Mobile games have had an incredible year, thanks to the joint efforts of numerous publishers, including big names like Devolver Digital and Netflix, which teamed up for an array of hits in 2022. This partnership brought us a range of downloadable gems, including Poinpy – a gravity-defying strategy game that kept us entertained for months. Netflix also brought us other mobile hits this year – including ports of cinematic mystery Immortality, and the excellent new update of Into The Breach. These were just some of the best mobile games of 2022, although there were plenty of other games to celebrate.
On the blockbuster front, we had Second Dinner and Nuverse’s Marvel Snap, which brought us colourful, fast-paced heroic action with a collectible card spin. This game made a major splash when it launched in early 2022, and continues to make an impact on the mobile games scene. On a darker front, Vampire Survivors also entered the mobile market in late 2022, just squeezing into this year’s GOTY contention.
Read on for our reviews of the best mobile games of 2022.
If you’ve played Vampire Survivors, you understand why Vampire Survivors is so compelling. If you haven’t played Vampire Survivors, then trust me – I know it looks like a bad Castlevania fan game, but just throw yourself in for 30 minutes, and you’ll get it.
Vampire Survivors has created a whole new genre, and that’s not something you can say about many games released in 2022. It’s a game that takes the idea of ‘bullet hell’ – a term for shoot-em-up games that involve dodging a ridiculous amount of projectiles – and applying it to your player character, which creates an incredibly satisfying power curve that you can experience in 10-minute runs. Start with a throwing knife. End with an indecipherable monsoon of blades, projectiles, and a devastating garlic aura.
The game does all the hard work – attacking – for you. All you need to do is keep moving to avoid the creep of enemies, and keep the right distance to have your weapons stay effective. You’ll strategically build your loadout from a variety of different options (many of them secret combinations) as you mow down more and more enemies. Things get very intense, and the stakes get high very quickly as hundreds of enemies fill the screen. Being able to harness that insane amount of destruction, even for a small moment, is intoxicating.
We had the year of battle royales. We had the year of Among Us. Now we have the year of Vampire Survivors, and it absolutely deserves its place as one of the most iconic games of 2022. It’s on Xbox Game Pass. The mobile version is free. You have no excuse. – Edmond Tran
Every time you touch the screen in Poinpy, you are blessed with an incredible sense of tactile satisfaction. A game that revolves around slingshotting a cute little dinosaur into the air, each touch and pull of the invisible slingshot will slow down time, come with a tactile ratchet sound and feel (which you use to assess tension and trajectory) and send Poinpy flying in a satisfying way. With each tap, you’ll stop Poinpy in his tracks and slam him down on enemies, using them as a squishy trampoline to bounce upward again.
There’s more to it, though. Poinpy is a game where the goal is to continually propel yourself upward, and try to never touch the ground. You’ll be continually launching Poinpy into the sky, ricocheting him off walls, slamming Poinpy down into enemies, bouncing off them, and watching Poinpy get squished around like a cute little stressball. It never gets old.
Read: Netflix Games finally has its killer apps, thanks to Devolver Digital
Aside from the inherent satisfaction from those motions, Poinpy is also a score-chasing game, meaning the stakes behind those actions are always high – the more time you spend off the ground, the greater your reward, and so each pull-and-launch, each slam, each concerted move has the potential to be your last. It’s so giddying when you manage to defy gravity for just a few more seconds, and when you inevitably do touch the ground, you always want to try your luck once more.
Poinpy was incredibly hard to put down this year, and I didn’t, until I had squeezed every last achievement out of it, beaten every friend who challenged me to a score competition. So very moreish, with one of the best-feeling gameplay mechanics in 2022, Poinpy is pure joy. – Edmond Tran
Into The Breach
Into The Breach is, hands down, one of the best games of all time (at least, according to me). It’s a perfectly-distilled turn-based strategy game, where every move you make has the capacity to completely turn the tide of a battle. In the game’s perpetual war between giant mechs and bug-like kaiju (portrayed in adorable fashion), battles take place on an 8×8 chess-like grid, with every enemy movement resulting in a devastating amount of destruction to buildings and your mech team – unless you can stop it.
Every upcoming enemy action is clearly telegraphed, as are the results of your possible actions, which means there’s a lot of mental exercise happening in Into The Breach. The game features a large number of mechs and themed squads, each with their own, singular, unique abilities.
You’ll make tough decisions and sacrifices – block an attack and lose the life of your pilot, or sacrifice the citizens and risk losing the whole campaign? You’ll learn that pushing and pulling enemies is often far more effective than killing bugs outright. You’ll analyse every possible move to ensure the result is ultimately beneficial. You’ll somehow pull off impossible ‘Hail Mary’ manoeuvres using your abilities in creative new ways.
Into The Breach is absolutely incredible. And it’s even better when it’s on a gaming platform you always have with you. Arriving in 2022 as part of Netflix’s exclusive mobile game offerings to subscribers, it’s joined Poinpy in making Netflix Games seem like an essential service – particularly with its good touchscreen interface and all the new features in the game’s Advanced Edition update.
The best game of all time, now on mobile? It’s an easy inclusion for one of the best mobile games of 2022. – Edmond Tran
2022 was most certainly the year of Wordle, but for us, the mobile word that game that continued to hold our attention consistently was Knotwords, from longtime developers Zach Gage and Jack Schlesinger, known for their slick, stylish mobile games that focus on clever design twists and ideas. Simple, elegant, and incredibly clever, you can think of playing Knotwords like solving a crossword, only it’s cut up into segments of a variety of sizes, each with its own small pool of letters that must be used. Kind of like a sudoku puzzle, but with letters.
The fact that it’s not a straightforward anagram solve makes the feeling of accomplishment that much sweeter – you’ll often have to piece the word from multiple pools of letters. With the difficulty of the standard set of puzzles gradually escalating over the course of the week, it’s an incredibly satisfying game to keep up with. Overcoming the absolutely massive Sunday puzzle will make you feel like a genius.
Kudos must also be given to the game’s generous approach to daily streaks. If you forget to play one day, not all is lost – simply start and maintain another 7-day streak and you’ll retrieve your old streak and stack that new one on top. It’s a very friendly and welcome approach that makes Knotwords great to return to. – Edmond Tran
- See Immortality on iOS and Android
One of the fantastic things about video games is the kind of powerful experience you get when you feel you’re in control – as an active participant, when you’re charting your own destiny, creating your own goals, putting together the pieces of the puzzle with your own volition. It’s one of the most gratifying things in the world. In the same respect, one of the most powerful things games can do is to suddenly rip all that power away from you. Make you feel utterly helpless. Uneasy. Afraid to keep going.
Read: Immortality review – Picture perfect
A narrative mystery game from Sam Barlow (Her Story) and the team at Half Mermaid, Immortality asks you to be the first-hand protagonist. Your job is to sift through reels of raw camera footage, filmed for three separate movies that were never released, to find out what happened to missing actress Marissa Marcel.
And it’s so, so incredibly captivating. For long stretches you’re a voyeur, using your own initiative peeking behind the curtain of the creative process, and discovering intimate details about the people involved. Before the director calls ‘action’ and after he calls ‘cut’, you’ll discover subplots, motivations, relationships, and piece together several overarching, interconnected narratives. You’ll start putting the bigger picture together in your head, and feel like a genius detective the whole time. Well, almost.
At a certain point, Immortality will strike you with fear, shake your whole world, and make you afraid to go on. But it will also pique your morbid curiosity so severely, it will be impossible to resist seeing it through. You’ll stay up late, being sucked right into the lives of these characters in an intense parasocial relationship. You’ll explore and ponder themes of artmaking, exploitation, and the creative spirit. The performances from everyone involved are nuanced, multi-faceted, and completely enthralling.
Immortality is vital, and utterly unforgettable. – Edmond Tran
Marvel Snap has made the collectible card game faster and more exciting, without losing any of the nail-biting strategic decisions that make them great. And you don’t need to be a Marvel fan to appreciate how focussed and cleverly designed the game is.
Fashioned around the battle to build up the most power at two of three locations across just six turns, taken simultaneously by both players, there’s never a dull moment in Marvel Snap. After all, there’s only seconds before you start having to carefully consider your next move in each match.
Read: Marvel Snap designer Kent-Erik Hagman talks smart card game design
With the element of randomisation harnessed as a weapon of surprise, the game keeps you on your toes with each new game. It feels like no two matches will ever be the same, as the slow reveal of each new location and card dramatically shifts your strategy as you scramble to take advantage of boons, and salvage what you can from debuffs and destruction.
Beautiful card art, a great array of Marvel characters, and cool visual effects aside, what Marvel Snap excels at is creating an incredibly approachable and endlessly compelling strategy game. It’s so easy to pick up, satisfying to play, and there are so many nuances to learn and appreciate. With matches lasting for minutes at most, it’s so incredibly easy to keep playing Marvel Snap again and again. Every day. For five months and counting. I can’t stop. – Edmond Tran
Wylde Flowers is an Australian-developed farm simulator-adventure game hybrid with a strong narrative, great style, and a wonderful message of inclusion. While it focuses on magical witches and the fantasy of moving to a quiet country town, at the heart of Wylde Flowers is a tale about overcoming prejudice and learning to belong in a harsh world. Protagonist Tara embodies this in multiple ways – she’s an outsider yearning for deeper meaning after a bad breakup, and attempting to find welcome in the quiet town of Fairhaven.
Read: Wylde Flowers review – Perfect escapism for a busy world
As she later discovers, she’s also a witch – and witches are subject to rumours and fear-mongering in the town. When the existence of Tara’s new coven spills into the ‘real world’, conflict brews between townsfolk, leading to major clashes that must be resolved through good communication and problem solving.
Between these story beats, you can spend your time in a wonderful world getting to know everyone in what is an excellent life simulator, planting seeds, selling crops, fishing, and foraging – all delightful activities that feed into the game’s wild and magical storyline, and make it one of the best games of 2022 on any platform, but especially on mobile. – Leah J. Williams
For more on the best games of 2022, explore the rest of our game of the year coverage:
- Cult of the Lamb wins GamesHub’s Game of the Year 2022
- The Best Games of 2022
- The Best Nintendo games of 2022
- The Best Xbox games of 2022
- The Best PlayStation games of 2022
- The Best PC games of 2022
- The 5 best indie games of 2022 you definitely didn’t play
- Edmond Tran’s Top 10 Games of 2022
- Leah Williams’ Top 10 Games of 2022
- Meredith Hall on 2022 with God of War, Card Shark, and RMIT Games
- Award-winning developers Fuzzy Ghost on their favourite games of 2022
- Umurangi Generation developer on the impactful moments of 2022
- Tempopo developer Sanatana Mishra’s favourite games of 2022
- Kelsey Gamble’s Top 4 Games of 2022
- David Wildgoose on his Game of the Year for 2022: Elden Ring
Stay tuned for more personal game of the year lists from GamesHub staff, as well as special games industry guests.