Top 5 Best Indie Mobile Games of 2018

Best Indie Mobile Games 2018

In looking for indie mobile titles, we ensure that the ones we choose feel best on your tablet or phone, even if they had a desktop release. Here are five independently release video games that we felt tried something new, were fun and wonderfully implemented something that enhanced our mobile experience.

IGR’s Top 5 Best Indie Mobile Games of 2018

5. Cosmic Top Secret

by Klassefilm

Cosmic Top Secret game screenshot, conversation
Trine Laier’s innovative approach to interactivity – the protagonist is a papercraft version of Laier herself that you crumple into a ball to roll around the game’s environment – is a perfect means of telling the autobiographical story of how she discovered her parents’ Cold War intelligence work. This IndieCade 2017 Culture Award winner uses an incredibly clever way of conveying a universal experience – realizing our parents weren’t who we thought they were.

Read our complete review of Cosmic Top Secret.

4. Rusty Lake Paradise

by Rusty Lake

Rusty Lake Paradise
Deploying an illustrative style that would make Edward Gorey proud, the Rusty Lake games have quietly become something of a phenomenon. Summoning eerie vignettes and even darker storylines, these point-and-click adventures mashup with escape room, hidden object and puzzle methods to unravel the sinister secrets hidden behind the veneer.

Rusty Lake Paradise is the 12th (!) installment and features Lynch-appropriate score from composer Victor Butzelaar. This is great, evocative stuff for lying in bed at night and swatting at the glass.

3. Donut County

by Ben Esposito

Donut County is a true labor of love, a term we are sure Ben Esposito has heard too often, after six years in development. But the iteration was worth it as the end result is a delightful game that plays like an inverse Katamari Damacy, where instead of accumulating mass, you are sucking it up into an ever-enlarging hole.

Nestled inside of a story among a cast of characters that could party with Mae from Night in the Woods and her cronies on any given weekend, the flavor texts helps to anchor this meditative elimination/physics/sorting/puzzle game from sheer wanton destruction (of an adorable little universe).

Gameplay is smooth and seamless, and the physics leads to some hilarious results. Everything will eventually go down the hatch!

2. Chuchel

by Amanita Design

A very special note – the game got a lot of flack because the original titular character – a dust bunny with a funny hat – was black with white eyes and big orange lips, and people complained that it looked like blackface (and they weren’t wrong). So in December, after almost a year in release, developers Amanita Design flipped the color scheme so that Chuchel is orange with a black hat.

Though some gamers found this egregious (people will always find a reason to complain, in this case presumably because the developers “caved to pressure” or because they had “just gotten used to it”), it helps to move a problematic design issue out of the way to reveal the truly amazing puzzler that they created.

Chuchel gif - IGR
With a score by Czech band Dva that topped this year’s best indie game soundtracks, Chuchel has timing, laugh-out-loud humor and a wild world of quirky characters.

While the game is available for desktops, it feels much better on a tablet, where you can drag the characters around the hilarious animated interactions. If you had been put off by the initial design misstep, it is time to give this one another look.

1. Florence

by Mountains

florence game 2018 - screens collage
An absolutely perfect use of every sort of 2D interactivity to actually transfer the emotional meaning. This is a mobile list, and this game is a mobile game. From puzzles that resemble the tone of a conversation to the drifting puzzle pieces you must assemble as you try to keep together a relationship, Florence packs more emotional resonance in its short half-hour experience than many blockbuster films we endured this year.

Hoping not to spoil this brief but unforgettable experience, your passage through early adolescent life as the titular character will summon up a box of feels as you negotiate the stations of the cross of a contemporary urban relationship. An essential heart wake-up and perfect use of the medium.

How did we do? What were your favorite mobile indie games of 2018?