Buried somewhere between the match-3's, pretty girl card collectors, and the usual fodder are some true mobile gaming gems. Some mobile games really shine on the platform, reminding us that mobile gaming doesn't have to be a microtransaction minefield or a waiting game against energy. There are plenty of amazing mobile games that everyone and their mothers have heard of. This list is not about them.
On this list you will find some great apps you've probably never heard of. These games offer a unique gameplay, an innovative style or story, and they're just plain fun to play. Best of all, each game is absolutely free. Check them out - and then throw some money at the developers for making such great games.
"Pixel Dungeon" is one of the more popular games on this list, but it deserves a mention. It's a fantastic little pixel roguelike that perfectly balances challenge with determination to get a little further each time. The game is completely free - no micro-transactions and no ads of any kind. The developer had to add a donation button after fans kept asking him for one. Best of all, it's open source, and there are plenty of different variations available if the original doesn't quite hit the spot.
It might look like a match-3 game, but "Mujo" puts a twist on the genre that gives it a fresh feel. Hold down a group of tiles to gather them into a larger group, and tap to use them up. Greek mythology themed power-ups and a long list of challenges will keep you entertained for quite a while.
This is one of the more visually appealing games on the list. The artwork fits perfectly with the thriller/horror themed interactive visual novel. A creepy atmosphere and a great story make this a gem. Be aware that you have to wait a couple of days between episodes, or you can just support the developers and buy the episodes to keep playing right away.
"Sword of Xolan"
"Sword of Xolan" is a pixel platformer that draws inspiration from classic platforming games. Both the look and difficulty will take you back to the heyday of platformers. Be prepared for some great level designs and a refreshingly high difficulty level.
"Puzzle Forge 2"
No, not "Puzzle Craft" - but it's just as addictive. As the village blacksmith, your job is to forge weapons and armor for passing adventurers. Over 2000 weapons to make, some useful power-ups, and a fun but difficult gameplay makes this one a keeper.