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The Best Mobile Games of 2015

The Best Mobile Games of 2015

Short-burst goodness.

Being forced to choose between too many high quality, hundred hour experiences is truly a first world gamer problem. The only solution? Put down those controllers and mice and reinvigorate your senses by playing one of the many outstanding short-form experiences available on mobile platforms. If the likes of a Metal Gear or Witcher are like heavy meals, then think of mobile games as the quick, refreshing bites of the video game world. The games below are, in GameSpot's opinion, some of the best short-burst, compelling mobile titles released in the last year.

The Go series of games may only be fairly new, but they've already become one of the most lauded to come to mobile platforms in recent years. While Lara Croft Go does share the same branding as the popular Hitman Go from 2014, the two games have only surface-level similarities. Yes, movement is still a board-game like single space at a time, but where Hitman rewarded efficiency in moves, Lara Croft Go's puzzle solving requires much more looping, roundabout methods to avoid the game's many deadly traps. The game is a wonderful exercise in planning and problem solving, and when it comes time to execute, you better have quick reflexes to avoid any unexpected hurdles thrown your way.

Reflexes are the prime requirement for Downwell, and yours better be cat-like if you expect to have any success in this compelling arcade platformer. Downwell is an intense roguelike that features simple controls and an equally simple goal: survive for as long as you can as you fall down a huge well filled with enemies and hazards. Gravity is the only constant amongst the procedurally-generated levels and enemy placement in Downwell; but with enough practice, you can begin to control your descent in increasingly graceful ways. Jumping on an enemy's head or using a weapon to blast them out of the sky is just the beginning, and the tremendous feeling of satisfaction you get after bouncing, shooting, and bouncing again off multiple enemies while never touching the ground is one to be savored.

Defying gravity is also a key component of Alto's Adventure, although instead of a dark cavern, this game's setting is a picturesque mountainside where you're continually snowboarding downhill. Endless runners are commonplace on mobile, but Alto transcends its competitors thanks to intriguing mechanics that mix pure speed with a variety of impressive tricks you can do on and around the game's environments. Plus, the game is a visual and aural delight. Snowboarding at dawn while the light fades on the mountain is a joyous experience, and the mood the soundtrack imparts helps elevate Alto's Adventure above others in a crowded genre.

When Fallout Shelter was first unveiled at this year's E3, many were (rightly or wrongly) skeptical of a free-to-play game set within the Fallout world. The game proved all of its doubters wrong. Filled with the trademark dark humor and violence of the Fallout series, Fallout Shelter made you truly feel for your little Vault Dwellers, while at the same time making you feel like an all-powerful Overseer. Best of all, Fallout Shelter was a free-to-play game that didn't have any of the negative trappings of other free titles. If you spent money on this game, it's because you wanted to, and not because the game required you to.

Neko Atsume is an intensely quirky title that is more than a little strange, but don't let that put you off from trying it. Describing the game only adds to its aura of weirdness; the game is essentially a simulator where your goal is to attract cats. You've got a backyard you can use to place different items to attract different types of cats, and once the elusive little felines visit, you can take pictures of them and add them to your scrapbook. By our own admission, that description makes the game sound somewhat dull, but trust us when we say Neko Atsume becomes increasingly compelling as you mix and match your items in an attempt to lure as many cats as you can. Once you let Neko Atsume sink its claws into you, then if you're anything like some of the GameSpot crew, you'll be constantly checking your phone to see if any new visitors are in your yard. It's definitely a weird game, but it's an undoubtedly fun and unique experience.

The Best Mobile Games of 2015