Best of Q1 in 2017

While we continue to look back at 2016 through microscopes–attempting to better understand and analyze what made it such a successful year for mobile games–2017 sure hasn’t kicked-off silently.

It’s been a fantastically large first quarter! With a mountain of large brand-name studios launching mobile titles and countless indie successes, this year looks to continue the success trend that we saw in the last. We’ve had a ton of fun breaking the best of the app stores on a weekly basis, and thought it would be useful to take from our published list and curate a Best of Q1 list.

Luckily, we disagreed enough to avoid duplicate picks and agreed to the extent we avoided any and all Slack arguments.

*Loved something that’s not on this list? Write us! Get in touch! Tell us what you’ve enjoyed playing in 2017, and why. 

– AC+A | @AdrianCrook

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Wyatt’s Pick

Mighty Quest for Epic Loot
by Ubisoft Ent.

Why Play?  Let’s get this out of the way early, Mighty Quest is MY FAVORITE MOBILE GAME, EVER. Ubisoft Ent has done their best to revolutionize UI/UX in mobile hack’n’slash dungeon crawlers, breeding a flawless “one-finger control” scheme. Swipe and hold to move, tap to attack. It’s seriously the tightest, and least intrusive UI on the market today. Get loot, equip stuff, and quest until your battery dies!

*still only available on Android. 

– Wyatt Fossett | @W_Fossett

Google Play
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Matt’s Pick

Star Wars: Force Arena
by Netmarble Games Corp.

Why Play? Star Wars Force Arena is a new, slick CCG / Arena MOBA that borrows heavily from Clash Royale and adds its own twists. Collect cards and build decks for both the Rebellion and the Empire, and engage in CR-style 1v1 and 2v2 arena battles with other players!  Definitely worth a look, consistent top-20 grossing list material.

– Matt Emery | @AdrianCrook

Google Play App Store
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Maxime’s Pick

Dandy Dungeon – Legend of Brave Yamata
by Co.

Why Play? branded as the first R.P.G (Romance Programming Game), Dandy Dungeon: Legend of Brave Yamada is a gem of a game. The premise is the most enticing: Yamada-san, an overweight, Mario-look-alike is an unemployed programmer that spends his days and nights programming (in his underwear…!). Desperately hoping that beating his own game will win him the love of Maria, his new (rather underage) neighbor. Epic? At times. Awkward and unique? Definitely!

– Maxime Villeneuve | @AdrianCrook

Google Play App Store
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Peter’s Pick

Fire Emblem Heroes
by Nintendo

Why Play? Fire Emblem comes to mobile! Next in line with the push for mobile Nintendo is trying, this game is a tactical RPG game, where players battle against others with the heroes they collect by earning orbs. Players are reviewing the game positively, so this should be something to pay attention to as it rises in the grossing ranks. Unlike Super Mario Run, this game is a freemium style game, where the primary monetization model is based around Gacha mechanics, a popular strategy in Japan and increasingly used in western game releases. The initial economy is rather generous, so players familiar with the console games won’t feel the freemium pinch until much later. Overall, this game represents a side-step in Nintendo’s mobile strategy to date, but if it pans over the year out we may see more mid-core style games released from them in the future.

– Peter Knudson | @PeteKnudson

Google Play App Store
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Isaac’s Pick

Golf Clash
by Playdemic

Why Play? I’m cheating with this one as Golf Clash was released on iOS last year, but didn’t hit Android until 2017. Still, it deserves a spot on this list as being one of the best golf titles—dare I say sports titles—on any mobile device, mashing a surprising amount of depth together with the ease of play generally required on the platform. The monetization is straight Clash Royale, so no prizes there for originality, but the implementation is slick, the starter pack has great optics, the matchmaking and social features are friendly and generally painless, and the game is a lot of fun to play. I could quibble about the audio being lackluster, but the visuals more than make up for that. Golf Clash is a great example of synergy within effective monetization strategies and broad appeal, and I’ll be playing it for some time to come.

– Isaac Calon | @AdrianCrook

Google Play App Store
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Chris’ Pick

Heart Star
by Adventure Islands

Why Play? Heart Star has a certain aesthetic charm, along with the elegance of a simple (very solid) puzzle game to back it up. At it’s core the game is dirt simple – Get Heart and Star to the finish platform and move on to the next level. The puzzles force you to switch back and forth between the two characters to traverse the levels, with parts of the level becoming tangible and intangible depending on the active sprite. Heart Star is an ad driven f2p title and it feels like the right decision for this game. It allows you to work through the puzzles with only skill and the little pixel art characters to get complete the challenges. Overall, Heart Star is an accessiblechallengingwell put together puzzle game that will continue to get more play from me on a regular basis.

– Chris Cervantes | @SavevsFail

Google Play App Store
Compulsion Loop

CompulsionLoop is AC+A’s ( weekly pursuit of providing a Featured List for those in the games industry. A look at the latest must-play apps, along with short, useful takeaways from our team of game design and product experts. If you have a game that you think your industry colleagues should try, we’d love to hear about it at Don’t forget to tell us why industry insiders should be compelled to try out the game (see what we did there?).

Know a game that you think others should play? Let us know and tell us why we should play it.

Thank you for reading and we look forward to helping you discover more games that you can glean learnings from. Feel free to reply to this email or contact — we’re always happy to hear from you.

Have a great week!

- Adrian Crook