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The 10 Best Mobile Games of 2013

December 5, 2013  |  2:24pm
The 10 Best Mobile Games of 2013

Maybe you’re an adult. Maybe that means you don’t want to be seen in public playing the same 3DS or Vita that your kids play. Or maybe you’re entirely comfortable with gaming in public and just prefer the ease and utility of your tablet or smartphone. Either way, there’s a good chance you’ve played mobile games this year. Modern technology has expanded where and how we play games, and also who plays them. For everybody who’s hopelessly obsessed with Candy Crush Saga, or waiting for the latest convoluted boardgame-to-tablet conversion, smartphones and tablets are just as important for playing games as they are for working or staying in touch with family and friends. 2013 was another great year for mobile games, and here are the 10 best we’ve played over the last 12 months.

10. Marvel Puzzle Quest Dark Reign

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Here’s a neat trick. Take a series that has historically under-delivered, slap a license on it, and then adapt it from retail to a free-to-play model. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, right? But not only is Marvel Puzzle Quest Dark Reign a blast, it’s the first Puzzle Quest to crack its premise. It’s a match-3/RPG hybrid that delivers on both fronts.—Mitch Krpata

9. Joe Danger Touch

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Joe Danger Touch feels so natural that you might assume it was made from the ground up for touch devices. Perhaps that is because in some ways it was. Developer Hello Games went back to the books with their popular racing/platforming franchise, taking many of the abilities, art assets and pieces of level design from Joe Danger and Joe Danger 2: The Movie and repurposing them into something that feels incredibly intuitive to swipe and tap through.—Luke Larsen

8. Impossible Road

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We hate ourselves. It’s the only answer that makes sense. Why else would we play games like Impossible Road, where leaving your finger on the screen for a fraction of a second in either direction results in death? When did failure become this fun? Partially it’s the allure of the high score, and some of it’s the single-minded elegance of Kevin Ng’s design. The minimal aesthetic is also invaluable. Impossible Road is unforgiving in the most enjoyable way.—Garrett Martin

7. Device 6

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Device 6 has good taste. That’s evident from the start, with its Saul Bass-style intro and an aesthetic cribbed from cult 60s British shows like The Prisoner and The Avengers. It’s a swinging slice of interactive fiction that uses the tablet platform in clever ways, and it’s also classy enough to respect our patience and intelligence. You should play it, which means you should also read it, which means you should let it squat in your iCloud until computers turn to dust. Go.—GM

6. Rymdkapsel

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Rymdkapsel plays out like the ideal kind of real-time strategy—it’s a grueling tower defense game with enough strategy and aesthetic charm to make it not feel like a tower defense game at all. Rymdkapsel is so much fun to play that I’ll happily build my base again and again—even just to watch it crumble.—LL

5. Badland

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With brilliantly designed levels, fantastic physics and responsive controls, Badland nails just about every aspect of the physic-based platformer. Like such games as Rayman: Jungle Run and Jetpack Joyride (Paste’s 2012 and 2011 Mobile Games of the Year), Badland proves once again that mobile games are often best played with one finger.—LL

4. Warhammer Quest

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The high production value speaks to the attention to detail evident in the design. There’s nothing revolutionary about Warhammer Quest’s mechanics—each character can move a certain number of spaces and attack a certain number of times per turn before the monsters get a go, rinse and repeat—but they are executed so solidly and intuitively that the rhythm of play feels almost immediately familiar.—JP Grant

3. Ridiculous Fishing

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Ridiculous Fishing is a story about a man’s attempt at becoming one with nature in an attempt to settle a personal vendetta against the ocean. It is a story about a world that exchanges fish that have been liquified by gunfire for surprisingly large amounts of cash. It is a story about birds making fun of each other on the internet. Ultimately, and in a pretty roundabout way, it is a story about coming to terms with the infinite.—Joe Bernardi

2. Year Walk

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You’ll get lost really quickly in Simogo’s sinister Year Walk—which makes it that much creepier when you stumble across one of the game’s many eerie puzzles and frightening creatures. I can’t remember the last time a game gave me the intense feeling of being completely lost and alone the way Year Walk does.—LL

1. Hundreds

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Hundreds is about the distance between objects. It’s about making circles grow as much as they can without impeding the progress of others. It’s about coexisting peacefully in a cramped, indifferent world that we have minimal control over. Mostly, though, Hundreds is about touching.—GM

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