If there’s one gaming trend that was clear in 2019, it was that smartphones are fueling the next generation of gaming with the success of graphic intensive games like PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty: Mobile. In fact, games like PUBG Mobile, Fortnite and Garena Free Fire are so popular that they have spawned their own successful e-sports championships.
With smartphones becoming more powerful, even the mid-budget devices, these are the primary gaming devices for the Indian audience. Console and PC Gaming is still a relatively more niche and expensive exercise in India.
Another big factor in the rise of the mobile gaming industry is the lowering of data prices in India. This happened after the introduction of Reliance Jio, which started offering a lot of highspeed data at very low prices back in 2016 and the subsequent data wars. Here’s a list of the most popular mobile games that we saw take over mobile phones in 2019. From graphic intensive games like PUBG Mobile, Asphalt 9: Legends to click and go games like Ludo Star, Cooking Diary.
PUBG Mobile was a runaway success at the time of its launch and it remains one of the top games for many in India. The game popularised free-for-all battle royale style of mobile gaming on Android. In 2019, PUBG Mobile was also the most controversial games in India with claims that it was extremely addictive and harmful. In March, the game was banned in states like Gujarat, and students were even arrested. The reason for the ban was that it was seen as a distraction for students, discouraging them from their studies.
Still that hasn’t impacted the popularity of PUBG Mobile in India and in other markets. In fact, the company later launched a PUBG Mobile Lite version for smartphones with less than 2GB RAM to tap users with not so fast gaming smartphones. The game is so big that it has turned into an eSports game with global competitions constantly taking place.
Call of Duty: Mobile
Call of Duty is the game that defines the peak of First Person Shooter (FPS) games. Bringing all of that from over 10 years of amazing FPS games on PC to mobile was touted as a huge and difficult task. However, Tencent Games and Activision, put out the game this year for everyone to play, and it proved to be a hit. The game became one of the most popular Android games quickly crossing 100 million downloads in just one week of its release.
The game strikes the nostalgia in a perfect way of anyone who has ever played a Call of Duty game, whether it be from the maps or guns or characters. The graphics are far superior and the competition doesn’t even come close. I found the game to be much more interesting than any of the battle royale genre options like PUBG Mobile. It was also awarded the best Android game on the Play Store.
Asphalt 9: Legends
Car racing games have been extremely popular since the older days of Nokia 5233 and if there’s one series which continues to reign supreme on smartphones it is Asphalt. The latest version is Asphalt 9: Legends, and it takes the racing car gaming genre up a notch in terms of graphics and controls. There’s no doubt that with the latest version Asphalt series continues to retain its upper hand in the gaming genre.
Asphalt has also been a mobile gaming series, pushing graphics on a smartphone before any of the FPS games were even available. Plus it helps that you can live your dream of driving cars from the likes of a Ferrari to Porsche to Lamborghini.
The latest version of Asphalt date is one of the best car racing games that I have played to date. It is also a game that immerses you a lot into the gameplay, giving the player stunning controls with the accelerometer and the gravitational feature.
Alto’s Odyssey one of the most visually appealing games in the market and soothing as well. The game is a sequel to the wildly popular Alto’s Adventure game released back in 2015. The game takes the sandbox genre to the next level with an endless sandboarding journey throughout a majority of landscapes. The game is addictive, fun to play and is a visual treat on the eyes.
Garena Free Fire
Garena Free Fire is also a battle royale game just like PUBG Mobile and Fortnite. It is nearer to PUBG Mobile than Fortnite in terms of graphics and realism. The game is quite fun to play and deploys the battle royale genre of gaming to its peak. I would argue that Free Fire is a bit easier to get used because of the easier recoil correction and saves.
It has a smaller world and fewer players than PUBG Mobile, however, don’t worry it has enough players to always find you a match. But credit needs to be given to Free Fire as it has a smooth gаmерlау and can run easily on most phones.
Shadowgun Legends was a bit of an underdog game, entering an already crowded market with not much to differ in terms of a PvP (player vs environment) FPS game. The game is set in a sci-fi world, where humanity is under attack from a deadly alien invader. In it, you are a part of Shadowguns, which are legendary warriors and heroes, and also the last line of defence.
The game has quite an interesting storyline, where you have to save humanity all alone or by partnering with friends. It also has an exciting 4v4 PvP battle mode, which allows you to end your boredom. Shadowgun Legends is extremely exciting and thrilling to play, due to the futuristic settings and the surprise element, where an enemy can jump infront of you from anywhere. It got the award of one of the best apps of 2019 on the Google Play Store.
Cricket is a huge trend in India and is followed by most Indians religiously. It is a sport, which is given the most importance and it seems natural companies will want to cash in on this with their own mobile games. One of the most popular here is Stick Cricket, which allows players to experience the game in a not so graphic demanding environment.
The advantage with Stick Cricket is that everyone play it, even someone with a basic smartphone with say just 1GB of RAM. In fact, there are several versions of Stick Cricket on the Google Play Store, which shows the popularity of this game.
Marvel Strike Force
2019 was a big year for Marvel at the box office thanks to the release of Avengers: End Game. It was also a big year for the company in the gaming industry with the release of a number of its titles. One such title that made it big in the mobile gaming industry was Marvel Strike Force. In this game, players get to battle alongside a number of familiar faces from Marvel like Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America and more. It is more of a select and wait game, in which you select a move and wait for the character to make it and inflict damage on the enemies. And just like any Avengers movie, the end objective is to save the world. The game made it into the list of the best apps selected by Google for its Play Store awards.
Fortnite is quite similar to PUBG Mobile in terms of gaming style. But in terms of game development, Fortnite started adding new features like building up structures and strategic play. It is quite popular among iOS users. Android users that would want to try out the game and play it, need to download it from the company’s website rather than from the Play Store. The base structure behind the game is similar to that of PUBG Mobile, where 100 players jump off on to a battlefield to fight it out and the last player standing is the winner.
Fortnite enjoys a high level of popularity in the US, though that did not get replicated in India. The game is extremely demanding and requires a high level of specifications to run and thanks to this the company has restricted the number of devices that can play it.
Cooking Diary is a game in which you have to be quick on your feet in serving meals to customers, without them getting angry. This allows players to earn stars and open up new restaurants. It is quite popular in India given that the game is quite fast and fun to play. It also strikes with people’s fascination with food and cooking. The popularity of the game has spawned off sequels and rip-offs like Masala Diary, in which the players have to make and serve Indian dishes.
Angry Birds has been one of the most popular sandbox game series globally. It has been so popular that it has been even spawned off into a movie series too. The game’s first instalment was launched back in 2009. The latest version is Angry Birds Champions, which is a puzzle game. People who started playing the game in its early stages are still committed to the series, with new players joining every day. The game is quite popular in India, considering that it does not require heavy specifications or a lot of time to play.
Remember the days when you were young and would gather around three of your friends to play Ludo. Ludo Star is an app that lets you relive all of this. It allows you to play ludo with your friends wherever they are and chat with them via voice or text.
The game also brings a social aspect of people making new friends in random games. The game finishes quite fast and does get dragged on like some other games. It is quite addictive and gives you a chance to connect with people and appeals to our sense of nostalgia.
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
The Harry Potter franchise is one of the biggest in the world, and the newest entrant was the game Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery. Inside of the game the player is allowed to choose their story, learn magical spells and duel against rivals. You can also roam around in the Hogwarts Castle and make new discoveries while at the same time solving ancient mysteries. You also have the opportunity to learn about magic from Professor Dumbledore, Snape, and more.
We also saw Harry Potter: Wizards Unite get released this year, but it wasn’t such a big hit. But it looks like Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery fared better with the feel of RPG game. This game also made it into Google’s Play Store awards, getting the award of the best breakthrough games of 2019.
Star Trek Fleet Command
Star Trek is another big entertainment franchise with a loyal fan base. The Star Trek Fleet Command mobile game requires players need to put in their skills to work by developing a strategy, engaging into combat, performing diplomatic acts and leading their fleets. You enter the game at a point where the galaxy is on the brink of war as all of the Federation, Klingon and Romulan forces are aiming to get control of the Alpha and Beta quadrants. It’s a different sort of game in which you battle in space to keep the universe in balance. The game also made it to the list of breakthrough apps for 2019 on Google Play Store.
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