As mobile gaming has been taken more seriously as a genre, story-driven mobile games have become ever more prevalent and popular. Today, there are plenty of mobile games with great stories – complex, emotional, and surprising narratives – that can be explored in the palm of one’s hand. Some of these games are ports and adaptations of console and PC games, whereas others are specifically designed for the small screen and cleverly utilise the mobile format to their advantage.
Without further ado, here are the mobile games with the best storylines:
1) SIM – Sara is Missing (iOS, Android)
Talking of games that use the mobile format to their advantage, few take such a unique and effective approach as Sara is Missing (SIM). SIM inserts the player inside the narrative with a roleplaying experience that positions them as the finder of a stranger’s phone. That stranger being Sara, a woman who has disappeared under highly mysterious circumstances.
The player searches through Sara’s messages, notes, pictures, videos, emails, notes, and locked files for clues as to her whereabouts and the suspicious goings-on of her last known days. The core narrative is intriguing and bolstered by multiple choices, endings, and hidden subplots. It is a free, impeccably well written mobile game with all the thrills of a found-footage horror movie.
2) Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (iOS, Android)
Are you ready to shed a few tears? Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a heart-breaking story of coming-of-age, brotherhood, and grief. Following the loss of their mother, two brothers, Naiee and Naia, must go to great lengths to save their father from the same fate.
As they venture toward the Tree of Life in search of a cure, the fantasy world they inhabit places all manner of challenges and lessons in front of them, from reuniting friendly trolls to preventing a suicide attempt. While the game is not in its entirety as heavy as the description above makes out, it has a deeply emotional storyline with poignant messages on love, trust, and loss.
3) The Bard’s Tale (iOS, Android)
It was the great bard Shakespeare himself who supposedly drew comparisons between comedy and tragedy, supposedly saying “Tragedy is a comedy misunderstood”. And while The Bard’s Tale has none of the tear-jerking moments of some of the other narrative mobile games on this list, it is a fantastic and hilarious story in its own right.
To say that The Bard’s Tale doesn’t take itself seriously is an understatement. It is a hack and slash RPG game that makes fun of the stereotypes, tropes, and cliches of classic RPGs and fantasy pen-and-paper games. Following on from a series of books and games stretching back to the late 80’s, The Bard’s Tale has players roleplay the self-centred world-weary Bard as he begrudgingly works his way through meaningless sub-quests. It comes complete with celebrity voice actors, 16 magical allies, over 150 unique items, 50 enemy types, and over a dozen bosses. It’s a light-hearted romp that you’d be foolish to overlook.
4) Bully (iOS, Android)
Like so many of Rockstar’s games (all of them?), Bully was not short of controversy upon its launch and relaunch – thanks to its adult themes, risky jokes, and polemicising subject matter. Yet it is a title that has stood the test of time, and those same controversial topics were also the source of much praise in its more generous reviews.
Players take the role of Jimmy Hopkins, the latest student to be involuntarily enrolled at Bullworth Academy. As Jimmy rises through the social ranks in the school, he attempts to unite the battling high-school cliques and replace the school’s dog-eat-dog culture with one of student solidarity. Surprising twists, betrayals and evolving character arcs are commonplace. Utilising their signature humour, Rockstar have created a game with a storyline that is both unique and courageous. Given that it is now 16 years since its PlayStation 2 release, the mobile port is the perfect way to explore the title in the 2020’s.
5) Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (iOS, Android)
While we’re on the topic of great mobile ports of PC and console games, there are few games playable on mobile with stories better than Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR). Both the original and KOTOR 2 are not only widely regarded to be the best Star Wars games ever made, but two of the very best video games ever made.
The long awaited and anticipated remakes have finally been announced. In the meantime, why not enjoy the originals on mobile wherein players can once again revel in the tale of Darth Revan. Revan is a character whose legendary status rivals even that of Vader and Maul for true Star Wars aficionados. Set in the pinnacle of the Republic and Jedi’s prominence, the games were the prequels fans always wanted: featuring amazing customisation options, beloved characters, and a truly epic narrative with surprises rivalling “No, I am your father” fame.
6) The Wolf Among Us (iOS, Android)
Telltale’s titles are the unrivalled champions of games with decision-based storytelling. Their entire The Walking Dead series could very easily have made this list – games which tell zombie stories that are far more gripping than the most recent dozen series of the once hit TV show. While TWD certainly features adult themes (as well as gruesome deaths), The Wolf Among Us is a decided more adult game. A fact which is somewhat ironic seeing as it is based on children’s stories.
The Wolf Among Us takes classic fairy tales and succeeds where others have failed in returning them to their grizzly roots. The detective Bigby “Big Bad” Wolf must investigate a series of murders before becoming all-too-involved in the surrounding folklore-based mystery. Fairy tales have survived the test of time as well as any other genre, and the legends and characters of these time-tested fables are reimagined in a manner that turns The Wolf Among Us into a modern fantasy storytelling classic.
7) The Silent Age (iOS, Android)
Due to the simplicity of their gameplay, point-and-click gams intrinsically rely on the quality of their storytelling in order to achieve success. From the world-famous Stranger Things to the underrated and highly complex German series Dark, vintage horror is experiencing a serious resurgence right now. The Silent Age combines some of the appeal of both of those series: a retro 70’s aesthetic and time-travelling chaos.
Players take the role of Janitor Joe who stumbles upon a mysterious old man dying in the basement (you know, classic time-travel stuff). Joe must take up the decade-jumping mantle to prevent a dystopian future from becoming reality. Without giving away any spoilers, that entails travelling to many different times, including visiting his younger self. May the paradoxes, mysteries, and adventures commence.
The Silent Age doesn’t need HD cinematics, challenging puzzles, or nail-biting action, the mystery of its storyline is enough to keep players immersed from start to finish.
8) Broken Age (iOS)
We’ll finish this list with another point-and-click game with a very similar name. Broken Age is brilliant story-based mobile game featuring a kooky planet-hopping duo that would give Rick and Morty a run for their money. Its dual protagonists are both playable: Shay Volta – a teenage boy both wise and naïve thanks to his unusual parenting (a spaceship’s AI) and Vella Tartine – a soon-to-sacrificed young girl living in the Mog-infested Badlands.
The pair’s unlikely similarities are beautifully captured through fantastic writing and dialogue. Their simultaneous coming-of-age stories are both touching and hilarious. As they discover who they are and their place in the world(s), their nuanced characters evolve as players enjoy puzzles, adventures and the ability to switch between the characters at will. And if you need any more excuses to enjoy this wonderful game, then check out the all-star cast: Elijah Wood, Masasa Moyo, Jack Black, Jennifer Hale, Wil Wheaton, and Adventure Time’s Pendleton Ward.
We hope you enjoyed our list of the mobile games with the best stories. If we missed anything out, be sure to let us know.
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