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What's the best game you've ever played on your phone?

(Image credit: Apple)

With Apple getting us all excited about the new iPhone 11 flavors and Apple Arcade, we all started comparing our favorite mobile games. You might be a hardcore battle royale fan on console, but when you're riding the train maybe you can't get enough of simple puzzle games.  Maybe you want something that reminds you of first love, or helps you plan for the apocalypse, or maybe you really like catching wild creatures while you're walking the dog. Our team shared their answers, and - amazingly - not all of them were Pokemon Go.

This is the latest in a series of big questions we'll be interrogating our writers with, so share your answers and suggestions for topics with us on Twitter.

Monument Valley

(Image credit: ustwo games)

Although I've been an avid mobile gamer for years, it wasn't until Monument Valley came along that the platform felt really defined. I know so many of my parent's generation that play the likes of Candy Crush and Farmville and yet won't call themselves gamers... But when Monument Valley came along it felt, well, monumental. Here was this game that embodied everything I'd been telling my parents is fantastic about gaming for years - glorious art style, creative puzzles, moving storyline, atmospheric soundtrack, and totally interactive. Of course, now there are a wealth of games that showcase what the mobile gaming platform can really do, but I'll never forget that moment that I started up Monument Valley for the first time. It's still the background on my iPad too. Sam Loveridge

Pokemon Go

(Image credit: Getty Images / Portland Press Herald)

I was living abroad when Pokemon Go came out. Before I moved away, I learned the geography of my temporary town like the back of my hand, and I have only the game to thank for that. I would spend countless nights wandering about my neighborhood searching for Pokemon, sometimes breaking out into a sprint to catch a rare one, leaving my friends in the dust. The most vivid memory I have is of a night at the local pub when I was absentmindedly playing Pokemon Go while nursing a pint. Suddenly, the silhouette of a Dragonite appeared around the block. I left my friend as they were in the middle of a sentence, sprinted onto the street, and was immediately treated with a Dragonite on my screen. Now, this was in the game's infancy, and I was using an old phone, but I never did catch that pudgy little dragon dude, as it froze while he was in the Pokeball. The lost Dragonite haunted me for weeks, a fine testament to how all-consuming Pokemon Go can be - very few mobile games can manage that. Alyssa Mercante

Last Day on Earth

(Image credit: Kefir)

I can't remember how I found this zombie bashing survive 'em up but I downloaded it because it was free to play and I figured it couldn't hurt to take a look. A couple of months later I play it every day, and even spent money on the season pass and a few other bits and pieces. It's nothing original; you travel to areas to strip them of resources that you then use to craft things for your base, as well as weapons and armor. Along the way, you battle zombies and other players and prepare for bigger strike/raid like missions that are higher risks for greater reward. It's a great game to have in your pocket to fill the time you have. I can rattle off a little material-gathering while I'm traveling or get comfortable for the afternoon to take on something a little more challenging, mixing together quick hits of action with more grindy long term ambitions that unlock gear or new areas on the map. Plus it has puppies you can rescue and breed to create a doggy partner to accompany you on runs. Leon Hurley

Hearthstone

(Image credit: Blizzard)

I've never been a big mobile gamer, but I'm still impressed with how well Hearthstone was translated to smaller screens. I put several hundred hours into the desktop version before I tried the mobile client, and for how cramped it is, it's remarkably intuitive. Your ability to interact with the toy-like game boards is more limited, but just playing the game is super smooth. I especially like the ability to open and minimize your hand - I could really use that feature in the desktop clients of some card games with screen-hogging hand sizes. And while I normally double-click to declare attacks, dragging minions on mobile just feels right. That's a sure sign of a good mobile port. Austin Wood

Florence

(Image credit: Mountains)

I don't know what I expected when I opened Florence up for the first time on a train to Cardiff, but I certainly didn't think it would result in me arriving at the station platform in a flood of tears... I even had strangers come up to me and ask if I was alright. Did I tell them I was sobbing because of a game I just played? No, I didn't... but that was mostly because I couldn't form coherent sentences afterwards. And you know what? I didn't feel the slightest bit of shame. Florence tells the story of a relationship, from its rose-tinted beginnings to its many bumps in the road, and all you have to do is move puzzle pieces in place with a swipe of your finger. As simplistic as the mechanics sound, it's really a metaphor for the current state of their relationship throughout each chapter, and it becomes increasingly more meaningful as the story goes on. With a charming animated art style and gorgeous music, Florence stayed with me long after its 30 minute playtime. Heather Wald

Pokemon Go

(Image credit: Niantic)

I remember in early 2016, before Pokemon Go had launched, seeing trailers for the game with Charizard perched atop a mountain. "There's no way this game is going to take off," I thought to myself. I've always been a huge Pokemon fan but after trying Niantic's first game, Ingress, prior to Pokemon Go releasing, I wasn't impressed. It left me with little hope that they could take something as beloved as Pokemon and adapt it into something great. Boy was I surprised! The summer of 2016 is still one of my fondest in recent memory, as almost everyone you'd see wandering round the city centre would have a phone in-hand, chucking balls at the original 151. Fast forward three years and it's one of the only apps I've never uninstalled, a few regionals are the only Pokemon missing from my Pokedex, and it's one of the main ways I can connect with my father since we're at opposite ends of the country. Roll on Gen 5! Ford James

Twenty

(Image credit: Stephen French)

I’m all for having something more than connect 3 games like Candy Crush on phones, I can just never get into them. I’ve tried games like Blades, Pokemon Go and Animal Crossing Pocket camp but very quickly lost interest (and battery life), But the game I will keep coming back to is Twenty. It’s very simple. Match one number with another of the same value and it merges into a new single number one digit higher than before. A One plus and One will make a Two, for example. But you’re constantly fighting against new layers of number appearing from the bottom of the screen. I play it whenever I'm traveling on transport as a distraction but it’s actually pretty stressful and not conducive to having a nice time but it’s the only thing I've kept on my phone for years. James Jarvis

Angry Birds

(Image credit: Rovio)

It’s easy to forget, but Angry Birds was the Fortnite of its day. Instead of foul-mouthed teenagers for company, you have plenty of unwitting feathered friends to throw into increasingly unstable structures. Angry Bird’s destructive nature is so unbelievably gleeful and addictive that I’m ashamed to say I’ve missed my stop on more than one occasion because of it. That’s always the sign of a great game. But probably the best thing about Angry Birds was its escalation. Things start off pretty tame – there are about three or four different variations of bird to help wipe out the piggies – you look away for a moment and, suddenly, several spin-offs, about 6000 different birds (give or take a few thousand), and a couple of movies appear out of nowhere. That just means I have literally hundreds of levels to add to my backlog. Heaven. Bradley Russell

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP

(Image credit: Superbrothers)

As a point-and-click adventure, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery is unremarkable. As a small-screen experience to transport you away from your commute and into a beautifully pixelated land of high-adventure and synthesized fantasy music, it is eternal. Having first come out in 2011, S&S is now the equivalent of an Atari cartridge (or maybe Intellivision) in the way-too-fast-moving world of smartphone gaming. But thinking about facing down the Trigon to the beat of Jim Guthrie's sublime soundtrack for the first time - I was riding the bus to campus, I think - still gives me chills. Plus, any app that manages to take over half of your Twitter feed with a stream of enigmatic in-game messages deserves infamy at the very least. Try pulling that off in 2019. Connor Sheridan

Fallout Shelter

(Image credit: Bethesda)

The world of Fallout is a dangerous place. If you're not being chewed up by a Deathclaw or murdered for chems by one of its many raiders, you're probably in a spot of radioactive bother because of its toxic landscape. This game gives you the chance to escape all that. Fallout Shelter casts you as the Overseer of your very own Vault with simple but satisfying resource management. Your Dwellers need the usual video game cocktail of food, water, and power, but they also require weapons to protect themselves from invaders; the threat of monsters and bandits will often rear its ugly head (to say nothing of Radroach infestations, fires, and jaunts into the Wasteland). You can even send Dwellers on story-based quests with real-time combat, making this a satisfying experience with lots of depth and staying power. The cheery Vault Boy art style (based on the series' smiling mascot) only serves to make it more appealing. It's a clever idea that deserves to be on a list of smartphone gaming's best. Benjamin Abbott


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