Mobile Games, Classified

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Video games have been around for half a century – even more if we count the first few games programmed to run on computers almost completely unfit for running video games. Over the years, they have become incredibly diverse, creating a vast range of genres and covering an amazing variety of topics and themes. Today, the classification of video games no longer sounds like entertainment but science, with genres, subgenres, variants, and derivatives, a complex tree that never fails to amaze. But if you think the evolution of video game classes has ended, think again – even today, new titles from new developers keep pushing the boundaries of this classification. Today, let’s take a look at some of the best-known classes of games on the day’s preferred gaming medium, the smartphone. Which, given its vast collection of gaming content, might not be the easiest task.


Simulation is perhaps the oldest video game type – the first game ever created, “Tennis for Two”, was a tennis simulator running on a very primitive (by today’s standards) computer. Since then, simulators have spread at an incredible pace, starting with the first commercially successful video game Pong (a table tennis simulator) and leading to games that simulate everything from trains to skyscrapers, space colonies, and their likes.

Few people know that the casino games you can play at are also simulations. All the games at the Euro Palace are built to emulate the real life gaming machines and tables you can usually meet at a real life gaming establishments. And they do so while also having to comply with mandatory rules on their realism and randomness. The license on which the Euro Palace functions legally binds the operator to do so, both on mobile devices and desktop computers.

Some of the most notable simulation games available for smartphones today are Egg, Inc. (business simulator), Flight Pilot Simulator 3D, Plague Inc (disease simulator), Transport Tycoon, and many others.


The action genre is perhaps the most ramified, covering everything from platformers to fighting games and survival titles. Given the lack of controllers and the small screen that provides just limited immersion, shooters – especially first-person shooters – hardly ever made it among the preferred games of smartphone users. Platformers, in turn, seem to thrive on mobile devices.

Notable action games on smartphones include Grand Theft Auto, Sky Force Reloaded, Xenowerk, and many others.


To make it a bit easier for us (we are lazy, we know) we’ll merge the “Adventure” and “Action-Adventure” genres into one. This genre covers everything with a story that doesn’t focus entirely on slashing, shooting, slicing, and dicing enemies. These games usually require their players to rely on their wits rather than their reflexes to advance – they have to explore the surrounding world, collect tools, perform various tasks, and solve puzzles to be able to do so.

Some of the most notable adventure games available for smartphones are the ones built by Telltale, covering popular franchises from Minecraft to The Walking Dead.


The role-playing genre has several subgenres that found new life with the advent of the smartphone. Some of them, like Ingress, wouldn’t even work on a fixed computer due to their nature – in Ingress, players need to explore their surroundings. Mobile RPGs come in all shapes and sizes, from simpler games with dated graphics to visually advanced titles like Final Fantasy 7, Shadowrun: Dragonfall, and their likes.


The strategy is a genre that has many subgenres on smartphones and computers alike – artillery games, multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), tower defense, war games, and their likes, and combinations of any of the above. Clash Royale, one of the most successful MOBAs of our times, combines elements from tower defense and lane pushing, while XCOM: Enemy Within combines elements of tactical fighting, research, and crisis management.


Actually, sports games should be included in the simulation genre but there are so many – and they are so popular – that they deserve a category of their own. Sports games are very popular on smartphones, no matter if they include racing, management, or fun. Among the best sports games on smartphones, we can find a series of simulation titles by 2K Games (just search for “2K” on your preferred app marketplace), and titles from Triple-A developers and independent publishers alike.

Other genres

There are several other genres of mobile games that deserve a category of their own. Puzzles, trivia games, casual games, party games, board game simulators, and their likes, have all found their new homes on smartphones. And new forms of gaming are always being devised, putting our wit and reflexes to the test.

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