many first and most profitable examples of the free-to-play mannequin.
  • Continues to be one of many highest-grossing and most-played cell video games of all time.

Sweet Crush Saga started life as a Fb sport, however it could be higher referred to as one of many world’s hottest cell video games. The match-three sport didn’t blaze any new paths, but it surely was one of many earliest and most profitable examples of free-to-play mechanics that many cell players negatively affiliate with the cell gaming style. The sport had tons of of tens of millions of gamers at its peak and has generated effectively north of $1 billion.

It didn’t break any data that we might discover, however while you’re speaking a couple of sport as ubiquitous as this one, it doesn’t want a spot within the document books. King has but to copy the success of Sweet Crush Saga. Nevertheless, to be truthful, few different builders have ever had that success, to start with. That’s why Sweet Crush Saga is likely one of the most iconic cell video games.

Conflict of Clans

The sport that made Supercell a family title.


  • A constant fixture on Google Play’s and the App Retailer’s high downloaded and high grossing lists.
  • One of many first cell video games with TV commercials, together with one of many most-viewed Tremendous Bowl commercials in historical past.
  • One among solely three video games to cross $10 billion in income as of this writing.

Conflict of Clans was a fixture when it comes to reputation within the early to mid-2010s. It’s an addictively easy technique sport the place you construct a base, construct troops, and assault different gamers. It’s a pioneer within the kingdom-building style, and there are many strategy-oriented kingdom-building video games that duplicate and paste its primary concepts even to today. Nevertheless, none of them have matched the recognition of Conflict of Clans.

As talked about within the accolades part, Conflict of Clans had fairly an aggressive advertising and marketing technique. It had TV commercials, together with a broadly common Tremendous Bowl advert starring Liam Neeson, and robust phrase of mouth. It helped carry cell gaming till the discharge of Pokemon Go, and individuals who have been cell gaming for a very long time positively bear in mind how many individuals performed this sport religiously. The sport’s barbarian character is straight away recognizable to cell players, and a part of why Conflict of Clans is likely one of the most iconic cell video games.

5 Nights at Freddy’s

The leap scare horror sport that helped launch a number of YouTube careers.


  • Greatest referred to as a favourite subject of YouTube personalities within the mid-2010s, together with Markiplier, The Sport Theorists, and Dawko.
  • It’s nonetheless very effectively referred to as a PC horror sport, but it surely was one of many first profitable horror video games on cell, and it’s positively probably the most impactful horror sport on cell.
  • Scott Cawthon’s distinctive advertising and marketing ways and storytelling made each sport a kind of scavenger hunt for clues concerning the characters. This helped gasoline its reputation in methods different video games in its period didn’t.

Individuals who don’t sport might not know 5 Nights at Freddy’s in addition to Sweet Crush Saga or Indignant Birds, however there have been few video games, cell or in any other case, that captivated folks as a lot as FNaF did within the mid-2010s. The sport was a leap scare horror sport the place you stored watch over a restaurant that housed possessed animatronic animals. The gameplay was easy, labored effectively on cell, and was genuinely scary. By way of gross sales or obtain figures, the sport was among the many greatest horror video games of its time.

What made it nice was the neighborhood round it. It elevated the careers of distinguished YouTubers like Markiplier, MatPat from The Sport Theorists, and Dawko. Individuals who didn’t even play the sport would tune in to look at movies that talked concerning the sport’s surprisingly deep narrative whereas YouTubers poured over clues that developer Scott Cawthon hid within the video games and on the official web site. Lots of these movies had north of ten million views, and some had over 100 million. By way of iconic cell video games, few had been as distinguished on YouTube as FNaF was in its heyday.

Monument Valley

The Escher-style indie puzzler everyone wished to play.

Worth: $3.99 with non-compulsory DLC


  • It had top-of-the-line launches for a premium cell sport, topping each Google Play and the App Retailer for nearly its whole first month of existence.
  • The sport was a part of a minor aspect plot in Netflix’s Home of Playing cards, which vaulted it again to the primary spot on main app shops, and was additionally the inspiration for Ariana Grande’s “No Tears Left to Cry.”
  • Monument Valley’s methodology of storytelling by way of visuals is commonly copied by indie builders, particularly within the puzzle style.

Monument Valley is a kind of video games that you just simply knew was going to be good while you first noticed it. The Escher-style puzzles had been intelligent and enjoyable to play with, and the sport’s storytelling was distinctive for its time. Many of the story is informed by way of visuals with few phrases. It got here out of left subject in 2014, rose to the highest of the charts, and stayed there longer than nearly each different premium sport besides Minecraft.

It’s additionally one of many few video games to have a second peak. It was talked about within the third season of Netflix’s Home of Playing cards, which launched the sport to a brand new viewers and despatched the sport again to the highest charts. It’s the Grover Cleveland of cell video games. In any case, not solely was the sport the speak of the proverbial city for a number of years, but it surely additionally influenced quite a lot of indie sport builders. There was additionally a film within the works for some time.

Pokemon Go

A worldwide phenomenon, and certain cell gaming’s most iconic title.


  • It was the previous document holder for the hottest cell sport launch earlier than Mario Kart Tour and Name of Obligation: Cellular dethroned it years later.
  • The sport’s large reputation and requirement to go outdoor induced transportable battery gross sales to actually double.
  • Folks dedicated crimes to play this sport. Granted, most of them had been misdemeanor trespassing, but it surely offers you an thought of how wild it was on the time.

Pokemon Go hit the bottom working in 2016, but it surely stays top-of-the-line cell video games to today. It garnered over 100 million downloads in its first month and is considered one of solely a handful of cell video games to ever achieve this. What’s extra, the sport’s distinctive playstyle had folks going exterior and strolling round searching for Pokestops and Gyms, which implies the streets had been flooded with folks trying to find Pokemon. It was such an enormous factor that it was lined within the information nearly each day for months.

The sport had fairly a cultural affect. Naysayers had been involved about privateness for the reason that sport tracked your location in real-time. Folks had been getting in hassle for trespassing on non-public property. Moreover, the builders had been pressured to place security options in, like not letting gamers play whereas driving. Additionally it is, to this point, one of many hottest augmented actuality video games on any platform. The sport had a brief resurgence in reputation throughout the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic after Niantic made the sport extra playable at house, the place folks might safely social distance.

PUBG Cellular


  • It’s at the moment the third most performed cell sport and the second highest-grossing cell sport of all time.
  • The sport launched in 2017, the identical 12 months as Fortnite. Regardless of dozens of copycats and rivals, none of them ever got here near PUBG Cellular’s reputation.
  • It helped contribute to PUBG being the world’s hottest sport on any platform.

PUBG Cellular is a power to be reckoned with. The sport launched in 2017 and handily beat Fortnite when it comes to reputation. From there, it simply continued to get increasingly more common. The sport has north of a billion downloads and is more likely to be the fourth sport to achieve $10 billion in all-time gross sales. We all know that reputation and gross sales don’t essentially make a sport iconic, however while you’re within the high 5 on each lists, it paints a reasonably clear image. It’s particularly spectacular, contemplating the sport was briefly banned in India, considered one of its hottest markets.

The sport received there with its addictive gameplay. You drop onto a progressively shrinking battlefield with 99 different gamers. The winner is the final one standing. Most of its in-app purchases are beauty, so gamers can’t purchase their strategy to a win, which makes a win really price one thing. The sport is common within the US, however most of its participant base hails from Asia, significantly South Korea, China, India, and Japan. It’s nonetheless going sturdy to today.

Puzzles & Dragons

The godfather of gacha RPG video games noticed some ridiculous gross sales figures and recognition.


  • It was the primary cell sport to cross $1 billion in gross sales, which it did in 2014, and was the highest-grossing cell sport till Monster Strike surpassed it in 2018.
  • The sport architected what we take into account to be the fashionable gacha RPG, which incorporates various social gathering builds, fusing summons collectively to get higher characters, shifting meta, and particular occasion banners with particular summons.
  • For higher or for worse (we expect it’s worse), Puzzles & Dragons helped popularize the use and monetization of issues like stamina bars and game-over screens. For those who play a sport with a stamina bar, likelihood is you could thank Puzzles & Dragons for it.

Puzzles & Dragons isn’t one of the crucial iconic cell video games within the US. Nevertheless, it was such an enormous deal in Japan that it broke data with out having something resembling a powerful US presence. The sport was the primary really profitable cell gacha, and it was the primary cell sport to interrupt $1 billion in gross sales. It additionally held the document for highest gross sales till 2018, when it was overtaken by Monster Strike. It’s a masterclass in monetization, because it was the primary to include loads of fashionable methods. The sport additionally managed to take action with out angering its loyal gamers.

By way of gameplay, it wasn’t something too distinctive by right now’s requirements. It’s a gacha RPG that makes use of match-three puzzle parts in its fight. It relied on a combination of luck, talent, and monster energy to get gamers by way of dungeons. Dungeons rewarded forex that gamers might use to proceed after a sport over, reset their stamina, or summon extra monsters. These parts are roughly commonplace now, however they weren’t again then. This sport’s success is why you have got a stamina bar in nearly each free-to-play sport.

Subway Surfers

Say good day to cell gaming’s hottest sport. Sure, actually.


  • Merely put, Subway Surfers had extra sport downloads than every other cell sport within the 2010s. It was the last decade’s hottest sport.
  • Indignant Birds was the primary cell sport throughout all cell platforms (and iOS particularly) to hit one billion downloads, however Subway Surfers was the primary sport to do it in simply the Google Play Retailer.
  • It’s at the moment the quantity two most downloaded iOS sport of all time, following solely Sweet Crush Saga.

Subway Surfer was sort of a shock to me once I researched this record. I anticipated loads of video games to high the record as the most well-liked cell sport of all time, however not as soon as did I anticipate it to be Subway Surfers. The sport is a extremely polished limitless runner the place you run from a safety guard after you get caught tagging a subway with graffiti. There are cash to gather, boosts to make use of, and you may hover on a hoverboard.

What makes this sport bizarre is that it doesn’t actually stand out all that a lot from a lot of its rivals. Certain, it’s extremely polished, but it surely doesn’t actually have any distinctive mechanics to set it aside from different limitless runners. So far as we are able to inform, it’s only a polished sport that lots of people like. It’s even the most well-liked speedrun sport on the earth proper now. We’re unsure why precisely, however folks love this sport, and its numbers present it.

Honorable mentions

Bee 1

Joe Hindy / Android Authority

Listed here are some extra titles that, regardless of not being probably the most iconic cell video games, formed cell gaming in their very own, particular method. This isn’t an all-inclusive record, however these positively stick out greater than others.

  • Amongst Us — Amongst Us had one of many largest peaks of any cell sport throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The world wanted a distraction, and Amongst Us was that distraction. It’s a multi-platform sport, so its affect wasn’t mobile-focused, however lots of people performed it on cell.
  • Fruit Ninja and Doodle Bounce — Fruit Ninja and Doodle Bounce had been pretty iconic of their day. They’re enjoyable little arcade video games with spectacular obtain numbers in an period the place cell gaming wasn’t almost as common as it’s now. These two titles, and a number of other like them, held up cell gaming’s earliest days till higher titles might come alongside.
  • Genshin Influence — It’s robust to gauge how iconic Genshin Influence will in the end be as a result of it’s nonetheless proper in the midst of its run. Relaxation assured, although, this contemporary basic has console-quality graphics and gameplay. Sure, a few of its mechanics are borrowed from Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, however no person appears to thoughts. Its sustained success is a rarity in cell gaming, and it simply appears to maintain going.
  • Honor of Kings (Area of Valor) and Monster Strike — We didn’t record these video games above, however these two video games maintain the excellence of being the primary and two highest-grossing video games, respectively, as of this writing. In addition they make up two of the three cell video games in historical past which have over $10 billion in complete gross sales, with Conflict of Clans being the third.
  • Minecraft — Minecraft has spent a lot time on the highest paid sport charts for each Google Play and the App Retailer that we are able to’t bear in mind a time when it wasn’t there. It’s one of the crucial common video games in historical past, and the cell model continues that custom. Nevertheless, most of Minecraft’s iconic affect is on gaming as an entire, and it hasn’t finished as a lot to form cell gaming as another entrants on this record, so it’s an honorable point out.
  • The previous shooters — Earlier than PUBG Cellular and Name of Obligation, the mantle of greatest FPS video games on cell belonged to a bunch of FPS video games that we expect all deserve a point out. They embrace N.O.V.A., Trendy Fight, Lifeless Set off, and Shadowgun. These classics held up your complete cell FPS style for years, and would nonetheless be there if AAA builders hadn’t are available in with big-name titles from present properties.
  • Vegetation vs Zombies — Vegetation vs Zombies is the grandfather of tower protection on cell. It launched in 2013, and its present reputation on PC helped make it profitable on cell as effectively. The memes and jokes made the sport much more enjoyable. Mainstays like Bloons TD 6 carry the torch for the tower protection style now, however we’ll all the time bear in mind Vegetation vs Zombies.
  • Mario Kart Cellular — Not all iconic cell video games are iconic for good causes. Mario Kart Cellular had a brief tenure as probably the most profitable cell sport launch earlier than Name of Obligation: Cellular took the crown. Nevertheless, Mario Kart Cellular’s aggressive monetization methods, the very long time earlier than its multiplayer launch, and different elements induced most gamers to desert the sport lower than six months after launch. It, together with Tremendous Mario Run, are amongst cell gaming’s most iconic flops.
  • Temple Run — Temple Run is just down right here as a result of Subway Surfers is hilariously common. Nevertheless, the OG limitless runner not solely sparked an entire style primarily based on its mechanics however was additionally fairly common and profitable in its personal proper. The gameplay was distinctive for its time, and veteran cell players fondly bear in mind an easier time when Temple Run was one of many kings of the mountain.
  • The Room — This one is a little bit of a private choose. It launched in 2012, and at the moment, was one of the crucial lovely video games ever produced. It confirmed that cell video games might have glorious graphics, and the puzzle-within-a-puzzle mechanics had been distinctive for his or her time. It gained a handful of gaming awards again when cell video games didn’t win awards, and it’s nonetheless top-of-the-line examples of excellent graphics in early cell gaming.

If we missed any iconic cell video games, inform us about them within the feedback.

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