Top 5 best iOS and Android developers of 2019 so far
We talk about games an awful lot here on Pocket Gamer. Which is what we're here to do, after all. We suspect most of you wouldn't have it any other way.
This can mean that we neglect talking about the people who actually make those games - the indie champs, one-person teams, and mega corporations busy shaping this crazy industry.
We're not about to swing the balance of our coverage radically the other way - we'd recommend checking out our sister site PG.biz if you'd like some extra insight on the business of making mobile games - but we are going to dedicate this little feature to the iOS and Android developers that have impressed us in 2019.
To be perfectly honest, we're still talking about games here. After all, none of these companies has caught our eye with their innovative management structures or successful funding campaigns. No, they've all made great or highly influential games.
Any other developers you think deserve a mention? Let us know in the comments below.
If we had an end of year award for 'All-round pocket gaming champ,' then Lambic Studios would probably be somewhere near the head of the pack at this point. The developer's The Stillness of the Wind game isn't just a beautiful narrative adventure that scored a 9 out of 10 in our review, it also had the courtesy to launch simultaneously on iOS and Switch.
Any developer is going to score maximum kudos points from us for making such an effort. But The Stillness of the Wind also stands out from a 2019 release schedule otherwise filled with loot boxes and idle mechanics and number confetti.
You might know Brad Erkkila for his work on numerous Colin Lane jams. He's responsible for the distinctive look of Touchdowners, Golf Zero, Rowdy Wrestling and the like, which is reason enough for some belated recognition.
But Mr Erkkila is also an accomplished game developer in his own right, and latest effort Squish Machine is one of the most binge-worthy mobile platformers of 2019 so far. It gave this grizzled hack flashbacks to the Spectrum and C64 days - and not in a bad way.
It hasn't been a vintage year by Nitrome's standards, with neither of the developer's two 2019 games to date - Nano Golf and Spicy Piggy - hitting Gold Award heights. But even a non-vintage Nitrome year is worthy of considerable praise.
For starters there's the simple fact that the developer has turned out two high quality games already. We're only in April, people. Then there's the fact that these two supposedly lesser Nitrome experiences have more personality in their title screens than most entire mobile games.
Niantic hasn't officially released anything in 2019 just yet. But the American augmented reality game specialist has been at the forefront of our collective minds throughout the year - and not just because some of us are still playing Pokemon GO more than most new releases.
Our former editor Ric went and previewed Niantic's next game back in March, and rather loved it. And he was a right grumpy sod (love you Ric). Harry Potter: Wizards Unite already has us in its magical grip ahead of its launch later in 2019.
Giving Finnish developer Supercell a nod feels a bit like praising The Beatles or FC Barcelona - so obvious and inevitable that it verges on pointless. But recently estimated sales of $200 million on Brawl Stars has made us stop and reflect.
Here's a game that was placed in an extended beta period for what seemed like years prior to launch, during which it was iterated upon and tweaked to within an inch of its life. Harry might not have liked the results all that much, but SuperCell in 2019 showed the virtue of patience and persistence in creating a hit mobile game.