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These are some of the best smartphone games released this year

Like you were going to do anything else with your free time.

Image: IGN/YouTube

AS FAR AS smartphone gaming goes, 2015 was a year where developers really got to grips with the platform.

What started out as simple ports or tapping games have evolved, including more experiences that wouldn’t look out of place on your console or PC (with some even appearing on these platforms).

Here are some of the best out there.

Lara Croft Go
For: iOS, Android
Cost: €2.99

The Tomb Raider series is experiencing a serious return of form thanks to its relaunch, but classic Lara is still going strong due to this inclusion.

Working much like an interactive board game, you must guide her through caverns, tombs and other dangerous locations in a short but incredibly sweet game.

Source: Square Enix Montreal/YouTube

Mayday! Deep Space
For:
iOS
Cost:
€2.99

A game where the only controls are your voice. Your objective is to guide a survivor in a space station to safety, but you only have his word and a radar to help you.

Figuring out whether all is what it seems to be will drive you forward, and while it’s short, it’s one of the more engrossing and original smartphone games out there.

Source: Iron Cloud/YouTube

Alto’s Adventure
For: iOS
Cost: €2.99

One of the nicest endless runners you’ll play, Alto’s Adventure is relaxing but requires focus as you snowboard your way down the mountains. Catching llamas, doing backflips and grinding rooftops and walls, it’s a beautiful and refined experience.

Source: IGN/YouTube

TouchTone
For:
iOS
Cost:
€2.99 

Considering how prominent the topic of phone hacking is, you would be forgiven for thinking TouchTone is trying to cash in on it, but it’s a compelling game. Not every hack will be a justified one and the game forces you to live with the choices you make.

Source: TouchArcade/YouTube

Attack the Light
For:
iOS, Android
Cost: €2.99

Anyone who was a fan of the Paper Mario series will find a lot to like here. And even if you weren’t, there’s still enough here for it to be worth playing.

Based on the Cartoon Network show Steven Universe, it’s an accessible RPG with arcade elements, one that even non-fans can enjoy.

Source: Kendallsweek/YouTube

Grim Fandango
For: iOS, Android
Cost: €9.99

The classic adventure game was remastered earlier this year, but also made its way to the small screen. A hilarious script – which still manages to be the only game to feature a snarky balloon artist – and some tricky puzzles feature in a game that still holds up 17 years later.

Source: iOS Gaming World/YouTube

Sword of Xolan
For: iOS, Android
Cost: €0.99

An homage to the classic SNES platformers, Sword of Xolan is old school but unashamedly so. It’s a solid and challenging experience, although the boss fights aren’t as exciting.

Source: Alper Sarıkaya/YouTube

Hitman: Sniper
For: iOS, Android
Cost: €1.99

Much like Lara Croft Go, Hitman has enjoyed life on the smaller screen, reformatted to suit its strengths. While Hitman: Go was a solid puzzle game, Sniper only focuses on the important (and arguably more fun) task of assassination.

With different challenges and objectives, figuring out how to best complete your aims requires both thought and patience – but it’s worth it.

Source: GameSpot/YouTube

You Must Build a Boat
For: iOS, Android
Cost: €2.99

It’s available on PC/Mac, but You Must Build a Boat is truly at home on the small screen. Not only is it addictive, but it accomplishes the rare feat of being easy to dip into for five minutes, yet deep enough to accommodate longer playthroughs.

Source: EightyEightGames/YouTube

Her Story
For: iOS
Cost: €4.99

Watching old police interviews might not sound like the most intriguing premise for a game, but it’s what Her Story doesn’t tell you that makes it engrossing.

Piecing together what happened and deciphering the mystery will stick in your mind even when you’re not playing the game, and the feeling when a hunch gets you results is always great.

Source: Her Story Video Game/YouTube

The Executive
For:
iOS
Cost: €4.99

A CEO of a mining company who also battles werewolves and other mythical creatures is an original premise for a game, and it happens to be a fantastic one. The game flows between sections effortlessly, the combat system is satisfying and, most importantly, it’s a lot of fun.

Source: Riverman Media/YouTube

This War of Mine
For:
iOS, Android
Cost: €14.99

Placing you in the middle of a conflict with everything against you, This War of Mine is a harrowing experience where one wrong decision is enough to undermine everything for you and your companions. This isn’t a fun game per se, but it’s worth experiencing.

Source: 11bitstudios/YouTube

Prune
For:
iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Cost: €1.99

This zen-like puzzler sees you growing plants and making sure they reach sunlight in unforgiving conditions. The initial aim might not be clear from the start, but it’s a compelling and beautiful experience.

Source: Prune/YouTube

Angry Birds 2
For: iOS, Android
Cost: Free

Adopting a freemium approach for the first true sequel in six years may have upset some, but once you get over that, the core of the game is just as solid as ever and the new additions improve the series instead of being gimmicky like other spinoffs.

Source: Angry Birds/YouTube

Pac-Man 256
For:
iOS, Android
Cost: Free

The team behind Crossy Road take on the classic series in a fresh game that combines both old legacies with new features.

Source: Hipster Whale/YouTube

Pac-Man Championship Edition DX
For: iOS, Android
Cost: €1.99

If you’re looking for a more traditional Pac-Man experience, then you can’t go wrong with the Championship Edition. With the focus on combos and high scores, it tweaks the successful formula and improves upon it.

Source: TouchArcade/YouTube

Sage Solitaire 
For: iOS
Cost: Free

A simple and relaxing card game that combines both Klondike and Poker, Sage Solitaire is all about racking up high scores by pairing cards. Surprisingly challenging yet addictive, this is to your iPhone what Solitaire was to your Windows 95 PC.

Source: appgefahren.de Insider/YouTube

David
For: iOS, Android
Cost: €1.99

A game that’s about squares, physics and flinging yourself to destroy foes, David is a minimalist experience but it lends itself to some deep and occasionally difficult moments.

Source: tangents/YouTube

Shooty Skies
For: iOS, Android
Cost: Free

An original take on the scrolling shooter genre, Shooty Skies combines arcade thrills with some deft smartphone controls to create a challenging yet addictive game.

Source: Mighty Games/YouTube

Downwell
For:
iOS
Cost: €0.99

With nothing but gravity and your trusty gunboots, Downwell is an unforgiving experience where you must survive as long as possible. Powerups, procedurally generated levels and tough enemies keep the challenge high, but no matter how tough it gets, you’ll always want to have one more go.

Source: DevolverDigital/YouTube

HoPiKo
For: iOS, Android
Cost: €0.99

Fast, snappy and relentless, HoPiKo’s levels last less than a minute yet the frantic gameplay and pumping soundtrack will keep you hooked, especially if you try to complete them within the (optional) time limit.

Source: LaserDogGames/YouTube

The Room Three
For: iOS
Cost: €4.99

With an unsettling atmosphere and some mind-bending puzzles, The Room Three follows its own logic but once you adapt to it, its true genius unfolds. Some tricky puzzles and multiple endings mean you will be playing this for a while.

Source: FireproofGames/YouTube

Badland 2
For: iOS
Cost: €4.99

One of the best games of 2013 received a sequel without much fanfare, but it’s keeps all the elements that made the original great. With a number of small but essential additions, it’s a worthy followup. The fact that it’s also a beautiful game helps matters.

Source: FrogmindGames/YouTube

Read: These are the best smartphone apps of 2015 >

Read: How much do you really know about these classic Christmas toys? >

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