This has been a particularly good year for video games, with several massive breakout hits landing on PC as well as Nintendo releasing its groundbreaking new Switch hardware. And while most players are no doubt familiar with some of the biggest multi-platform video game releases to launch this year, mobile gamers have had plenty to celebrate too, with the release of all-new shooters, new strategy games, new Nintendo titles, and the continuing success of Pokemon Go. Narrowing down all of the best titles was fairly difficult, but after deliberation, only a few games kept coming back up to the top of our lists. Here's our choice for the best mobile game of 2017 as well as some of the other titles that didn't quite make the cut.
Mobile Game of the Year 2017 - The Elder Scrolls: Legends
Mobile devices are getting to the point where they can play some surprisingly immersive titles, but most of our favorite mobile games are still those that are easy to pick up and play anytime or anywhere. Toward this capacity, The Elder Scrolls Legends is perfect — the core card-based gameplay is easy to learn and delightfully-addictive, plus developer Dire Wolf Digital has done a lot of work keeping the game swimming in fresh new content, with three new expansions and hundreds of new cards entering the fold since February this year. There's plenty of depth for both solo players and competitive players, and even better, the gameplay remains essentially the same across any supported device, from the PC via Steam to tablets and mobile phones.
With so much content and such ease of accessibility, The Elder Scrolls Legends easily takes our top spot for mobile game of the year. It might not be perfect, but it's got more than enough depth to satisfy mobile fans and CCG players alike.
Fire Emblem Heroes
Nintendo has done a lot this year with the company's new Switch hardware, so much so that it's easy to forget that this year marks the company's biggest expansion into the mobile realm yet. Fire Emblem Heroes, which released back in February, has been a big part of that push: it's a feature-packed tactical RPG that avoided the pay-to-play nature of Super Mario Run by going completely free-to-play. Plenty of fresh content releases and loads of Fire Emblem series references earn this title a spot among our honorable mentions.
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp
The latest Nintendo game to land on mobile devices is also one of the most addictive. Not only does Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp give us many of the biggest features we expect from mainline entries to the series, it does so in a way that's distinctly-tailored to the mobile platform. It might not have all the staying power of other titles, but its cutesy nature and distinct nostalgia appeal to the Nintendo fans in all of us.
Brickbreaker games have long been staple mobile distractions, and Ballz is certainly among the most addictive — and anyone who disagrees is likely to earn the scorn of the man with the briefcase. It might not have the same sort of breakout popularity enjoyed by other games we considered, but it's still an addictive and enjoyable distraction that fits into those small windows of time we find throughout the day. Ballz did win our award for Shacknews Best Brickbreaker of 2017.
Be sure to keep up with the rest of The Shacknews Awards as we celebrate the Year of the Games: 2017.