23 games for your new iPhone

If you got a new over the holidays, one of the best ways to enjoy it and show it off is to play games. I’ve been checking out new devices — the XS Max and the XR — during the past couple of months, and thought I would share a list of games to play on them.

These games are one reason why mobile gaming has become a $63.2 billion industry worldwide, according to market researcher Newzoo. This week is when people get their new devices and are most likely to load new apps and games onto them. Or they may use their gift cards to purchase paid games. It’s the last major push of the year for the part of the gaming industry that plays games on mobile devices.

Here’s a list of my suggestions for mobile games to try out. Many of these games are also available on Android, but I haven’t tried them on that platform.

Command & Conquer: Rivals

Above: Command & Conquer: Rivals

Image Credit: EA

Publisher: Electronic Arts Mobile
Price: Free to play

I’ve been playing this game a lot during the holidays. I like the explosions, the competition with a real person, and the wide variety of strategies and tactics you can use to beat your enemy to a nuclear launch.

Publisher: Lowtech Studios
Price: Free to play

My kid turned me on to this addictive title, where you start as a little worm and eat your way into something huge. You play against other humans, and if you run into their worm bodies, you explode and lose. Your finger will never leave the screen.

Publisher: Annapurna Interactive 
Price: $3

It’s a love story with some very creative graphics.

Pokémon Go trainer battles can now take place at level 10 and up.

Above: Pokémon Go trainer battles can now take place at level 10 and up.

Image Credit: Niantic

Publisher: Niantic
Price: Free to play

Everyone has played this. But it has become a lot more engaging with the addition of friends, Trainer Battles, weather effects, and new creatures. And it’s still the best way to get some exercise while playing a game.

Publisher: Scopely
Price: Free to play

There’s a lot of depth in the creation of your starships, training your crew, and fighting rivals in real-time multiplayer arenas.

Ingress Prime

Above: Ingress Prime features The Enlightened (green team) and The Resistance (blue).

Image Credit: Niantic

Publisher: Niantic
Price: Free to play

The developers of the original Ingress from 2012 rebooted their location-based mobile game with a lot of improvements, including augmented reality, better graphics, and well-developed plotlines that pit one group of players, who want to preserve humanity, against those who want to enhance humanity with AI and other technologies.

Publisher: Devolver Digital
Price: $2

You can sit on the Iron Throne and make decisions — swiping left or right — that will help your faction navigate the politics of Westeros.

Publisher: HQ/Intermedia Labs
Price: Free to play

The game may be a bit beyond its peak, but it’s still entertaining to try to compete against others and win cash. If you answer 12 questions correctly, you get to split the cash prize with the winners.

The Royale Pass in PUBG Mobile.

Above: The Royale Pass in PUBG Mobile.

Image Credit: Sensor Tower

Publisher: Bluehole/Tencent Mobile International
Price: Free to play

The battle royale game where 100 players parachute onto an island, and only one can survive.

Publisher: Zut
Price: Free to play

You try to match colors and get the perfect gradient in this game.

Publisher: Gram Games
Price: Free to play

You can merge your dragon eggs, trees, treasures, and other items to create brand-new things.

Publisher: Mindmate
Price: Free

An app that promotes a healthy brain through memory tests, workouts, and food.

Dragons start as eggs and you can raise them to adults in Game of Thrones: Conquest.

Above: Dragons start as eggs and you can raise them to adults in Game of Thrones: Conquest.

Image Credit: WBIE

Publisher: Warner Bros
Price: Free to play

If you combined Game of War: Fire Age with Game of Thrones, you would get something like this. You can join alliances and figure out how to take over the Seven Kingdoms. Dragons have finally arrived in the game.

Drivetime offers voice-based social trivia games.

Above: Drivetime offers voice-based social trivia games.

Image Credit: Drivetime

Publisher: Drivetime
Price: Free

You can play games while you drive. And it’s safe because you can control the trivia game with your voice. The game pits you against another human player in a multiplayer match.

Publisher: Epic Games
Price: Free to play

This is a beautifully animated battle royale game that just about every human on Earth has heard about. You fight in a shootout with 100 players, and only one person or one squad survives.

Publisher: Supercell
Price: Free to play

You can battle with friends or solo in brawl matches that last less than three minutes.

Publisher: Small Giant Games
Price: Free to play

This match-3 role-playing game is the first game from Small Giant Games, and it’s a big hit. You can solve puzzles, collect hero cards, fight player-vs.-player battles, and explore worlds.

Publisher: Pixelberry Studios
Free to play

From the folks who brought us High School Stories, you have to make big life choices in this game, like whether to choose love, romance, fantasy, or magic.

Publisher: Zynga/Natural Motion
Price: Free to play

The graphics look cool in this street drag racing game. You can also create a 3D augmented reality image that shows your coolest car, parked in your driveway.

Publisher: Zynga/Natural Motion
Price: Free to play

Dawn of Titans is a real-time strategy game that pushed the envelope on mobile graphics. It debuted in 2016, and I’ve enjoyed playing it over the years, particularly whenever I want to see cool graphics of an army on a battlefield taking on a giant titan.

The Clash Royale League world finals are headed to Japan.

Above: The Clash Royale League world finals are headed to Japan.

Image Credit: Supercell

Publisher: Supercell
Price: Free to play

It’s another aging game, but I’ve spent considerable time with this real-time strategy game since it debuted in 2016. It’s like a combination of a tower defense and multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game, with only two lanes where you can send your attackers down. But it’s very addictive and involves a lot of strategic thinking. It has also become a major esport.

Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
Price: $5

This game has a goofy story and goofy gameplay. You control a donut hole, which you move under objects. You swallow them, and with each new swallow, the hole gets larger.

Above: Jurassic World Alive

Image Credit: Ludia

Publisher: Ludia
Price: Free to play

You can find dinosaurs in your neighborhood or workplace with this location-based game that takes advantage of Google Maps technology. It also features augmented reality imagery of the beasts that once ruled the Earth.

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