While mobile ports can be somewhat fiddly and half as entertaining as fully-fledged console versions, that’s not to say that they’re destined to fail. Of course, nine times out of ten, they do tend to fall flat at the first hurdle when trying to capture the same ambience as the console siblings. After all, transferring an entire spool of buttons from a controller onto a 7″ piece of glass isn’t the easiest task in the world. And yet, despite the major challenge, many developers have managed to pull it off.
Mobile games have come a long way since the dawn of portable gaming. From Snake to Tetris, Candy Crush to Bitcoin Billionaire, Grand Theft Auto to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds — mobile gaming has only continued to climb higher than high. Of course, we can’t help but question where exactly the platform will be in ten years from now. One thing is for sure: these five mobile ports definitely prove that the platform is cruising in the right direction.
5. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Grand Theft Auto — on mobile? Surely not? That’s something millions of us craved ever since mobile devices became fully capable of loading anything other than Snake, right? It seemed like a pipe dream — having one of the most cherished PlayStation 2 games finally land on a tiny screen, but hey ho — it actually happened, and we still haven’t quite gotten our heads around how or why it occurred. Still, we can’t complain.
Admittedly, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas can be a little clunky to control even on consoles, which is why we picture a mobile port as being nothing but a shambles. And yet, somehow it works. Even with all of the controls reduced to bite-size icons that only your thumbs can control, San Andreas still plays rather well on smaller screens. The story is still just as invigorating as its wide-screen sibling, and every shred of entertainment still oozes from every nook and cranny of the crime-riddled suburbia. And so, for these reasons alone — we’re more than pleased to adopt it into our catalogue of mobile must-plays.
4. Bully: Anniversary Edition
Who’d have thought that one of Rockstar’s hidden gems would finally land on mobile after so many years of sitting idle on the back burner? Similar to Grand Theft Auto, Bully also spread its influences across the globe after hitting consoles. That’s essentially why mobile users spent years clawing Rockstar’s ankles for a port on smaller devices. Though, I don’t think anybody ever really expected them to actually develop it. But we can thank War Drum Studios for that.
Bully: Anniversary Edition crams in all of the juicy content from the Xbox 360 version of Scholarship Edition, which includes all of the additional missions, outfits and characters. Other than that, the mobile port does maintain the consoles enhanced graphics and even keeps a solid frame rate throughout the whole experience. The story is still very much jam-packed and full of violence, as per Rockstar’s usual traditions — and the playability is fluid enough to enjoy even on the worst-performing devices. And so, all in all, it’s a worthy purchase for any Android or iPhone user.
3. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
At first, it seems like an impossible task when trying to imagine Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons being ported to mobile. After all, with the game using two joysticks to control both of the characters simultaneously, it doesn’t quite add up that it could ultimately work on a glass screen with no extra wriggle room. Until, of course, we remember that the majority of mobile ports tend to focus on player’s thumbs, and, that implementing two joysticks isn’t actually that advanced when it comes to controls. Even still — we had to think for a moment.
Thanks to 505 Games, players can finally experience a pocket-sized edition of the much-loved story-driven game. With just as much raw emotion and action as the console version, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons still plays just as flawlessly even on a much smaller scale. It’s big, it’s bold — and it is most definitely beautiful. It’s no wonder it went on to win countless awards following its 2013 release. We’re just glad we can relive the memories time and time again without having to resort to the pad to play.
2. The Walking Dead
There’s no denying the fact that Telltale made fantastic point-and-click games over their fourteen-year reign. Of course, The Walking Dead was just one of the many greats that went on to achieve critical acclaim — which is why Telltale milked the franchise with several sequels and spin-offs after its award-winning first season. But we can’t say anybody really complained about it, to be honest. In fact, it was like adding more gold to the pot.
While porting a point-and-click adventure onto mobile isn’t the most tech-savvy goal in the world (coming from a journalist who, admittedly, has no experience in gaming development whatsoever), it does come as a surprise as to how well The Walking Dead does actually play on smaller screens. Not only does it capture the same ambience as console editions, but it also reels in the player just the same through its mapped-out choices and thought-provoking puzzles. What more can we ask for?
With a game as celebrated as Fortnite, it only made sense for Epic to crunch it down into a mobile edition so more people could talk about it. After all, with 350 million players worldwide, it seemed only right that the developer would go on to harvest even more souls through its bite-sized version. So now, as of 2021, the majority of the gaming community can dive into the action from the comfort of their own bathrooms. That’s gaming at its peak right there, my friends.
Although tackling the controls on a smaller screen might be a little challenging for most, raking in a win on mobile can prove to be even more rewarding than your average console victory. Sure, there’s a difficulty curve lurking over the pocket-sized Fortnite, but that doesn’t stop it from unloading several waves of joy on you as you claw your way to the pinnacle of the leaderboard. If anything — it gives you more of a reason to endure.