When smartphones blew up 12 years ago, mobile games started to get more popular and then eventually become a common part of everyone's life. It started from simple single-player games such as Snake, Bounce to more social games such as Candy Crush Saga to competitive esports such as PUBG Mobile. Mobile games have become a billion-dollar industry that every huge tech company wants to take part in, either developing their own games or buying one from small studios.
But out of all those millions of mobile games on the market, only a few can stand out to be the best and draw all the attention (while they were in their prime time). Here, we have put together a list of the most successful mobile games in the past decade based on their number of downloads, revenue, and overall popularity. You definitely have heard some of these games (if not all) once or twice or even spent a great deal of time every day on them already.
Here is our list of the 10 most influential mobile games of this decade:
1. Fruit Ninja (2010)
Fruit Ninja is one of the earliest and most popular mobile games ever. It is developed by the Australia studio Halfbrick Games, who is also the creator of Jetpack Joyride. The gameplay of Fruit Ninja is super simple. You swipe your screen to cut fruits that are thrown onto the screen and avoid slicing bombs. The game is super cheap, addictive, and fun. The game also has a multiplayer mode so you can complete with your friends on the same smartphone.
Fruit Ninja is now available for many other platforms now including PC and consoles or even VR. There is also a free version on Google Play Store now apart from the classic version.
2. Temple Run (2011)
Temple Run is a 3D endless running game from Imangi Studios. Into the game, you will be playing as an explorer who is being chased by demonic monkeys in an ancient temple because he stole a golden idol. You swipe right/left to turn and swipe up/ down to jump/slide to dodge obstacle. The game has no end so you will run until your character gets caught by the money, fall into the water, or crash into a large obstacle. Along the way, you can collect coins and different power-ups. You can use coins to upgrade power-ups or buy new characters.
Temple Run set a trend for the endless running genre at the time which spawned many games with similar gameplay. Of course, most of them weren't nearly as successful as Temple Run apart from Subway Surfers. Temple Run also has a sequel called Temple Run 2, a few spin-offs, and a game for VR.
The game is available for free for both Android and iOS.
3. Subway Surfers (2012)
Along with Temple Run, Subway Surfers was the lead of the endless running genre. The gameplay of it is pretty much the same as Temple Run as you running endlessly and dodging obstacles. However, the cartoonish graphics of Subway Surfers might be more appealing to younger users.
In 2018, Subway Surfers became the first game to hit 1 billion downloads on Google Play Store and crossed the 2 billion mark just a few months later.
Subway Surfers is now available for both Android and iOS for free.
4. Candy Crush Saga (2012)
Candy Crush Saga is an exception out of all the top games on the market. It doesn't have original or creative gameplay whatsoever. The game is just a normal match-three puzzle game with pretty eye-catching visuals and that it's. However, it has become extremely huge with hundreds of million people paying the game everyday. The game has almost nothing to appeal to gamers, but it has become one of the mainstream games because it can attract most non-gamer players, who are many many more than gamers such as moms, uncles, aunts, office worker during their free time,... The game also allows people to share their results, achievements on social networks (mostly Facebook), which is why it is so popular.
Hate it or not, you must admit that Candy Crush Saga had a great influence in the mobile game industry over the past decade.
5. Clash of Clans (2012)
Clash of Clans is a multiplayer strategy game made in 2012 by SuperCell, the same developer of Brawl Stars, Clash Royale. You will be in charge of a village to grow it and build an army to clash with other players. The game also features a single-player mode where players attack goblin villages.
Clash of Clans features many types of units as well as walls, defensive buildings, original gameplay. You can drop your troops to attack the enemy's base for resources and try different base layouts to find the best way to defend your base.
The game has been the highest-grossing game on both Google Play Store and App Store for years and is among the top 5 most downloaded games in the last decade.
6. Hill Climb Racing (2012)
Hill Climb Racing is a physics-based driving game by Fingersoft. Players will play as a driver who drives different types of vehicles to go through different kinds of tricky terrains. The game stops when you run out of gas or when your vehicle is flipped. It has really simple graphics with interesting gameplay mechanics. The control is simple while the gameplay is challenging and fun makes the game super addictive.
The game is free to play for Android, iOS, and Windows. However, you can spend money on the game to unlock more vehicles and terrains faster.
7. Flappy Bird (2013)
Flappy Bird was a phenomenon that no one could have expected. The game was released in 2013 by a Vietnamese developer, but it didn't become popular until 2014. The gameplay of the game is extremely simple. You will control a bird, trying to fly through endless columns of green pipes without hitting them. The developer revealed that he created the game in just a few days.
In January 2014, it was the most download game in both the App Store and Google Play Store thanks to addictive nature. The developer earned $50,000 a day from in-game ads during this time.
Flappy Bird was removed by the developer later that year due to some plagiarism controversies, but it still remained as one of the biggest hit of this decade and spawned tons of its copy cat games on the market.
8. My Talking Tom (2013)
My Talking Tom is a virtual pet app where you interact with a cat named Tom. You can feed him, take him to the bathroom, play mini-games with him, and especially talk to him. Tom will repeat any words you say with a really funny voice.
The Talking Tom has become a brand itself and Tom was considered as the most popular cat in the world. It is the fourth most downloaded games in the last decade.
9. Pokemon GO (2016)
When Pokemon GO was announced in 2016 with the augmented reality technology, the whole world was rooting for it. The game uses the GPS of your device to locate, catch, fight, and train Pokemon, which offered a unique playing experience that no one has ever thought of. Players will have to travel in the real world to catch Pokemons instead of sitting in 1 location.
The game launch received a mixed review and caused some controversies concerning public safety and accidents. Still, the game reached 1 billion downloads early this year with about 150 million monthly players.
Pokemon GO is free to play on both Android and iOS with in-game purchases.
10. PUBG Mobile (2018)
While PUBG Mobile is the first battle royale mobile game, but its popularity and influences are simply undeniable. PUBG Mobile was released in 2018 by Tencent. Backed up by the fame of the original game PlayerUnknown's Battleground, it is one of the top choices for battle royale fans on smartphones. The game has frequent updates every month with new content, features, game modes to entertain players. Plus, players can play the game using an emulator on PC, allowing them to experience PUBG battle royale experience even if they have a low-end PC.
The game has a huge player base and esports scene, especially in India. There are international tournaments happening around the year with a prize pool up to millions of dollars and the participation of the best players from all around the world.
PUBG Mobile is available for both Android and iOS for free. You can also play it on a computer using Tencent's Android emulator, Game Loop, for the best experience.