Smart phones have officially taken over. 9 out of 10 over 16s in the UK own a mobile device that has access to the internet, contributing to a multi-billion pound industry that shows no signs of slowing. Alongside better hardware and internet connection speeds, smartphone software has come along in leaps and bounds, with high quality 3D graphics, HD video and incredible audio providing an excellent platform for developers.
One particular area that has exploded over the last 10 years is mobile gaming. Before miniaturised processors and dedicated nano-technology graphics cards made pocket 3D gaming possible, mobile gaming was limited to snake, solitaire or other Windows-95-esque basics that look like ancient history today. Now there are an incredible range of games available, with some really innovative apps that have become less distraction and more obsession. The app stores can be hard to navigate with so much choice, so we're going to go through some of the types of games available, as well as the picks of the particular category.
The 'paywall' or 'freemium' game
These games have definitely revolutionised the way game developers make their money and have even made it onto consoles and PC. Instead of paying 79p and enjoying the full game, these games are completely free to download and play, with tons of content and replay value, but the option to pay your way through them. The Simpsons: Tapped Out and Forge of Empires are both great games and classic examples of the 'freemium' model. Sure, you can get all of the Simpson family and make them go on missions to earn cash, but if you want Santa's Little Helper then you'll need to spend some real world cash on in-game currency (donuts, in this case) to purchase 'premium' characters. This can get quite expensive after a while, so it's best to either limit how much you're willing to spend or only opt for the 'free' options, i.e. waiting 2 weeks for your newest building to finish construction. Other great freemium games include SimCity BuildIt, Clash of Clans and Game of War.
Online gambling has come on leaps and bounds, studies show that the most frequent gamblers are 18-24 year olds, central to this statistic is the fact that this particular age group embraced technology. Gambling has now left musty old bingo halls and tacky neon arcades in the dust. There are now some incredible themed slot games, interactive 3D casino games and fast-paced online bingo apps that allow players to potentially win big as they pass time. Wink Bingo is the pick of the bunch, a unique online bingo experience that boasts hundreds of themed games with huge jackpots and ticket prices to suit every budget. Wink is designed with both experienced bingo players and newbies in mind, with a thriving online community to help you get stuck in. Playing bingo online has grown vastly in popularity due to the impressive range of different variants of the game on offer, the increase in popularity is in no small part down to the fact that players are impressed with the seamless gameplay, while on the move.
If there's one game that you need to download if you've never owned a smartphone before, it's Candy Crush. The sweet themed puzzle game has long been at the top of the game charts. The idea of the game is to form lines of 3 or more matching sweets. You can eliminate larger combinations to boost your score, the candy cane meter rises as your score increases, but it’s a race against time. Following the success of this game there are now hundreds of copycats, including Pet Rescue Saga and Bubble Shooter. The other huge title you absolutely need to try is Angry Birds, a puzzler so successful that even has its own movie. The game has been praised for its successful combination of fun gameplay, comical style, and low price allowing players of all age ranges to gain enjoyment from it. In January 2014 there had been over two billion downloads across all platforms, including both regular and special editions.