Free-to-play games often get a bad rap from mobile gamers, quite rightly in some cases, and so it's important to remember and celebrate the titles that get it right. This year has seen a few major releases struggle to successfully implement F2P monetisation, same with some of the indies to be honest, but there have been a number of recent hits that have won over fans and made a tidy sum of money in the process. Fancy that.
With free-to-play continuing to dominate the mobile market, it'll be interesting to see whether subscription services like Apple Arcade, Google Play Pass, and GameClub can shift that balance at all. Only time will tell.
In the meantime, let's all enjoy and celebrate some excellent free games, starting with the following five.
This one is so darn good that our Dave put out a piece arguing why it should win this year's MGA's. It's a neat hybrid of sorts, mixing together elements of strategy games, roguelikes, and card battlers. It's also one of the best free-to-play games of the year, funnily enough.
You'll explore a series of dungeons, gradually uncovering every nook and cranny, one tile at a time. The more you explore, the better your chances of finding new gear and weapons. But with the reward comes a sizable risk of instead stumbling upon an enemy.
It's perfectly suited for mobile, with straightforward controls and a focus on bite-sized play sessions. There's also a great sense of progression as you continue to expand your deck and earn advanced loot.
As Dave notes in his feature, it's also a rare example of free-to-play monetisation done right, with appropriately priced IAPs and offline play. It's currently only available for Android, though an iOS version is on the way. And, honestly, I'd be more than happy to start from scratch again when it arrives.