Mobile gaming has become a massive industry, so big that analysts predict mobile game sales will surpass both PC and console games in sales this year.
Estimates place game revenue at 99+ billion dollars (for the upcoming year) with mobile games expecting to take $36.9 billion, PC to claim $31.9 billion and console rounding up the balance with an estimated $29 billion in sales. (source – CNBC.com).
That’s more in sales revenue than the GDP of 161 countries in the world today. (source – studentsoftheworld.info) We spent more on video games than on milk ($17.8 billion) and milk substitutes ($1.9 billion) in recent years (source – mintel.com). Clearly, video games, and especially mobile games, have become a part of our daily lives.
And mobile games aren’t just for bored teenagers with permanently down sloped necks staring at phone screens; research has found that (in America alone) an estimated 1/3 of seniors (approx. 15 million) play at least once a week with 17% (approx. 7 million) playing every day (source – slate.com). So it looks like slots, solitaire and Candy Crush will be with us for some years to come.
Naturally, with so much money to be made, many people want to get their slice of the pie; which means both good and bad games.
And just like anything in a large industry, bad products are to be expected. There will always be offerings that fail to meet what is promised, rushed into sale before fully developed or are just a bad idea in general.
One can always use online reviews to help guide them in their game choices, but there are problems with this as well.
Not only are you subject to people using a bad review as a tactic to get even with games or to voice personal grudges (‘Boo-Hoo, I didn’t get invited to the Crystal Quest mission’) but companies have been accused of manipulating the review system to eliminate negative reviews, push positive reviews further up the charts or have hired people to write false positive reviews. (source – bloomberg.com)
So what do you do when all you want to do is to play a game to pass time while waiting for a meeting (or in a meeting) during transit or while chilling out after work/school?
Well, there are a couple of things you can do without consuming all sorts of time. First, you can do a simple search for the game with the word ‘review’ after it and look at a few different reviews; odds are if the game has constant bad reviews it’s a piece of crap. Also be aware of what some of the game reviews talk about, such as ‘pay to win’ or ‘pay to advance’.
These types of games are often free to play, but unless the player is willing to spend real money they will quickly be bypassed by players who are willing to spend. And, along with this line, be aware that there are people who pay others to level up their characters before taking over the character themselves.
These people are called ‘cashers’ and take advantage of ‘microtransactions’ (or in game purchases) to advance in a game quicker.
Yes, there really are people out there that desperate to be winners at something.
One way to avoid this is to search for ‘Best free no pay (your game genre here) games’ and you will very quickly find many lists of games from a variety of sources to choose from. Now along with this line, I will include a few games that you should outright avoid.
Not because these games have in-game purchases or someone I know complained about the game, but because these games have consistently bad reviews with complaints of repetition, crashing, lagging (when a game takes forever to load or pauses frequently during gameplay) and (generally) a complete lack of action by administrators who seem more interested in the title of being an administrator than doing anything useful for players such as removing consistently problem players. Other complaints include misleading advertising, too many in-game ads, redirects and bad controls.
While some of these games are free to play, keep in mind that players do experience the real cost of memory space usage, data usage, battery drain, wear and tear on the device and the players time.
Now, I realize how much time and expense it takes to develop a game; but when developers consistently receive bad reviews (on both the web and their own forums), use their free game to access your information (when a game asks for this it’s usually to sell your info), or do not deliver what they promise, then I have no concerns about pointing out some of the worst offenders publically.
In fact, almost every single one of these games received the lowest ratings that games could get outside of their game store reviews.
Mega Man Mobile 1-6.
This mobile game has consistently received very bad reviews due to its gameplay, control system, and constant crashing. To make matters worse this is not a free game but requires the player to spend a couple of dollars to play. Even the most die-hard Mega Man fans hate this game.
Final Fantasy All the Bravest.
In this free to play game players quickly find themselves with less than advertised gameplay (unless they want to spend big), repetitive gameplay and a generally mediocre experience that will consume a large chunk of memory. Amazingly, despite how big the Final Fantasy series, it’s developers seem to have done little to address this.
Simulator Real Hologram.
This ‘game’ asks to access your camera to produce holograms on your phone, which it doesn’t as I’m sure many will not find surprising. What it will do is access your information, play ads and redirect you to other games before returning you to your screen with an image displayed that you can’t do anything with.
Wartune Hall of Heroes.
While the game is very nice to look at, this game is notorious for lagging, crashing, repetition and extremely poor customer support. With consistent bad online reviews, as well as many in-game and in forum complaints, the developers and administrators of this game do not seem to care about customer complaints to lost files, missing items and the game not registering tasks as being completed so the player does not receive the rewards promised.
Hopefully, the developers for these games are in the process of addressing these issues for a better game experience, sadly (due to how long these concerns have been around), that seems unlikely.
And finally, a general warning when looking for games to avoid:
Games with extremely long titles (that seem to be a collection of keywords used for a search), and/or have descriptions that make no sense are best to avoid.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that one game I found was called (something to the effect of) “Call of Battlefield Sniper Combat Duty” which was virtually impossible to play with twitchy controls, poor aiming, required large amounts of in-game currency to receive other items and had a dull, repetitive gameplay.
The description for the game was equally terrible, yet the game still boasted a 5-star review.
Unfortunately, after going through so many bad knock off games in the FPS (First Person Shooter) category, I forgot to write down the exact game name; but I’m certain you get a general idea.
Also keep in mind that with any in-game purchase you will not be reimbursed if you are not happy with what was delivered, even when it feels that you have been misled.
And some games have been accused of hidden charges with in-game purchases.
So there you have it, an overview of what to watch for (and avoid) while looking for your next game to install on your mobile device.
Should you know of other mobile games to avoid, (and let’s be honest – there are so many) then please leave the games name, and a brief description of what is wrong with the game, in the comments below.
John Goodale is the author of ‘Johnny Gora’ (available through Amazon.com), and a number of articles here on TMRZoo.com. His monthly column ‘Indy Comics Spotlight’ appears here and through his blog Indy Comics Spotlight