Video games released for mobile devices typically get a bad rep. The mobile market is filled to the brim with barely functioning ports, sub-par spin-off games, pay-to-win traps that try to steal your money, and other cardinal sins of gaming. But the low barrier to entry for mobile keeps allowing more and more terrible games to hit digital storefronts in Google Play and the App Store.
In recent years, we have seen a rise in enjoyable mobile games -- especially with companies like Bethesda and Nintendo taking a chance with the mobile game market. Even so, there still doesn't seem to be that many quality mobile games quite yet. Or at least, not enough to outweigh all the bad ones that still burden the market.
But so far, 2017 has actually been a promising year for mobile games, and we've seen some very well made titles released in the last few months. Here are five of this year's best games, which are available to download right now.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links
Android and iOS
Duel Links has all voice actors of the original series returning to reprise their roles. A feature even the most recent console Yu-Gi-Oh! game, Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist -- which follows the story of each Yu-Gi-Oh! series-- doesn't have.
The duels in Duel Links are designed to be quicker, having a few differences from the actual card game by ommiting or changing certain rules or cards. Making duels faster also makes them a bit more difficult, since you may have less time to stall your opponent if you're in a tight spot
Each character has different skills attached to them, such as always having a field card activated, or being able to start off with a life point boost, with more skills unlocked as characters level up. There are also easily skipped CG animations when characters summon their signature monsters.
Duel Links can only be played with an online connection, but would be better if it also had an offline mode.
Duel Links provides a fun mobile game for Yu-Gi-Oh fans, but even after a handful of updates, still has plenty of room for improvement.
And if you're having trouble, we have guides for beating Yami Bakura and the best ways to gain experience points, as well as a list of other games for you to try if you enjoy Duel Links but want to play something new.
Fire Emblem Heroes
Android and iOS
Nintendo's most recent mobile spin-off game is based on one of their currently most popular franchises. In Fire Emblem Heroes, players can make a team of up to four different characters to fight against enemies in the single player mode or to battle other players in PVP mode.
The in-game currency in Fire Emblem Heroes can be spent to obtain new characters, be used to fully heal and revive all of the player's units, or to give an experience boost or gain stamina.
Fire Emblem Heroes also introduces three brand new characters available as soon as players begin the game, with plenty of other characters available to unlock. A handful of other characters have been added since release as well, and even more may be on the way in the near future.
With more main series Fire Emblem games on the way, Fire Emblem Heroes is sure to see plenty more updates in the future.
Power Rangers Legacy Wars
Android and iOS
This mobile fighting game was released alongside the brand new movie, and unlike movie tie-in games of the past, it's actually decent.
Power Rangers: Legacy Wars is a fighting game where you can play as almost any ranger or main villain from the franchises 23 year history. You only start with three characters, but as you progress through the game, you can unlock more characters by buying them with in-game currency or completing certain challenges.
Not only is it a surprisingly fun mobile fighting game as well as a treat for any Power Rangers fan, but it has also managed to be the best Power Rangers game released this year. The previously released, Power Rangers Mega Battle, for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One got less than stellar reviews and ironically looks more like a mobile game than Legacy Wars.
Hopefully we'll get to see a console version of Power Rangers: Legacy Wars, or at least something similar, soon enough.
Kingdom Hearts Union X (Cross)
Android and iOS
Kingdom Hearts Union X is the long awaited multiplayer update/sequel to Kingdom Hearts Unchained x.
Union X continues the story from Unchained x, part of which was turned in a cinematic for Kingdom Hearts 2.8: Final Chapter Prologue, and will be important to the story of Kingdom Hearts 3.
All gameplay from Unchained x is still present, and save data will be transferred over, while new players can still make their own avatars and choose their faction. Battles are also still the same, continuing the use a card selecting mechanic with special medals representing different Disney characters.
The main new feature Union X introduces is a multiplayer option. Players are now able to join with up to five members of their party and take on quests and battle Raid Bosses.
Union X is the second game in the Kingdom Hearts franchise to feature a multiplayer option, the first of which was 2009's Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days for the Nintendo DS, and the first to feature online multiplayer.
This may be a sign Kingdom Hearts 3 may have a multiplayer option as well, but for now this is what fans will have to play to tide themselves over.
Pokémon GO (Updated)
Android and iOS
Pokémon GO may have released last year, but it just had a big update this year with some new features.
Other than a few tweaks to the games already present system, such as improving how hatching eggs work and balancing how difficult certain Pokémon are to catch, the most important new feature, is that now Pocket Monsters introduced in the second generation of games (Gold, Silver, and Crystal versions), are now available to find and capture.
Pokémon GO may have seemed like a short fad, but the monster catching mobile game is still being written about often and plenty of people are continuing their Pokémon catching adventures. According to Forbes, as of April 5th, Pokémon GO has about 65 million monthly active players.
Even though players may not be as active as they are in other games, it's still impressive how many people keep coming back to catch Pokémon.
Mobile games may not be the best category of video games, but it's easy to see that the quality of mobile games are getting better as more enjoyable and better quality mobile games are being released more often.
If companies continued this trend, as well as making barriers for entry a bit stronger, than mobile gaming could see a rise in the number of players who prefer to play video games on their mobile devices.