The GILM Awards 2017 Favorite Mobile Game


Favorite Mobile Game

It makes my phone run like a furnace and drains my battery by lunch, but that’s probably a price worth paying.

What do you reflexively play when you’ve got a moment to yourself? What’s the game you can’t bring yourself to uninstall? Which game tempts you towards staying up just another five minutes past your bedtime? This is where we recognise the games on mobiles and tablets that form a huge part of our lives, from the commute to the waiting room to the food bed.

To be eligible for this category, a game must be mobile-first and released in 2017. If it is a port of a PC game, no matter how good that adaption is, we’re not considering it as eligible for the category. We want to recognise the innovation in the mobile space and, while we respect the craft of bringing those games to the smaller screens, we

Okay, just one more pull. This time, you’re sure to get that 5 Star Diamond Ultra Platinum Summon. Before you take that last roll, why not step forward, consider your preferences, and give us a nomination (bolded, if you would) for what mobile game caught your heart this year?


Q: Uhhh, sorry to ask, but... what are the GILM Awards?

A: Nothing to apologise for! Just head over to our pinned topic if you need a catch up! You can also find details on the process for the awards here.

Q: How do I nominate a game?

A: To nominate a game, you have to write the game in your post and bold it, ideally at the top of your post. If we don’t know what you’re picking, we can’t count it. You get one (1) nomination. For a game to be eligible for the voting phase, it must have two nominations.

Nomination: (GAME)
(Rest of Post, full of lists and good takes)

You can make a list as long as your arm, just be clear chose. We welcome thoughtful posts about how you made your decision and discussion, as long as we keep it positive and respectful.

Q: I disagree with someone else's choice!

A: As per our Code of Conduct, be considerate about other people’s perspectives. There’s no need to puff out someone else’s candle to make yours a little brighter. Negativity is only going to hurt your case for what you love. What’s said in the thread stays in the thread. The mod team frown deeply on people taking disagreements thread-to-thread, like bringing up a user’s nomination in a previous category in a case against the present one.

Q: Someone already nominated the game(s) I wanted to twice, what do I do?

A: We still want to hear your thoughts! Be mindful of what has already been nominated, but as always, this topic is a conversation, so feel free to write about other nominated games.

Q: When does the nomination process end?

A: The period of time to make your nominations will end 12/10/2017.

Q: Can I nominate ports, re-releases, or remasters?

A: Generally, only games that saw their first release in 2017 are eligible. Full remakes may be eligible, but games like White Day: A Labyrinth Named School, which is a full remake of a game released in 2001 from 2015 that was ported to PC and PS4 this year, are still not eligible if they are ports. Expansions on existing games that stand alone, like Uncharted: The Lost Legacy or Dishonored: Death of the Outsider are eligible, but please consider these games on their own, separate from their full game companions. Please see the pinned topic for more information on eligibility criteria.


Fire Emblem Heroes

By number of hours played, Fire Emblem Heroes is my GOTY. Paraphrasing myself, FEH fully captures the entire “vertical slice” of a real Fire Emblem game but manages to successfully condense it to a single screen map with a few elements that actually make it more strategic than its full-fledged counterparts (predictable Special triggers, oppressively low movement making positioning of paramount importance). As a strategy game, it is a perfect 5 minute pick-up-and-put-down high intensity brain engager, which is just what I want in a mobile game. The fact that it’s a gacha game that is very generous with earning paid currency for free and by and large does not feel abusive is a great plus.


I usually don’t stick with mobile games for more than a few months but I’ve been playing Fire Emblem Heroes since launch and it’s still fantastic. I think a lot of the appeal of FE:H is that it’s just similar enough to mainline Fire Emblem to feel special, unlike Super Mario Run as an endless runner. It also helps that the game gets characters that have interesting skills on a regular basis, even if it means a lot of power creep.


Typeshift is my nomination!

It’s fun spin on wordsearchs and crosswords. Also god the clicks and pops and other noises make it such a satisfying word game to play haha. Also it’s got daily challenges!


Monument Valley 2

Sequel to Monument Valley, an M. C. Escher-esque puzzle game about shifting things around to the right perspective. Came out for Android in November after releasing on iOS in June. I finished it pretty quickly once I devoted some time to it. It keeps enough things the same that it didn’t lose that magic the first Monument Valley had, but changes enough that it still feels new. The environments are still beautiful (and the new assets added only serve to make them moreso) and the music is still as soothing to me as it always has been.


Star Wars: Force Arena

I had a great time with this game! I think it’s a great distillation of the MOBA down to a one on one battlefield. I played countless hours of this thing at work and loved it.


Nomination: Fate Grand/Order

ok, yeah, this game’s got some flaws. the fanservice can be pretty godawful, it’s a gacha game, and there are some clunky translations, and the fate/series as a whole is certainly problematic in a lot of ways that i’m not going to get into here. but…i still can’t put it down?

despite everything mentioned above, the characters and the story have been more than enough to keep me playing it every day since its release in NA. the story is more intricate than that of any other mobile game i have played, and each character has an interlude or three that allows you to learn more about them. the characters are all based on historical or mythological figures, but the writers are very liberal with the details, which allows for some pretty unique (or downright ridiculous) takes, mostly to its benefit. furthermore, the game only promises to get better with time, both in terms of story and gameplay.

as far as the gameplay itself, that’s pretty fun too. it seems complicated at first, and in some ways it is, but it’s pretty easy to get a hang of the basics and the rest can be learned more gradually. the game also gives you a lot of freedom to play with the characters you want, because unlike in other gacha games, it isn’t actually that important to have all the best characters in order to win a fight(which is great because the gacha is super unforgiving lmao). even if you have bad luck with rolling, there are a lot of ways you can power up weaker characters, and plenty of 1* to 3* characters have exceptional abilities that more than make up for their inferior stats anyway. you can just play with whoever you like the best and that’s totally fine.

also, there’s no multiplayer aspect aside from being able to use other player’s characters as supports, so the developers don’t have to bother with balancing characters at all, unlike similar games that include pvp. this can be both a blessing and a curse, but for the most part i feel it means there’s a lot more creativity when it comes to abilities.

so there it is. my (problematic) favorite mobile game of the year. i definitely wouldn’t say it deserves to win this ranking but it’s worth a mention at least. after all, the title says “favorite”, not “best”…



There’s something about bringing thousands of people together at a set time every day to answer some trivia questions read by a host with a strange (and often unsettling) cult following that I found pretty cool.


Nomination: Black Survival

It’s battlegrounds if it was a class based first person RPG with grinding, levelling, and equipment crafting. It’s a Korean game, but has a rough English translation that does the job well enough. Despite the huge shift in genre, it still manages to elicit a sense of dread, terror, and exhilaration that games like PUBG do.

The game adds a layer of decision making that PUBG doesn’t have too. Since all the locations are known and will open and close randomly (killing anyone left in those zones when they close) and what is available at each location is static, you have to think on your feet on how to build your character based on who your opponents are playing and how they are most likely to act at all times. At first, you’re just trying to get the best equipment and fight anyone else who is weaker than you, but it evolves into you playing around the expected play of all 9 of your opponents then adapting to how they stray from their expected paths.

I need to go to the church to find a cross, but did that Jackie go there to try to go for the holy grail early so she can start getting a power lead early? Maybe I should go to the docks instead and try to make some healing items, but if that Bernice is looking for guns there, then there is no way I can take him at this stage of the game. The hospital is open, but it’s always a bloodbath there. Maybe I’ll risk going to the forest and try to find a claw to build that path? Or do I go to the lighthouse as always to try and get the safe but boring upgrades?

These are the split second decisions the game ends up as and can be the difference between you pulling ahead of your rivals and you walking into a death trap that someone was just waiting for someone to run into. It’s a blast.

I wish the pay structure for the game was better though. Characters take too long to unlock and the amount of bang you get for your buck is lacking. Fortunately you still get a handful of characters to play early on and it doesn’t really start to be a nuisance until you’re dozens of hours in, where characters are costing more and you have to wait for characters to revive once you lose a match (it’s a free to play game!). But those several dozens of hours I sank into the game were well worth it, just because the game is that fun to play.

If you want to check out the game, this is a pretty good introduction to the game without being all “hi I’m a youtuber showing you some sponsored content”.

“Absolute glory to the pawn at the end of despair”

The GILM Awards 2017 Favorite Diamond in the Rough Discussion

I second the nomination for Monument Valley 2. I hadn’t played the first one but had a good idea of what I was expecting. The puzzles were continuously inventive and the story although minimalist was fantastic. The music and aesthetic work well together to create an extremely soothing afternoon. I still use a screenshot from this game as my phone background


Love Nikki: Dress UP Queen
I fell in love with this game after Janine Hawkins’ amazing write-up earlier this year. It’s been a constant in my life ever since then. It’s also the game I played to cope with the crippling anxiety created by that Subterfuge match that nearly broke Rob Zacny (and the actual game itself).


Shoutout here for Million Onion Hotel, a very strange action puzzle game about onion soup, world war, world peace and nihilism


Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp
Yes, its been out for two days, and I haven’t beeb able to put it down.
It just sends me into this zone that the better animal crossing games have always been able to do.
A combination of nostalgia and the desire to be productive that just keep me playing.


Senconding Love Nikki: Dress UP Queen

I also fell in love with it from Janine Hawkins’ article. It’s nice having a calm, quiet game focusing around creating cute outfits (or creating fashion horrors) with little day-to-day pressure to play. It’s easy enough jumping in for a few minutes or spend an hour going through the story quests.


Hidden Folks (iOS)

Mobile games are usually solitary time wasters for me. Hidden Folks however was the first mobile game that my wife and I would play hunched over the iPad together. This alone puts it in another class of mobile games for me.


i’m sorry but Hidden My Game By Mom didn’t come out this year for phones. I’d recommend changing your nomination.


Wiz Khalifa’s Weed Farm

Fite me. No serious nothing else stuck quite like this. That’s literally it.


Previously seconded HQ but went back through my games and realized it’s actually MotorSport Manager 2


Ticket to Earth

A unique and fun approach to Puzzle RPG combat, a slick presentation, and a surprisingly dark setting with writing far above the usual mobile fare (though still pretty campy, and nowhere near the level of The Banner Saga) makes for my favourite mobile game this year. The opening episode was good, but the second raised the bar significantly. I’m eagerly awaiting the third. When you buy the game, all of the episodes are included in the price, so it’s not using the episodic structure to sell you things, which is nice.

The combat sections take place on a multi-colored grid, each character gets two actions which can either be an attack or ability, or (and this is the puzzle/tactical bit) move as many squares as they like along a single colour. The farther you move, the more energy you collect (special abilities are fueled by their associated colour), and the more attack power you build up. But, your attacks have ranges, characters have attributes that will make them prefer certain colour, and sometimes tiles are on fire, explode on contact, etc… This blend of tactics and puzzle like decision making really works.

While it’s not especially a hard game, the game rewards you with more tokens to improve your characters if you complete the challenges associated with each encounter. This adds an additional level of optional difficulty which is a nice feature.

There were a number of other mobile games that could have been my favourite. It’s been a good year, so here’s some honourable mentions.

Iron Marines - a surprisingly well done mobile RTS, by the Kingdom Rush people
Card Thief - Solitaire meets burglary, by the same crew that did Card Crawl.
Motorsport Mobile 2 - Top notch management sim, really nails the “myth” of motorsport.
Another Lost Phone - a deeply intimate form of storytelling. Somewhat problematic at times with regard to LGBTQ+ issues, unfortunately.


All the mobile games I liked this year did not come out in 2017. Mini Metro, Guild of Dungeoneering, Dungeon of the Endless… Darkest Dungeon got a solid iOS port this year that has a few issues but is only $5, but I understand if that doesn’t count as 2017 game.
Oh , I almost forgot Solitairica…but it didn’t come out this year either…