Coffee Break

Mobile Games Take It Up a Notch

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We have come a long way since the first handheld mobile phone was released. From the chunky, ridiculously expensive commercial mobiles of the 1980s to the more compact and affordable handsets of the 1990s, advancements in technology seem to have happened so quickly over the last 30 years that it is almost difficult to believe. The most noticeable improvements in mobile technology have not just been the touchscreen; it was also the moment mobile manufacturers realized the appeal of mobile gaming.

Ever since Snake on the Nokia 6110 captured our hearts, mobile phone designers have been on a permanent quest for better, more realistic gaming options to keep our thumbs busy. What began as a mindless way to pass the time on public transport soon became a multimillion-dollar industry with mobile companies battling to outdo each other in the gaming services they could provide. The popularity of the touchscreen smartphone was the next logical step to take mobile gaming to the next level.

So, where is mobile gaming today?

Varying from more consumer-friendly, accessible games such as The Sims to massively multiplayer online role-playing games like RuneScape, there is something for everyone in today’s gaming market. With new releases regularly hitting the app stores, it is a great time to be in the market for new mobile games.

One of the most anticipated games of the year is the sequel to Alto’s Adventure, which was originally released to glowing reviews in 2015. Since named the “greatest mobile game ever made”, Alto’s developer Built by Snowman soon revealed that it was creating the follow-up version — Alto’s Odyssey. A trailer for the highly anticipated sequel showed that the fluid gameplay and stunning scenery that made the first Alto so appealing were still heavily relied on but with some fresh updates and new additions to make the endless snowboarding game even more exciting.

Another game with an existing fan base is the ever popular RuneScape, arguably one of the most famous MMORPGs in existence. Since its first release in 2001, the popularity of this game has grown so much that its developer Jagex has revealed that it will be bringing both RuneScape and Old School RuneScape to the iOS and Android in 2017. The game will feature a crossplay between mobile and PC, which will allow fans to play RuneScape wherever they are. It is not yet certain how the controls will translate to mobile screens, but there’s no doubt that Jagex will have taken this into consideration during development.

Strategy-based gamers will appreciate the brand-new PokerStars Power Up, which has just gone through its Alpha testing stage and is currently in development to be released soon. Promising to offer the competitive edge and skill aspect of No Limit Texas Hold’em with a clever evolution of the game, Power Up looks set to be a hugely enjoyable gaming experience without being too complex for beginners.

Finally, the news that Nintendo was developing a mobile version of The Legend of Zelda came as a welcome surprise to gamers the world over. Following the success of Super Mario Run at the end of 2016, it was only going to be a matter of time before the gaming giant turned its attention to one of its most popular games of all time. Due to be released in 2017, it will be interesting to see how the developers represent the expansive exploring, puzzling and battling that has defined the Zelda gaming experience to date. After Nintendo’s’ minimalist approach to controls on the widely successful Super Mario Run, it would be safe to assume that they will need to follow suit on distilling down the control requirements for Zelda. Will this have an impact on the game’s appeal? It’s too early to say.