30. A Dark Room
This text-only experimental RPG reminds you that words can be more powerful than any high-tech graphics or fast-paced play. Part interactive fiction, part strategy, and entirely unlike other games, or even what you might expect, A Dark Room is a mystery worth getting lost in.—Garrett Martin
868-HACK is a turn based trainwreck—a meticulously ordered, predictably random and nearly always solvable trainwreck of exploding and overwhelming complexity. On its own, each individual element of 868-HACK is deceptively simple. When everything is combined, though, playing 868-HACK is like slowly managing every single particle flying about in a tornado, one turn at a time.—Aevee Bee
28. Clash Royale
Clash Royale may fall into a sector of videogames that has earned the disdain of gamers everywhere, thanks to aggressive monetization and tacky advertising, but hey, at least it survived without resorting to Kate Upton. And really, the hate towards this fun, little game is totally unwarranted.
Clash Royale pits players against one another in one-on-one duels, where strategy is key and simple mistakes can cost you the game. It’s one of the few titles I’ve played that pulls the beautiful hat trick of allowing easy entry for new players, while at the same time giving veterans a challenge.
The game is certainly pay-to-win in some aspects, but as someone who has made it to the rank of “Legendary,” it’s still possible to succeed in the game without ever spending a dime on it.—Jacob Saylor
27. Eliss Infinity
Playing Eliss Infinity feels like juggling. While you’ve got one ball in the air, you need to be thinking about the one you are catching, as well as the new ball that is about to get thrown into the routine. In Eliss Infinity, you’re tasked with the mission of combining planets of the same colors that pop up and “scoring” them in same-colored portals, all while keeping them from touching other planets of different colors. It’s a simple idea, but things get hairy really fast—especially in the high score Infinity mode. The Infinity mode really is the big new thing here, and the classic Eliss gameplay absolutely shines in this new mode. Not since Super Hexagon have you had so much fun while being so utterly stressed out.—Matt Akers
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.—Garrett Martin
25. Mini Metro
Mini Metro first debuted as a prototype browser game in 2014. Since then, it’s seen a release on mobile platforms, and the republish on smartphone devices has given the game new life. If you’re not familiar with Mini Metro, it’s essentially Rollercoaster Tycoon for subways, albeit far less complicated.
While that might not sound exciting, you’ve got to give it a try. Mini Metro is Zen, tranquil and addicting. It features a minimalist design that’s easy to understand, and you can be up-and-running within minutes of downloading. Very rare is the game that feels better on mobile than it does on PC, but Mini Metro fits the bill and pays a very fine tip to boot. Apple is offering the game for $0.99 via their App Store for a limited time-jump in while the getting’s good.—Jacob Saylor
24. Device 6
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
23. Alto’s Odyssey
Team Alto’s series of mobile games somehow turns downhill skiing into adventures through some of the most beautiful environments seen on a phone. It takes one of the hoariest mobile genres—the endless runner—and reinvigorates it not with gimmicks or microtransaction-heavy progression, but through sheer artistry. With a rich color palette, detailed backgrounds and superlative sound design, Alto’s Odyssey reawakens the possibilities that made mobile games so exciting a decade ago.—Garrett Martin
22. Jetpack Joyride
Videogames used to exist solely to suck up every quarter of our baby-sitting and paper route money. They offered short bursts of play with a goal no greater than making the high score board. Mobile games often share the same sensibility today, and Jetpack Joyride fulfills its end of that bargain better than any other game in 2011. No game stunned me more with “just one more time” paralysis than this infectious one-finger pursuit. No matter how far I fly with that jetpack (or dirtbike, or mechanical dragon) it will never be far enough.—Garrett Martin
21. 80 Days
Not only is 80 Days a near-perfect travel game, but it’s also a near-perfect game about traveling. Think Jules Verne meets a visual novel meets Oregon Trail and that should put you somewhere in the right neighborhood. On top of being beautifully illustrated this is also easily one of the most well-written games available on the App Store. The downside? If reading while you’re in a car (bus, plane, train…) often makes you nauseous, 80 Days should be the absolute last thing you reach for.—Janine Hawkins