Mobile gaming

Ten great iPhone or Android games to load on a new phone

From a Space Invaders mash-up to campsite management and city building, from eyebrow activation to trivia, these game apps will keep you amused for days

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 January, 2018, 8:17am
UPDATED : Monday, 01 January, 2018, 3:10pm

Got a new phone this holiday season? Once you’ve set it up and downloaded some apps, it’s time for the fun stuff.

Getting things done with your smartphone is great, but playing games on it is even better. The Games category is far and way the most popular in smartphone marketplaces (Apple dedicated a section solely to Games on its redesigned App Store).

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Of course, there are staples like Candy Crush Saga or Angry Birds. But if you are looking to mix up your gaming library, here are 10 great choices. All these games are for iOS or Android and are free to play unless otherwise noted, but might feature in-game purchases.

Arkanoid vs. Space Invaders (US$1.99)

On their own, both these games are absolute classics. Together, they form a really cool hybrid game where players command an Arkanoid ship deflecting enemy fire from alien invaders. It takes the best from both arcade games and mashes them into a fun experience.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp

This charming simulation from Nintendo tasks players with managing their own campsite filled with cute animals. As you explore, you help the animals, who give you items to help craft furniture and other amenities to spruce up your campsite. Eventually, you’ll host parties at your outdoor home.

Bit City

The creators of Pocket Planes and Tiny Tower do it again with their addictive city building simulation. Players start with a small town, slowly building businesses, services, and residential properties and watch it grow into a sprawling city. It’s free to play, but players can purchase “Bux” to build faster.

Fire Emblem Heroes

This free-to-play, turn-based adventure is based on Nintendo’s epic fantasy franchise. Players collect Heroes they assemble into teams of four to compete in various missions. They will level up their Heroes, unlocking new abilities and rewards.

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Strategy plays a big role, as players choose how to craft their teams based on compatible skills, weapon types and other factors.


Blizzard’s fantasy card game has been around since 2014, but a consistent stream of new cards and fresh content make it a great addition for hard core game players. Build decks using a variety of minions and spells, then duel other players. There are so many cards available, the combinations are endless.

HQ Trivia

Ever want to join a live game show? That is what the viral hit only for iOS (and coming soon to Android) offers. Every day at 9pm ET, players join the game with thousands of others, trying to get all 12 answers right. If they make it through, they get to share a cash prize.

Pokemon Go

If you have yet to experience the augmented-reality phenomenon, this is a great time. The game features pocket monsters called Pokemon that players hunt for through a GPS map. When they spot one, your smartphone’s camera pops up, and you attempt to catch it as if it existed in the real world. Developers will soon add more advanced AR tech to add little touches such as the option to sneak up to Pokemon for extra bonuses.


This one is just for the iPhone X owners. Thanks to the device’s TrueDepth camera, users play the game with only their eyebrows. An emoji moves up the screen, with players moving their eyebrows up to jump or down to drop down. Players must collect stars along the way while dodging obstacles such as cars and ducks.

Reigns: Her Majesty (US$2.95)

It’s no longer good to be king in the delightful sequel to 2016 game Reigns. It’s a card-based choose-your-own-adventure style game where players make decisions as queen, keeping their kingdom protected and filled with riches, all while continuing to please the church and the people. The goal is to stay in power as long as possible.


This addictive action game features a colourful sphere players must guide through a neon track with obstacles, tapping the touch screen to dodge each one. The further you get, the faster the sphere moves, requiring users to think very quickly.