Innovation is an overused and abused word in the technology industry but if you strip it down to the basic principle of “new ideas”, it’s clear that there’s a lot of it going on in mobile games. When you gather some of the best examples together, you realise how many new ideas are out there. For example, there have been some creative experiments with the idea of interactive fiction, from the round-the-world thrills of 80 Days to the beat-the-censors story of Blackbar.
There are games that play with sound in new and interesting ways: Papa Sangre II is played entirely by listening rather than looking, while Dark Echo visualises your sounds on the screen. Both are – and this may not be a coincidence – among the creepiest mobile games available.
Some games get you moving in the real world: wandering in the case of Ingress; jogging for your (virtual) life with Zombies, Run!; and even dancing with Bounden. Smartwatch games like Lifeline: Silent Night and Spy_Watch play with the potential of storytelling on your wrist.
Even for familiar genres, there are new ideas: Twofold Inc finds a new twist on match-three puzzling; Capitals reinvents the competitive word game; and Midnight Star finds a way for first-person shooters to work well on touchscreens.
Read on for a list of 50 games trying new things on your mobile devices, often below the limelight at the top of the app store charts.
One final, important point: the games in this list are innovative, but they’re also great. Technical invention or genre crossovers married to a poor game are of little value to players. What the developers of this selection have managed is to ally their new ideas with fun gameplay.