As video games on suped-up rigs and next-gen consoles keep pushing the limits of graphical prowess, the last thing people expect is to find some of the industry’s most beautiful games on a smartphone. After all, if a PlayStation 4 can’t render the gazillions of polygons in Cyberpunk 2077, then what hope does a mobile device have of running something just as flashy? Well, traditional graphics aren’t everything, and when you check out the beautiful mobile games we’ve listed below, we think that question will answer itself.
In this list we take a look at the most beautiful mobile games on the market. These portable beauties have mastered aesthetics and wear a mobile screen like it was jewelry. In every case, you’d be hard pushed to find a review or opinion that doesn’t mention their good looks. And the best part is that they won’t cause your phone to explode. We can’t promise the same for your mind, however.
Sky: Children of the Light (iOS Android)
Sky is a mobile-exclusive title from Thatgamecompany, whose back-catalogue includes Flow, Flower, and Journey. Those who have experienced any of these titles should know exactly what to expect from their successor when it comes to sheer charm. From its airy soundscape to its luminous landscape, Sky will fly you to Cloud Nine within the first few minutes.
As the name suggests, Sky’s gameplay centers around soaring through the atmosphere with the aid of a special cape that levels-up through gameplay. Also present are the same social elements that enthralled the critics in Journey. Players are able to interact with one another with more social abilities being unlocked as relationships flourish.
But, as if friendship wasn’t beautiful enough, Sky has even doubled down on the feelgood factor with its recent charity drives. From using in-app purchases to fund the planting of trees, to generating over $1m in donations for Doctors Without Borders last year, Sky is evidently one of those games that is beautiful both inside and out.
Genshin Impact (iOS Android)
Unfortunately, Breath of the Wild is not available on mobile platforms. Yet. But Genshin Impact, with its suspiciously familiar art style and mechanics, is here to fill that phone-shaped void for mobile users. Released on Android and iOS less than a year ago, Genshin Impact certainly made an impact with many fans, grossing $1 billion within just six months. But why is it so popular? Well, there’s a reason it’s on this ‘most beautiful mobile games’ list.
Aside from a compelling story that tells of elemental magic, kingdoms and gods, the anime art-style was perhaps one of its biggest saving graces. Stunning landscapes are one thing, but there are other elements of Genshin Impact that seem to be stealing players’ hearts. Spoiler alert: it’s the characters. Where BOTW has its admittedly charming roster of cartoonish NPCs, Genshin doubles down on the ‘charm’ with its charismatic companions. What can we say? Zhongli is a dreamboat.
Despite employing typically unpopular gacha mechanics, the free-to-play title handles its monetization particularly well. This is good news for thrifty mobile gamers who wouldn’t mind dropping in to see what the world of Teyvat has to offer. But be warned: not many who venture there return.
Sayonara Wild Hearts (iOS)
If you’re a fan of purple, neon and synths, you’re going to love Sayonara Wild Hearts.
Sometimes beauty isn’t just about visuals. Sometimes, a soundtrack that slaps is more than enough to evoke that same ‘wow’ moment that a stunning art style can achieve. Of course, that’s not to say that Sayonara Wild Hearts isn’t as visually stunning as it is audibly breathtaking. But if you’re the kind of person that likes to put on some music while you game, then strap in and get ready to vibe.
Rhythm games are often paired dazzling visuals, but rarely do we see them sit alongside a solid narrative. Sayonara Wild Hearts has been described as a ‘pop album video game’, with 23 levels that tell a fascinating story. The flashy cel-shaded art style is rendered all the more vivid by its pumping pop soundtrack. And within just a few minutes of gameplay, you’ll find yourself hopelessly hypnotized by their perfect marriage.
Black Desert Mobile (iOS Android)
Sure, we may have started this list by saying that graphics aren’t everything, but we’d be lying if we said they didn’t help. Black Desert is a game that is universally lauded for its elegant graphics. It’s enough to make the mind boggle at how this silky smooth 3D Fantasy MMORPG managed to port so capably to the mobile platform. But it did, and now we get to soak in the beauty wherever we may be.
It’s worth noting that the BDM mobile port of the console & PC originals does not boast all the same features as its counterparts. For many, this is a deal-breaker. But with its optional auto-play feature, the mobile version of this wildly popular MMORPG is a godsend for players who find themselves more strapped for time than they used to be.
Suffice to say, Black Desert Mobile is one beautiful example of just how far the mobile gaming industry has come.
Monument Valley (iOS Android)
Monument Valley and its sequel are no strangers to ‘most beautiful mobile game’ lists. But when you consider that the game was created with the aim of having each frame fit for public display, it’s no wonder. Aside from its merits as a solid puzzle game, Monument Valley was made to be beautiful.
Inspired by Japanese prints and minimalist architecture, it was unsurprisingly well-received for its art-style. Players assume control of Princess Ida as they attempt to navigate a mind-bending series of impossible shapes and optical illusions. Sounds frustrating right? It would be – were it not for the calming soundtrack that could soothe the most red-faced rage-quitter in a heartbeat.
Take it from us – if you’re looking for some time to clear your head and feast your eyes, then jump into Monument Valley.
So there you have it – five of the most beautiful mobile games available right now. Sure, there may be some people who would satisfy their eye candy craving by looking at some artwork or tropical beach photography. But with these digital works of art we hope we’ve given you the chance to feel cultured as you indulge in a spot of mobile gaming.