For some old-school gamers, having the opportunity to play a few of the classics on a smartphone is a real treat. It’s also a little ironic that the honking machine you put together in the 2000s (which cost you $5,000) is now overpowered by a little device in your pocket. But such is the way of technology, and one is best served by embracing it.
One way to embrace it is by playing awesome adventure games on your mobile device — especially ones that hearken back to the golden gaming days of old. The following adventure games all have that familiar, old-school feel and are available now on Android. So if you’re looking for nostalgia, you’ve come to the right place.
1. Fallout: Shelter
The original Fallout was a classic from the 90’s with a great story, stunning RPG elements, and a tactical, turn-based combat system that was a lot of fun. This new incarnation was released as a prelude to Fallout 4, but it has done so well that Bethesda continues to update it — adding more adventure and combat elements to what started as a simple building game.
The Vault Dwellers you manage in Fallout Shelter all have stats, using the same RPG-style “SPECIAL” scores from the original game. You give them armor and weapons, train them, and then send them out to face the Wasteland. The developers have even added quests and buildings to explore. This one is well worth the free download.
2. Final Fantasy Brave Exvius
This mobile-ready installation in the long-running Final Fantasy saga really feels like the old SNES chapters of the game. The artwork and design hearken back to the beginnings of Final Fantasy. With a true sense of magic and wonder, it is a completely new addition to the franchise, and well worth a try — even for those who have never played any FF games before.
In Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, you lead a couple of (sometimes bickering) companions on a quest to save their homeland. You’ll meet friends along the way while collecting weapons, equipment, and various other resources. As always with a Final Fantasy game, story and character development are important as the game progresses.
3. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
This addition to the original, best-selling game from 2002 doesn’t just have an old-school feel — it is actually old, although way ahead of his time. But that does not mean that it isn’t still fun. Of course, the story itself takes place in a replica of 1980’s Miami, so the nostalgia doubles-down in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
You build a character in a crime world, following the story as you grow in power and rank. You start stealing cars… and the next thing you know, you’re controlling the largest crime syndicate in Vice City. This game combines some of the earliest open world gameplay with a pretty good character-driven story. It also successfully pulls off the glamor and glitz of the 80’s with its art and music.
The oldest gamers will remember when this came out in 1993 and wowed the world with its beautiful graphics, intriguing puzzles, and hauntingly lonely atmosphere.
You are dropped onto an abandoned island filled with strange, almost magical gadgets. All alone, you must work your way through the mystery of Myst (dubbed realMyst on mobile) by solving dozens of complex puzzles. Each one leads you to more clues as to who built the island and why.
The puzzles can be real mind-benders, and they still offer a challenge today. The graphics are simplistic by modern standards, but that does not take away from the magical aura of the game. It is also a perfect game for those who just want something on their phone to kill a little time, rather than invest in a full-blown RPG adventure.
This is definitely a new game, but it has the feel of some of the game-noir entries from the 90’s — especially Bladerunner. The settings in Missing are beautifully drawn and the characters are very real. It has a lot of choice-making, which is something more common in early RPGs. Before the dark times. Before the conversation wheel…
This game also has a real cause behind it, as it focuses on the horrible reality of child sex trafficking.
You start the game as a young girl abducted into human trafficking. Her experiences are based on real stories of this very dark world. The girl, Champa, is imprisoned in the Red Light District. She is propositioned and pushed around. Her goal is to make the right choices and find her way to a freedom which always seems to be elusive.
6. Her Majesty’s Spiffing
This game is a true callback to some of the early adventure sagas like Space Quest. It has the humor that’s missing in many modern games, yet was so popular in the early days. The Monty Python-style British humor is quite funny, and the art style is lovely and engaging. It began as a Kickstarter project, and it really took off.
In Her Majesty’s Spiffing, your heroes hail from post-Brexit England. The queen has taken her royal prerogative to reclaim control of the country, and she has set up a new space agency, SPIFFING. You and your companions must launch out into the galaxy to explore planets and spread the British Empire to all of them.
Most of the activity is puzzle-based, and the screens are very well drawn. The voice performances are pretty strong, which is important for a game so based on humor and character interaction. The main problem with it is that it may just be a little too short.
7. Devious Dungeon
Of course, you have to have a pixel-art game in this list. Devious Dungeon applies the 8-bit art form to mobile devices with great success. It truly has the look and interactive feel of a classic Nintendo adventure game. The art and sound come together in a perfect retro atmosphere.
This game is full of missions and equipment, and you grow your character through an RPG type system. Explore dungeons. Collect treasure. Defeat the bad guys. It’s a classic gaming format with a classic design.
This is just a short preview of all the awesome old-school (or old-school feeling) mobile games out there right now. What are your favorites? Will you be downloading any of these? Let me know in the comments!