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Top 5 mobile games of 2019: Cameron's picks of the year

Top 5 mobile games of 2019: Cameron's picks of the year

Who let the news guy make a list?

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As I'm sure we'll all say here at PG, 2019 has been an incredible year for mobile gaming. The advent of Apple Arcade has resulted in dozens of quality titles launching first for iOS, though elsewhere we've seen equally stellar stuff from talented up-and-comers and mobile legends alike.

Hopefully this here list features a couple games you've not heard of or needed an extra push to play. They're all genuinely excellent in my eyes, with one in particular standing out as a potential all-time great. I'll let you guess which one that may be.

So here you have it! My top 5 favourite games of 2019.

The Stillness of the Wind

Talma, the elderly owner of a dusty farm, has found herself by all accounts alone at what is the end of her life. With those closest to her having moved on and away from the family farm, she's left to tend to the animals and care for herself, even with her body now failing her.

Far from being a straightforward tale of loneliness, her concluding chapter is the culmination of a life lived on her own terms. Her daily routine is an uphill battle of her own choosing: laborious, plodding, and yet full of moments of quiet wonder and satisfaction.

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It would be easy to look at her final days and default to feeling bad for the ways in which they are outwardly filled with nought but hardship, but the game never panders, falls back on easy sentimentality, or fails its powerful lead.

The Stillness of the Wind is a potent dose of something different, a challenging reminder of the dignity in choosing to live life on one's own terms, and a genuinely affecting portrayal of ageing, the passing of time, and the gravity of it all. 

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Sayonara Wild Hearts

Publisher: Simogo
Available on: iOS + Switch + Apple Arcade
Genre: Adventure, Music/Rhythm
Find out more about Sayonara Wild Hearts
Sayonara Wild Hearts

Probably the most widely-played game here, Sayonara Wild Hearts has cemented indie mobile legends Simogo as one of the premier developers working today. Its neon-soaked visuals, giddy pop soundtrack, and breakneck pace combine to create a transfixing experience that I was compelled to replay several times.

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It positively soars in its best moments – particularly near the end, when gameplay ideas built up throughout earlier sections are let loose to work their full magic. It's admittedly a fairly bumpy ride, with several levels that underwhelm or annoy, but its highs are among the best I've felt all year.

Photographs

Available on: iOS + Android + Steam
Genre: Puzzle
Find out more about Photographs
Photographs

Told mostly through straightforward puzzles that inform and enhance the five twisted tales of woe at its core, Photographs is a game of intimate interactions and extended, uneasy tragedy. Its vignettes range from the fantastical to the mundane, never pulling any punches as it depicts its characters and their dire situations in upbeat pixel art.

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While it presents many grim and macabre scenarios, there are a number of more tender and even hopeful moments that help balance the tone and keep Photographs from delving off into a pit of uninteresting despair.

Telling Lies

Publisher: Sam Barlow
Available on: iOS
Genre: Puzzle
Find out more about Telling Lies
Telling Lies

Sam Barlow's long-awaited follow up to Her Story is in many ways a sizable step above his earlier work, boasting a seemingly straightforward narrative made opaque by layers of conflicting conversations, paranoia, and untruths.

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It's a far more complex title than its beloved predecessor, but it achieves that expansion of scale with grace. Fit with some of the most affecting and engrossing performances of the year, it's also a rare example of a game that doesn't squander its Hollywood talent.

Blue

Available on: iOS + Android
Find out more about Blue
Blue

Now three games into his colour-themed puzzle series, Bart Bonte's playful ideas and sense of style show no sign of slowing down or growing tired.

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Blue exudes well-placed confidence at every turn, from the stylish intro sequence right up to the challenging finale. Even as its puzzles become increasingly complex, the chilled vibe helps to bring you down and keep you focused. It's the work of an assured creative working at what has to be the top of his game. Just brilliant, beautifully crafted stuff.

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