Top 5 Most Improved Mobile Games of 2019
There's nothing quite like an epic comeback story: No Man's Sky, Sea of Thieves, Star Wars Battlefront II, Final Fantasy XIV, Rainbow Six Siege. But what about live mobile games? Have there been any recent titles that started life being a bit pants and went on to become slightly less so? Yes! There have indeed been. And here are five of them from 2019.The Elder Scrolls: Blades
Bethesda's complete turnaround on The Elder Scrolls: Blades might well be the redemption tale of the year. It's gone from being a game I couldn't wait to stop playing, full of woeful monetisation and progression, to a content-packed and mostly enjoyable title, though your mileage may still vary.
Yes, it's far from the Elder Scrolls experience fans expected and perhaps still hope it could one day become, but that's really a fault of how this thing was marketed. The story is bobbins, the quests are forgettable, and it offers very little of what made the recent Elder Scrolls games such a hit. What you instead get is a stripped-back, loot-focused hack-and-slash with a side order of town building.
The general grind is vastly improved, with enemies dropping more – and better – loot. And then there were the chest timers, the thing that eventually killed the game for me. They're gone, replaced by a progression system that feels infinitely less irritating.
The PvP arena is finally here, providing some much-needed challenge, and the guild system is another welcome addition. If you'd like to read more about precisely how it's been improved, Dave put out a feature covering the recent 1.5 update and all it's done for Blades.
I'm not going to pretend like it's suddenly a GOTY contender or anything, but it's now actually recognisable as a game designed to entertain, which is a tremendous improvement.
Over here in the UK, we didn't actually get Dragalia Lost until February 2019. We reviewed it at launch, finding it to be a mostly solid RPG, though its derivative nature and simplistic dungeons held it back from greatness.
Since then, it's arguably become one of the best gacha titles around, an achievement that some will admittedly scoff at. Not only that, but I'd also say it's grown to be one of Nintendo's best mobile offerings to date.
The amount of decent content released for this darn thing has become harder to keep up with over time. I check back every so often to find that things have changed quite dramatically – and usually for the better. If gacha games are your thing, you'll struggle to find one that does things half as well as Dragalia Lost.
Mario Kart Tour
Mario Kart Tour has benefitted massively from regular post-launch support and updates. The new control scheme and myriad small improvements are great, but it's undoubtedly the tour structure that gives it so much life.
The $4.99-a-month Gold Pass is still a strange, overpriced move, but with the multiplayer mode now in beta, it's looking like MK Tour could soon blossom into something truly great.
Having consulted with Stephen, our resident Pokemon expert, for this entry, I feel quite confident in saying that Masters – an already solid title at launch – has continued to improve throughout the year.
Most of its best tweaks so far have been simple quality-of-life improvements, such as a replay button for grind-worthy missions, proving that the most important changes don't always come in the form of a massive update or content drop.
We've also seen advancements in other key areas like co-op, and the game certainly hasn't been shy about giving out a whole heap of useful gems at any given opportunity.
Fortnite Battle Royale
Yeah, Fortnite was already pretty good going into 2019. The reason it's here is that these last 12 months have been somewhat transformative for Epic's megahit, with it shifting further towards being both a strange narrative experiment and a giant, increasingly ludicrous ad.
The release of Chapter 2 was among the biggest gaming news stories of the year, with the black hole causing widespread panic among the schoolchildren at my mum's work, proving that Fortnite is still able to deliver huge moments that reach folks who otherwise have and want nothing to do with the game itself.
And while you don't need to look far to see people complaining about the game, its recent changes, or its continued popularity, I think Epic continues to prove that Fortnite is here to stay. It's a title I enjoy viewing from a distance, appreciating all the weird, interesting things about it. And, for me, 2019 has been Fortnite's most compelling year to date.