PhoneArena Awards: Best games of 2014

PhoneArena Awards: Best games of 2014
2014 was a crucial year for apps and games in particular. Phrases like 'console-grade gaming on mobile devices' have been flying around for years, but this year finally proved all those words true, as we saw some of the hallmark PC and console games of the early 2000s arrive in their full glory on iPhones and Android smartphones. We're talking about titles like Bioshock, Oddworld, Icewind Dale, Baldur's Gate, and others.

With this tacit admission of the gaming capabilities of current day smartphones and tablets, it's worth taking a separate look at all the best new games for iPhone and Android that arrived this year. This walk down memory lane consists of more than two dozen games that we have listed in reverse order, going from some good titles to the ones that really grabbed our hearts with their graphics, gameplay, and overall execution.

Which were the best Android and iPhone games of the year? With no further ado, take a look as we list our favorites right below.

#26: Alone

Price: $1.99
Genre: 
Download on iOS | Android

ALONE is a handcrafted, intense survival journey through space. Navigate caves, rip through rocky debris, dodge rocks and comets and test your endurance as you pursue ever higher scores in this ultra fast, procedural runner.


#25: Crossy Road

Price: Free
Genre: Casual
Download on iOS

Tasked with the mundane-sounding challenge to cross the road in this retro-styled, colorful game, you will die a thousand times until you find the perfect timing to switch between the busy lanes.


#24: Table Tennis Touch

Price: $2.99
Genre: Sports
Download on iOS

Table Tennis Touch is a very realistic table tennis game that will please most those who wish to put in time and effort to master a game. It’s easy in the beginning (and has fun arcade single-player challenges), but its difficulty quickly goes up, and as you get to play with other opponents, it becomes almost as difficult to master as real table tennis.


#23: Battleheart Legacy

Price: $4.99
Genre: RPG
Download on iOS | Android

An action-RPG of near-console quality, Battleheart Legacy can brag about having fluid gameplay with excellent graphics and a rich character development scheme. It also provides long hours of gameplay, making up for the above-average price. Kudos to developer Mika Mobile for not plaguing the game with in-app purchases as well.


#22: The Walking Dead

Price: Free/Paid
Genre: Adventure
Download on iOS | Android

Telltale's The Walking Dead has been quite the hit among fans of the show, the comic, or adventure games in general. It puts people in the desperate, zombie-infested world, as created by Robert Kirkman. It is an episodic interactive adventure that has its story split up in 5 episodes per season. On most platforms, the first episode is usually free, providing a sample of what the game is about, and if one desired to continue the adwenture – they have to fork the cash for the other 4 episodes.


#21: VVVVVV

Price: $2.99
Genre: Indie platformer
Download on iOS | Android

If you love the thrill of a real challenge, or if you're just a hardcore fan of platformer games, VVVVVV should definitely be on your wishlist. The music rocks, the graphics are sweet, and the gameplay... well, it will make you want to throw your phone against the wall. But you know you'll be coming back for more only minutes after you hit that quit button.


#20: Heroes and Castles

Price: $1.99
Genre: Action RPG
Download on iOS | Android

In Heroes and Castles the Undead Horde and their Orc and Goblin allies are right at your castle gates, the King is on the brink of death, and you (in a 3rd-person perspective) have to save the castle from annihilation.


#19: SmashHit

Price: Free
Genre: Casual
Download on iOS | Android

Mediocre AB's Smash Hit is a cathartic, harmonious "smash obstacles in your path" experience. Available for free on Android and iOS, the game puts in you a Portal-esque test lab setting in pale colors and tasks you with throwing metal balls at fragile objects, such as glass pyramids, walls, and doors.


#18: Out There

Price: $3.99
Genre: Strategy
Download on iOS | Android

Unlike every space game ever, Out There eschews the combat in favor of questing, decision-making, harvesting resources and dealing with the final frontier's harsh living conditions. It's like a game book, only in motion and with striking comic visuals. You pick up the role of an astronaut that wakes up from cryonic sleepy-sleepy in an unknown part of the galaxy.


#17: Mikey Hooks

Price: $1.99
Genre: Platformer
Download on iOS | Android

A fun little game with retro-styled environments where you run, jump, slide, and - of course - hook.


#16: Republique

Price: $4.99
Genre: Stealth action
Download on iOS | Android

RÉPUBLIQUE, a stealth-action game, takes you through the perils of government Big Brother surveillance in the Internet Age. It all starts with a desperate call from Hope, a mysterious woman trapped inside an oppressive totalitarian state. You can help her by hacking the nation's elaborate surveillance network and guiding her through a maze of chilling adventure.


#15: World of Tanks Blitz

Price: Free
Genre: MOBA
Download on iOS | Android

World of Tanks, the hugely popular massively multiplayer online game, has arrived on mobile in 2014, and it is just as addictive to play.


#14: Thomas Was Alone

Price: Platformer
Genre: $5.99
Download on iOS | Android

Thomas Was Alone is a puzzle-platformer that presents itself in a minimalistic graphic style, and tells its story through the narration of famous voice actor Danny Wallace (hint: he is Shawn Hastings in Assassin's Creed), accompanied by a brilliant soundtrack, courtesy of David Housden. The point of the game is to beat its 100 puzzles by controlling different "characters".


#13: Wayward Souls

Price: Action-adventure
Genre: $6.99
Download on iOS | Android

Wayward Souls is a fantasy role-playing, rogue-like game, which will transfer your character to some gloomy and dreary dungeons. You guessed it right, you won't be alone there, as the dungeons are brimming with life – of course, we are talking about unfriendly creatures, which will love to annihilate you.


#12: The Room Two

Price: $2.99
Genre: Puzzle
Download on iOS | Android

The Room games are two of the best titles you'll ever play on a mobile device. It's hard to say whether the first game or the sequel is better, but let's just note that the second games has bigger rooms and even more elaborate contraptions to deal with. Which might not be a good thing for some of you,as the puzzles you're solving could prove quite challenging at times. You have to keep your eyes peeled and your logic in prime working order.


#11: FIFA 2015

Price: Free
Genre: Sports sim
Download on iOS | Android

FIFA 15 Ultimate Team by EA SPORTS features over 10,000 players from over 500 licensed teams. Plus, over 30 real leagues and stadiums. Build a dream squad of footballers and put them to the test. From the English Premier League, La Liga, and MLS, to the German Bundesliga and beyond.


#10: Leo’s Fortunes

Price: $4.99
Genre: Platformer
Download on iOS | Android

Leo's Fortune tells the adventure of Leopold, the Grand Inventor of Greatest Engineering. He used to be rich and fortunate, but a clever thief stole his treasures and left all the coins on the road like breadcrumbs to follow.


#9: 2048

Price: Free
Genre: Puzzle
Download on iOS | Android

2048, as the name suggests, is a numbers game. The goal is simple, and the first few minutes of gameplay – deceptively easy. Your aim in 2048 is to multiply blocks of numbers until you reach the number 2048 by merging any identical numbers on the screen. So two blocks with 2 make a 4, and two 4's make an 8 – all the way up to 2048.


#8: NBA 2K15

Price: $7.99
Genre: Sports sim
Download on iOS

NBA 2K15, the newest game in the annual basketball series, has made its way onto iOS and Android, featuring upgraded graphics, new player animations, and realistic gameplay. Also, it costs a hefty $7.99, but that might be a reasonable price to save you from bothersome in-app purchases.


#7: XCOM: Enemy Within

Price: $12.99
Genre: Strategy
Download on iOS | Android

Missing some squad-based alien-killing action? You might want to check out XCOM: Enemy Within, the sequel to 2012's XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Developer Firaxis says the game offers the same core gameplay as its predecessor, but it's loaded with more content to have fun with. New content as in new types of soldiers, abilities, enemies, maps, missions, and a multiplayer mode.


#6: Vainglory

Price: Free
Genre: MOBA
Download on iOS

Vainglory and is an action-strategy-RPG mix, or a so-called MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena), much like the famous DOTA and League of Legends games from PC. It is developed specifically for touch-based controls.


#5: Anomaly Defenders

Price: $4.99
Genre: Tower defense
Download on iOS | Android

In contrast to the previous games, Anomaly Defenders is a classic tower defense. The game takes place years after the previous titles and it seems that the humans have won the war on Earth. Now, in Ender's Game-style, the residents of Earth have taken things over the top and are on a genocide mission against the aliens. You play as a human commander, who doesn't agree with Earth's aggression, and who has been recruited by the aliens to help them defend their homeworld.


#4: Threes

Price: $1.99
Genre: Puzzle
Download on iOS | Android

Threes! is one of the best designed games you'll find on mobile. It doesn't have flashy graphics, and the gameplay falls into the "easy to learn, but difficult to master" category. The game exudes personality in every aspect, and it is painfully obvious that a lot of love went into its development. The game is essentially a matching puzzle, but gets very complex very quickly.


#3: Flappy Bird

Price: -
Genre: Helicopter game 
Not available for download on iTunes and Play Store

Flappy Bird is a very simple, yet very difficult helicopter game. Players have to tap the screen to keep a bird in flight while avoiding incoming pipes - touch any pipe and the bird dies. This maddening level of difficulty had quickly won it a large following, but the game developer decided to pull the game from app stores in its prime days. You can still find an Android APK to play it, and despite its limited availability, the craze around it makes it one of the unforgettable games of the year.


#2: Monument Valley

Price: $3.99
Genre: Indie physics puzzle-adventure
Download on iOS | Android

Monument Valley tells the story of Ida, a princess in a strange, ever-changing world of impossible 3D-esque constructions, looking like something that came out of the mind of MC Escher. White and pure, Ida walks around this blocky, pixel-perfect world that you rotate and transform to reach an altar or a door that lead you from one fantastical environment to another.


#1: Modern Combat 5: Blackout

Price: $6.99
Genre: First-person shooter
Download on iOS | Android

Modern Combat 5: Blackout is finally out for iPhone, iPad and Android. The fifth instalment in the Modern Combat first-person shooter series comes with even better graphics than before, a rich, story-driven single-player mode, as well as a fun multiplayer options where squads of players face each other in battle.

Story timeline

FEATURED VIDEO

24 Comments

1. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

Mobile gaming xD

3. DogeShibe

Posts: 1121; Member since: Jan 10, 2014

Same thought here as well xD

4. BattleBrat

Posts: 1476; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

Actually, with an Nvidia shield portable its pretty badass.

12. theguy2345

Posts: 1216; Member since: Jun 24, 2014

Any gaming on a dedicated handheld is awesome. That is why for the most part, the vita, 3DS and shield are not even in the same category. I only game on dedicated handhelds because it is so much better. Mobile gaming sucks, plain and simple

14. BattleBrat

Posts: 1476; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

Oh, yes, gaming on a phone or tablet (except shield tab) sucks horribly.

15. theguy2345

Posts: 1216; Member since: Jun 24, 2014

Yeah, when I do game when I am not home, I usually have my 3DS (especially with streetpass), vita, or on my phone, but a gameboy emulator.

2. sip1995

Posts: 1771; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

God damn it Victor, at least you can do some research before you write an article, cuz FIFA 15 is available on Windows Phone too.....jeeeeez

5. Joshing4fun

Posts: 1245; Member since: Aug 13, 2010

He made one little mistake? Curse him!!!

16. Phonedingo

Posts: 399; Member since: Aug 16, 2014

The death sentence is the only option.

6. yahia_malka

Posts: 186; Member since: Mar 27, 2014

FIFA 2015, modern combat 6 , threes , 2048 Are available in windows phone

9. sip1995

Posts: 1771; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

2048 too

23. JoshN

Posts: 202; Member since: Apr 01, 2015

So is crossy road only on IOS beacause I have it on my Moto G 2014 and My old NoKia Lumia 530 ?!?!?!?!?!?! :/

7. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

While some games lend themselves to mobile gaming, I really don't see the advantages in others, like touch fps games? covering the screen you need to see makes no sense to me. Granted getting a controller and a clip for the mobile phone changes all that, and if you ask me is the way to go, phones should begin to come bundled with a controller in some cases if you ask me.

19. wyrishman

Posts: 39; Member since: May 11, 2014

They should absolutely make a case with a controller in it. I would be all about an NES style case for my phone. That would make NES Emulators a million times better! I mean, sure they have BT controllers, but having it built into a case would be way better. You should probably patent that...before I do ;). +1

21. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

hmm wonder if you could make a controller like a flip cover, just the other way around so it closed around the back.

24. JoshN

Posts: 202; Member since: Apr 01, 2015

I have purchased a Logitech PowerShell for my Apple iPod Touch 5 32gig google it its for iPhone 5 / 5c / 5s and iPod 5 16 / 32 / 64 gig :-)

8. ThePython

Posts: 902; Member since: May 08, 2013

The Walking Dead should be #1 Just sayin'

18. shuaibhere

Posts: 1986; Member since: Jul 07, 2012

Best mobile game... As same as it's PC counter part..

10. uRiBiTo666

Posts: 55; Member since: Jun 02, 2013

Funny, some of these games are advertised in République

11. theguy2345

Posts: 1216; Member since: Jun 24, 2014

My GOTY was forza horizon 2 and sunset overdrive. They were so good I couldn't pick one! Just going around in the open world in both these games is very enjoyable. Already done hours of that forza horizon 2.

13. EC112987

Posts: 1215; Member since: Nov 10, 2014

idk but clash of clans in my favorite and i get to play with all my friends. Now are these for games just released in 2014?

20. Victor.H

Posts: 1062; Member since: May 27, 2011

Yes, that's the whole idea.

17. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Aaaand, no Windows games.

22. EclipseGSX

Posts: 1776; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

Flappy bird is #3? Are you kidding me lol. I think you are confusing best with most downloads...

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